The Defense of Torture as a Pro-life Position
There are worse fates than death even for those whom death has not yet claimed. Better to die a hero or a saint than to live a permanent villain or a devilish slave to sin. Life, then, ought not to be our chief concern or ultimate care. What we do in life’s promotion and defense may make us heroes or make us villains depending precisely on what we do. A true pro-life disposition orders one towards life, but not life as the ultimate good, not life as the greatest of all things. It is a perversion of the pro-life disposition to uphold life at the expense of all else.
We see this perverse disposition in the justification of torture and other forms of coercion among pro-lifers. The argument begins with the premises that the value of life demands that we do everything necessary in its defense and that torture and other coercive techniques are necessary for national security. Such pro-lifers therefore support barbarism in the name of life—in the name of keeping us safe and secure. They support torture because they are pro-life, yet in their hierarchy of values, they place human life above the dignity of the human person, a ranking that allows them to act against human dignity in the defense of life, to sacrifice one for the sake of the other. However, as human life is not the most valuable of things, and not of greater importance than human dignity, a pro-life disposition that sacrifices human dignity in the name of national security is a perversion of the true pro-life virtue.