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The Morality of Terrorism


The Morality of Terrorism

John Harris

Terrorism: A system of terror
Government by intimidation
A policy intended to strike with terror
those against whom it is adopted [1]

Terrorism is a subject about which it is very easy to
say something but very difficult to say something that
isn’t either obvious or outrageous. I can’t presume
to avoid these traps but I will try to do two things,
the first is to get some sort of sense of the proper
scope of our concern about terrorism and counterterrorism; and the second is to say something about
the morality and hence justification of both these

‘There are no excuses for violence and can never be
excuses for violence’ [2]. ‘No amount of deprivation
can justify violence •.. nothing can justify violence’

[3]. This is extremist talk and perhaps it should not
be taken too literally. Had it been said as a reaction to the assassination attempt on the life of Pope
John Paul it might well have seemed appropriate and
even true, but imagined as an admonition to the Jews
of the Warsaw ghetto to lay down their arms, it would
have seemed stupid and offensive. Certainly a view
like this cannot be the last word on the justification
of .terrorism let alone of violence. For the record
they are the words of William Whitelaw and were a
response to the Brixton riot of 1981.

‘The rebel’s weapon is the proof of his humanity.

For in the first days of the revolt you must kill:

to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with
on~ stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he
oppresses at the same time: there remain a dead
man and a free man .•• ‘ [4]
But for the reference to ‘a European’ this might have
been said by a poetically inclined member of the IRA,
in fact it was said a PPOPOB the Algerian revolution
by Jean-Paul Sartre. In a way it expresses a point
of view opposed if not exactly opposite to that of
William Whitelaw. And again it is not difficult to
imagine circumstances in which we might wish to
support some such view and others in which it would
see.m outrageous.

I shall assume, perhaps rashly, that blanket support for, or condemnation of, terrorism is untenable.

But while they reflect very different attitudes to
terrorism and to the possibility of its justification,
the views of Whitelaw and Sartre are unproblematic in
that they refer to the sorts of violent behaviour that
are paradigms of terrorism: hostage-taking, bombing,
shooting, high-jacking and the like. But our reflections should range wider than this.

State Terrorism
Compare these two conclusions:

‘Mrs. Thatcher: I join with Mr. Kilfedder in
totally condemning all organizations in Northern
Ireland and anywhere else in the world who try
to impose their will by terrorism – taking or
endangering the lives or limbs of innocent men,
women and children.

I share this great sympathy with the 1,500
citizens who have been murdered in this way since
the troubles in Northern Ireland began and the
600 soldiers or policemen.

Our sympathies are with them and we totally and
utterly condemn those who perpetrate these monstrous offences. (Cheers)] [5]
‘Every government that has the physical capacity
to make its threats credible says this to its
potential enemies: If you attack us and threaten
to defeat us, we will kill all the hostages we
hold; that is to say, we will incinerate or dismember as many of your old men and women and
children, and poison as many of your mothers and
their unborn offspring, as it takes to persuade
you to desist; we do not regard as decisive the
fact that they are themselves no threat to us;
nor do we propose to destroy them merely incidentally, as an unsought after side-effect of efforts
to stop your armed forces in their attack on us;
no, we will destroy your non-combatants precisely
because you value them, and in order to persuade
you to desist.’ [6]
Mrs thatcher’S total condemnation of the imposition
of will by terrorism is shared by John Finnis but his
suggestion purports to show that Mrs Thatcher is not
only one of the foremost advocates of terrorism, but
is herself an out and out terrorist.

This startling suggestion is worth exploring in
some detail because it makes a point not only about
the dimensions of terrorism but about the ways in
which it might be justified. Finnis’s charge is that
any government which adopts a policy of deterrence,
and which has the capacity to bomb or do anything
nasty to any part of the civilian population of a
potential enemy, is involved in coercive hostagetaking and so in terrorism. For so long as we are

able to bomb or poison any part of the civilian population of another state then in a real sense we hold
those people, their lives and limbs are in our hands
and can be forfeit at our will. When we use the fact
that we hold these hostages to threaten and coerce
and terrorise these people or their government or
their friends then we are involved in terrorism.

Now of course the hostages taken by Mrs Thatcher
are not prevented from going about their daily
business so long as her threats are heeded. But if
we learned that say the IRA had secreted an atomic
bomb in London and would allow us all to go about our
daily business until their patience was exhausted, we
might well and rightly feel that we were all their
hostages and would remain so as long as we stayed in
London or for so long as the bomb remained undetected
and undefused.

The point is not of course that Mrs Thatcher is as
bad or as dangerous as the terrorists she condemns.

(She is certainly not nearly so bad and equally
certainly much more dangerous.) It is rather that
our concern about terrorism and its justification
should be the widest possible concern and should have
a realistic sense of the scope of the problem of

If we are worried about the morality of using
terror as a method of political ‘persuasion’, and if
we are prudentially fearful of being the victims of
terrorism, then in either case we have the strongest
of motives for a broad conception of terrorism and a
wide discussion of the issues it raises. The problem
of terrorism narrowly conceived is minute. The death
toll from terrorism in Northern Ireland for example
sinae the present round of troubles began is about
one third of the annual toll from road accidents in
the UK and the chances of being knocked over by a car
are still greater than the chances of being knocked
over by a bullet in Northern Ireland.

