Warning of terrorism = terrorism

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Last updated on June 15th, 2017 at 11:53 am

Professor Bob Goodin, of the Australian National University’s Department of International Relations, will today argue that politicians pursuing the war against terror are themselves terrorists. From an internal email, forwarded by a reader, is this abstract:

Terrorists do all sorts of terrible things: they kill people; they destroy buildings and airplanes not belonging to them; they kidnap people and cut off their ears. But the offence of ‘killing people’ is already on the moral statute books; so is ‘kidnapping’, ‘maiming’ and ‘destroying property of others’. What, then, is the distinctive wrong of terrorism? I suggest that it is ‘frightening people for political advantage’; and that is something that can be done even by people who issue warnings without themselves committing any further terrorist acts. Politicians waging a War on Terror designed to frighten people into voting for them might thus be engaged in terrorism of a sort themselves.

They kidnap people and cut off their ears? They destroy buildings and airplanes not belonging to them? Why, these terrorists are wicked people indeed; soon they might be cutting off entire heads, and destroying more stuff they don’t own. Professor Goodin—author of Protecting the Vulnerable (U Chicago Press, 1985)—commences his talk at 12.30 pm in Seminar Room A, Coombs Building #9, Fellows Road, ANU. If you attend, ask him about the gross injustice of earless terror victims who are unable to hear politicians’ terrorism warnings.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 01:21 PM
    1. Professor Goodin is obviously just another clueless jackass who’s been safely tucked away in a classroom his whole life.  Thrust into the Real World with all its attendant horrors, he would die of the shock.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 04/26 at 01:59 PM • permalink


    1. Lebanese demmand Syria account for detainees

      Posted by Kofi Annan on 04/26 at 02:01 PM • permalink


    1. Politicians waging a War on Terror designed to frighten people into voting for them might thus be engaged in terrorism of a sort themselves.

      No, no, no.  Bush, Howard, and Blair aren’t waging the War Against Terrorism in order to get votes.  They’re waging war because the terrorists came to America to wage it (and Europe, Africa, and Asia before that).  And to avoid future acts of terrorism that won’t be confined simply to buildings and a few thousands of people but to whole cities and millions of people.

      Until the left liberals begin—please note, I’m not saying completely, only begin—to understand this, the voters of the US, Australia, and Great Britain will never cede power to them.  It would be like ceding power to a bunch of MTV teenagers.

      What a complete—what’s the Aussie term? oh yes—wanker.  (Did I say that right?).

      Posted by wronwright on 04/26 at 02:04 PM • permalink


    1. Presuming the Professor holds classes, then he is guilty of false imprisonment, propagandizing, forcible evangelism, rhetorical rape, creatinga hostile work environment, and extortion (he demands papers for grades, for instance) if we follow his logic.

      I say arrest the bastard now and throw him in durance vile.  It’s the only answer.

      Posted by JorgXMcKie on 04/26 at 03:00 PM • permalink


    1. Durance vile.  Cool.  Thought I was the only one who used that phrase.

      “terrorism of a sort”

      All that sophistry working up to it, and this Goodin clown still waffles.

      Posted by Achillea on 04/26 at 03:06 PM • permalink


    1. After all, surely there’s No Difference Whatsoever between telling people something about the world, that is both true and pre-existing (“Certain terrorist organisations wish to kill you to further their plans for world Islamic government.”) and making threats of death and destruction de novo (“Give in to us, establish Shari’a, and join the new coming Caliphate, or we’ll kill the lot of you”).

      Well, to the rest of us there’s a difference.

      Posted by Sigivald on 04/26 at 03:13 PM • permalink


    1. Galambosianism is the only course left.  If you think something up, you have a primary property right in it; and only you can repeat it.

      Thus :

      “There are five legitimate functions of government.’’

      “No kidding.  What are they?’’

      “I am not at liberty to say.  The theory was originated by Andy Galambos and it is his primary property.’’

      That will stop the politicians.

      Posted by rhhardin on 04/26 at 03:19 PM • permalink


    1. By claiming warnings of terrorism are themselves terrorism, isn’t Goodin himself committing terrorism by warning us about warnings of terrorism?

      Posted by Rob Crawford on 04/26 at 03:26 PM • permalink


    1. Be thankful, you could have ward churchill, as well. It’s about time for old ward to move on anyway, he has plagiarized damn near eveything in the States. He’s looking for new territory.

      Understand the University of Colorado gave him a map of Australia, ward promptly claimed that he had discovered a ‘new land’ and claimed it for the Native American tribe he doesn’t belong to….:).

