Thomas Sowell, on Ends and Means


Here's Thomas Sowell this week, comparing Obama's economic policy and response to the oil spill to Hitler and Lenin:

With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats, private individuals and organizations can be forced into accepting the imposition of powers that were never granted to the government by the Constitution.

If you believe that the end justifies the means, then you don't believe in constitutional government.

Here is Thomas Sowell defending torture just over a year ago:

Whatever the verbal fencing over the meaning of the word "torture," there is a fundamental difference between simply inflicting pain on innocent people for the sheer pleasure of it– which is what our terrorist enemies do– and getting life-saving information out of the terrorists by whatever means are necessary.

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  1. Sowell jumped the shark for me in the mid-90s from being interesting to being another largely orothodox conservative blabbering cake hole…

  2. Government is either limited in its powers, or it is not. When you set the precedent of making exceptions to that principle, you start down the path to tyranny.

    1. But it is limited! All you have to do is find something that isn’t covered by my interpretation of the “General Welfare” clause and the “Interstate Commerce” clause!

      1. General welfare of the U.S., not you. If it includes you, we should all recieve this benefit generally(everyone equally).

        1. …And this whole time, I thought “General Welfare” was something for high-ranking army and marine corps officers.

  3. The second quote is about rhetoric. The first is not. It’s not even possible for them to be contradictory.

    But I hope your, uh, dutifulness? is noted, and gets you whatever you think it should.

    1. Um, the second quote starts out with: “Whatever the verbal fencing over the meaning of the word ‘torture’ . . .” It’s setting rhetoric aside.

      Reading comprehension: needs improvement.

      1. Agreed.

    2. What ClubMedSux said. And you should try to control that jerking knee of yours.

    3. Don’t let ’em give you crap, ?. You’re right.

  4. I also do not see the contradiction you are trying to draw.

    1. Torture is illegal by statute and treaty. Any attempt to justify it ignores the rule of law.

      For the red teamers who wish to claim that what the Bush administration was doing wasn’t “torture” – Fuck you. You’re a bunch of dissembling idiots.

      1. Torture is illegal, true, but that’s the easy part. The hard part is defining what torture is.

        I don’t see the disconnect, either.

        1. Bill Clinton? Here?

      2. Read the fucking quote. He never says “torture is legal”. He says there is a difference between torture done to protect innocent people and terrorism. Maybe later he makes the claim that torture is legal. But he doesn’t in the quote given.

        1. By saying that there are “fundamental differences” between one use of torture and another, he at least implies that it is “moral” in some cases.

          As for the argument that it is somehow ‘constitutional’ and therefore ok when applied to non-US citizens, then I would reply that a constitution that does not grant equal rights to ALL people is worthless.

          1. “By saying that there are “fundamental differences” between one use of torture and another, he at least implies that it is “moral” in some cases.”

            No he is saying that one is not morally equivalent to the other, which seems pretty self evident.

          2. As for the argument that it is somehow ‘constitutional’ and therefore ok when applied to non-US citizens, then I would reply that a constitution that does not grant equal rights to ALL people is worthless.

            So Ernst Zundel had First Amendment rights in Austria?

        2. The point is that he is trying to justify means that are illegal and (to many people) reprehensible by speaking of the ends (stopping terrorism and saving innocent lives) that they will help achieve.

          I.e., the ends justify the means. Hence Radley’s criticism.

          1. ^ this.

            Sowell is often right, but when he is wrong, he is very wrong (and sometimes contradictory as pointed out so well by cynical). Beyond that, I’ve never found him to be the most compelling of economists or rhetoricians.

            1. +2 @this. Even people I admire (such as Sowell) will let me down now and then. Such is the human condition.

              1. You can always count on me, buddy.

                1) I’m so down in the mire that like a hole dug to China, it will always point upward,

                and 2) my relation to the human condition is dubious at best.

              2. At least you recognize this, and apparently, still admire Sowell (as you should in my opinion…he’s admirable). To most libertarians (at least on this site), once you take a stance that is contrary to the libertarian doctrine, you are instantly branded “a statist” or worse and forever bannished from ever being given any kind of consideration again.

