Legal ethics expert Professor Phillip Shard has generated widespread controversy with his recent paper Forward To The Fourteenth Century, in which he argues for a return to the "values and systems of a better time".
Perhaps the most contoversial of Professor Shard's recommendations is that torture be made legally available for use against suspected terrorists and criminals. Professor Shard has been quick to point out that any such methods would be strictly controlled.
"I envision harm-minimising, pain-maximising techniques such as needles under the fingernails, or the rack. Torture would be reserved only for suspected wrong-doers. If you've done nothing wrong, you would obviously have nothing to fear."
Forward To The Fourteenth Century, the details of which were revealed to Professor Shard in the entrails of a chicken, outlines an extensive programme of reform, including a return to the feudal system, institutionalised slavery, compulsory church attendance, and the prohibition of all musical instruments save the lute.
"Sure, we have gained a lot through the rational, scientific approach of the past few hundred years, but what have we lost? The Middle Ages had stained-glass windows, buxom wenches and dragons; we've got a spherical earth, Britney Spears and Ricky Ponting. Somehow, the latter just doesn't do it for me."
Critics have lambasted Professor Shard's paper, calling it "unworkable" and "irresponsible". Professor Shard, however, remains adamant that it is time to wind back the clock.
"I'm surprised at all the fuss, especially regarding torture. It's not like I'm suggesting we threaten people with death or anything, just the physically and psychologically debilitating application of extreme pain. Some people would pay good money for that.
"Anyway, look around you: crime, terrorism, single mothers running rampant. Surely it is obvious to any thinking person that only by completely undermining the foundations of our civilisation will we be able to save it."