Kurt Vonnegut once wrote something that predicted the contents of this fascinating book. “You want to know something?’’ Vonnegut wrote. “We are still in the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages - they haven’t ended yet.’’I just heard the author interviewed on NPR. He says this, about the Spanish Inquisition:
MURPHY: Well, it's a very typical case. Women were tortured, just as men were. There was no discrimination based on gender. And this was the interrogation of a woman from Toledo. And she had fallen under suspicion because neighbors had said that she did not eat pork. So she was suspected of Judaizing. So she was put on the rack. Here's a verbatim transcript of what happens as the winches are being turned.This reminded me of family court. The family court authorities were always trying to get me to confess to something, but never telling me what I was supposed to admit.
(Reading) She was told to tell what she had done, for she was tortured because she had not done so, and another turn of the cord was ordered. She cried, loosen me, senores, and tell me what I have to say. I do not know what I have done. Oh, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. More turns were ordered, and as they were given, she cried, oh, oh, loosen me, for I don't know what I have to say.
The medieval Spanish inquisitors were enlightened liberals compared to the hateful anti-Christian bigots Irwin H. Joseph and Ken Perlmutter.
Sixteenth century Spain had a law against practicing the Moslem and Jewish religions. Heresy was also a crime. It was a reaction to the country having been previously conquered by Moslems, and the Christians having to live as second-class citizens. By today's standards, Spain overreacted, I guess. But Spain was civilized compared to the American family court. Spain had rule of law. A citizen of Spain had a clear understanding that practicing Judaism or Islam was illegal, and that if he engaged in the customs of the forbidden religions like refusing to eat pork, then he would come under suspicion.
For all its faults, the Spanish Inquisition never took kids away from their parents.
By contrast, I am accused of setting an alarm clock for 7:00 to wake up my kids for school, and for entering them in a math contest above their grade level. This was not contrary to any rule of law that is written down anywhere. Even if I had narcissism or aspergers, these are not banned as Judaism or Islam were in 16th century Spain. And yet Joseph, Perlmutter, and others have acted to take my kids away. No, they have not put me on the rack yet. I don't want to exaggerate. But they have also acted with cruelty and spitefulness in ways that the medieval inquisitors did not dare act.
The above book makes a big deal about the two Moslem terrorists who were subjected to water-boarding in order to extract intelligence about future attacks. That seems trivial to me. We have millions of kids who do not see their dads because of evil corrupt bigots like Joseph, Permutter, and Judge Heather Morse. These officials are torturing kids and parents out of their personal ideological hatreds, and not because of any rule of law.