                1. now, now, that’s extreme. We tend to give a two year moratorium on consideration.

        3. True, the cited quote does not claim that torture is legal. All it says is that torture as used by the US is not the same as terrorism, which is undeniably true. But if the broader context of the quote is a defense of the use of torture to fight terrorism, then the criticism made by JsubD and others stands.

          1. Of course. Our torture fucking rocks.

            Their torture sucks.

            Team America!

          2. “All it says is that torture as used by the US is not the same as terrorism, which is undeniably true.”

            Technically speaking, torture is never terrorism (even when “terrorists”* do it). Torture is using painful or frightful violence against A to get A to do or say something. Terrorism is using frightful violence against A to scare B into doing something.

            *Terrorism is a tactic, not a tribe or faction. All warfare relies on a combination of terrorism and direct combat with armed enemies.

      3. Sure it’s torture. So is listening to a five year old practice violin. So is spending the weekend with my in laws. Just like autorities use the word terrorize to discribe a whole host of activities includes teenage mischief. I don’t object to the argument that waterboarding is wrong. I object to the sophistry of using such a genenaric term like torture and saying x is torture, torture is wrong, therefore x is wrong. Lets cut the semantics about arguing whether or not x is torture or not, and just argue whether x is wrong or not. The torture argument is used to inflame not to inform.

        1. I was responding to J sub D 2:40 comment. Just throwing that out there since the thread was so long.

    2. Try harder.

    3. Here’s the deal… In the first quote, Sowell is arguing that in a constitutional government you can’t ignore the law on the grounds that the ends justify the means. In the second quote, Sowell is arguing that torture is okay because the ends justify the means.

      1. It’s more nuanced than that. He’s not saying the ends justify the means in the second quote. He’s saying it’s not torture, and therefore no “means” to be justified.

        1. No he’s not, he’s saying that, whether or not the word “torture” applies to what was done, doing it to people to stop terrorism is different from doing it for shits and giggles, like he apparently thinks terrorists do.

          Now, strictly speaking, he never explicitly said “and therefore, it’s ok.”. But clearly he was trying to justify it, otherwise why make the argument at all?

          1. I don’t think that’s correct. Notice in Sowell’s article he contrasts the US situation with that of Churchill and German prisoners. The distinction is drawn because Sowell doesn’t think the US is violating any laws with the terrorists it captures (e.g., they’re not covered by Geneva). The opening clause about “whatever the rhetoric on torture,” does raise some ambiguity, but I think the best reading is that he doesn’t think the US is disregarding the rule of law, and therefore there is no inconsistency like Balko believes.

            Paying respect for the “rule of law” and justifying what the US is doing are not mutually exclusive.

            1. Right. Torturing people is fine, if we have paper to waive around and lawyers to deploy.

              Paper and lawyers make everything better. Which is why I’m off to start a tort practice demanding the asses of oil leakers be caned in public. Don’t think of it as torture – think of it as healing.

              And who knows what they know? Cane them all, let Scalia sort them out.

      2. Except that he is doing no such thing in the second quote. Lets break it down.

        “Whatever the verbal fencing over the meaning of the word “torture,”

        So we are going to talking about the meaning of the word here.

        “there is a fundamental difference between simply inflicting pain on innocent people for the sheer pleasure of it– which is what our terrorist enemies do”

        We are going to compare torture to terrorism.

        “– and getting life-saving information out of the terrorists by whatever means are necessary.”

        All he is saying is that “terrorism” is not the same thing as torture done to obtain information to stop terrorism. He is objecting to moral equivalence. Nothing in the quote talks about the ends justifying the means.

        1. First of all, he didn’t say, “Let’s look at the verbal fencing over the meaning of the word ‘torture.'” He said, “Whatever the verbal fencing over the meaning of the word ‘torture’ . . .” He’s clearly NOT talking about the meaning of the word; rather he’s explicitly disregarding semantics.

