This is my working definition of inquisitions as an institutional concept. I’ll be working at the abstraction level of religion* here, according to the ranking I proposed previously.
This thought was inspired by musing on the nature of religion though a historical/evopsych lens, as the functional bridge between psychology and group genetic selection. In this treatment, I’ll define religion as a semi-hierarchical set of institutions which shapes the reproductive behaviors of human breeding populations. I’ll break this down a bit for you.
In psychology a “behavior” is a predictable response to a cue. It can be understood using the A-B-C model: the antecedent causes the behavior which causes the consequent. Note that each step in this process is merely an expectation, because sometimes behaviors cause unexpected consequents, and sometimes antecedents cause unexpected behaviors, and so on. So if I wanted to deconstruct this a bit further, I would have to come up with notions for what constitutes reasonable expectations and so on. But that would be a different post, we’ll be working up from here.
Humans are distinguishable from primates because we propagate behaviors by cultural transmission, in addition to genetically transmitted instinctual behaviors. I coined the term “behaviorism” to describe this transmission: an authority figure of some kind uses rewards and punishments to train some kind of desired behavior in a subordinate. (In today’s atomized, perverse world all behaviorisms tend to serve the purpose of reinforcing mindless obedience to and respect for authority, see also: industrial schooling and the notion that children must be “socialized”.) The authority figure is, himself, exhibiting a behavior that may be instinctual or trained.
The idea of culturally transmitted behaviors leads to the notion of mores: expected behaviors within a breeding population. We assume that people will stop at red lights because we expect, reasonably, that they’ve been trained to do so. Mores are what make large, high-trust societies possible (which in turn makes civilization possible). Mores are constructed by institutions, which are a special class of self-propagating sets of mores. To construct a new cultural more, you have to create a viable institution that 1) remains true to its purpose (creating the new cultural more) and 2) perpetuates itself (the institutional more). Both prerequisites must hold true long enough and loud enough that the new more goes from pandemic to endemic. It’s a good idea to put a dead-man’s switch in your institutional mores because all institutions eventually lose their original purpose in favor of pure self-propagation.
This brings us, at last, to the idea of the inquisition. An inquisition is a subset of an institution’s mores that enforces conformity within the institution. A perfect example is the inspectors general in the military, whose purpose is to foster conscientiousness in the grunts by enforcing conformity to a bunch of behaviorisms that require conscientiousness. The inquisition arm of an institution is probably the second juiciest target for subversives, after the executive arm, because it has so much power within the greater institution—if it doesn’t already exist, they will act to create it (see: SJW Codes of Conduct). Therefore it would be absolutely necessary to rigorously inspect the inspectors. The worst-case scenario, and the most likely one (in my opinion), is that an inquisition becomes subverted for the purpose of institutional self-perpetuation according to the iron law of institutions. I believe this is what happened in Soviet Russia.
In conclusion, an inquisition is a set of mores that enforces other mores, for the (presumable) purpose of keeping the greater institution true to its cultural purpose. In the religious* context, it would be most interested in enforcing mores related to breeding principles within the racial in-group, and punishing subversion and betrayals. Over time, it is likely to be subverted and used for power struggles within the institution, weakening the greater institution.
*See the first link.