      Posted by El Cid on 04/26 at 04:14 PM • permalink


    1. “…War on Terror designed to frighten people into voting for them …”
      Memo to Bob the Prof: A bit of revision required on Cause and Effect, old chap. Or, dare I say, the post hoc ergo propter hoc thing.

      Posted by blogstrop on 04/26 at 04:29 PM • permalink


    1. This is a pretty conventional legalistic position.  We already have laws against murder, Goodin posits, so isn’t that enough?

      The failure to identify this conflict as a war instead of a legal hassle is a fundamental difference in how the left and right approach this situation.  Goodin thinks we can just wait until we’re hit, then prosecute and incarcerate upon conviction.  There’s no prevention, no addressing core issues, only reaction.  I think it’s an incredibly naive approach that will result in bigger and bigger attacks, but proponents of this approach have always seemed oddly detached from radical ideas like preventing attacks or defending themselves or their country.

      Ask John Kerry how the legalistic position worked out for him.  Goodin’s position is a minority position.  Like most irrelevant academics, he is best ignored.

      Posted by Matt in Denver on 04/26 at 05:07 PM • permalink


    1. Wronwwright

      I hate to disilusion you, but Britain does have a liberal government.  Tony Blair, like Lloyd George in the First World War, has got one thing right, the War, but on just about all other importatnt issues he and his government are a bunch of idiotic lefties busily bringing their once great country to its knees.

      Posted by Toryhere2 on 04/26 at 05:13 PM • permalink


    1. Rob:  You took the words right outta my keyboard.

      Posted by Baby M on 04/26 at 05:30 PM • permalink


    1. Sounds distinctly like the various rantings of the cretins who infested the history department at a certain almer mater of mine…don’t get me started…

      Posted by murph on 04/26 at 05:41 PM • permalink


    1. Are Al Qaeda “the Vulnerable”?

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 04/26 at 06:37 PM • permalink


    1. Terrorism of a sort.

      I really have to ask Mr. Goodin, is “terrorism of a sort” more or less relevant than planes flying into buildings?

      It’s a magnitude kind of thing.

      Posted by Chaos on 04/26 at 07:04 PM • permalink


    1. So frightening people for political advantage is terrorism of a sort?

      Well, he’s trying to scare me to benefit his side.  Therefore he’s a terrorist. QED.

      Personally, I really think he’s just a pompous jackass.

      Posted by JimC on 04/26 at 09:20 PM • permalink


    1. In the faculty of writing nonsense, stupidity is no match for genius. – Walter Bagehot

      Posted by John Kane on 04/26 at 09:34 PM • permalink


    1. Wronwright, I think wanker is too dignified a term for this chap.  In Aussie slang, it CAN sometimes be a term of endearment (as in, “You really are a silly old wanker, aren’t ya?”).

      “Complete and utter tosser” removes any doubt.

      Posted by entropy on 04/26 at 10:09 PM • permalink


    1. Since Goodin is clearly committing terrorism against his students while in the classroom, an occupational situation, he should be charged under the ACT’s new industrial manslaughter legislation.

      Posted by mr magoo on 04/26 at 10:19 PM • permalink


    1. It’s like I always say–trying to argue with a Post-Modernist/Post-Structuralist is a lot like being the Coyote in a Roadrunner cartoon. No matter what the laws of physics, reason, or anything dictate, the Roadrunner can always redefine them to his advantage–and no matter how many hundred feet of solid rock you may THINK you’re standing on, you’re always the one who ends up plummeting 350 feet to the canyon floor. Eventually, if you’re smart, you realize what the Coyote doesn’t–that there IS only ONE RULE in the world of the Post-Modernist/Post-Structuralist; regardless of reason or logic, the conservative is always wrong–the coyote always loses.

      Posted by alyosha on 04/26 at 10:30 PM • permalink


    1. Toryhere2, you’re correct mate.  (Can a British be a mate or is that an Aussie word?).  I suppose I was thinking more along the lines of the Liberal Democrats, but yes, the Labor Party is a liberal party.  Of course, one could say the same about Michael Howard’s Tory Party at the present.  (Isn’t the internet wonderful.  I actually know about British political parties now).

      entropy, thanks for the suggestion.  I’m practicing it with my Aussie accent.  I’ll put it into my repetoire of Anglo expressions, right beside “sod off swampy”.

      Posted by wronwright on 04/26 at 10:33 PM • permalink


    1. Politicians waging a War on Terror designed to frighten people into voting for them might thus be engaged in terrorism of a sort themselves

      What you say is what you are!?!?

