Bruce Hoffman points out that defining terrorism is quite difficult. On the other hand, the question that we have answered does not specifically concern our ability to persuade. A more detailed discussion of the material in this article is available in Polity, 2013. How can we justify hypocritically killing human life in war if we denounce it so much? It is also argued that terrorism is justified because it works especially to voice the opinion of a repressed majority, and it has been successfully used by freedom fighters and revolutionaries in the past. Now, it is perhaps quite obvious that most people would lie in that situation, unless of course he or she had some secret vendetta against the Jewish people. And, if so, are any moral actions ever necessarily compromised by some state of affairs? Arguments to the effect that those people are not innocent of the wrongs the terrorist fights against will therefore have a very wide reach, and accordingly will be based on some simplistic conception of collective responsibility.
This is a justification in terms of distributive justice, applied to the problem of violations of human rights. How do we define it? Of thousands of such groups that exist or have existed, the validity of their cause is often questioned. Hence I shall reach my final conclusion and reinforce my core argument that terrorism can. On one view, known as consequentialism of rights, if the only way to ensure respect of a certain right of A and B is to infringe on the same right of C, we will be justified in doing so. Killing someone is a very heinous act and does not come under the realms of moral or immoral discussions. However, violent conflicts are often led to negative effects for all the parties involved.
It should not be surprising that outsiders do not find this kind of reasoning compelling, or even rhetorically persuasive. We should rather understand terrorism in terms of just what is done and what the proximate aims of doing it are. This concept was used in conjunction with the theory of double effect to outline four criterion that should be satisfied for a harmful act to be considered just. The discrimation principle places restraints on the conduct of a justified war in terms of making a distinction between combatants and non-combatants and to maintain that only combatants may be attacked. Therefore, terrorism is justified by its success in achieving results when peaceful means have failed. The argument for Palestinian terrorism fails for at least five reasons. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon which killed 241 U.
Many theories disclaim the existence or the possibility of collective moral responsibility—a group is just not the sort of thing that can ever be considered a morally responsible agent. Second, permitting the deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians would impair a countervailing essential interest a further requirement of the law of necessity of both Israel and the international community as a whole—the right to life of innocent civilians. The dissatisfaction caused by the deaths of innocents by terrorists makes such consent impossible to attain. Can terrorism ever be morally justified? He also planted a bomb in a café that did go off, injuring twenty people, one of whom later died of his injuries. In many countries terrorists have succeeded in bringing governments to negotiate with them and make concessions to them. The debate has great urgency as we are reminded, time and again, of the ubiquity of the terrorist threat. From the attacks on New York City in 2001 to the spate of car bombings in Moscow to the insurrections of the Southern Philippines, almost all terror attacks have caused the death of thousands of innocent bystanders, wanton destruction of private property, and incredible distress and pressure brought upon those who had the misfortune of seeing their loved ones being threatened with decapitation on news channels.
The terrorism employed by both sides in the Russian Revolution and Civil War was in important respects a throwback to that of the Jacobins. Ethical investigation is not preempted: a particular case of terrorism still needs to be judged on its merits. How do we assess the value or cost of the fear and terror that this attack will instill on the entire nation? George 1991 further highlights the confusion that surrounds the term. Terrorists and their apologists do not perform the requisite calculations properly. Even if the terrorist has the most altruistic intentions, the goal is still to scare a target into aiding towards a specific goal.
The two are connected etymologically and historically, and this connection is deeply entrenched in current ordinary use. Adherents of consequentialism judge terrorism, like every other practice, solely by its consequences. States can use their wealth and media to put across their side of the story; their opponents do not have these resources and perhaps need to resort to terrorism to publicise their cause. Introduction The purpose of this essay is to explore the issues surrounding the morality of terrorism. Kant believes in a universal law.
Lock these evil people away from hurting innocent families! We might also ask a much more minimalistic question: is terrorism ever justified? A more conservative approach would be to fight when fought against. They profess a view of responsibility and liability based on extremely far-fetched connections between states of affairs and human choices and actions, and argue that entire social classes or nations are responsible for certain policies and practices and all their members are liable to be attacked by deadly violence for more on this, see 2. Virginia Held is one of the few philosophers who gave it sustained attention before it became a fashionable topic. We are against terrorism… Nevertheless, we support the struggle against occupation waged by national liberation movements. Download file to see previous pages The demands could be socio-economic or political.
Before engaging in such a debate one must first identify terrorism as an act of widespread violence, whether on the part of a state or individual, against another state or society, with the ultimate goal of forcing the latter party to cede to the formers demands — be they political or socio-economic. Our moral appraisal of the violence is likely to be more nuanced if we ask the latter question he argues. Are not civilian settlers in occupied territories legitimate targets as agents of oppression? In war, these are innocent civilians; in a violent conflict that falls short of war, these are common citizens. Search: Search Virginia Held How Terrorism Is Wrong: Morality and Political Violence Published: December 02, 2008 Virginia Held, How Terrorism Is Wrong: Morality and Political Violence, Oxford University Press, 2008, 205pp. Moreover, the best consequences will be achieved by adopting it as an absolute rule, rather than as a rule allowing for exceptions in supreme emergencies. Why are these civilians not considered human? If so, that tells against terrorism, rather than against Held's or any other stringent moral requirements for a morally defensible recourse to it.