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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Morality of War, Revolution and Terrorism is Conditional and Contingent


War is violence committed by one state against another. Revolution or terrorism can be violence committed by a group against a state or innocent civilians. As there can be just wars, so can there be 'just terrorism'. Terrorists (or violent revolutionaries) only become freedom fighters and statesmen if they are successful in their terrorism eg Nelson Mandela, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness. Good government entails the prevention of grievances that cause acts of terrorism to be committed, and bad governments deserve to be overthrown.

Do the ends justify the means?  We can only wait and see.   

4 comments:

Adolfo said...

"War is a continuation of politics by other means".
Carl von Clausewitz

McGonagall said...

"Revolution or terrorism can be violence committed by a group against ... innocent civilians. As there can be just wars, so can there be 'just terrorism'."

There's no justification for violence against innocent civilians. That's just barbarism - whether perpetrated by a state, or "revolutionaries" with a political agenda.

Claire Khaw said...

Everything that is necessary is moral, it has been argued.

The law excuses homicide on grounds of necessity.

I think you will find that being civilised does not always mean being humane and compassionate.

Were the Romans 'civilised'?

Is there such a thing as a 'barbarian civilisation'?

I am beginning to think that political crimes should be in a category of their own.

McGonagall said...

"I think you will find that being civilised does not always mean being humane and compassionate."

Agreed. In fact it could be argued that civilization (the system of cities exploiting the hinterland for its resources) is the root of violence and depravity in the world today. Some folks have declared war on cities for that reason.

http://skelpiterse.blogspot.com/2011/05/resist-or-die.html

Were the Romans civilized? Only in the sense that they built cities - in other respects they were barbarians (a fierce, brutal, or cruel people).

"Is there such a thing as a 'barbarian civilisation'?" Obviously.

"I am beginning to think that political crimes should be in a category of their own."

What's the difference between the Norwegian bloke and a NATO pilots that bomb civilians? No difference - both use violence to achieve political objectives. One gets a medal the other life without parole.