For Those Who Constantly Appeal to the Uniformed Authority Figure…

…as the justification for lying and tempting people to do evil so that you can then catch the tempted person doing the evil, do consider this:

In his new book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson analyzes 10 years of terrorism cases that were prosecuted in the United States after Sept. 11.

By assembling a database of the cases and going through court records, he concluded that the FBI, which receives $3 billion per year for counterterrorism, is “the organization responsible for more terrorist plots over the last decade than any other.”

Rather than stopping actual terrorist attacks, like the Boston bombing, the FBI focuses significant resources on using informants and sting operations to entrap would-be Islamic terrorists who “never could have obtained the capability to carry out their planned violent acts were it not for the FBI’s assistance,” he writes in his book.

Do read the whole thing.  No small part of doing evil that good may come of it is the effect doing evil has, not on the evildoer you are trying to catch, but on you.  It turns out that when you persistently and willingly do evil and refuse to admit it, it inures you to doing evil.  The technical term for this is “searing the conscience”.  When you sear your conscience you start thinking things like “Let’s manufacture evil that somebody would never think of in order to tempt them to do it and then pin  it on them.”  This, in addition to being evil in and of itself, is also stupid, time-wasting and uses up resources that could be used profitably on real threats.

Or, you can continue to say, “Whatever the government does is our moral template and is beyond question.  The Church needs to take its cues from undercover agents for Caesar, not from Christ.”  Of course, if you continue *that* line of argument, you might as well just argue that abortion is fine since the resources of Caesar are overwhelmingly deployed to facilitate it, not prevent it.  Personally though, I think “Caesar does it, so it’s okay” is not the slam dunk moral argument people seem to think it is.  That’s why I suggest that, instead spending all this effort making excuses for lying and tempting people to do evil, the smart money is on doing these videos without lies or temptations and achieving the same effect by honest means.  I cannot for the life of me understand why any Christian would oppose this.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!


Dear Catholic Torture Defender: Here is what you are struggling to defend
Today's Theological Term in the News: Scandal
On This Feast of Holy Consequentialism
You Shall Not Do Evil That Good May Come of It