Lions And Tigers And Terrorists, Oh My!
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
The debate over what actions actually constitute “terrorism,” I believe, will become one of the defining ideological battles of our era. Terrorism is not a word often used by common people to describe aberrant behaviors or dastardly deeds; however, it is used by governments around the world to label and marginalize political enemies. That is to say, it is the government that normally decides who is a “terrorist” and who is a mere “criminal,” the assertion being that one is clearly far worse than the other.
The terrorist label elicits emotional firestorms and fearful brain-quakes in the minds of the masses. It causes the ignorant and unaware to abandon principles they would normally apply to any other malicious enterprise. They begin to reason that a criminal should be afforded justice, while a terrorist should be afforded only vengeance, even though the act of branding a person a “terrorist” is often completely arbitrary. This vengeance is usually pursued by any means. Thus, the terrorist moniker becomes a rationalization for every vicious and inhuman policy of the establishment, as well as for the citizenry.
Dishonorable and foolish people claim the existence of terrorism essentially gives license for the rest of us to become criminal, willfully trampling on individuals’ rights to privacy, property, free speech, due process, civic participation, etc. Mass criminality against the individual in the name of social safety is the glue that holds together all tyrannical systems, triggering a catastrophic cycle of moral relativism that eventually bleeds a culture dry.
Historically, the expanded use of the terrorist label by governments tends to coincide with the rising tides of despotism. A government that quietly seeks to dominate the people will inevitably begin to treat the people as if they are the enemy. Those citizens who present the greatest philosophical or physical threat to the centralization of power are usually the first to suffer. I do not think it is unfair to say that any system of authority that suddenly claims to see terrorists under every rock and behind every tree is probably about to rain full-on fascism down upon the population.