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November 16, 2015

The End of Terrorism, Pt. 1

shutterstock_317638472-2But there’s one thing we must all be clear about: terrorism is not the pursuit of legitimate goals by some sort of illegitimate means. Whatever the murderers may be trying to achieve, creating a better world certainly isn’t one of their goals. Instead they are
out to murder innocent people.
(Salman Rushdie)

In marketing language, there is an old adage: whatever you attract people with, you attract people to. If, for instance, you bring in customers by promising nothing but the lowest prices, you will only gain customers who leave you the second someone else underprices you.

The same is true in all relationships. Beg someone to love you, and they will only love you the way they love a beggar–with pity. Bribe a child with rewards all the time, and he will only behave, and love you, as a mouse does in a science experiment.

Terrorists do not understand this principle. They say they justify their cowardly violence as the necessary means to achieve their end of a Islamic State. Or a Third Reich. Or a White Supremacy. But no matter their language, let’s be clear:
When violence becomes your only means, death becomes your only end. No matter what ISIS says it uses terror to accomplish, it is only in the death business. Death to the West, death to the infidels, death to even themselves. This is why the suicide bomber is the ideal terrorist weapon: if all you care about is death, you’ll even crave your own.

This is also why you cannot end terrorism with more violence. If people are attracted
by death, they’ll be attracted
to death. There is no way to end ISIS, or any terrorism, through violence. More bloodshed will not stop the bloodshed. If we in the modern world ever hope to see the end of terrorism, we have to stop feeding it what it loves: more death. We’ve been waging the war on terror for so long now, but the horror in Paris must tell us one thing: we’re not winning.

For now, we grieve.

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