          Second, he doesn’t compare torture to terrorism. He compares torture done by terrorists to some undefined torture (done presumably by the U.S. government), and he distinguishes one from the other by the ENDS achieved through said actions. Inflicting pain for pleasure? Terrorist torture. Bad. Inflicting pain to elicit life-saving information? Non-terrorist torture. Good. He does not distinguish one from the other based on the means (e.g. waterboarding vs. electrocuting genitals); he distinguishes one from the other based on the ends. Therefore the essence of his argument is that the ends justify the means.

        2. You need to take a course in reading comprehension. Those are still cheap in the local community colleges, or so I hear.

          But here’s a start, consider it a freebie (just to get you hooked).

          “There is a fundamental difference between depriving the speculative class of their assets, and ensuring the needy do not starve.”


  5. I am not going to defend torture. However, I will say that torturing a foreign combatant to obtain information that may save the lives of many innocent Americans, may be the wrong thing to do for many reasons, moral and practical, but it is not unconstitutional.

    I think that is what Sowell might say to explain why the two articles are not inconsistent. he also can be both right and wrong. Most of us are at some point in our lives. I think he is right on point with the danger of the methods of the current (thougth certainly not the first) administration.

    1. Where in the constitution is there a such a grant of power? The framers were smart enough to recognize that the proposition you advance is so much hooey.

      1. The constitution goes the other way around. It restricts state and federal government from doing certain things.

        Nowhere does it restrict the federal government/military from using enhanced interrogation techniques on NON-CITIZENS. There is nothing that says the constitution applies to ANYBODY under the power of one of our government agency – it only applies to citizens and naturalized people. If you think it applies to non-citizens, should we start sending cops around the world to arrest foreign government officials for violating OUR constitution against their own people? In Sweden and Canada people have been prosecuted for “hate speech”. Such a prosecution would be illegal under the American constitution. Should we arrest their members of parliament?

        Now who’s the world police?

        Saying we SHOULDN’T use “torture” (I’m really loathe to call it that – it really isn’t in the usual sense) is not the same as saying it is ILLEGAL to use “torture”. The latter is just untrue. The government’s use of such is NOT an “expansion of power”.

        1. Oh, so you are only torturing non americans. They don’t appreciate freedom anyways, that is why they haven’t invented things like universal human rights yet.

          1. -1 When hard-core libertarians lose, they usually start to bitch and whine in just this fashion.

        2. Even if the constitution forbids any member of the federal or state government from violating the rights of any person, that does not mean that it prevents any member of any government anywhere from doing so, so your hypothetical about parliament is ridiculous. It’s a charter for a federal government composed of state governments, and is applicable only to same.

          Besides, the idea that government could just straight up execute foreign tourists without due process is ridiculous. Those prohibitions aren’t just based on pragmatism or respect for legal precedent, but also on a moral interpretation of human rights — human rights don’t vanish because of lines drawn on a map.

          1. “Even if the constitution forbids any member of the federal or state government from violating the rights of any person, that does not mean that it prevents any member of any government anywhere from doing so, so your hypothetical about parliament is ridiculous. It’s a charter for a federal government composed of state governments, and is applicable only to same.”

            Yeah, it only applies to American citizens. That’s what I’m saying. So “torturing” a foreign combatant who is not an American cictizen does not violate the eight amendment.

            1. Gorram it, I was your porn.

            2. The 8th amendment doesn’t just apply to US citizens, dumbass. And torture violates US and international laws.

              1. The 8th amendment doesn’t just apply to US citizens, dumbass. And torture violates US and international laws.

                How does the 8th Amendment forbid us to summarily execute Osama bin Laden if our forces capture him on foreign soil?

        3. No, you have it backwards. If the constitution does not explicitly grant the power to torture, the state and its losers in caesar’s costumes can not torture-anybody.

        4. Edwin, you tool. The Constitution doesn’t protect the rights of anyone. It ascribes limits to the powers of the federal government and state governments that ratify it.

          Meaning that it says what the government cannot do, regardless of the citizenship status of the person involved.

          1. “regardless of the citizenship status of the person involved.”

            Where does it say that?

            Unless a constitution actually says that, it logically has to apply only to its citizens. Unless you want to go around arresting officials from other countries for violating your constitution in their country.

