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Violence as a political tool

by Peter Rose about a year ago in history

Terrorism is a political weapon

Violence as a political tool

Terrorism is a political weapon

Despite the religious claims of some terrorist groups, what all terrorists seek is to force a political change on the nations they try to terrorise. Terrorism is another political tool, one used mostly (but not exclusively) by non democratic governments and non democratic groups, wishing to overthrow a democracy. If the advocates of direct action and physical violence could engage in the democratic process and gain a majority they would not need to destroy life and property. They know they can never peacefully persuade a majority and so they seek to force change by violence. Violence is the tool of those who have lost the argument. Violence has the short term aim of providing localised dominance and the longer term aim of provoking fear. Fear of violence is more effective, politically, than the localised short term physical effects of actual violence. Fear can affect huge numbers of people spread over large areas, fear can influence attitudes as well as actions.

It is hard to find evidence that terrorism does cause an established, democratic nation to capitulate and give up being democratic, but there are cases where a non democratic government uses violence and terror on its own people, to curtail efforts to replace that government. There are obvious historical examples of one dictatorship being overthrown, by violence, and so replaced by another dictatorship. The history of Europe and the pains caused by such as Hitler, Franco and Mussolini; show that extremists, in these cases Fascist ones, can take control of a nation. Other examples from Europe show that communist dictatorships can also come to power. Once in power they use violence against their own people as a way of maintaining their grip on power. It reality the two opposites of the political spectrum, behave the same as each other. Only a few of these governmental examples lasted more than 50 years, most a great deal less. History in Europe and in the volatile nations of South America shows that violence and extremism took control in the periods between rule by royalty and the establishment of democracy. Britain suffered from several civil wars until a parliamentary system (admittedly in early days, with a limited enfranchisement) with a separate and unelected head of state; was established.

Many of us are by nature, by training, and by social conditioning, relatively cautious people. Many think like an engineer and so like to design, plan, measure, check twice, before expending money, time, energy or blood. But, most do not think violence is always wrong. Violence has its place, not as a first resort, not as automatic reaction to anything; but as a means to an end when all else fails. Dealing with the unreasonable requires actions that are not compatible with reasonableness.

If the only choice is between absolute capitulation to a barbarous and unreasonable oppressor, or violence then most will choose violence. To those who think we should reason with terrorists when they have only one aim, that of subjugation of our nation, our way of life, our generally held belief; then they are wishing to accommodate the devil. It will not work. If reason will not work then surrender will not work either, all that is left is violence. If violence is the only weapon your enemies use, then meet it with with greater violence or you will fall. If you fall then those dependant on you will suffer.

The fear that was mentioned earlier, can work in both directions, if those using violence, become fearful of being captured or killed before they achieve the aims they have been conditioned, or tricked, into seeking; they become less effective in the carrying out of their acts of violence. A gunman who starts to believe he will be shot before he has carried out his mission, will be less focused on the mission and more focused on survival. If those who lead terrorists, usually from a place of safety for themselves, believe that their enemies have infiltrated their own organisation or believe that their enemies will not hesitate to execute them, without legal due process, they become less focused on doing harm and more concerned about staying alive.

history

Peter Rose

Collections of "my" vocal essays with additions, are available as printed books ASIN 197680615 and 1980878536 also some fictional works and some e books available at Amazon;-

amazon.com/author/healthandfunpeterrose

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Read next: Liberals Versus Reagan

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