“Political Terrorist”? Seriously?

August 7, 2013 07:52
“Political Terrorist”? Seriously?

Calling your opponents “political terrorists” for their point-of-view is an attempt to chill free speech.


By Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D.


U.S. Senator Ted Cruz-R of Texas is calling for Republicans in Congress to defund Obamacare.

MSNBC critic Chris Matthews has replied by calling Senator Cruz a matthews“political terrorist.”

Actually, Congressional funding of the government is part of the Constitution. There’s nothing illegal about Cruz’s proposal. If members of Congress attempted to defund a program (probably defense) that Matthews does not like, he would be calling them heroes.

The thing that fascinates me here is the very concept of a “political terrorist.”

A terrorist refers to someone who initiates force against others. The 9/11 planners were terrorists because they illegally and immorally took over airplanes, sacrificed innocent lives and destroyed private property on a momentous scale. The Oklahoma City bombing mastermind was, similarly, a terrorist, as were the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon attacks a few months ago.

Terrorism refers to the initiation of force on an awful scale. It’s obviously a crime. We all get that.

But how can there be such a thing as a “political” terrorist?

Politics refers to the realm of ideas and policy. There are different kinds of politicians. America’s founders—Ben Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson—were men of principle who sought to establish a workable republic based on the principle of individual rights, private property and freedom of speech and association.

Today’s politicians—as most throughout history—are nothing more than paid hacks, people who claim to uphold principles but really are nothing more than glorified Mob rulers with trillions of dollars of funds (and debt) to spend as their political pressure groups warrant. Obamacare is simply the latest actualization of this sad, largely bipartisan truth.

In any case, politics refers to the realm of ideas. Today’s paid hack politicians are, in fact, initiating force in that unwilling or reluctant citizens have no choice about surrendering their money or business well-being because the government deems health care a right.

But when a politician, or anyone else, proposes stopping or limiting the initiation of force—as in the case of Senator Cruz, with Obamacare—there’s no remote stretch of the imagination that could lead one to call him a terrorist.

You might think Senator Cruz is wrong. You might believe (I don’t know how, but you might) that Obamacare is actually a positive thing that will revive the economy and take all the irrationality out of the hampered health care market. You’re free to speak your mind about this, if this is what you think. You’re free to elect representatives to go to Washington to impose Obamacare. Obviously, a majority did so in the last election, even though polls continue to suggest a majority do not want Obamacare to be imposed.

So why aren’t those of us who disagree, in Texas or anywhere else, free to send a representative to Congress who seeks to use his Constitutional authority to persuade others to defund this health care law?

The implications of calling your opponents in ideas “terrorists”—especially when they’re renouncing the use of force, not imposing it—is chilling. People like Chris Matthews count on the indifference of the masses and the uncompromising rage of many Obama supporters (at least in the realm of politics) never to name it.

By suggesting there’s such a thing as “political terrorism,” he’s implying that one does violence to others by expressing one’s views.

I believe that’s how many supporters of Obamacare and socialism more generally really view it. They think that people have a right to benefits forcibly paid by others. Anyone who seeks to deny this “right” is just as guilty as a criminal, i.e. a killer, a thief or—extreme case—even a terrorist. Matthews, I maintain, was not speaking in emotion. He really means it, as do his peers in opinion.

But think about it. Are you doing violence to others by advocating a philosophy of government that some do not like? Are we to have politically correct speech, and politically censored speech?

Matthews and his patrons will probably deny it when put that way. But what else can we conclude from the idea that there’s even such a thing as a “political terrorist”? How else are we supposed to reconcile ourselves with the idea that holding certain points of view is equivalent to violent crimes against others?

Calling your opponents “political terrorists” for their point-of-view is an attempt to chill free speech. My prediction? The battle for funding Obamacare is merely prologue to a much bigger one on freedom of speech.

Dr. Hurd has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Psychology, Saybrook Institute, San Francisco, CA, November 1991. Degree awarded With Distinction. Master’s of Social Work (M.S.W.), Clinical, The University of Maryland at Baltimore, May 1988. Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.), Psychology, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, May 1985. Distinguished Psychology Student Award, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude. Dr. Hurd blogs at DrHurd.com

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