Monday, May 27, 2024

The rule of sadism …

… The masterpiece of our time | The New Criterion. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As millions were forced to confess to crimes everyone knew were fabricated, interrogators soon found the daily torture routine boring. “The fact is that the interrogators like some diversion in their monotonous work, and so they vie in thinking of new ideas.” The types of torture were unregulated, Solzhenitsyn says, and “every kind of ingenuity was permitted, no matter what.” What happens to a person who can literally do anything to others? Tolstoy wrote about the “attraction” of power, Solzhenitsyn recalls, but for Soviet interrogators, “attraction is not the right word—it is intoxication!

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