General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

What will be the long term view of terrorism?

Asked by LostInParadise (25092points) May 27th, 2009

Two extreme views:

1. Terrorism is the final obstacle to the spread of industrial democracy to the poorer nations of the world. It gradually loses its grip once people appreciate the increased freedom that derives from modern society.

2. Terrorism is the initial phase of a struggle against globalization. Religious terrorists join with ecoterrorists to create sustainable decentralized economies that are environmenatlly friendly and respectful of human dignity.

Or will it be entirely different?

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18 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Terrorism was, is, and probably always will be, a method employed by extremists of any sort that lack or can not see any other method to achieve their goals.

cwilbur's avatar

I think it’s closer to point 1. Terrorism is the way that a minority group with few resources manipulates other people into doing what they want.

And as for point #2: terrorists don’t create a damn thing.

discover's avatar

#1 is closer, but i do not think terrorism will die when people appreciate increased freedom. For terrorists, terrorism is their way to heaven and happiness… a change in mindset through whatever means, would be beneficial

marcosthecuban's avatar

3. Terrorism is unfortunately a part of the human condition. We struggle to get along with each other; hate fillls the void where love should be. Terrorism is just hatred at work; since we all have the potential to hate no use in calling ourselves pure and ‘them’ evil. Hate begets hate; love heals.

4. Terrorism is a side effect of a global culture clash. at the heart of the worst of it is the world-wide conflict with radical islam. this religious, intolerant segment is deviant from true islam but nevertheless growing quickly. the ‘west’ is partly responsible for this. we are paying a price for centuries of imperialism and conversion crusades.

also at the center is the 4,000 year old conflict between the Jews and the Arabs (and the Jews and the Muslims). How do we keep from taking sides and then how do we keep from paying a price for that? Peace-making is a high calling!

oratio's avatar

Terrorist groups and freedom fighters are sometimes just a matter of aspect. Mostly they fight for a perceived common and just cause and it’s mostly nationalistic in a way or another. IRA, ETA, Hisbollah, Hamas, Farc, Tamil tigers.

Aum and Aleph are/were religious misguided people.

Timothy McVeigh, Ulrika Meinhoff, and such have other ideological reasons. Are the Zapatists terrorists or do they have just grievances fought with legitimate methods? Is Farc a drug pushing ideologically dead guerilla with no legitimacy or are they fighting for a just cause?

Is it fair that basques kill spanish people? Why would irish people kill the English and protestants because they pay taxes to London instead of Dublin? Was Collins just or misguided?

As long as there are perceived national or ideological grievances in the world we will have terrorists. Democracy or not. Maybe the phenomena will disappear in time. Probably not.

CMaz's avatar

You seem to put terrorism on a global scale. Lets say we eradicate it. Opposing “parties” and their opposing views will still “terrorize” one another to stay on top. We call it “mud slinging” when there is an election. “Terrorism” will always be the view of the opposite side that feels they are being handled with injustice.

oratio's avatar

@ChazMaz Though terrorism by definiton uses violence or threat of violence to achieve political, religious or ideological goals. But by putting apostrophes on it I guess you mean that antagonism will always be a part of society. That the mechanisms behind terrorism is a part of who we are?

CMaz's avatar

If terrorism is too harsh a word, let’s find another. But, yes.
We live in a world of winners and looser. We get the job (or the raise) , we win the game. Not just on our merits alone. We intimidate and influence a decision. It might be subtle, but it is the same thing. The world still applies the, “survival of the fittest,” rule, and, if that don’t work we cheat.
Antagonism is just perspective.

dalepetrie's avatar

Terrorism is neither, it is a means to an end and will always exist as long as there are people who can not impact the established process any other way. If you run a government, you can create policy and send people to war if necessary. If you are not an insider and do not have the power to meet your goals, terrorism will ALWAYS be a method to make your voice heard. I think even as more people appreciate the benefits of modern society, there are still those whose voices aren’t heard.

Consider that the US is probably the most “modern society” on the planet, or at least in the top 5, and though you may not really think about it in these terms, we create a number of terrorists among our own population among those who are left behind in this society, it’s just that disenfranchisement tends to happen on a more individualistic scale here (or our society is so decentralized that people do not tend to organize as much as act on their own behalf). But consider the blue collar worker who loses his job and goes back to his former workplace with a semi-automatic rifle and blows away 13 former co-workers and the boss before killing himself…is HE not also a form of domestic terrorist?

Terrorism happens when your goal is to kill and scare people to make a point, or to get your way, when the methods made available to you by society at large do not do the job. For terrorism to end or even become a minimal part of the world at large, we would HAVE to have a situation where no one was disenfranchised…everyone would have to be able to have their needs met, and we are nowhere near achieving that goal. The only way I can see terrorism virtually disappearing from the planet would be if we were to figure out sources of renewable energy, bountiful healthy food all over the planet, an end to disease and a society where prosperity was such that everyone would need to put in minimal effort to live a long, healthy, happy life with all of their needs being met. Oh yeah, and either we’d need to settle on one God (or no God) for everyone. Maybe in another 50,000 years we’ll be there.

LostInParadise's avatar

Sounds good to me.

oratio's avatar

or just accept that people have different faith

dalepetrie's avatar

@oratio – As long as there is more than one faith, there will ALWAYS be practitioners of one faith who believe that all other faiths are 1) wrong and 2) incompatible with what THEY believe. As long as there are people who believe that all faiths but theirs are “at odds” with their own faith, there will always be people who see themselves as “at war” with all other faiths than their own. As long as these people exist, terrorism will alwyas be a tool that these people can use. So there has to be one uniform view of life, the universe and everything that everyone believes in, just the way it is.

oratio's avatar

Sure, Dale, I agree and I see your point, it’s just that it’s a Utopian idea. That’s just never gonna happen.

dalepetrie's avatar

Like I said, give it 50,000 years. Look at how far society has come in 50 years, 50,000 and we might actually reach enlightenment. As long as it happens within 5 billion years before we all need to find a new home planet when the sun goes supernova, our race will figure it out (or a more enlightened one will evolve and replace us).

eupatorium's avatar

I think the future of “terrorism” is all about semantics. The term sprouts up wherever a person (or people) organizes to fight the established norm, to achieve a certain end. I can guarantee you that the people who ELECTED hamas, for instance, do not consider them terrorists. Nor would I. People living in desperation and poverty who do not understand that physical fighting is useless, will take up arms. We Americans demanded that right for ourselves, and it seems like it remains for us to decide who gets to excersize it.
I’m not saying that terrorism doesn’t exist. Just that its relative.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms defines terrorism as:

The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.

I believe that the US government is by its own definition, a terrorist. Our foreign policy consists of terrorist tactics for political gain. If we are not directly involved, most of the times we are involved through the creation and sale of weapons, ie Israel. We have at one time or another supported Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and even Osama Bin Laden himself.

The new terrorism I am worried about is “home-grown” terrorism. That is when your second definition starts becoming reality. The official definitions are much too broad. When these definitions are “interpreted” by the court, times of crisis can lead to much broader interpretations. We can all be considered “home-grown” terrorists if we try to dissent.

dalepetrie's avatar

@chris6137 – only problem with the US being a terrorist is the word “unlawful”, if the government says war is legal it may “morally” be terrorism, but it’s technically not “unlawful”. In other words, I agree with you in spirit, but not in semantics.

Crusader's avatar


Further, opposition is not an evil until the established powers lose profits…

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