Friday, August 11, 2006

Tossing Bombs

From this site.

I've got a better idea: why don't we fix the root cause of terrorism?

The root cause of terrorism is not poverty or ignorance. Terrorists are almost never poor or ignorant. Mohammad Atta was a scion of Cairo's elite. He was wealthier and had more years of education than most Reddit readers.

The root cause of terrorism is that terrorism works. As long as terrorism works, there will be terrorism.

Terrorism works because of democracy. As long as the ultimate principle of government is popular sovereignty, influencing popular opinion through terrorism is a lever of power. People find levers of power and use them.

So the answer is simple. To eliminate terrorism, eliminate democracy.

Most people don't realize that democracy has nothing to do with civil liberties or the rule of law, the elements that actually make Western society livable. In fact, democracy is generally a system that erodes personal independence and legal clarity.

The reason we still have some law and civil liberties in the West is simply that our democracy doesn't work very well. Public opinion in practice has a minimal influence on public institutions. The press and educational system, especially, tends to lead rather than follow popular opinion. This is a good thing. When popular opinion leads institutional opinion, you get problems.

Got a counter-argument?

I suspect this would be Calhoun's view of it, too, though he'd hold on to the word "democracy" and advocate for a system of consent among majorities rather than scrapping the whole game. It's a matter of definition: In his day "democracy" did not mean what Randolph of Roanoke or someone like him had called the Tyranny of King Numbers, though it usually means that today.