My good friend Donald Trump said that torture is terrible but when people are cutting off heads and drowning people in cages then waterboarding is fine with him and, if we have to go “way beyond waterboarding”, that’s OK. He said he knows that some things are illegal but that in this case “maybe we need to change the law”.
The first part of Mr. Trump statement was right on: torture is terrible! The problem is that by immediately stating that he condoned it, his moral code is in conflict with his statement. This is something that comes from one of the worst artifacts of postmodernism, moral relativism.
If something is immoral it is immoral. A = A. Something cannot be “terrible” in one context and condoned in another.
Of course, perhaps Mr. Trump does not have a consistent moral compass. After all, he says that he is Christian; supposedly a follower of the teachings of Jesus. Then he says that he wants to punch a protester in the face. To be morally consistent with Jesus he should be “turning the other cheek” should he not. But, Mr. Trump is not a cheek turner.
He is absolutely right that we must stop ISIS as aggressively as possible. But what we consider to be “possible” must conform to the constraints of the Geneva conventions. ISIS may be a violent, immoral, horrific entity but the United States of America is not! Following ISIS in horrific, inhumane, unethical, tortuous violence just because such insane behavior is acceptable in their crazy theology will only make us as inhumane as they are.
Mr. Trump does not care. He simply wants to manipulate crowds. To condone illegal and immoral acts simply because he wants his fill of crowds and power, though, perfectly matches the fascist archetype.
All of us have moral failings of one sort or another. But, to condone the worst of all possible acts in one context and to say they are “terrible” in another is the worst one can display of a twisted moral compass.
The postmodern philosophers teach that morality and ethics are context dependent. But, ethics cannot depend on where you are or what you are doing. It must depend on being true to a consistent value system. When it comes to torture, any value system that does not respect individual human life is fatally flawed.
I hate ISIS. I hate Islamic Extremism. I have no problem killing people who behead, burn, and drown others in a theology of horror. We must do everything possible to eradicate them. But, as soon as we make torture one of the tools we use, we too take ownership for the twisted moral compass – this we must never let happen.
One more reason that Donald Trump is unqualified to be POTUS.