Who is responsible for terrorism?

Who is responsible for terrorism? Terrorists. Who did you think? What, are you an idiot? It's an obvious trick question. Perhaps I'm being mean, this trick question has stumped many, many "great minds" for many years but the answer really is that simple.

The man in this picture who is about to hack a journalist's head off, he is responsible for what he does. Not society. Not you. Not anyone else.

I remember laughing at the pathetic excuse used by Nazi war criminals when told about it in our history lessons. They were "just following orders". I'd have been in secondary school at this point. It seemed absurd to me that anyone could claim that as a defence. "Why did you steal chocolate from the corner shop?" asked my parents. The bigger boys told me to do it, was a useless excuse. My parents were too clever for it: "if 'the bigger boys' told you to jump off a cliff, would you?". Damn, why were responsible adults so clever?

Personal responsibility is the bedrock of adulthood. If we lived in a society of adults, who were in control of their lives, it would not need explaining.Who is to blame for suicide? The person killing themselves.Who is responsible for crime? Criminals.Who is responsible for you and your life? You are. Currently we do not live in such a society. Instead we live in country where childish lies are pushed to us by sinister people who want to control everyone.

This is because were people to universally understand, admire and practice the concept of personal responsibility we'd be very difficult to control. None of us would be able to look blankly on and shrug as they did the wrong thing on behalf of someone else. Those who want to control you prefer you to just follow orders. A nation with a deep sense of personal responsibility for all they did would be less easily led.

That's why the notion of personal responsibility is so rarely advocated by our so-called leaders. That's also why I think you have a responsibility to preach it.
Previously in the UK our version of the Christian religion carried an version of personal responsibility. It didn't matter what excuses you had up your sleeve, God was going to hold you to account after your life. In practice this would, on occasion, make the population difficult to manage. The pacifists in World War One, largely inspired by Jesus's non-violent example, are a classic example.

The Deserter by Boardman Robinson, 1916

This might explain why the belief system pushed by the establishment these days is "rationalism". Currently we lack a fully developed understanding of human consciousness. Enthusiastic rationalists often ignore this and assume people to be like complex computers, programmed by our past experiences and custom designed by our genetic make up. In this world view our past dictates our future.

"You are not responsible," goes the argument, "your tough upbringing and bad parents are". This is great news for those who wish to lead you. It swiftly abolishes the notion of 'free will' and allows all sorts of people to assume responsibility from others.

However, reality seems to have a different point of view. People are not nearly as rational as our leaders would like us to think. Perhaps this is why collectively we are not easy to control and no matter how many times the notion of individual responsibility is stamped upon it keeps re-emerging in different forms. I think this is because personal responsibility is a universal fact of the human experience. In real life, if the bigger boys tell you to jump off a cliff, reality makes you responsible for that decision.

So too, if you hack a journalist's head off, you're the one who is responsible for that. Not your religion, your mates, your tough upbringing, The West or anything else. You. You did it.



Tommy said…
Good article bud @gtpattison
Anonymous said…
This is nonsense you can't say it's all down to one element(this being the person carry out the action) its pretty obvious there's more to it people are influenced by people around them, there surroundings, what they see, what they hear. If your theory here is correct then Hitler is not at all to blame for world war two because he never killed anyone he just gave the orders, and the only person to blame for nuking Japan is the one who pushed the button not the one who ordered it to be done on or invented it. It's attitudes like yours that cause problems, you just blame the last man and don't dig deeper to see how, and that one person that you blame will understandably dislike or disagree with you then people who are from the same race or country or can relate to the person feel the same then you've just created a problem with your single minded ideas, and it just snowball's from there
Anonymous said…
Straight to the point
Anonymous said…
A one size fits all approach doesn't really work when apportioning responsibility for actions.

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences. All intentions have consequences, but not all consequences had intentions.

If someone loses their job, who is to blame? Sometimes it's the employee, sometimes it's the employer (or the employer's employer), sometime it's a third party.

If you trip up in the street, is it your fault? Or, did something else get in your way and you had no control whatsoever? And even though someone else stuck their leg out, did you unintentionally hurt someone else on your way down? If you weren't distracted, could you have stopped it from ever happening?

If a thirteen year old child commits suicide, is it their fault? Is it really that simple? If a sixteen year old girl gave her baby up for adoption in 1950, was it her decision? If a seventy year old with dementia hits you in the face and breaks your nose, can you blame them?

Terrorists aim to terrify, but what are THEY actually scared of? What caused them to pursue terror in the first place? Why are they being both offensive and defensive? You bet that a chain of consequences or state of mind has influenced their reasoning, however bad. Humans easily move into herd behaviour and not everyone is strong enough or intelligent to foresee the true consequences of not thinking independently. Some are conditioned so that they don't care.

This isn't an excuse for terrorists, but a wake-up call to realise that finding out why and how they have become terrorists is the only way to try to prevent their horrific intentions.

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