28 March 2007

More praising with faint damnation

... this time from Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty. I don't want to be too critical of Ms C, since she seems to arouse hostility among a few bloggers for reasons that are opaque to me, but this — on compulsory checks for children — is not what I'd call sticking up for civil liberties.

Why is it that, everywhere I look at the moment, I seem to see people who ought to be defending the principles of liberty, sounding lukewarm?

"Now then, let's consider the idea that it's okay to torture people if we suspect them of having information about criminal activities. While this may seem attractive and reasonable at first sight, I would personally argue that ... bla bla bla." *

Don't these people realise that key political debates are not won by wishy-washy arguments which sound like you've already conceded the main point? Shifts in consensus depend largely on underlying moral assumptions, and hence happen more by feeling than by logic. And they're resisted the same way: by sounding like you mean it, not by trying to prove you have a "balanced" perspective on the matter. Sorry Chris, but I think you've oversimplified the issue.

* not an actual quote