RE: The terrorism meme

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 17 Nov 2002 - 16:02:40 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: The terrorism meme"

    In this case, it's the person who employed them to do it who is the terrorist because they are the ones using terror as weapon.

    You must remember that I don't classify terrorism as a crime per se. It is a means of accomplishing an objective. The legal aspects of it are determined by the culture in which it is done. It was only after WWII, some ten or 20 years after if I remember correctly, that the Japanese passed a law making it illegal for a husband to beat his wife when he came home drunk. Before that time, anything he did while drunk was excuseable. After that law was passed, most of the wife-beating stopped. The Japanese are, for the most part, a law abiding people.

    But if the American government employs terror to accomplish their goals, they are terrorists by definition. But just as in the criminal case, it is not the hireling who carries out the terror who is called the terrorist. It is the crime boss who hired such a person to do his dirty work for him who is considered the terrorist. The person who carried it out is still called a criminal, though.

    As I often say, the means we use shape the ends we get. IF we use terror to accomplish our goals, the consequences will be shaped by those means. It doesn't matter who did what to who first. The use of killing as a means causes people to react in a certain way toward the people who use it. What we have to do is evaluate the trade-off between using those means and the bad consequences that will result. If it's going to save our lives, it may be worth it. We can live with the consequences rather than dying from not using them. But it should only be the last resort and not an acceptable part of way of dealing with problems. The memes we use will haunt us long after we use them.


    >A pilot who bombs a city? His commander? His commander's commander?
    >The fellow who loaded the bombs on the plane?
    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: []On Behalf Of
    >Grant Callaghan
    > r me it's as simple as this: anyone who uses terror as a weapon is a
    >terrorist. A husband who beats his wife, a criminal who bombs the car of a
    >rival, a drug dealer who cuts the ear off a client who won't pay, or a
    >religious zealot who thinks he can change the faith of infidels by bombing
    >them into submission. They are all terrorists.
    >The word is a description of the means people use rather than the religion
    >they belong to. If the government uses terror to achieve its ends they,
    >too, are terrorists.
    >This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    >Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    >For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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