      (*sticks fingers in ears*)

      nya nya ny nya nyah!

      Posted by murph on 04/26 at 10:34 PM • permalink


    1. alyosha –

      Tell them they have to define their terms.

      This upsets them terribly.

      Posted by Pixy Misa on 04/26 at 10:40 PM • permalink


    1. ROFLMAO!  Rush is right.  The longer the left is out of power, the more entertaining they get! 😀

      This lot, here in the US and in Australia, are getting funnier and funnier every day!

      Posted by mamapajamas on 04/26 at 10:52 PM • permalink


    1. Noam Chomsky, now in his dotage, interferes in Australian legal processes with a gratuitous comment.

      “The actions of the Australian Government in pursuing Jack Thomas suggest that they are willing to trample on basic civil and human rights in the name of the war on terror,” Mr Chomsky said. “Australians should be alarmed.”

      Chomsky alarms me – he’s right about that.

      Keep up the trampling – we need more of it.

      Posted by walterplinge on 04/26 at 10:53 PM • permalink


    1. Jeez.  What a complete and utter tosser!

      (thanks, entropy!)

      Put this guy in a real situation in the real world, and he’ll be reduced to a state of gibbering insanity.

      Oh, wait, how would one tell the difference?  Never mind…..

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 04/27 at 12:17 AM • permalink


    1. Perhaps Prof. Goodin should run his argument by the philosophy department at ANU.  It’s patently invalid.  It runs:

      Terrorism is frightening people for political advantage.
      Issuing terror warnings is frightening people for political advantage.
      Therefore, issuing terror warnings is terrorism.

      The argument commits the fallacy of undistributed middle and is thus invalid.  So even if the premises are true, the conclusion doesn’t follow.  Compare it with this argument having the same form:

      All cats are mammals.
      All dogs are mammals.
      All dogs are cats.

      The premises are true but the conclusion is false, making the argument invalid.  You don’t have to be a logician, however, to spot the flaw in Goodin’s argument.  The fact that two things share something in common doesn’t mean that they’re the same thing.

      Goodin also uses “weasel words�? when he concludes that politicians “might thus be engaged in terrorism of a sort themselves.�?

      So his argument is either invalid or wishy-washy.

      Posted by Bill Ramey on 04/27 at 01:31 AM • permalink


    1. Tonight’s ABC 7:30 report had a story about terrorist organisation Hezbollah in Lebanon. By the time it ended we had been told that they had forced Israel out of Lebanon, and that they were keeping their arms in order to ensure that Israel did not come back.
      We were also told that they were developing drone aircraft to fly over Israel and possibly deliver chemical or other payloads.
      At no stage in this story did the ABC report the reasons why Israel had to go into Lebanon in the first place – namely terrorist activity by the PLO under the control of Arafat, who was at that time operating from Beirut.
      Nor was there any mention of the continuing attacks over many years by southern Lebanese terrorists against Israeli settlements close to the Lebanese border.
      Does the ABC take us all for complete mugs?
      Russell Balding recently took up space in the Australian to make a case for the ABC still being the National Broadcaster. He spent most of it talking about when it was appropriate to cut into a program to give breaking news.
      He spent none of it talking about fair and balanced reporting, which I regard as a key obligation of a national broadcaster. The ABC has, tonight, once again, failed its viewers by being a poor reporter. Unless it can correct this, it will continue to be attacked, and with good reason.

      Posted by blogstrop on 04/27 at 05:11 AM • permalink


    1. For more on Lebanon in 1982 see the Ted Lapkin article linked in We Like Da Loon below.

      Posted by blogstrop on 04/27 at 06:15 AM • permalink


    1. Is this the same as Teddy Kennedy offering to drive you home from the party?

      Posted by Abu Qa’Qa on 04/27 at 06:16 AM • permalink


    1. Warning about warning about terrorism = terrorism^2 ??

      Posted by Rob Read on 04/27 at 07:34 AM • permalink


    1. #28 Bill Ramey:
      Thanks for a logical refute … I was lucky to learn logic in school using Venn Diagrams … VDs for short … I only remembered logic because the wits in class couldn’t stop referring to VD … Hmmm …

      Posted by Stevo on 04/27 at 09:35 AM • permalink


    1. Toryhere2 –

      Blair got just about everything to do with the war wrong, excepting Britain’s participation therein.  He insisted that Bush go to the UN for a second resolution, told Bush he could deliver one, lied about the WMD intelligence, and then covered up his lies during and after the War, at the cost of the life of Dr David Kelly.