            1. Reading comprehension fail. I will quote the relevant passage from above:

              The Constitution doesn’t protect the rights of anyone. It ascribes limits to the powers of the federal government and state governments that ratify it.

              1. Yeah – it limits their powers AGAINST CITIZENS.

                How about this, how about someone actually cite for me where it says these things you guys say it says. Both treaties and the constitution. I’m actually willing to believe you, but where does it say these things?

                1. OK, dumbasses, I did your work for you.

                  18 U.S.C. ? 2340

                  So yeah, we have a general law against torture. But you morons still lose because it took me lik 5 seconds to find that and you idiots were just making your claims but talking out of your asses.

                  And guess what law they’d repeal if someone ever did win a conviction against the military for torturing people?

                2. No, see, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that citizens get special treatment. Absent language that this constitution applies to the government only in its relationship to citizens of the United States, the default position is that it applies full stop.

      2. And in case anybody’s wondering, there is historical precedent to this sort of thing in the American government. I know that back in World War 1, if they found a spy, they stabbed him in the gut right there in the trenches on the spot.

        And I’ll bet there’s more similar incidents like that from American history.

        1. And in case anybody’s wondering, there is historical precedent to this sort of thing in the American government. I know that back in World War 1, if they found a spy, they stabbed him in the gut right there in the trenches on the spot.

          And I’ll bet there’s more similar incidents like that from American history.

          Why do people forget about historical precedent so easily?

    2. For the executive to unilaterally violate a constitutionally valid treaty is indeed unconstitutional.

    3. Actually, the Eighth Amendment is pretty clear.

  6. Anyone who doesn’t watch the replay of the US match today isn’t American.

    Seriously considering naming my first-born after Landon Donovan.

    1. Why would I watch the replay. I watched it live (actually delayed about 20 minutes in first half, 5 in 2nd half).

      1. I watched it live live.

      2. OK, all those who didn’t watch live (lots of the West Coast, for example) should be watching the replay for sure.

        Picky bastards…

        1. I just don’t want to lose my citizenship.

        2. Why would I watch 90 minutes of nothing? I’ll watch the goal on the news; I mean that’s the part that counts, right?

          1. It was actually a very open match with quite a few chances, including yet another unjust disallowing of a goal. Were I a neutral, I’d have enjoyed it a great deal.

      3. I watched it live, but I’ve also watched all the replays of all the great drives and especially that stupid offsides call, because it was awesome.

    2. Dude, was that awesome or what? I was sitting there, groaning because a tie was going to end our Cup hopes right there, then boom–gooooooooaaaaaaaalllll! And no Koman to ruin things for us.

      Best part was that we won the group. First time in eighty years!

      1. And now they’ll get killed in the second round by a real team like Spain or Germany. Don’t get your hopes up, dude.

        1. Remember 8 years ago? We were robbed of the equalizer by the referee, AND pretty much all of Germany conceded that the US outplayed ze Germans in that game.

          Anyway, our opponents will be one of Germany, Ghana or Serbia. We match up reasonably well against Germany and I’d think Serbia as well. Ghana would be payback for the shit calls and acting job from 2006.

          1. Euch alle sind zu komisch!

        2. Assumeing Germany beats Guana, they will get Guana and then the winner of Uruguay South Korea. If Germany can come through and win, we have a real shot at the semi finals.

        3. Probably Germany, but I’d rather they play the krauts than Ghana. Ghana has the mojo right now.

          1. Guana is a bunch of early 20s great athlete knuckleheads. They will wilt once they get into the second stage. The Germans in contrast are an experienced deep team. We want no part of them if we can avoid it.

            1. You just missed the perfectly offensive typo: Guano.

            2. Ze Germans are actually the second youngest team in the Cup (ironically only Ghana is younger IIRC, but not by much). Granted, Ze Germans do have a few experienced lads on their squad like Podolski, Schweinsteiger, and Klose, but after that they get generally young. I think its a little deceiving to claim the team is full of grizzled vets.

        4. Spain or Germany? Germany may not even advance, they’re playing so well. Ditto Spain.

    3. Anyone who gives a flying fuck about who wins a foot-to-ball match is not American.

      1. So, like, all those Americans who went to South Africa (2nd most tickets sold after the hosts) are not American?

        All the ones in the bars this morning? Not American?

