Funny thing happened on the way to torture

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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A funny thing, torture, wouldn’t you agree? Not funny ha ha ha, one hastens to add.

Indeed, few less apt matters for mirth spring readily to mind; and if you beg to differ in this regard it is my most earnest hope that you be sectioned, promptly, and with no fuss, so your recovery might begin at the earliest opportunity.

No, funny peculiar. Funny strange. Funny frightening.

If social media, newspaper letter pages and sundry other forums of public spouting are any guide (this is varying degrees of doubtful) it is apparent many fellow citizens are content – keen, even – to see torture resume its historic role in civilised affairs.

Namely, as a tool for the state to deploy against whosoever it deems fit, as and when desirable.

Is terrorists, for the time being.

Suspected terrorists. Would-be terrorists. Suspected would-be

Stewart, of Kent, whose letter I spied in one newspaper Wednesday morning, is ‘OK’ with this. Literally.

‘Torture is OK as long it’s 100 per cent definite they’re going to commit or have committed terrorism.’

Who could have a problem with that? What could go wrong? So long as you’re 100 per cent sure?

Trick question. Obviously it is impossible to be 100 per cent sure of anything, let alone events yet to occur. Are you 100 per cent sure this article is not a dream and you aren’t about to wake up tomorrow morning in your cosy bed? Are you 100 per cent sure you will wake up tomorrow morning at all?

Clearly, the conditions Stewart needs to be ‘OK’ with the strategic use of physical pain on humans by state agencies does not and can never exist. Soz Stew.

No such wishy-washy concerns trouble Fergus, of Warwickshire, elsewhere on the same page, mind.

‘We must strike fear into the hearts of our enemies,’ he opines, from the county home of William Shakespeare, a man whose works utterly inarguably represent one of the cultural high watermarks of Western civilisation.

‘It is no good fighting morally and emotionally undeveloped
people with children’s tactics.’

To beat the barbarians, in other words, we must be bigger better barbarians than they are. Or at least in the same barbarous ball park.

Irresistible logic. So long as you understand that once barbarity reigns, civilisation is lost for all.

Same as I say, a funny thing.