      Small wonder, really, that British support for the war dropped from 70% in April 2003 to 30% today.  Incompetence and lies come home to roost eventually.  Unfortunately, it’s not going to be quite enough to destroy his government next week.

      Posted by PJ on 04/27 at 11:46 AM • permalink


    1. PJ—it was the BBC that lied about pre-war intelligence, and THEIR lies that cost Dr. Kelly his life.

      Posted by Rob Crawford on 04/27 at 12:40 PM • permalink


    1. Rob Crawford –

      Bliar described the pre-war intelligence as “extensive, detailed and authoritative”, when it was none of those things.  That was a direct, outright lie.  If he hadn’t removed the caveats from the intelligence in the dossier, Kelly would still be alive.  And if he had insisted that the MoD stand by their employee, Kelly would still be alive.

      Bliar, by his odious, twisting, disingenous behaviour did the anti-Saddam coalition a lot of damage.  It’s similar to his behaviour on many other issues of course.

      I don’t think the BBC came out of it particularly well either though.

      Posted by PJ on 04/27 at 01:06 PM • permalink


    1. PJ, you might have a point, but I feel Blair is one of the heroes here.  More so because the easiest thing he could have done (and certainly the thing Bill Clinton would have done if the places were reversed) was to simply apologize to George Bush and the American people, tell them that they have his moral support, and kept the British military and support at home.

      What’s the downside to that?  He saves money, he avoids risk, he can reap praise from Labor, Liberals, and countrymen alike for standing up to the arrogant hegemon, and he would likely suffer little damage from the US who basically is used to receiving little substantive help on resolving difficult issues facing the world.

      But to his credit, he led Great Britain into joining the coalition in the latest war to end all wars—at least those waged by Islamic terrorists—and to defend or spread peace, security, tolerance, and democracy throughout the world.

      I can’t agree with you on David Kelly.  It’s my understanding that the information he passed secretly and improperly to the BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan, and his somewhat weak mental state were the prime reasons for his unfortunate suicide.

      Posted by wronwright on 04/27 at 01:40 PM • permalink


    1. PJ is mainly correct.  The problem is that the “lies” are nothing more than an excuse for leftist knobheads to bash Blair for siding with Bush.  Leftists complaining about lies…now that IS a joke.

      Posted by murph on 04/27 at 04:23 PM • permalink


    1. I know exactly what Mr. Goodin means. I was terrorized when liberals and the MSM “warned” me that John Kerry might the next U.S. President.

      Thank God it was only terrorism and not an actual forcast of things to come.

      Posted by Dorian on 04/27 at 05:02 PM • permalink


    1. Earlier I suggested that Prof. Goodin run his argument by the philosophy department at ANU.  It turns out that he is a member of ANU’s philosophy department. Now philosophers certainly aren’t immune from making bad arguments, but the fallacy of excluded middle is a rather basic error for a philosopher to make.  So I find the original quote all the more disconcerting and hope that it doesn’t lead to the general disparagement of philosophers.

      Posted by Bill Ramey on 04/27 at 06:07 PM • permalink


    1. Some philosophers are like somebody trying to recast statistical theory as probability theory. Trying so hard to fit deductive pegs into inductive holes, that they’ll stoop to a sham deduction, especially when politics gives them an excuse for bit of pia fraus.

      Posted by ForNow on 04/27 at 07:39 PM • permalink


    1. … and hope that it doesn’t lead to the general disparagement of philosophers.

      Ha!  Bill, I don’t think there’s much worry that a quote will do that.  I think what will disparage philosophers is the tendency of teaching Philosophy 101 and after 10 to 15 weeks of classroom lecture and reading assignments the students emerge with not a clue what the subject was about.

      I can tell you with complete truthfulness that I got much more benefit out of my Billiards and Bowling courses than from my one (and thank god only one) philosophy course.

      Posted by wronwright on 04/27 at 09:16 PM • permalink


    1. When I hear talk of philosophers, I am always tempted to paraphrase Robert Heinlein.  Today, I give in to temptation:

      “One man’s philosophy is another man’s belly laugh.”

      I also wonder at the value of teaching logic in a philosophy course.  This may have be reasonable at one time within the educational system, but it became an oxymoron long ago.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 04/28 at 01:37 AM • permalink


  1. We teach logic in philosophy, because philosophy is the analysis of arguments and logic is the study of arguments. So it’s bit odd to refer to teaching logic in philosophy classes as an “oxymoron.”

    At any rate, even a rudimentary philosophical education would allow one to show just where Goodin’s reasoning goes awry.

    Posted by Bill Ramey on 04/28 at 11:30 AM • permalink