Ignorance has many forms, and all of them are dangerous. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries our chief effort has been to free ourselves from tradition and superstition in large questions, and from the error in small ones upon which they rest, by redefining the fields of knowledge and evolving in each the distinctive method appropriate for its cultivation. (Peters, 1985)
What is torture? From the Roman jurists of the second and third centuries to the historians and lawyers of the present, those who have taken the most trouble to consider the question have come up with remarkably similar answers. In the thirteenth century, the Roman lawyer Azo gave this definition: Torture is the inquiry after truth by means of torment. In the twentieth century legal historian John Heath wrote: By torture I mean the infliction of Physically founded suffering or the threat immedialty to inflict it, where such infliction or threat is intended to elicit, or such infliction is incidental to means adopted to elicit, matter of intelligence or forensic proof and the motive is one of military, civil, or ecclesiastical interest. (Peters, 1985)
The reason I had to say a little about torture is that it is a form of punishment that for many centuries was carried out in the name of the law. I cannot believe that for many centuries it was acceptable to torture someone to try to get the truth about a crime. Torturing someone does not get the truth to come, out it simply gets the person to tell you what you want to hear just to get the torture to stop. Reading through several books I had to ask myself isn't the death penalty a form of torture?
Ernest Van Den Haag writes: “I have heard moral philosophers express the view that although capital punishment could not be approved, its abolition is an impossible political goal. To struggle in behalf of the vicious and wicked requires more tolerance than most people can muster. There are other an...