Dumbledore vs. Voldemort-wisdom, power and the Dark Arts (Condensed Thread)

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Dumbledore vs. Voldemort-wisdom, power and the Dark Arts (Condensed Thread)

Post  Elanor on Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:31 am

Dumbledore vs. Voldemort-wisdom, power and the Dark Arts (Condensed Thread)

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

shepherdess - Dec 5, 2003 8:03 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Jan 12, 2006 11:39 pm
I changed the title of this thread from "Dumbledore at school" because it covers so much more.

zeuspro - Mar 9, 2003 8:15 am
Albus Dumbledore once said of Voldemort: “Brilliant. Of course, he was probably the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen”.

Is this just Dumbledore being modest or is this a clue that Dumbledore was not very good at school, and became powerfull later?
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Dumbledore vs. Voldemort-wisdom, power and the Dark Arts (Condensed Thread)

Post  Elanor on Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:31 am

Dumbledore II - Mar 9, 2003 8:16 am (#1 of 72)
I think he's being modest. Could you really imagine Dumbledore telling everybody how brilliant he is?
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azi - Mar 9, 2003 8:20 am (#2 of 72)
Dumbledore is very modest but I also think that Voldemort may soon be more powerful than him, if not now.
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zeuspro - Mar 9, 2003 8:55 am (#3 of 72)
He seem quite embarressed that everyone says he is so powerfull.
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azi - Mar 9, 2003 9:04 am (#4 of 72)
I also think that compared to Voldemort, Dumbledore rarely shows us exactly how much power he has. This creates a certain uncertainty for the reader in that we don't know if he can stand up to Voldemort or not.
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Karl Jackson - Mar 9, 2003 9:35 am (#6 of 72)
There's a difference between being brilliant and being powerful. It's a question of how you use that brilliance to learn and grow. Voldemort was a brilliant student, perhaps even more so than Dumbledore was, but did he learn more than Dumbledore in the following fifty years or did he concentrate too much on honing the power he already had? Being brilliant can blind you to the fact that there's still a lot you don't know - as already evidenced by the catastrophic backlash of his failure to kill Harry. The fact that Harry would be protected by his mother's sacrifice completely slipped his mind - if Voldemort had remembered that, he could then have shelved his arrogant pride for a moment and used any of a hundred Muggle methods to kill Harry.

Voldemort might be powerful, but Dumbledore is wise - his greater knowledge and experience would enable him to use his own powers much more effectively. Of the two, I'd back Dumbledore in a duel. Besides, Dumbledore is well-versed in the Dark Arts, he's just too noble to use them...although I suspect this will change come the final confrontation. Evil can only be fought on its own terms.
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zeuspro - Mar 9, 2003 9:37 am (#7 of 72)
I think that in the end Dumbledore will have to use some of the dark powers that he has to defeat Voldemort. And when he does Voldemrt will realise just how much more there is to know.
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Meg L. - Mar 9, 2003 9:58 am (#8 of 72)
I disagree with the notion that Dumbledore (or Harry or whoever) will resort to using Dark Arts to defeat Voldemort. What good is to rid the world of a great evil if you use evil to defeat it? I think that one of the basic themes of the book is good vs. evil, and that good has always won. Even though Voldemort came back to power in GoF, Harry still survives (and depending on how you read the "gleam") Dumbledore still has a plan.

Good will prevail in the series, not evil. I think that Harry will find a pure, "good" way of getting rid of Voldemort. Or, Voldemort will be the cause of his own undoing.
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shepherdess - Mar 9, 2003 12:19 pm (#11 of 72)
If dark magic is used to defeat Voldemort, what will that teach kids? That stooping to someone else's level and fighting dirty are the best/only way to win? Not a good lesson. Our choices make us what we are-what would that make Dumbledore or Harry? I trust Dumbledore to rise above that and help Harry to do so also.
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W J - Mar 9, 2003 1:47 pm (#12 of 72)
The fact that Dumbledore knows about Dark magic and how to use it only means that he has wisely taken the time to study his enemy's strengths and weaknesses. It doesn't mean that Dumbledore will use that type of magic, only that he has made an effort to understand it.
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Sly Girl - Mar 9, 2003 8:36 pm (#13 of 72)
Was Dumbledore talking specifically about Voldemort and his current incarnation or was he talking of Riddle?

