Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Penalty For Torture Can Be Death - 2

Once upon a time anyway.

Two years ago the post The Penalty For Torture Can Be Death pointed out the traditional view of the USA concerning torture.

Government officials since then have bragged in public about how they saved lives by torturing suspects (which is not true at all).

Has the political philosophy of the USA changed from night to day in such a short span of time?

Have we changed course so radically from the traditional destination of a "kinder and gentler nation" spoken of by Bush I, causing more Dylan lyrics to come alive all of a sudden once again:
People are crazy and times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
(Things Have Changed). The song was written on the eve of the Bush II presidency, which was a radical departure from "a kinder and gentler nation" into the exceptionalist, "God is on our side", religiously fanatical dogma "you are for us or you are against us".

That change is also when the torture began, which led to the incredulous "I Was Following Orders" debate in the US Media owned by the warster corps.

So how did this change come about?

It almost sounds silly to say "someone changed their mind" probably because it is obvious, but if we state it as "someone changed their brain" it sounds more peculiar than silly.

But deep brain scientists point out that this is exactly what has happened, something has changed our brains:
Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious - what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can't even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not dis­gust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your ac­tions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.

Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It's as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.
(The Toxic Bridge To Everywhere, quoting G. Lakoff). That post goes on to set forth a hypothesis based upon the traditional American concept that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

The penalty for torture passed away in the "night", the darkness that has engulfed the land (the same darkness that has engulfed way too many of the people of the land).


  1. In the case of GITMO, newly leaked documents show that the brain change has been brain rot: Link

  2. "Allow me to take a machete to your intellectual thicket."
    ~Capt. Jack Sparrow (in Pirates of the Caribbean)