What's Wrong With Terrorism?
April 2006, Polity
Some see terrorism is an ideology, others claim it is a deep-seated social or psychological failing, others that it is a form of fighting unfairly judged by just-war standards. In this provocative new book, Robert Goodin puts forward the view that terrorism is, in fact, a deliberate tactic of frightening people for socio-political gain. Fear affects peoples ability to reason clearly and undermines their capacity for autonomous self-government.
In this way, Goodin contends that terror is not only the weapon of organizations such as al-Qaeda; it also benefits democratic politicians who profit from the climate of insecurity induced by terrorist threats and violence. Political figures conducting a campaign of fear as part of their war on terrorism may therefore be committing wrongs akin to those of terrorists themselves. This, Goodin argues, is what is distinctively wrong with terrorism in the contemporary world.
2 Terrorism as Unjust War: Killing Innocent Civilians.
Three Problems with Just-War Analyses of Terrorism.
A Different Sense of 'Innocence'.
War Crime, Ordinary Crime or a Special Offence?
3 Terrorism as a Political Tactic: Intending to Instill Fear.
What Sort of 'ism' is Terrorism?.
What Terrorists Want.
Fear is the Key.
4 States Can Be Terrorists, Too.
The Definitional Ploy.
States Terrorizing Other States.
States Terrorizing Their own People.
Crimes of Complicity.
5 Warnings Can Be Terroristic, Too: Profiting Politically from Fear.
Threats & Warnings.
Impure Warnings: 'Terrorist Warnings' versus 'Warnings of Terrorism'.
Politicians' Intentions Matter, Too.
Terrorism as an Aggravated Wrong: is 'Violence' Necessary?
Better 'Terrorist Warnings' Than None at All.
6 Warnings Bound to be Misheard How Big a Deal is Terrorism?
Mechanisms of Misperception.
Risks of Really Mass Destruction.
7 Terrorizing Democracy Terrorism as a Political Wrong.
Fearlessness as a response.
Hobbesian Solution to Non-hobbesian Problems.
Of Tyrants & Terrorists.
- A provocative and challenging book from one of the world’s leading political theorists
- Provides a detailed analysis of the way in which the ‘war on terror’ has changed the contemporary political landscape
- Argues that ‘the war on terror’ is also an act of terrorism, waged by states against the civilian population for their own political ends
- Offers bold solutions and suggestions for safeguarding democracy in the face of the terrorism perpetrated both by overt terrorist organisations and by states
—Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh, University of Westminster