There's a big difference there, you know. I think the true waste of Voldemort is that HE could of been brilliant had he not made the choices he made. As Riddle, if he had used his brains and cunning and ambitions in a good way, Voldemort might never have become what he is.

Remember Dumbledore says the most brilliant student- not the most brilliant wizard. A small difference, but again, important.
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zeuspro - Mar 10, 2003 5:30 am (#14 of 72)
Which brings back my origional idea that Dumbledore Was not a good student at school.
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Dumbledore II - Mar 10, 2003 6:20 am (#15 of 72)
I don't think he wasn't a good student at school. In fact I think he must have been really good, but as he himself said, it's the choices we make in our life that showes who and what we really are.
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Cliff Hamaker - Mar 10, 2003 10:37 am (#16 of 72)
If there's a first there has to be a second, right? So, sure Riddle might have been the MOST brilliant. But that doesn't mean Dumbley-Dore WASN'T brilliant.
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W J - Mar 10, 2003 11:00 am (#17 of 72)
Brilliance is a wonderful thing but there are other abilities that help people succeed. Dumbledore has wisdom which is not necessarily the same a brilliance, but his other abilities have helped him also.
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Sly Girl - Mar 10, 2003 11:11 am (#18 of 72)
Use Hermione as an example- what if Hermione just kept to her books, learning everything and all, but never ventured out into the world? What if she never found out there are more important things than book learning? She would be brilliant-school wise- but in life she would be at a disadvantage.

It's clear to me that Voldemort as Riddle never learned that friends and love and caring were important. So perhaps brilliant student though he was, it doesn't mean he is more brilliant than Dumbledore.
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Carina - Mar 10, 2003 9:42 pm (#19 of 72)
In the end, book smarts only get you so far. Life smarts are much more valuable.
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Brandon Christopher - Apr 3, 2003 7:55 pm (#26 of 72)
Above someone stated that Dumbledore wouldn't use the dark arts to defeat Voldy because he would be doing evil as well making him a hypocrit. I do not believe that just using the dark arts necessarily makes you evil, it depends on how and why you use it. If someone kills a bunch of people to protect their family they would be considered brave and heroic, but if someone say Voldy killed a bunch of muggles because they were muggles he would be called evil. Just because you kill someone doesn't make you evil, just because you use the dark arts doesn't make you evil. It is the choices that we make that show our true character.
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shepherdess - Apr 3, 2003 9:47 pm (#27 of 72)
But if you're *choosing* to kill or use dark magic, what does that show about your *true character*?
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zeuspro - Apr 4, 2003 3:10 am (#28 of 72)
But if the only spell that works to kill him its got to be done, sometimes you have to use things you dont want to such as the dark arts, dont forget the aurors used the unforgivable curses which are most certainly Dark arts but they where not considered evil.
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shepherdess - Apr 4, 2003 1:54 pm (#29 of 72)
I have enough faith in Dumbledore to believe that he will be able to defeat Voldemort without using dark magic. I think he is both smart enough and powerful enough to choose a different way. And I don't believe dark arts are the only thing that CAN kill Voldie. He spent a lot of time figuring out and performing spells on himself to make him invincible, but he lost some if of that and has to take time to restore it all. And his time is limited.
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Nine - Apr 5, 2003 7:17 am (#32 of 72)
There are other ways to kill/get information without using the Unforgiveable Curses. I have to say that I don't think Crouch Sr. was justified in allowing their use against Death Eaters.
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Leoni Idris - Apr 5, 2003 2:04 pm (#33 of 72)
Also, Dumbley sometimes refuses to acknowledge his brilliance. For example when McGonagall tells him that he was the only person Voldemort was afaid of he says "Voldemort had powers i will never have." He may well have been a better student than Voldemort but he would never just tell someone, he is far to modest.
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Makgraf - Apr 6, 2003 12:00 am (#34 of 72)
we do know that Voldemort is very very evil and a Britain ruled by him would be unimaginatable in its horror. Whether you die from an AK or from say, from a fireball really doesn't effect you later on, you're still dead. However, I can think of many situations where convential spells would not have worked and Aurors would need to quickly kill Death Eaters, or be killed by them.

