Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Who is a 'terrorist'; who is not

Who is a 'terrorist'; who is not

It seems like government has fallen in love with the word "terrorist". Anyone who opposes the state is a potential target for the label. Yet, very few of those so designated would really qualify, even if the accusation were not made up out of thin air. You see, government applies the word to those who by definition do not fit it.

A "terrorist" is someone who tries to create the emotion of "terror" through violent attacks (or threats of attack) against innocent non-governmental individuals or targets, and then uses that fear to attempt to force a change in government policy. Violent attacks on governmental targets, while they may still be wrong, are not terrorism, but are "political dissent" or "revolt". They are the last option when all other options have been criminalized or rendered impotent. (This is known as an "unintended consequence".)

Not all bad guys are "terrorists"; some are just regular thieves, attackers, or government employees. The label "terrorist" is a handy way for the state to throw suspicion on anyone who refuses to buy the government's excuses, coercion, and lies "hook, line, and sinker". And when applied to the wrong people, this label is only convincing to those who do willingly buy the government lies.

No attack on a government employee or facility is a "terrorist attack" no matter who orchestrates it, for whatever reason, or how many innocents are killed. It is evil to harm the innocent. This is what government does the best. "Collateral damage" is completely unacceptable even in defense of freedom. It brings the opponents of government down to the level of the thugs of the state.

Governments realize this and will always try to surround their most evil actors and agencies with innocent human shields. They need innocent deaths for photo collages in the event of any attack. Good people will never step into their trap.. Freedom doesn't need martyrs as much as it needs living advocates like you and me promoting the principles as we stand by them. Freedom certainly doesn't need fools and bullies to damage the cause.

Attacks on governmental targets don't terrorize or even scare me. I stay away from such places and people anyway. I don't need the government for anything. I would probably notice if they were gone due to the sudden increase in freedom. It would be an interesting day.

Giving consent freely or under coercion

Giving consent freely or under coercion

To give "consent" means you are making an agreement with another person. This could be a real "agreement" or it might merely be "compliance". Free individuals in a free society, which is the ideal situation, will give consent that really means something. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a slave's consent to the master's wishes is completely worthless. Consent under duress is not really consent and is not binding. The rest of us live somewhere in between these two extremes, and our consent has greater, or lesser, meaning depending on how freely we give it in the particular circumstance. In a great many cases, our "consent" is coerced in one way or another. Either due to seeking the approval of people who are close to us, or in attempting to survive in society.

Free people in an unfree society are in a difficult situation. The more we are backed into a corner, the more likely we are to give the appearance of consent where none really exists. This may not be right, but it is certainly understandable.

If you are approached by a bully who is bigger, stronger, or tougher than you and he demands your cooperation, you would be likely to agree to it in order to get out of the current situation. Even if there were no overt threat, if you knew the man's history of violence toward those who didn't cooperate, or understood his power to punish you for your lack of cooperation, giving false consent would be understandable. Consent now or suffer now; lie to him now and possibly suffer later. You may be purchasing immediate safety at the expense of future peace of mind. In a free society you could defend yourself from people such as this at the time of the threat, forestalling the "payback". That isn't the "legal" reality of the world we live in right now.

If you are a free individual facing a bully of some sort you should probably just refuse to consent and let the chips fall where they may. Yet, as in the case of the state, I feel there is nothing wrong with lying to thugs. In fact, I think it is often right to lie to them. Do you feel guilt if you lie to the mugger when he asks if you have any more money on you, or is it the right thing to do? Would you pretend to cooperate with the kidnapper in order to get your child back, and then renege on your deal at the first opportunity? Good people don't become bad by confounding the bad people. Good people lose when they deal with bad people as if they were good people. If you don't like the implications, don't initiate force, therefore becoming a bad person. Once you do, consequences are set into motion. I would never condemn a person for giving false consent to bullies or under coercion.