        You ain’t gonna kill this buzz, you fuck!

        1. Well, I guess Latin Americans are technically American.

          1. The overstuffed bar they kept cutting to in Seattle had a shitload of white people in it. Not sure there was a single Hispanic not dressed in red, white and blue in those shots.

            Are those guys who were reportedly cheering on the floor of the NYSE not American? I’m thinking more people are jumping on the bandwagon and leaving the exceptionalist mentality behind.

            1. Don’t be my porn.

              1. But I wanna!

                Getting out some energy.

    4. I’ve actually been lobbying my gf to name our future son Donovan before the World Cup even started, and not because of Landon Donovan. She had refused at first stating it sounded like a “black name” (not that she’s racist, just that she doesn’t wanna give our son an unusual name for his profile) and I guess she was relying entirely on her knowledge of Donovan McNabb for that one eventhough its Scottish in origin. But she seemed a little more open to the suggestion today.

      1. On the plus side, Donovan wrote some awesome songs. On the negative side, he also wrote “Atlantis.” On the plus side, “Atlantis” inspired the Spinal Tap song “Stonehenge” (or at least I always assumed).

    5. Actually there is a good case to made that anyone who watches soccer during baseball season isn’t American.

      1. Anyone who watches baseball during the World Cup is a bore. And un-American, if the Yanks are in it.

        1. If its a choice between living the rest of my days as a man without a country, wandering the world desperate and alone with no home, no friends, no culture and no roots, shunned by those I meet and pitied by those I don’t, or sitting through a soccer match, the choice is easy.

          There’s a post office nearby where I can surrender my papers.

          1. Seriously, one of 162 games…how amazingly important!

            1. It doesn’t have the thrill of a 0-0 match, but at least baseball players get to use all of their limbs.

              1. You know, I like soccer and baseball. And football. So there!

                1. I used to love baseball, but it does nothing for me anymore. Same with the NFL, and college football is trying real hard to lose me. Thank God the Buckeyes are decent every year.

                  1. It’s gonna get tougher for the Buckeyes with a resurgant cornhuskers joining the conference.

                    1. That assumes that the Cornhuskers will actually resurge. Not if their athletic directors an university leadership keep being so boneheaded.

                2. You summed me up to a T, ProL. The one sport I’m not a fan of is basketball. It’s just way too much scoring for any first quarter points to really matter to me and the pace of the game slows down so painstakingly towards the end of tight contests.

                  1. I still like the college game, but the NBA has sucked ass for a long time. Stern started the decline when the rules began to change depending on whether a star had the ball.

                3. When it comes right down to it, I don’t follow sports. I like it when the Rockies and Broncos win, but I don’t care enough to watch the games.

                  I just don’t like having my nationality defined in terms of a sport that I don’t give a shit about by some hyperventilating fanatic.

                  Then again, I don’t much care for being an American, or nationalism in general. Particularly when the former is defended so vociferously by torture apologists.

                  1. You actually took my first post at face value? Sheesh.

        2. Honestly, if I liked soccer more than baseball I would seriously contemplate moving to Germany. Say what you want about baseball but along with jazz it’s probably the most American thing we have.

          1. If by most American you mean British, well, okay.

          2. Baseball is based on the English schoolgirls’ game of rounders, so there’s that. It also apparently has some Dutch influences.

            1. And nobody in England (and very few Dutch) know jack shit about it. I’m not talking about where it comes from; I’m talking about how it’s ingrained in our society. You can talk to Europeans about basketball, hockey or even American football, but baseball is definitely the most foreign to them. And I never realized how ubiquitous baseball is in my life until I spent the first two-plus months of the season in Germany.

              1. Thing is, you can miss two months and in the big picture, you really haven’t missed much at all.

                Fun fact: it was the baseball owners in the 30’s who were the biggest supporters of soccer, but their infighting, coupled with WWII snuffed out a growing league.

