Toulouse massacre

Massacre of Toulouse Cathars


The massacre of Toulouse sticks in my mind, when the Catholics killed the entire population of Toulouse, both Cathars and Catholics, ‘babies to greybeards’, as my account puts it.  In those days, with no modern weapons of mass-destruction, it was quite an achievement to kill 15-20 thousand people in one afternoon, but they managed it.  The head of the army is said to have asked a Catholic dignitary how they should proceed in the case of Catholics.  ‘Kill them all, God will know his own,’ is said to have been the reply.  It is thought that this was not said at the time, but made up by a later historian, but it expresses the policy that was acted on.  The author of my book about the Cathars comments on the fact that someone in a high position in the Catholic church, who was associated with the operation, made no demur at the plans to kill everybody, women and children included.

What does this tell us?  Well, clearly the Catholic church felt threatened in some way by the Cathars.  It provides confirmation of my suggestion that human psychology actually has no inbuilt inhibitions against treating anybody else as badly as possible, social sanctions being absent, which is one reason (although not the most important) why people should never be placed at the mercy of other people’s goodwill, or why people should never be trusted to act in someone else’s ‘interests’.

So it may be observed that the current elevation of the death and physical injury of a large number of people to an unquestioned object of compassion, overriding all other claims on the compassion of benefactors, is entirely fictitious and is motivated only by the desire to do down some other sectors of the population, such as frustrated intellectuals, but also simply by the desire to erode the protection of the individual per se.

Recently I have heard on French television, and seen in British newspapers, statements about the acceptability of using information obtained by torture in the case of suspected terrorism.  Because, in any case of suspected terrorism, it is possible that a bomb has been planted somewhere where it will cause the loss of the lives of many people, as well as causing physical injury to a large number of others.  Multiplying the numerical factor by the obvious physical nature of the damage which may be prevented provides a weighting so large that the immunity of any individual to torture goes by the board.  Similarly people suspected (or allegedly suspected) of being a danger to the community by their possible association with terrorism are already being imprisoned indefinitely with no reason given and, in some cases, are said to be going out of their minds at being unable to discover whether or when they will be released. 

It is only a matter of time before this hits those at whom it is really aimed, viz. white, respectable, intellectual middle class males (of course, it is aimed also at females with the qualifying characteristics, but it is still the case that those who arouse envy and hatred are predominantly males.)

By the way, in citing the Catholic massacre of Toulouse at the start of this letter, I do not intend to support any idea that the Catholic church was particularly liable to such activities as a result of its otherworldly dogmatic beliefs.  The Communist Party in more recent times has also been very liable to this kind of thing.  The Catholic church was a lot more community-orientated, and ideologically closer to Socialism and Communism than were the Cathars.  Seeing human life as of little importance except in relation to some higher reality, the Cathars remained relatively clear of committing atrocities, although when they were being starved to death in their strongholds, they were sometimes very cruel to individual members of the besieging forces who fell into their hands.