It can’t be torture, said the drunk at the hotel bar. We’ve waterboarded our own elite soldiers for years. It can’t be torture if our own soldiers voluntarily agree to it!

I paused for dramatic effect. The other drunks were anxiously awaiting my reply. What would the kooky-eyed liberal say?

“The difference is the word voluntary. If the blonde bartender consented to having sex with me (I winked in her general direction she didn’t notice DAMN!) then it’s fine. But if she said no and I did it anyway, that’s against the law.”

(Maybe my game would be improved if I didn’t make references to rape when trying to pick up chicks? Gotta think through this when I’m sober).

I continued. “And you can voluntarily jump off a bridge. But if I push you off a bridge against your will, it’s murder. That’s against the law too.”

“There are a host of things that you can do to yourself that may be within your rights. But if I do those very same things to you, it’s illegal.”

The drunk snickered. So torture comes down to the choice of the individual? A person can pierce his own ear, but if I force him to pierce his ear, it’s torture?

“No. If I pierced your ear against your will, that’s probably assault or something. You’re acting like everything is either torture or not torture, and there’s a ton of things that fall in different categories. If I pushed your two year old son into the pool, what would happen?”

I’d kick your ass, he said.

“But what if your own son jumped? Would you kick his ass?”

The drunk fell silent. You liberals never get it, he said. A moment later, he paid his bill and left for parts unknown in the hotel complex.