Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Witchcraft Question

Perhaps the most depressing thing about Trump - aside from his utter lack of class, of course - is his lack of originality.  His every utterance involves retreading some long discredited policy.  Right now, it's the use of torture on terrorist subjects.  Most specifically, the use of so-called 'water boarding'.  It really is like stepping back in time to the bad old days of Dubya and the 'War on Terror'.  Or even back to medieval times.  Because, let's face it, a belief in the effectiveness of torture - something Trump has expressed - is evidence of a medieval mindset, where the 'truth' could only be revealed via ordeal: the bloodier the better.  The 'truth', obviously, was whatever the interrogator wanted to hear - as long as it conformed to their particular prejudices, then it would suffice.  The problem is that experience has shown that information gained under duress always seems to conform to the preconceptions of the interrogators.  The fact is that those under duress will, ultimately, say anything in order to relieve their ordeal.  Far from revealing any form of objective 'truth' torture simply breaks the will - not to mention body - of its victims to the point where they can no longer distinguish the difference between fact and fantasy.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the 'Witchcraft Question'  - do you believe in the existence of witches and witchcraft (in the actual supernatural sense)?   Most rational people would answer 'no', yet a proportion of them will also say that they believe in the effectiveness of torture.  Which requires them to simultaneously hold two mutually exclusive beliefs.  Because if you believe that confessions gained through torture are true, then, logically, you must also believe in the existence of witchcraft.  Most of the torture techniques used today are essentially the same as those used during the witch hunting mania which swept Europe back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Sleep deprivation, beatings, even 'water boarding' (in the form of duckings) were used to produce confessions from the accused that they had cast spells on rivals, flown on broomsticks and even had congress with Satan himself, (a recurring theme was that his ejaculations were as cold as ice).  All of which must be true as 'torture works', as Trump himself has declared.  Presumably, any day soon, he'll also be declaring his belief in black magic.  To be fair, and baring in mind his alleged sexual antics with those Russian prostitutes, perhaps Trump is speaking from experience with regard to the efficacy of torture - I'm led to believe that, when chained naked to a bed and flogged by a dominatrix, people will answer 'yes' to just about any question.

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