Red Herrings: Poverty; Ignorance; National Liberation


Why are they red herrings? Let’s see. True, it is terrible to be poor, but not everyone who lives below the poverty line is a gangster – and not every gangster lives below the poverty line. It is well-known that the 9/11 hijackers were all well-to-do, educated fellows. Which invalidates the “ignorance” argument – in fact, one needs to be quite sophisticated to be able to distill grievances, whether real or imaginary, into a coherent and appealing call for a terrorist action. And planning and executing an attack that is more than a mere fistfight requires a good deal of thought and planning.

The “national liberation struggle” is nonsense, too. It is as if “national liberty” had anything to do with liberty. It is as if Iran, or North Korea, or China, or Saudi Arabia – all of them “nationally liberated” – were free countries. They are not – because when an individual is not free, there is no freedom. There is no “national liberty” – only individual liberty. “National liberation” is a tool of depriving people of freedoms, not of giving them freedoms. Terrorists may well use the slogan of “national liberation” – and they do use it well, and liberally too – but let’s not fall under the spell of their demagoguery.

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