The so-called privilege against self-incrimination emerged in English law during the 1600s in response to the brutalities of royal "justice." By the end of the 1600s it had become not just a privilege, but a basic constitutional right. Moreover, it was a right not only to remain silent, but also virtually a right to be protected against classes of forbidden questions. To effectuate that right, the exclusionary rule forbade introduction of evidence obtained by coercion, threats, promises, or torture. Yet, that rule should be understood not only as a rule of evidence. It was also intended as a prophylactic ban on coercion and torture in interrogations. The Miranda warnings followed in due course as a further prophylactic ban on coercion.
This is now the struggle - between law and coercion. The GOP leadership favors coercion and spent eight years trashing core values of Anglo-American civilization, ostensibly in its defense. History will not be kind.
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