Now are the Unforgivable Curses "evil"? I would argue not necessarily. So why are they unforgivable? In normal societal iinterations these curses would be unforgivable. To extend the analogy used before there are many uses for a spell to make fire. However the only use of the Avada Kedavra is to kill people. Therefore, ordinarily it would be shunned. However in a state of war where the Death Eaters are trying to overthrow society the Aurors need to have every tool at their disposal to fight off the evil.
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Brandon Christopher - Apr 6, 2003 3:38 pm (#35 of 72)
I don't think that these curses should necessarily be unforgiveable. I'm going to have to use a similar analogy to what i did above. In the U.S. if you kill someone out of self defense then you won't necessarily be thrown in jail, but if you kill someone with intent and malice then you'll be locked away until you're to old to even hold a gun. There has to be some point of justification.
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W J - Apr 6, 2003 4:43 pm (#36 of 72)
Brandon, Aurors are not necessarily using the Unforgivable Curses in a reactive manner for self defense, but rather they are pro actively seeking out the Death Eaters for a confrontation.

Aurors are like Special Military Agents, in my opinion. They have permission to use lethal force, or in this case, the Unforgivable Curses, without proof of a clear and present danger in order to capture or kill the Death Eaters. In times of war, certain agents, such as snipers, are told to use whatever force is necessary against specific targets. I don't think regular laws pertain to these situations.
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Brandon Christopher - Apr 6, 2003 5:13 pm (#37 of 72)
Sorry but in wartime you are not forgiven for killing someone even though your government gave you permission. You are still responsible for your actions, there are actually a few military cases that have to do with these types of situations. Just because your government gave you permission to do something doesn't mean that it's right. If you are caught then you will be prosecuted if not militarily then publicly. And in a public trial, the public is the jury. So it doesn't matter that your government said it was o.k. it is what the public thinks is o.k. It all comes down to you and your choice of pulling the trigger/ pointing the wand.
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W J - Apr 6, 2003 5:34 pm (#38 of 72)
All military cases are tried in a military court, not civilian courts. Soldiers kill during times of war and assassinate on order. It is part of war. Normal laws do not apply. NOT doing what you are told would get you court-martialed.
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W J - Apr 6, 2003 5:38 pm (#39 of 72)
The military cases that you talk about were when soldiers took actions against non-combatants (civilians) which they most certainly do not have permission to do unless it is a case of self defense.
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Brandon Christopher - Apr 6, 2003 6:00 pm (#40 of 72)
Are the cases where soldiers kill civilians still tried in military courts? I think that they are. But the self defense murders of civilians is just like what we were "debating" about.
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shepherdess - Apr 6, 2003 10:12 pm (#42 of 72)
"self defense murders"? Isn't that an oxymoron?
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Kathy Lynch - Apr 7, 2003 10:49 am (#44 of 72)
Murder means you have to have intent, prior to the incident. Premeditation. Killing someone in self defense is not considered premeditated. Some murders are not considered murders because there is not premeditation. We call those manslaughter, most of the time. Self defense is an acceptable defense in court if you were in danger of immediate physical harm.
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Marè - Apr 7, 2003 11:31 am (#48 of 72)
Voldemort was a brilliant student, and that's all we know about him. Than I have to ask: What kind off brilliance?

In my opinion there are two types of "smart" The people who have the capability to learn everything and pass all the exams, but will never have an idea what is going on in the world. And the people who have trouble learning page after page with facts, but learn from experience and logic. (rougly said, off course there are all kinds of shades of grey)

Now somehow I picture Voldemort as type nr 1. and Dumbledore as the latter. Which would make it, in my humble opinion, very difficult to compare the two.
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Makgraf - Apr 7, 2003 2:01 pm (#49 of 72)
Basically it's the difference between Intelligence and Wisdom. Riddle and Dumbledore might both be very intelligent, but Dumbledore is wise and Riddle is not.

About the debate between WJ and Brandon Christopher, WJ is completly right. While you may be "morally" guilty if you kill enemy soldiers during war, you are not "legally" guilty. Soldiers are regarded as instruments of their countries policies. and are not responsable for the deaths of enemy combatants.

