War on Terror

Andy Wardley abw at wardley.org
Thu Nov 2 13:50:13 GMT 2006

Luis Motta Campos wrote:
 >   This sounds interesting. Do you think that there are many intensities
 > of terror

Totally. In terms of human emotion, it's nothing more than a convenient label
for an intense state of fear. And as emotions go, fear is a rather important

For example, the thought of putting a crack team of fighting ferrets in my
trousers and leaving them to play "hunt the sausage" absolutely terrifies me.
That's why I have, as yet, not pursued this particular activity and probably
never will.

Fear is deeply connected to our innate sense of self-preservation. It has
guided the evolution of humankind away from dangerous pursuits like jumping
off cliffs, running with scissors, and ferret fighting games hosted in close
proximity to one's reproductive organs.

So fear is a very powerful motivator, and one which is used liberally by those
who seek to motivate others.

In the end it comes down to the carrot and/or the stick.  In the modern
context, the carrot is consumerism and the stick is terrorism.  We're the
donkeys, in case it wasn't obvious :-)

After a few decades of rampant carrot-eating, the farmers are starting to
realise that the carrots aren't going to last forever, especially with all
these extra donkey mouth to feed.  So they're now reaching for the stick.

The irony is that most of the farmers don't actually have a stick (in this
allegorical story, sticks are few and far between). But with a dwindling
supply of carrots, it is the *threat* of the stick that keeps (most of) the
donkeys in line.

So the politicians who are waging a "war on terror" are effectively making a
null self-reference. It's like they're saying we should be scared of "being
scared". You chase the pointers but usually end up with a segmentation fault.

In summary, politicians talk meaningless drivel,  No change there.


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