Markets in Everything: Torturer

 Media Images Torturer2 525At left is an ad that ran in the Guardian newspaper. “The government of a Middle Eastern state is recruiting a senior torturer to work in a well-equipped prison. Our ideal candidate would be prepared to inflict extreme pain and suffering… Candidates will be expected to inspire a small but enthusiastic team.”

No, I don’t think the ad is real. Alas, I am sure the job is real.

Hat tip: Boing Boing.


That job has been just about universal throughout history. Our 8th Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment might be the first official announcement that no on need apply.

And thus the problem of no longer properly vetting the candidates in a formal process, since clearly the Job is still available here in the U.S. oh! wait!, actually we have outsourced it. One has to wonder what sort of Liability insurance comes with the position. Global courts have been rapidly expanding their over reach, and once the current set of "african despots" are prosecuted, the Hague should be widening and deepening their case load. With the decline of U.S./E.U. influence over the global order, in the coming decades, I foresee a concerted push to expand and entrench U.S./E.U. legal (moral) values over global institutions.

Except the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel AND unusual punishment. Not punishment that is merely cruel. What is more it did not apply to the States until recently.

The US has had its own share of torturers. You can't read much crime fiction without coming across the Third Degree. Everyone tortures. Just not in public.

The 8th Amendment was copied almost word-for-word from the English Bill of Rights of 1689: "That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Interesting. My recollection is that Guy Fawkes was tortured extensively to get his confession earlier in that century, but I doubt that it was sympathy for him that led to inclusion of that in their Bill of Rights.

Nope, it was much more likely to be the Bloody Assizes in 1685, (and some other abuses of power).

It's not my area, but I think a lot of the English Bill of Rights was a reaction against arbitrary royal power that had been exercised by the Star Chamber and the Privy Council and came in the aftermath of James II's removal from power. As I understand it, Blackstone said there was no tradition of torture in common law courts but it had been recognized as a royal privilege exercised through the Privy Council, as in the Guy Fawkes case (and many others). The English Bill of Rights abolished this arrangement by requiring all punishments meted out to prisoners to conform to acts of Parliament.

From reading the bottom of the ad, it appears as though it's meant to draw attention to a UK-based anti-torture NGO.

Definitely draws attention, though.

This is MRginal Revolution. We don't care about the facts.

Look at the post and comments to confirm.

What facts require correcting... both in the piece or in the thread

Surely a senior torturer would be better paid than that?

Fortunately, he's probably a typical ZMP gov't worker.

What's the going salary, say, at Gitmo?

I always wondered what guy making their Rice Pilaf was paid.

I bet the job does not exist. In the sense that the people who do it would never describe what they do as torture or themselves as torturers.

At last, the perfect job for my unemployed ex-wife....

What's sad is that I would get paid more to do this than argue with insurance companies in order to get provide seizure medication to children of military veterans.

If you blow the ad up, you'll see that it's a hoax by an anti-torture group.

It is a real ad; it's just that it's a personal ad.

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