It might be because deep down we are all hypocrites, or it might be the fact that we tend to prefer sweet lies to the ugly reality of truth, but one thing is certain: as much as we like to believe we live in a civilized and moral society, gruesome acts of violence happen all around us, every day. And they happen because, one way or another, they can be justified.
A widespread and little thought about example is torture. Frowned upon as it may be, it still goes on almost everywhere, despite being a violation of basic human rights. Just think of the most notorious cases, those of the American-controlled prisons, such as Guantanamo. If the “war on terror” is a legitimate thing, does it justify applying torture methods to convicted felons (who have tried and maybe succeeded in harming others), if there is a chance of getting vital information from them, which might help protect innocents in the future? Or are human rights inviolable, no matter the circumstances?
In the Western, democratic world, we all agree that the acts of torture committed during the reigns of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, or Muammar Gaddafi in Libya were horrendous and unacceptable. That was part of the reason why we “brought” democracy to their countries, right? But what about the torture of women in developed countries like The United Arab Emirates, or the mutilation of children by rebel forces in many African states? Are these any less infringing on our basic ideals, or is it just not worth the risk of jeopardizing economic interests by interfering to protect the innocent from torture? Apparently the end justifies the means and few feel the need to justify the end.
And speaking of the two bloodthirsty dictators (who happened to thirst for blood long before the USA and its allies finally “noticed”), many common people in their countries still hold them in high regards, despite what the propaganda might have us believe. Why? Because through their acts of torture they became feared, and through this fear, managed to maintain decades of political stability. So does this mean torture CAN be justified? Or does committing these acts alone earn them their fates?
In the end, each person sets their own moral values. What do yours say?