Thursday, July 08, 2010

Defining Terror

Today is Wednesday, 7 July 2010.

A new comment on “On Terror and Intentions”, from “weinerdogzrule”: “Your blog for 6 July, contained my comments on "More Terror" and your rebuttal to the thoughts contained therein. You responsed that you're "not content with such a narrow definition of 'terror'". Obviously, you can define "terror" or "terrorism" any way you wish - it's your blog - but the fact remains that "terror" or "terrorism" is the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) to inculcate fear in order to achieve goals that are political or religious, or ideological. Terrorism is the systematic use of terror as a means of coercion and intimidation - of society or governments. The "broader" spectrum of activities that you describe (including the husband who beats or threatens to beat his wife, the thug who shoves a pistol in a shopkeeper's face, etc.) are crimes which occur daily and are routinely prosecuted by the local District Attorneys on behalf of the State. The husband who beats his wife is guilty of domestic violence, and the thug who shoves a pistol in the shopkeeper's face (presumably to obtain money) is guilty of attempted robbery (or, if he is rewarded with money, robbery). These common criminals are not "terrorists" in that their goals are not political or ideological - their goals are far more immediate and "self-serving"."

As I’ve noted before, I reject, philosophically, the wildly popular (and, to me, infinitely destructive) notion which arbitrarily divides behaviour into “ethics” and “politics”. That is, into behaviour owed to an “in group” (whether defined by family, “race”, religion, nationality, or whatever) and behaviour due to everyone else, with the former entitled to a more favorable treatment. Thus, my “irrefutable logic” leads me to understand violence and threat of violence (“terror”) as a continuum, extending from casual schoolyard bullying to mass murder. For me, the nature of the motivation/intention (such as greed for money, achievement of political or ideological goals, etc.) is not the determining factor in defining “terror”. The threat or use of violence is.

Development of the iPhone seems to have begun some five to six years ago. Until a few days ago, no one at Apple noticed that the formula they used for calculating signal strength, and…well, let Apple speak for itself: “Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong“.

Cue Claude Rains: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” And Steve Jobs is undoubtedly shocked that Apple screwed up on something so fundamental.

This is cutting-edge genius?

On this date in 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army attacked the army of the Republic of China near Beijing, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).


Anonymous Reader said...

"People also have differing opinions as to what constitutes "sex":

I did not have sex with that woman, not a single time."

Wienerdogzrule, you might have a po-ta-toe/pa-ta-toe situation here with HH where the defination of "terror" is concerned. However, I agree with you.

4:41 PM  
Blogger weinerdogzrule said...

I believe that putting the label of "terror" or "terrorism" on virtually all criminal activity involving force or threat of force (domestic violence, rape, robbery, murder) would prove to render criminal prosecution of these acts almost impossible. One must differentiate between the intentions of the behavior, the behavior itself and its results. I don't believe that the prosecution of what is, unfortunately, everyday criminal activity constitutes an arbitrary division between "ethics" and "politics", or that criminal defendants are an "in group" who receive more favorable treatment than terrorists.

Thanks for your comments, Reader. As I mentioned to HH, I do believe that we have beaten this horse to death. We'll have to agree to disagree on this point.

9:18 PM  
Blogger fubarbeliever said...

I am a long-time reader and am usually in agreement with the political views espoused here. I find, however, that HH freely bandies words about and, where their definition does not comport with his argument, he feels equally free to change and/or distort their obvious and true meaning. HH ostensibly invites comment regarding his posts but, for those who dare to disagree with his reasoning or thought process, he is disdainful and contemptuous and often resorts to the sort of sarcasm seen in his most recent posts respecting weinerdogzrule’s comments (see 6 July “oops, emotional again!”; and 7 July “my ‘irrefutable logic’ leads me to understand violence and threat of violence”). The many references to HH’s own “moral universe” as obviously superior to the morals of those surrounding him (those who have apparently given little thought or short shrift to moral responsibilities), are troubling and off-putting as well. I mean, REALLY!!! I don’t allow the children to “take that tone”, and certainly don't welcome it from those who ought to know better.

I think it best, weinerdogzrule and Reader, to rejoin the ranks of those who comment only to agree with HH, express sincere sympathy on his pet’s death, or to wish him happy birthday.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Also a Reader said...

Well said, Fubarbeliever.

I, however, do not wish to rejoin the ranks of HH’s readers whose comments solely agree with him as this would serve only to stroke HH's ego/feelings.

In a couple previous (although distant) posts, HH seemed to insist he welcomes (civil?) discourse regarding his views. I am sure he does welcome conflicting voices as it gives him an opportunity to come back with "No, I am right, therefore, you must be wrong."

HH's storied (according to him) past, leads him to believe his moral universe is superior to those of others. Unfortunately, it appears HH's past is all he has to go on. None of his posts indicate there have been any recent instances/adventures/causes for or in which HH has had an active role off which to base his views. It seems all he has, currently, is taking joy in mincing words. True, that is his right as this is his blog.

Yes, HH is disdainful, contemptuous and sarcastic. He is good at it. As they say, “Go with your strengths.” HH does that in spades.

12:41 PM  
Blogger HH said...

Thanks to "fubarbeliever" and "Also a Reader" for these comments. Allow me to reflect before responding.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Another County Heard From said...

Although I believe HH is disdainful and contemptuous of many public figures, I don't think he feels that toward those who take the time to comment on his blog. It appears to me that he revels in the disagreement and discussion, and what he has been doing in recent days is defending his position.

