On Terrorism

Some politicians seem to act as if “terrorism” means a terrible crime committed by someone who doesn’t fit the speaker’s own racial & religious profile. Just because something induces terror in some or many people, that doesn’t make it terrorism. That diminishes the concept as well as grouping routine crime – for which society has millennia of experience and solutions – into the same bucket as a more subtle and serious phenomenon that preys on the meshed society.

Terrorism isn’t just performing a terrifying act. It’s provoking society’s immune system into attacking itself, making its defence systems attack the values and people they are supposed to be defending. Terrorism is an autoimmune disorder of democracy. You don’t fight terrorism by attacking the virus; you fight it by strengthening the immune system.

5 Responses

  1. […] — Simon Phipps […]

  2. […] — Simon Phipps, via Labnotes […]

  3. While I know what you are getting at, it’s actually not that straightforward an analogy-to fight an auto immune condition, you don’t want to strengthen the immune system-it’s an over active immune system hitting tissues it doesn’t recognize are actually friends not foes that is the problem. You either have to weaken the immune system (traditional immuno suppressants and chemo treatments) or retrain it to stop it attacking the body (newer targeted drugs that switch off specific immuno receptors)

    The drugs can be unpleasant, with a fine line between the damage done by the drugs to the immune system and organs, and the damage done by the auto immune condition. There’s probably an analogy in that somewhere, but I don’t like the implications much.

    (I’ve found out a great deal more about auto immune disease in tha last twelve months than I ever wanted to know.)

  4. […] Susan Stewart on On Terrorism […]

  5. […] — Simon Phipps, via Labnotes […]

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