Morality, Torture, and Jack Bauer

I don’t have a television. I don’t watch TV. So I only recently learned of the TV show 24, where hero Jack Bauer saves America on a weekly basis from terrorists.

It was actually in a blog conversation that I won’t link to.

Now, I know that such discussions are not typically the subject on Biblical Studies blogs or Linguistics blogs or both. But ethics and morality are always important – as every Christian should agree.

But how often do we, as Christians, develop a well thought out philosophy or theology of Ethics?

What impact does such as 24 a show have on our views of morality, torture, and national security?

As I understand it, the concept of the show preys on the Ticking Bomb Senario, where it is argued, “enhanced interrogation” is the only way to save America from certain destruction. From what I’ve read online about the show, our hero Jack Bauer is the ultimate consequentialist. He’d rape one woman to prevent ten from being raped, commit a small genocide to prevent a larger one, throw one fat man in front of a train to save a dozen thin men, club a baby to stop a nuclear detonation in New York City.

I am seriously curious about what others think about these issues:

  1. The show 24
  2. The validity of torture for national security
  3. This article challenging the very concept of the Ticking Bomb Scenario (TBS) as a defense of the use torture (incidentally, the article was shared to me by a friend of mine in the military who has experienced waterboarding first hand and afterward, “would have stolen a baby and given it to them [i.e. the people administering the waterboarding]”).

For the record, I’m against torture, whether “lite” or “hard” for any reason. Its both legally and morally dubious.

And so I open the floor to you. What do you think of these issues and why? I’m particularly interested in the views of those who would defend even torture-lite in situations of national security. I want to understand your view.

Advertisements