Jens Oliver Meiert

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The Simple Answer to Our Terrorism Problems

Post from June 9, 2017 (↻ August 28, 2022), filed under .

Instead of making the so-called “free world” another open air prison just like our free governments may or may not desire, here’s the better solution: Everyone who prefers security over freedom gets a cell in a high-security detention unit, 24/7 surveillance and optional isolation included, whereas everyone who prefers freedom over security will get to remain outside, with no surveillance whatsoever. (Those who want both get a free spot in a psychiatric unit.)

Not to (mis)quote Benjamin Franklin again, we have to wake up.

There are ways to stop terrorism, and the first one seems to stop invading and occupying other countries. (It really does look simple: 95% of all suicide attacks, for example, appear to be a direct response to military aggression.)

If we don’t want to do that because we’re the West and we fix everyone’s problems, then we could, for once, stop acting all surprised that there are people who fight our arrogant, violent, […] ways of “politics.”

We could, for once, either have the guts to face what we asked for.

Or we could, for once, understand that we cannot have it all, terrorize other countries, have security, and also freedom. In this combination one can only have one thing. (That should be freedom.)

We could, for once, ask “cui bono.” Who benefits from warmongering? The military-industrial complex (to the ones whose heads explode when they hear the word “theory,” please). These are not only the U.S. arms companies, but also Russia’s, China’s, France’s, and Germany’s (Germany, the pacifist role model, nurtures a most fascinating double standard).

Who benefits from surveillance? People in power. (Surveillance is undemocratic.) Surveillance, from some angle, makes for terrible terrorism prevention but excellent population control.

What we could really do is stop attacking, killing, murdering people. (And detaining and torturing, too.) That might be true progress. That might greatly reduce terrorism. And if there remain people who believe that killing others is the only option to get heard (like terrorists and soldiers and drone operators and those who command them), we may need to become better and at the same time more courageous listeners, to these people. Because life is everything but deterministic: It’s much about freedom, and freedom means to be different, to make mistakes, to also run, even choose, some risk and danger. All of this we need to live, for both we need to fulfill ourselves and grow.

Perhaps contemporary politics is more theoretical (and therefore less effective) and philosophy more practical (and more effective) than we think.

About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead—currently manager for Developer Experience at LivePerson—and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!

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