The History Of Torture PDF book 1949 by Joseph McCabe

Download The History Of Torture PDF book 1949 by Joseph McCabe 


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The History Of Torture PDF book by Joseph McCabe


A short book about the history of torture that is still used in our civilized societies 

Introduction

Cruelty is the ugliest impulse in man, and the deliberate torture of other humans, whether from sad¬ ism, vindictiveness, or as a judicial process, is its vilest expression. Yet, while we have whole libraries on what is called vice, there is—if we ignore a short sketchy account in G. R. Scott’s (improperly titled) “History of Torture”—only one book in any language on the long and poignant story of its use. This one book, in fact, Franz Helbing’s “Die Tortur” (1903) is so little known that the writer (or reviser) of the article on torture in the Encyclope¬ dia Britannica, a leading professor of international law, refers to it as a work of “K. Kelbing” and has clearly never read it.


Yet, torture is predominantly a vice of the civilized period. We find it, naturally, among the children of Nature, in whom the light of intelligence and idealism is still struggling to birth, but not so extensively that we can plead that it is due in us to an impulse deeply-rooted in human nature by ages of barbarism. This darkest stain on man’s record has this sin¬ gular distinction that it became deeper and broader when the race passed into a higher civilization, was most repulsive in the shining days of the European Renaissance, spread once more to an appalling extent (under Nazism) in our own time, and is still found under the refined and virtuous rulers of such countries as China, Greece, and Spain, and their spiritual guides.


Three other features of it that are not noticed by Helbing and the learned encyclopedia-writers de¬ serve the attention of every social student of human behavior. It came into the stream of European-Ameri- can culture, not (as it did in China) from an environing barbarism, but from the same source as our main religious ideas and moral ideals. In recent work,

“The Evolution of the Virtue of Chastity” (Halde- man-Julius, 25c), I showed that this ascetic conception of life originated in and spread from Persia, and few historians fail to lay a garland on the tomb of ancient Persia in gratitude for its introduction of spiritual religion and a higher standard of virtue. Here I will show that it was from this same Persia that Europe derived that casuistic insensibility to the horror of torture which for a thousand years deeply tainted its life and is still one of the chief rea¬ sons why we so easily reconcile our¬ selves to the savagery of war.


Author: Joseph McCabe
Publication Date:1949
updated


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