Saturday, May 9, 2015

Where terrorism is taking us

Consider that each attack demands that we become more careful of what we say and of what is published. We fear our fellows and their heritage. Our fundamental freedoms are restricted by the eroding influence of the attackers. Seeing the ways that the freedmoms provoke the terrorists, authority figures say, "We must take precautions around all free expressions which may offend the terrorists." The "may" allows room to expand the presence of protections -- never to contract. The terrorist will not moderate his stance by saying, "Such and such class of action is no longer offensive," but with each additional attack on a previously putatively excluded action, the fear makes a retraction by us, and not the terrorist, most natural. So, an unfettered growth in the presence of free-expression-police seems to be in effect. These police have as their mission to defend those freely and legally expressing their opinions from terrorists. Could these figures, however, be perverted such tthat the police inhibit free expression to pre-empt potential attackers? This danger could manifest in other ways, but in particular I think of the asymmetry of possible attackers to defenders, the definitional foundation of terrorism. That is, an attack will be effective with any success and most mentions of attacks among us, but police cannot continually protect all targets. In the face of this asymmetry, authorities may opt for reducing the number of targets -- restraining liberty. Is there an alternative response to terrorism that prevents a chilling of liberties while still effectively reducing the scale and volume of terrorist attacks?