              2. Who are you, George Will? It’s just a game, man!

      2. Anyone who watches sports isn’t American. There.

      3. Unless you’re going to the stadium, I disagree. Is there anything more boring than baseball on TV? Golf, maybe.

  7. Why does Thomas Sowell want the referees terrorists to win?

  8. Consistency is the hobgoblin of a non-hypocritical mind. Don’t ask more of Sowell than he can deliver.

  9. I generally like Sowell, but he has his blind spots, like most people.

    The right would be much closer to “right” if it would not throw the idea of limited government out when it’s talking about war, intelligence, and law enforcement.

    1. Working in an office full of people maintaining high levels of non-productivity because they are watching a thouroghly irrelevant soccer game is fucking torture.

      1. I’m working. I just look up at my TV when my peripheral vision notices something like a goal. Oh, and I did watch the last three minutes of the U.S. match.

        Now it’s Germany and Ghana that I’m sorta kinda paying some attention to.

        1. I’m watching it too. And the tennis match on, 52 games a piece.

          1. Yeah, that’s fucking insane. The fifth set would be a monster five-setter by itself

            1. Yeah, that’s absolutely amazing.

      2. Irrelevant? It (they) decides who we play Saturday.

        1. I bet we’re playing Serbia.

      3. Don’t be redundant, Jeff P. All soccer games are thoroughly irrelevant.

  10. The terrorists have been accusing us of torture well before it was found out maltreatment was actually happening. And They’ve found training books instructing jihadists to claim torture and abuse against their American captors, whether true or not.

    Not to mention the rampant conspiracy theories they have about Jews and America in general, like that Jews build robots to replace members of different world governments. Or the time they arrested two Eastern European nurses in East Africa who were just giving out vaccinations, accusing them of actually injecting AIDS into kids. But hey, let’s pretend that people who are crazy enough to blow themselves up just to kill a few civilians on the other side actually have rational motivations. Because a hatred that is blind, seering, and unflinching can become even more hateful, right? In other news, it turns out that if the European powers had just been nicer to Germany, the nazis wouldn’t have killed all the Jews. Also, I totally just convinced a klan member to stop hating blacks so much. For serial.

    1. I think Max is probably the person most qualified to debate you on this subject.

  11. With vastly expanded powers of government available at the discretion of politicians and bureaucrats

    Were you ringing that warning bell when the Patriot Act passed, Professor Sowell?

    If not, STFU and GTFO.

  12. I’m really sad about terrorists getting tortured. It’s so sad to me, I started playing my violin. But it’s not just any violin, it’s the world’s smallest violin. Here is an image of it, magnified 1000x


    See that? See how much I care? I’m playing my violin. Look. Look how much I care:

    1. “Me today, you tomorrow,” as Mr. Dean would say.

      1. Except not, since I’m not trying to blow up people, and I AM a U.S. citizen.

        The “slippery slope” argument is B.S. because The people who use these “torture” methods and the like 80% of Americans that support it do so strictly as a matter of survival/practicality. No one’s sitting somewhere, stroking his mustache, just waiting for the right time to spring some elaborate scheme where he tortures U.S. citizens for information.

        There’s that, and then there’s the fact that, again, that these things are indeed not covered by the 8th amendment, but U.S. citizens are.

        1. Yes, as long as the right people are in charge, everything will be A-OK.

      2. I guarantee he won’t say it in this context.

      3. “Me today, you tomorrow,” as Mr. Dean would say.

        It is pretty clear that foreigners on foreign soil enjoy no constitutional protections?

        Did our troops need warrants to search enemy bases that they captured?

    2. Hey you!

      You see dis a here!
      *grabs crotch…shakes*

      This is the world’s smallest dick, err I mean VIOLIN

      And I play with it, AWW DAMMIT play with it for all those wittle terrorists!

      ‘Cause I am a Keifer Sutherlandish BADASS, MOTHERFUCKER! I am actually way badderass than that 24 pussy, take a look at me, wanna fuck with this? Didn’t think so!


  13. Ze Germans go 1-0 up through a Turk!

  14. So you’re saying that because he was in the wrong side of an argument in the past, we should just rub his nose in it when he gets something right? No wonder we don’t have any friends.