What about soldiers who kill civilians though? There are basically 3 designations.

1) Colateral Damge. This occurs when soldiers accidently kill civilians. This very rarely to never results in prosecution.

2) Delibrate murder of Civilians. Soldiers who murder civilians can be charged by a military court (Court--Martial) and NOT by a civilian body. The most famous example of this is the My Lai massacre, where US troops murdered a civilian village of Vietnamese people and were charged by a military court.

3) War Crimes/Crimes against Humanity. These are very horrific crimes launched against entire populations of people. Examples would be genocide, systematic rape, ethnic clensing, murder of POWs and use of civilians as human shields. These cases are usually decided by international tribunals, though they sometimes are charged by a mititary court.

Thus Aurors who engage enemy Death Eaters under orders from the Ministry are acting completly right. They would however suffer charges if they wantonly murdered masses of innocents (something they did not do, though death eaters did).
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Nine - Apr 7, 2003 2:19 pm (#50 of 72)
This is one of those moral issues. I just don't think that, if there are other spells that are lethal (I assume so), the good guys should sink to the level of the bad guys by using a spell that only can be used to kill.

Hermione is very intelligent, but she also has wisdom, so they're not mutually exclusive. Dumbledore could be both.
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W J - Apr 7, 2003 9:26 pm (#53 of 72)
Nine, there may only be one lethal weapon for magical folks and that might be the AK spell and the Aurors may have no choice but to use it. Then again, we may learn about more lethal spells/weapons in future books.

Dumbledore is wise and has a vast amount of experience. We can't be sure what type of student he was. However, I think Harry might be very much like Dumbledore. Harry and Dumbledore both have modesty, goodwill, and power. Harry, in time, will also be wise.
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shepherdess - Apr 8, 2003 10:20 am (#56 of 72)
Why would a good wizard HAVE to use an unforgivable curse when they could use bewitched sleep, binding charms, Confundis, Expelliarmus, Impedimentia, Locomotor Mortis, Petrificus Totalus, Stupefy, or any number of other spells (known and unknown to us)? I think Dumbledore/aurors/others have other options than to kill people, much less stoop to using an unforgivable curse to do it.

And I, too, think Dumbledore has a wisdom that goes beyond education and places him in a class above Voldemort (no pun intended). But, I'm not convinced Harry will ever become as wise as Dumbledore because I just don't think wisdom is as important to JKR as bravery.
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Nine - Apr 8, 2003 1:30 pm (#57 of 72)
There's a fire spell that Remus uses when we first encounter a Dementor in PoA, and that could be dangerous. And there are all the spells shepherdess mentioned. This is much like a capital punishment debate, except capital punishment is post-trial, and this is presumed self-defense. The problem is that it might not be self-defense, and even if it is, AK is unnecessary.
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Makgraf - Apr 8, 2003 1:31 pm (#58 of 72)
Shepherdess, the fight against Voldemort was truly a war. And in war, it's sometimes necessary to kill enemy soldiers. The Aurors DID sometimes use non-lethal spells to capture Death Eaters rather than kill them. However, all the spells you named can be deflected. And as we know the Avada Kedavra has only failed once (Against our boy Potter). So while it may be easy for us to critize their tactics, out in the field against Voldemort it was literally kill or be killed. Sometimes an AK would be necessary to bring down a Death Eater, who if unstopped, would doubtlessly kill again.

I believe the 3 Unforgivable Curses are banned because of the abhorrance of their use in normal circumstances and not because of any underlying "evil" inherent to them. Therefore use of the AK curse in war is merely prudent and not evil.
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Marè - Apr 8, 2003 2:06 pm (#59 of 72)
I think, that this is one of "it's your choices that makes what you are" moments in the story. Good and Evil are always totally opposite to each other, but what do you get when you allow the "good side" to use "evils" methods. In most stories that is exactly what does NOT happen, because it will take part of the glory away from "goods" victory. In the real world and apparently in Harry Potter, the line is thinner. It is not that obvious were and when you cross it. Now what I am curious about, and what in my opinion is the most important is, which auror decided to use those curses, and under which circumstances. Because obviously their main target was still to get the Death Eaters to court, alive and sane enough to give some valuable information. I have to agree with sheperdess that there are a dozen of other spells an auror could use for self defence and to capture an Death Eater. It's the aurors choice to use those or use one of the unforgivable ones.

