People derived too much pleasure from seeing their fellow man morally humiliated to spoil that pleasure by hearing out an explanation.
Why didn't Tomas give the secret policeman an immediate and unconditional no?
This is what probably went through his head: Besides using a statement like that to demoralize the nation in general (which is clearly the Russian strategy), the police could have a concrete goal in his case: they might be gathering evidence for a trial against the editors of the weekly that had published Tomas's article. If that was so, they would need his statement for the hearing and for the smear campaign the press would conduct against them. Were he to refuse flatly, on principle, there was always the danger that the police would print the prepared statement over his signature, whether he gave his consent or not. No newspaper would dare publish his denial. No one in the world would believe that he hadn't written or signed it. People derived too much pleasure from seeing their fellow man morally humiliated to spoil that pleasure by hearing out an explanation.