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Mark Shea's Blog: So That No Thought of Mine, No Matter How Stupid, Should Ever Go Unpublished Again!
…if undercover cops do it, that means it is virtuous and only a Pharisee would question it.
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So if they get a sexually transmitted disease, does that mean they can sue the department and the city? It’s completely asinine.
Worker’s comp, perhaps early retirement due to chronic disability plus a meritorious conduct award for risking life in the line of duty.
LOL, you’re right. They get paid to have sex and they can claim disability.
Puh-leez. “If undercover cops do it, that means it is virtuous,” said no one ever. I’m with you on the lying-for-Jesus thing, but you know that wasn’t their argument. [/feeding the troll]
One of the top go-to arguments by apologists for lying was undercover police work.
No, people used undercover police work as an example of something that involved lying but wasn’t (in their opinion) wrong. Their argument wasn’t whatever police do is virtuous. police do it, therefore it’s virtuous (per Mark above). No one arguing in this combox about undercover police work being an example of ethical lying would say battery is ethically acceptable because some undercover police officers sometimes beat “confessions” out of suspects.
No, apologists for lying played a nice game of whack-a-mole in which they either defended lying for a good cause because of work done by undercover cops, or they simply claimed it wasn’t really lying. It depended on which corner the found themselves backed into. But it all boiled down to, lying is okay because undercover cops do it. Check the dozens of torture debate comboxes to see whether torture apologists ever defended cops beating confessions out of suspects.
All I was getting at is that people are not arguing that WHATEVER cops do is morally acceptable because they’re cops. According to your characterization, “apologists for lying” are going to read the story Mark linked to and say “well, I guess sex with prostitutes can be morally acceptable since cops do it.” They’re going to read a history of the Stasi and say “well, I guess pervasive surveillance and snitching is a good thing since cops did it.” That’s stupid. You know it, I know it, Mark knows it. You can make an appeal to the (theoretical at least) moral authority of the police without implying the police have an absolute, complete moral authority in their own right, as police. We do this all the time. If I cite JPII in support of something, I’m appealing to his moral/theological authority, but I would never say “if JPII wrote it or said it, that means it’s virtuous and right.”
I actually changed my not-very-thought-out beliefs about lying based largely on what I read in this blog’s comboxes, so it pisses me off when I see this sort of stuff, which has a definite “people are so dumb they’re going to think police should have sex with all the prostitutes because they worship the false god of conservatism and think anything not tattooed on Reince Priebus’s ass is from the devil”-undertone. Hating fundamentalism and right-winger-Republican-conservatism can easily become a false god too.
Yes, I was going to comment here, but you said it well. What Mark posted above is just a strawman. Nobody ever said that all things done by undercover cops was automatically virtuous.
I think it’s arguable that Christ himself went “undercover” in John 7:10 so that truth would be unveiled in his presence.
Their argument was, so long as the end is good enough, it’s just fine to do evil to achieve it. Undercover cops are fighting evil, so they can do whatever evil they want to achieve that end. And, by the way, depending on the end, people who argue this way approve of evils far graver then mere fornication. So when the end sought is the defeat of Japan, the abortion of hundredsw of innocent children by incineration in their mothers’ womb and the incineration of thousands of innocent children in their beds is perfectly morally acceptable to the same crowd.
Yeah, I get that. I get that people used consequentialist arguments. I get that those arguments are bad. However, that wasn’t the argument you put in their mouths with the post. I was taking issue with that argument.
I’ve actually seen several people argue “What? Are you against undercover cops too?”…pretty sure I’ve even seen in the the comments on this blog, so it’s not like it never happens.
My point is that once you have adopted consequentialist thinking, *there is no limit*. If you have to get the mark to commit the crime in order to bust them, then you lure them into committing the crime (in this case, sex). All for the greater good.
Just be clear, I completely agree with your analysis of consequentialism. Hand to God, I think using atomic weapons against men, women, and children was deeply immoral. (My name is Josh, and I’m a recovering republi-neo-con. Hi, Josh)
I’m not trying to argue or rehash the consequentialism debate at all. (I don’t think I was unclear on this.) Consequentialism would say “the police are right to do ____ because their goal is good.” This would, as you point out, apply to lying and humping prositutes equally. Certainly, people make that (flawed) argument. However, what your post accused The Disagreers of is saying “the police are right to do _____ because they’re the police,” which is a completely separate thing from consequentialism. It’s much more akin to idolatry because it implies the police, qua police, have absolute moral authority, which is an absurd position that is (I contend), held by no one. You can accept or reject that, but that’s the issue I was raising, not consequentialism. Thank you for engaging your readers like you do. I really appreciate it.
Fair enough, Josh. Oh. And Hi Josh! We’re good enough. We’re smart enough. And gosh darn it, people like us.
I’m still reeling from the scandalous spectacle of so many Catholic bloggers lying on April Fools Day. As if any good could come from such a diabolical dalliance with the Father of Lies. (ok fine, I got fooled repeatedly and felt like a sucker)
So in all seriousness, is there a good discussion someplace of things like undercover work? Speaking as the mother of a budding law enforcement officer…
I agree with Josh. My recollection is that few if any actually made the argument ‘if cops do it, it makes it fine.’ The whole undercover question came up logically. People hadn’t thought of that, and were wondering if no lying meant none of the undercover work, or any other lying for anything – whatever the price. That’s a tough thing to grasp, that it’s the innocent should die rather than lie to save them. And folks were, in most cases, just working it out.
Puts a new meaning to “Vice Squad.”
Sadly, “vice” has lost all meaning, along with “virtue”, in our oh-so-enlightened relativistic whatever-floats-your-boat world. Until, of course, you try to suggest that someone else’s favorite thing is bad. Then you’ve committed the only remaining sin there is: not being nice/tolerant/pc.
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