Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Terrorism: The Straw Man

Slowly I'm coming to realize the dialetical inappropriateness of even the concept of "terrorism." It has come to contain, not only the abhorrent actions of violence against the innocent, but also the concept of dissent and protest. For this reason certain parties have chosen to push and pursue the use of this term in the mainstream media, in order to preserve and protect its own goals. If, after all, you are in power, and you create a semantic field in which there is no ideological distinction between an activist and a terrorist, a dissenter and a destroyer, then you effectively remove the concept of dissent from mainstream thought and place it outside of the realm of that other dialectically complicated concept, the Nation.

This may be evident. What is not is the reinforcement of heterogeneity, and the inherent self-destructiveness of this straw man. Without enough legs, the animal can't walk. By removing dissent, or rather placing different thought outside of the realm of the good, we remove our own legs. We can get by with a stick for a while - to mix metaphors, one can learn to ride a unicycle. But the stick is no replacement for legs, and the unicycle is perpetually unstable.

What is terrorism? It is an extremist outcome of dissent. Other outcomes are change, growth, development, progress, understanding, diversity. Remove the root - dissent - to get rid of one bad outcome, and you get rid of them all. As a democracy, we have the responsibility to bear the risk of terrorism in order to access those other outcomes. In history, we have flip-flopped on this responsibility; we fear/ed Communists, Socialists, other Ists, studiously avoiding the fact that none of these could ever topple a true democracy. The concept is as silly as a fish defeating water. And a War on Terrorism equally silly. Rather, we should work on developing a plan to deal with all the outcomes of democracy, including, yes, terror. Of course, a government which was large enough to think of and deal with things in this manner would not be an invitation for terror in the first place...

Mmmm. Thoughts.

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