Egoist and Utilitarian Responses to Terrorism

Egoist and Utilitarian Responses to Terrorism

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Terrorism was not a dormant issue in the media until the attacks on the USA. The organised use of violence to target non-combatants for political purposes, is one of the most effective ways to gain media attention. Mainly used by extremist groups in the hopes of gaining recognition for their religious or political cause. Several attacks on the US have recently made headlines The attack on the USS Cole (October 12, 2000), US Embassy bombings in Kenya + Tanzania (August 7, 1998), Oklahoma City bombing (April 19, 1995) , the World Trade Centre bombing on February 27 1993 and finally the World Trade Centre bombing on September 11, 2001. . There were overt threats made to the US government regarding these attacks but most were dismissed as hoaxes.

What we need to recognize about terrorism is its message. Attacks are usually perfectly planned and precise. In the attack on the WTC and pentagon, thousands of innocent people died when the Al-Quaida flew 3 passenger aircraft into both towers and crashed one into the pentagon, the USA’s best-guarded facility. Hopefully these deaths were not in vein, now other countries have joined George Bush in the war against terrorism and are launching repeated strikes on Afghanistan (the Al-Quaida’s supposed base.) They hope that these attacks will prevent any further events from happening. These attacks have in my view displayed that the Taliban can control the US economy and hit any target they wish, no matter how well guarded it is.
Perhaps America should have been more cautious and handled the threats more carefully. Maybe they were being too proud and this is why the Taliban believe it is justifiable to kill innocents, or they chose to attack now because America was just feeling safe. Whatever the reason, we will never know.

In 2002, the world changed forever. Anthrax, a biological weapon was released into the postal system and a commercial aircraft was turned into a 1000 tonne missile. War will have a new face, it will not be against an enemy firing projectiles, but instead, an invisible, deadly network of shadows attacking miscellaneous targets in random locations. This is why if we don’t act quickly; the world could be cast into turmoil.

So how do other people feel about this topic?
This is how I think an Egoist would feel. The word egoist means that you are only concerned with things that may affect you in the long run.

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Terrorism definitely affects everyone in some way; wether you are a soldier or a shopkeeper. It may be economic, emotional, physical or political you will notice a difference in the world. Depending on which side of the fence the egoist is on would change his views. If he were attacking he would benefit from the land over-run. But if he were being terrorised he would be at a disadvantage and against it. If he were an arms manufacturer, he would profit therefore would be good for him. If the attack were in a far off country he probably wouldn’t care. It is usually safer in peacetime than with terrorist attacks around you so I believe an egoist would only welcome terrorism if he gained more than he could loose.

There are many variables that can alter a person’s views on terrorism, one of which is whether you are dealing it or receiving it. A Kantian’s views rely very heavily on this factor. If he were attacking a country, firstly, he would need a good reason. Then he would need to decide whether it was his duty to help his comrades fight for their cause. If he were receiving the attacks he would need to choose whether to not retaliate or to do his duty and fight back.

A utilitarian makes decisions according to the greatest amount of happiness or the least amount of unhappiness produced. Terrorism never achieves anything except media coverage, hate and retaliation. A util would study both sides of the fight and see what is being fought over. He would sacrifice his life if it would cause more happiness so he would not be bias to one side. In the case of Al-Quaida vs. USA he would probably back the US because there was insufficient reason to take all those lives and if no attack had been launched at all, no one would be dead. Although the Taliban would be unhappy with the US, the US has more innocent people than the Taliban has unhappy terrorists.In conclusion I would like to say that terrorism is a one-way road to destruction. It ultimately achieves nothing. As for fighting it, it’s been around since the dawn of time, cavemen probably terrorized each other. It won’t stop now just because a few fools in Washington decided it should. Terrorism strikes us inside, not because of the things we have lost but because we know that we aren’t safe anywhere. So until the human race becomes peaceful, stops destroying itself and it’s environment, we need to live life to the fullest, like there is no tomorrow, because there may not be one.

Resources:

www.cnn.com

www.theatlantic.com/issues/90sep/rage.htm
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