The Injustice Theory of terrorism

The New York Times today does itself credit by publishing a critique by Edward Rothestein of Steven Spielberg's film Munich, far less favorable than the Times' own review. Rothstein tellingly focuses on the underlying moral framework of moral equivalence, a flaw in Speilberg's fable noted by many. But underlying the moral equivalence, Rothstein points to the "injustice theory" of terrorism.

Mr. Spielberg's film taps into a highly influential theory about terrorism that itself bears little relation to what is known about this history.

The theory asserts that terrorism is a violent and extreme reaction to injustice — the last resort of the oppressed. Typically, this injustice theory is used to explain left—wing terrorism. It not only coincides with the justifications offered by terrorists themselves, but it also accompanies a belief that a just cause lies behind the terrorist attack. The theory is never applied to right—wing terrorism — whether of the brown—shirt or Timothy McVeigh variety — and thus pre—selects its proofs.

Rothstein mocks Spielberg, but uses an indirect mockery, probably appropriate to the muddle—headed perspective of one who sees the solution to terrorism being the elimination of injustice. As if....

The last two sentences of the article speak volumes:

Mr. Spielberg has said that he will be buying 250 video cameras and distributing them to Palestinian and Israeli children so they can share films about their own lives. Perhaps there will be peace, then, at the end of that?

Hat tip: Richard Baehr

Thomas Lifson  12 26 05

The New York Times today does itself credit by publishing a critique by Edward Rothestein of Steven Spielberg's film Munich, far less favorable than the Times' own review. Rothstein tellingly focuses on the underlying moral framework of moral equivalence, a flaw in Speilberg's fable noted by many. But underlying the moral equivalence, Rothstein points to the "injustice theory" of terrorism.

Mr. Spielberg's film taps into a highly influential theory about terrorism that itself bears little relation to what is known about this history.

The theory asserts that terrorism is a violent and extreme reaction to injustice — the last resort of the oppressed. Typically, this injustice theory is used to explain left—wing terrorism. It not only coincides with the justifications offered by terrorists themselves, but it also accompanies a belief that a just cause lies behind the terrorist attack. The theory is never applied to right—wing terrorism — whether of the brown—shirt or Timothy McVeigh variety — and thus pre—selects its proofs.

Rothstein mocks Spielberg, but uses an indirect mockery, probably appropriate to the muddle—headed perspective of one who sees the solution to terrorism being the elimination of injustice. As if....

The last two sentences of the article speak volumes:

Mr. Spielberg has said that he will be buying 250 video cameras and distributing them to Palestinian and Israeli children so they can share films about their own lives. Perhaps there will be peace, then, at the end of that?

Hat tip: Richard Baehr

Thomas Lifson  12 26 05