It's from C.S. Lewis' "That Hideous Strength":

Deputy Director Wither: "... As you are aware, I always deplore anything that is not perfectly humane; but that is quite consistent with the position that if more drastic expedients have to be used then they must be used thoroughly.  Moderate pain, such as any ordinary degree of endurance can resist, is always a mistake. It is no true kindness to the prisoner.

The more scientific and, may I add, more civilised facilities for coercive examination which we have placed at your disposal here, might have been successful.  I am not speaking officially, Miss Hardcastle, and I would not in any sense attempt to anticipate the reactions of our Head.  But I should not be doing my duty if I failed to remind you that complaints from that quarter have already been made (though not, of course, minuted) as to your tendency to allow a certain — er — emotional excitement in the disciplinary or remedial side of your work to distract you from the demands of policy."

"You won't find anyone can do a job like mine well unless they get some kick out of it," said the Fairy [Hardcastle] sulkily.

Deputy Director Wither has found his allies at National Review. Lewis even foresaw the euphemism designed to obscure evil: "coercive examination." Funny, I thought they liked C. S. Lewis at NRO. Funny, I thought they called themselves Christians. It's odd how Christianists will brook no compromise on an issue as esoteric as the moral status of a zygote or the right of two gay people to love each other - but torture legalized by their own president? No problem. Torture away, guys. Karl told us it could win a midterm.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.