I probably should have just responded to Megan’s initial post, which basically argues this:
Still, I am shocked to see so many liberals today saying that the correct response is, essentially, doubling down. Make the law more friendly to abortion! Show the fundies who’s boss! You know what fixes terrorism? Bitch slap those bastards until they understand that we’ll never compromise!
Well, it sure worked in Iraq. I think Afghanistan’s going pretty well, too, right?
Using the political system to stomp on radicalized fringes does not seem to be very effective in getting them to eschew violence. In fact, it seems to be a very good way of getting more violence. Possibly because those fringes have often turned to violence precisely because they feel that the political process has been closed off to them.
This is simply wrong. Using the political system to stomp on radicalized fringes is very effective at getting them to eschew violence. It worked in the US to destroy left-wing violent groups in the 1890s and again in the 1970s; it worked against left-wing terrorists in Germany and Italy in the 1970s and ’80s; it worked in France in the ’60s (against the post-Algerian pied-noir right-wing fascists); it worked in the US to destroy right-wing terrorist violence in the South in the ’60s; and so on. It doesn’t work where one nation is trying to stomp on a different nation to get it to eschew violence, which is why it hasn’t worked in Iraq or Afghanistan or Palestine and didn’t work in Northern Ireland. But when a government responds to internal extremist violence that has very little popular support by cracking down viciously on the terrorists and passing legislation inimical to their demands, that tends to work quite well at disarming the violent opposition.
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