Can terrorism ever be justified?
Name: Clement aro
School: Harris boys east Dulwich
The question can:” terrorism be justified” is a frequently pondered question by many top politicians and philosophers, which has recently been analysed in greater depth and profundity due to the recent acts of “terrorism” that have been reported around the world through many media sources, such as newspapers. This essay will analyse in extent two fundamental questions. The first is a conceptual question, which asks: “what is terrorism?” and the other is a moral question: “can terrorism ever be morally justified? “. Both these questions however, come under the broad bracket which refers to the act of terrorism and its definition. Many philosophers have argued about what the actual definition for Terrorism is, but the dictionary definition for this often confused word is: The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Therefore this discounts the cases of random and isolated acts of terror, as they are seen as not having any purpose such as coercion, or set up to achieve any political change.
Consequentialists are a group of people which consider terrorism in the same way they would consider their actions and everything they do, as always having their own repercussions and consequences, and would then consider terrorism as only acceptable when the consequences are positive and bring about the desired effect which would put the act in balance. Conversely Deontologists argue that the view on whether an act is considered terrorism doesn’t just take into consideration the consequences, but also whether the act in itself is moral. This debate is long going concerning many different cases, including the September 11th attack of 2001, and the author of the book Law, R. (2009) Terrorism, Cambridge Polity Pg 2: A History describes searching for a definition for the word Terrorism as “venturing into a minefield” as there is always something to consider edit with the definition. My personal definition of terrorism when somebody uses the act of violence to get their political or religious aims across regardless of civilians and who they will hurt. For these reasons stated in my personal definition and in the above paragraph I believe that Terrorism can only be justified in certain situations and circumstances. Lit review
Throughout history there have been many examples of Terror, however only in the most recent centuries has the word Terror been used to describe these acts, but this words meaning has frequently been shifted in order to label different events as terrorism. The words “terror” and “terrorism” first came into wide public use in the late 18th century and referred to the Jacobins ‘Reign of Terror’, and its final aim was to bring about political change in France and to reshape the structure of their society. This is included in the official definition for the word terror, which is “The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”. During their period of “Terror” they destroyed the old French regime, suppressed all enemies of their revolution and brought about an enforcement of civic virtue. Their Terror referred to them chasing their enemies whether they were suspected proven or merely potential. Trials and public executions were frequently held in order to cause terror in those under the regime, which caused them to coin the term “terrorist” to describe them. In a modern day view the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims would be seen as terrorism, and seeing as though this is what the Jacobins did, they would be classed as terrorists. Correspondingly an English Politician from the time even described the Jacobins as being “thousands of hell hounds called terrorists... let loose on the people”. Following the end of the American civil war, several white supremacy organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan were formed initially to stop black people from voting,...
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