    1. True, the argument should instead be made to Sowell himself, to point out that his arguments are inconsistent and that he should either accept that they aren’t principled, or at least follow principles that aren’t as simple as he’s making them out to be.

  15. Wow, this dude sounds like a MAJOR tool!


  16. The Aussies have gone 2-0 up on Serbia in the 2nd half. Incredible!

    2 more and they may advance instead of Ghana.

    1. 2-1. If results hold, we’re playing Ghana and England plays Germany.

      1. Either way, we’re Ghana win.

  17. During the period on Harlan’s World known, with typical grim humor, as the Unsettlement, guerrillas in the Quellist Black Brigade were surgically implanted with a quarter kilo of enzyme-triggered explosive that would, on demand, turn the surrounding fifty square meters and anything in it to ash. It was a tactic that met with questionable success. The enzyme in question was fury related, and the conditions for arming the device was patchy. There were a number of involuntary detonations.

    Still, no one ever volunteered to interrogate a member of the Black Brigade.

    Not after the first one, anyway.

    Her name was Iphigenia Deme, Iffy to those of her friends that had not yet been slaughtered by Protectorate Forces. Her last words, strapped to the interrogation table downstairs at Number Eighteen, Shimatso Boulevard, are reputed to have been: That’s fucking enough!

    The explosion brought the entire building down.

    Altered Carbon, Richard C. Morgan

  18. We have Ghana on Saturday.

    1. Let’s kick some ass.

  19. The author thinks he is zinging Sowell for hypocrisy here, but he is just too stupid to understand the distinction.

    In the second quote, Sowell is saying “sometimes the end justifies the means.”

    In the first quote, he doesn’t say the ends never justify the means. He doesn’t even insist that the means in this case aren’t justified. He just says that such a worldview IN THIS SPECIFIC case is incompatible with the constitution.

    Whether you believe that the ends justify the means or not in torture, it is a fact that the Bush administration worked within constitutional grounds- listening to the courts, working with legislators, etc.

  20. I respect Sowell, but for as much as he distrusts the government’s ability to deliver mail, he shows nothing but deference to government wisdom concerning the use of force, either here or abroad.

    I actually had an exchange with him over his defense of a cop shooting 50 rounds into a public area. He claimed that only cops could determine how much fire was necessary, and not the untrained. My response was to ask how so many untrained gun owners are able to successfully defend themselves under stress, using only six rounds or less, and without proving a risk to pedestrians. I concluded that, for Sowell, pols with sociology degrees are dangerous statists, while pols with badges are above reproach by mere mundanes. A pretty typical Conservative perspective.

  21. Yes, waterboarding radical Muslim terrorists intent on murdering lots of Americans is akin to torturing and executing the members of the White Rose Society. Give a hand to Mr. Balko.

  22. Step back for a second – Sowell, who I have generally admired in the past for his intellectual capacities even as I have often disagreed with him, stooping to a reductio ad hitlerum? Really?

    Obama’s pretty bleeping bad, but we are not descending into Stalin/Hitler-style tyranny and we almost certainly never will in our lifetimes. Anyone who thinks Obama = Stalin or Bush = Hitler or even the worst of our politicians in Washington would reach that level of totalitarianism or would even attempt to are either trapped in paranoia delusion world or being disingenuous.

    Obama is disliked by a majority of Americans and his party is largely toast because of their overreach. At worst America will be another bankrupt European style socialist welfare state like Greece or France with excessive and Orwellian nannyism like Britain. That’s really bad, but Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia it ain’t.

    You’d think Sowell would leave the silly analogies and name calling to the Tea Party grunts and take the high road a respected intellectual should take. That absolutely does not mean he shouldn’t call out Obama’s tyrannical policies, disregard for the Constitution and private property, etc. but he must be either losing focus or simply catering to the tinfoil tendencies of Tea Partiers. When Obama starts committing genocide, conscripting people for national service and suspending elections indefinitely for his perpetual rule, let me know, ok?

  23. And here are all the National Review writers being against Hitler comparisons before they were for them.

  24. If you think the State will be restrained by mere words on a piece of parchment under glass, then I don’t know what to say to you.

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