Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Pith Of The Pendulum 

Years ago, I used to hear Birchers (more widespread then than now) talk about the evil master conspiracy trying to rule us all. They were convinced that anyone who understood would oppose those vicious schemes. I, naturally, reacted differently. If these plotters were winning so efficiently, shouldn't we try to join them and be among the winners ourselves? Hence my own political efforts, helping in their small way to rachet down control over the clueless masses.

I was reminded of this today when I read P. Z. Myers' insightful item about torture:
"I'm going to surprise some people and agree that torture is an extremely powerful tool. It's just useless for gathering information. ...

Here is all that torture is good for: inspiring fear in a population."
Exactly! That's why I've been advocating it for years. This should be added to other counterintuitive conclusions that are obvious when you look behind the rhetoric. Such as:
The purpose of war is not foreign conquest -- it is domestic political leverage.

The purpose of "elections" is not giving voice to the people -- it is stifling dissent.

The purpose of "trials" is not finding the truth -- it is changing the subject.

The purpose of common stock is not enriching investors -- it is depriving them of control.
Orwell, who was one of the last millenium's two most misunderstood satirists (Rand was the other), claimed that the object of torture is torture. No, George, that's just a symptom of psychic wear among your minions, and a sign they need to be replaced with new tools. When your inquisitors begin loving their work they lose sight of the bottom line and start engaging in overkill (or in this case, overpain).

Let the hoi polloi know that it's available -- with an occasional random victim, just to keep them worried -- but when it becomes routine it numbs the effect. To paraphrase She Who Must Not Be Named, torture should be unsafe, legal, and rare.

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