That being said, I'll put in my two-cents worth and say that I think HH is redefining "terrorism" to include other bad and/or criminal acts because he considers them all equally evil. I don't disagree with that premise, but that doesn't change the definition of the word. Murder of an individual or murder of a group is equally wicked and morally repugnant, but that doesn't mean we have to use the same term to describe both.

I join in HH's anger at injustice, but I agree with the early comment that created this hail storm -- if HH would tone down the rhetoric a bit, more people would seriously consider the substance of his commentary. Fair or not, extreme language is often less persuasive than quieter discourse.

3:13 PM  
Blogger weinerdogzrule said...

To Another County Heard From: Very most-excellently, and politely, said. Your comments are well-taken and nicely done.

Yes, my comment of 30 June 2010 was “In the meantime, it seems that name-calling and hyperbole do little to advance a reasoned argument respecting the real issues.” HH responded with an entire post on 3 July 2010. To that, I commented “I notice that your writing reflects opinions that are certainly sincere and heart-felt. I believe that it would be far more persuasive to others (who else?) were your style a bit less inflammatory and emotion-laden. Just my opinion…”, and was joined by Reader who echoed my sentiments. To that HH responded with an entire post dedicated to convincing me (and, presumably his other readers), that my comments were ill-founded. And suggesting that perhaps I wasn’t smart enough, or that I should strive to be wise enough, to discern and appreciate the rationality of his thought process. OK...... (I've been called many, many things in my life - "stupid" was not typically among them)

Well, those comments, together with successive posts and comments, created quite a s***storm. It seems that HH has many, many unhappy readers - presumably those who have posted comments indicating that they are not altogether in agreement with HH’s ideas. Some of the ones here accuse HH of intellectual dishonesty, claiming moral superiority and just plain unkindness.

Well…. I never took too much to book-larnin’ and sech, bein’ that I originally hail from intellect-hatin’ Oklahoma and all, but it seems to me that the drama needs to be dialed back a notch. In the words of Elwood P. Dowd:

“In this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you may quote me.”

6:38 PM  
Blogger weinerdogzrule said...

OH… one more thang (as they say in the South). I respect and applaud HH’s efforts in daily blogging his observations, thoughts, feelings, music choices, poetry, etc. and believe that he has given much thought to a great many subjects. For the most part, I agree with the political philosophy espoused by HH. Furthermore, as I have already said, I share his outrage, concern and indignation over recent events in this country and, in particular, with the odious Supreme Court decision which was the subject of our recent discussions. Having said that, however, I find that I, and most others I know, do not enjoy being scolded or lectured by ANYONE - HH included. I, too, have given a great deal of thought to a great many subjects, and find that oftentimes reasonable minds can differ. Things are not always quite so very clear-cut. I’m just sayin’… Now I’m off to Punjabi Tadka for some great Indian food!

7:16 PM  
Anonymous HH said...

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a joint of this name in the East Village. 11th and A? Only lasted a year or so. Maybe 8 tables; mostly take-away. Google tells me this one is 48th/10th. Do they deliver west of the Hudson?

7:36 PM  
Blogger weinerdogzrule said...

No delivery west of the Hudson, such as I know of, HH. I make a pretty mean curry sauce, and a great chicken tikka, myself... but this place has rajma masala, nain, spinach rice and raita that is off the hook! Very spicy (on request - and I do request it), fresh, homemade and TASTY! Best anywhere (unless you travel to India)! So, you'll just have to persuade Han Solo (with Chewie and the Ewoks) to take you there in person! It's mostly delivery and take-out so all you have to do is be somewhere in close proximity...

9:39 AM  
Blogger Voice of Reason said...

WHOA!! Whoa there!! I’ve been lookin' in on this blog for a couple years now, and looks like the wheels fell off the bus. Some people got their knickers in a real bunch here. To all of them I would say - MOVE ON! GET A LIFE! Here’s the thing, you’re makin’ this WAY YONDER too important. You think you’re gonna change HH, or his opinions? Lemme tell you folks, NEWS FLASH: It ain’t gonna happen. And he doesn’t have to change - it’s his deal. You think he’s self-aggrandizing and self-important? So what?? You think he’s sarcastic and contemptuous? So what?? You think he’s pretentious? So what?? You think he’s a humorless buzz-kill? So what?? (Although it IS pretty funny when he writes stuff like “a lovelier spot one could not for ask.” What’s goin’ on with that?!?!? Such sentence structure I have not before of tell heard. Unbelievably pretentious and silly such sentences are. I defy readers a straight face to keep when HH this kind of sentence writes. I could go on and on, but will, for now, there leave it.) Unless HH is your spouse or your boss -- What’s it to ya? Whaddya care?

ANYWAY, all the commenters here, with the exception of a few, look to be friends, colleagues, co-workers, etc., people who know and like HH. So just chill, sit back and laugh at or ignore the parts you don’t like, and enjoy the parts you do. If you can’t find anything to enjoy, there’s LOTS of other leftist-leaning blogs and sources you can check out. And, just for fun, check out the Daily Show with Jon Stewart or the Colbert Report - excellent satire and really, really funny. SOOO, I say again MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE!

Ride a bike.
Take a hike.
Go get cool
In a pool.
With Thing 1 and Thing 2
There’s lots of funny things to do.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous CPA Girl said...

Weinerdozrule - Amen!
Voice of Reason - Amen!

11:43 AM  

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