Now maybe there are circumstances were there is no other way of survival than to use an unforgivable on your opponent. But I also think that their might have beem some aurors, who would have used some of these curses a little sooner than necessary, maybe because all of their families got killed, and maybe because they like the power that comes with it.
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S.E. Jones - Apr 8, 2003 4:17 pm (#60 of 72)
On the Unforgivable Curses debate: I don't understand exactly why we're debating. To my knowledge, no Auror ever used one of these curses (unless I just completely overlooking something obvious), they were only given permission to. It seems to me that this statement was made to show just how desperate the times were, and that's it.

On the Dumbledore debate: WJ, you said, "Harry might be very much like Dumbledore" in your last post and frankly I agree. However, I feel an annoying need to point out that Harry is alot like Riddle too. Do you think that means Dumbledore was once like Harry and Tom Jr., with a certain disregard for rules? Maybe that's why he seems to always know what's going on in Harry's head, he has learned from his mistakes. I'm reminded of a quote by Will Rogers: "Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement."
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W J - Apr 8, 2003 4:20 pm (#61 of 72)
Considering how Moody looked and the fact he had missing body parts, I don't think the Aurors were trigger happy with the AK curse. He obviously took a lot of abuse while trying to capture Death Eaters. Didn't Karkaroff contribute to Moody's missing parts inventory? Karkaroff lived -- intact -- to face trial, so Auror's would not necessarily use an Unforgivable Curse except as a last resort. Moody's appearance also underscores that fact that Death Eaters do not play nice.

Police officers are only allowed to use the amount of force used against them. If someone is throwing rocks at them, they defend themselves and try to stop the offender's actions with physical force but not lethal force. However, if someone is shooting at them, they shoot back.

I don't think the Aurors always had a choice to use another curse or spell. Sometimes, it would be a "Kill or be killed" situation.
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W J - Apr 8, 2003 4:23 pm (#62 of 72)
Harry and Tom are not necessarily alike. Tom was plotting for his own gain, even in school. Harry plots for justice or the protection of others.
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Dumbledore II - Apr 9, 2003 12:28 am (#64 of 72)
I think that Harry and Tom are very much alike in some ways. But what is essential is what they are deciding to be or to become. I think JK didn't point to those "strange liknesses" without a reason.
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Nine - Apr 9, 2003 4:42 pm (#65 of 72)
I think Sirius mentioned that Moody "never sunk to the level of the Death Eaters" by using the Unforgiveable Curses. So Moody isn't the best example to argue either way. And we don't know any other Aurors, except perhaps Frank Longbottom. But I think we can take everything that Sirius said about this to imply that there were Aurors who did use the Unforgiveable Curses.

Harry and Riddle are made of similar raw material, but made different choices.
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S.E. Jones - Apr 9, 2003 6:16 pm (#66 of 72)
Dumbledore II and Nine, that's my point (in case I wasn't very clear), they are parallels. In a sense you could almost say Harry is what Tom could have been and vise-a-versa; it's the perfect example of your choices, not your abilities, showing what you truely are.
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Eloise Midgen - Apr 12, 2003 11:35 am (#71 of 72)
I think it's fine to use the unforgivable curses on Voldie, because it's doing more good than bad. You help the whole world by getting rid of him, so I don't consider it evil. I don't agree with them being used on the Death Eaters, though, because most of them (like Pettigrew) are only doing it because they're scared of what Voldie would do to them if they didn't join him.
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Nine - Apr 13, 2003 10:01 am (#72 of 72)
People like Lucius Malfoy serve Voldie because they hate Muggles and Muggle-borns, and people like Crouch Jr. serve Voldie because they idolize him.

I've been emphasizing Avada Kedavra in my arguments for one reason: I believe in killing in self-defense and can see where you'd be coming from on that (although I'm still against it), but I cannot think of any good reason to torture or compel someone to do something. There are better ways to get information, and at that point, it's not self-defense. However, I do concede that this is a purely moral issue, which means that we are all entitled to our own opinions and are unlikely to reach a consensus.
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