If we define “terrorism” as deliberate acts intended to incite fear, then is not “fear mongering” about terrorism like a form of terrorism itself?
You can terrify people by bombing their buildings and murdering their compatriots. You can also terrify people by convincing them that other people want to bomb their buildings murder their compatriots. In the end, the net result is the same. Fear.
It seems to me that you can’t justifiably deny that the annals of history are haunted by an eerie pattern: terrified people tend to make deadly decisions. They make the kind of decisions that future generations tend to grieve and regret.
In the long run, I battle the instinct to be more terrified of fear mongering than I am afraid of terrorism. Ironic, yes.
Inasmuch as our anti-terrorism legislation and measures are animated by our fear, are they not themselves something like measures of terrorism, too? Our fear seems to be the very oxygen of their existence.
What if “terrorists” — that is, the ones spreading fear — are they very ones who are telling us that we must be afraid of others?
And what if, by simply whispering this question and framing this proposition, I myself am “implicated” as an “accomplice” to the enemy?
Indeed, if simply speaking out against fear becomes a criminal offense, we have far more immediate things to fear than the threat of “foreign terrorists”. But fear we shall not. For when our governments and media conglomerates insist that fear is the only legitimate response, then never is it more important to stand together courageously and, above all, without fear.
This, then, is my “anti-fearism” hypothesis: anti-terrorism strategies ought to result in the diminishment of fear, not in its escalation. Fear mongering is terrorism, too.