On the other hand, the balance of terror to which
our government subscribes not only ties up vast
resources which could be deployed to save lives and
alleviate suffering in the world, but also is a huge
and constant threat to the lives of us all.

Now certainly Mrs Thatcher would deny absolutely
that she was any sort of terrorist. She would regard
such a claim as a complete perversion of language, a
piece of empty and tendentious rhetoric of the worst
kind – sheer propaganda! But this response is too
easy; easy because it takes the facile path of dismissing a substantial claim, if a controversial one,
on the slim ground of incorrect English usage. But
this charge, which is often levelled against radicals,
is one that will not stick and it is worth taking
enough time to explain why. Before doing so we should
note that the argument here is the same as that which
has surrounded the use of the term ‘violence’ and
that of ‘speech’ in recent years. The controversy as
to what precisely is or is not to be called ‘speech’

figured centrally in the debates in the American
courts as to whether the actions of Vietnam war
protestors who burned their draft cards and US flags
were an eloquent form of ‘speech’ (whatever else they
were) and thus protected by the free speech clause in
the Constitution. That actions can be speech and
speech a form of action is now commonplace but it is
a point that was perhaps most clearly and eloquently
put by Herman Melville in the late l880s where he
makes Billy Budd’s fate turn precisely on this point
[7], when he defends himself against the capital
charge of striking a superior officer with these

‘I never bore malice against the master-at-arms.

I am sorry that he is dead. I did not mean to
kill him. Could I have used my tongue I would
not have struck him. But he foully lied to my

face and in presence of my captain, and I had
to say something, and I could only say it with
a blow, God help me!’

More germain to our topic is the question of just
what does or does not constitute violence. Many
writers, Marxists particularly, have wanted to broaden the discussion of violence in the way that Finnis
and I want to broaden the discussion of terrorism;
and the Vietnam war protestors wanted to broaden the
conception of ‘speech’. W. Barrington Moore Jnr. for
example in his now famous book The Soaial Origins of
Diatatorship and Demoaraay [8] argued that if we were
interested in the question of whether or not the
violence of the French Revolutionary Terror was in
the circumstances justified, we would have to set it
against the ‘violence of normal times’ – the violence
of the anaien r~gime in terms of a daily and huge
death toll from preventable starvation, and other
calamities of the destitute.

The response that this is all rhetoric is too

‘We owe to the later Wittgenstein [the idea]
that in seeking to understand our employment
of any concept we need to do more than simply
reflect on paradigm cases in which we would
apply it; we need in addition to try to get
clear about the point of the concept, the
interest we have in and the value we attach to
the classification it effects.’

The above formulation of the point is Crispin
Wright’s [9] and I can’t improve upon the clarity
of his gloss upon it:

‘For understanding the point of, or the
interest we have in a concept is as much a part
of understanding it as grasping the conditions
of its orthodox application. A foreign engineer
on board a ship could grasp the range of cases
to which the English expression “Dangerous
situation in the engine room” applied by learning
that it is correctly used when certain sorts of
reading are apparent on his dials; but unless
he understands the point of that concept – that
action of various sorts is demanded when the
concept applies and that unforeseen dangers
calling for unrehearsed actions may arise – he
could hardly be said to have understood it at all.’


It is the point of the concept that is thus central
and what might be called the ‘criteria of application’

of the concept are and must be subservient to its
point. The importance of this can be seen in the
distinction between ‘violent acts’ and ‘acts of
violence’. We can apply the term ‘violent’ correctly
to any act done with the appropriate degree of wildness or vigour, thus wild and vigorous dancing may be
violent! But the correct employment of these criteria
of application of the term ‘violent’ do not make
dancing into an act of violence.

It is concentration upon and argument for the
point of a concept that makes possible the establishment of a coherent case for changes in customary
usage. This, as Wright has noted, happens in arguments about philosophical scepticism:

‘The sceptic for example thinks he sees that what
he takes to be the central point of the concept
of knowledge – that it gives a guarantee of the
truth of what is known – is not subserved by the
criteria of knowledge which we unreflectively
employ; and that if that point is to be sub served
we need to be much more circumspect and restrictive in our application of the concept.’


Now my suggestion is that terrorism is like violence in this respect. We have certain, perhaps
vague, criteria of application of the concept of

terrorism – to groups of so called extremists or even
mad-men and women ‘of violence’, who assassinate,
take hostages, high-jack, bomb and so forth. But our
interest in the phenomenon of terrorism is I suggest
wider than this – and it certainly should be wider
than this. We are interested in the morality (and in
the consequences) of using ter~r as a method of
political ‘persuasion’. We are interested in the
justification of a policy of a balance of terror
between nations or power blocs. We are interested in
identifying the ways and the circumstances in which
intimidation rather than negotiation is the chosen
method of securing ‘consent’. We are interested as
much in a “policy intended to strike with terror
those against whom it is adopted’ whether the instrument of terror is the gun or the club or whether it
is starvation or disease. We are interested in the
question of whether all such forms of terrorism are
to be condemned or only some of them and in the justifications for any selection we make.

We should be under no illusions that the ability
to strike at the civilian population of other states

and the terror of such a threat has been consistently
used by all governments able to make such threats as
instrument of foreign policy. It enables governments
to say to one another ‘keep your nose out of this if
you know what’s good for you’, and has recently
enabled both East and West to set up ~spheres of
influence’ in which they have been able to carry out
all sorts of barbarities without fear of interference
from the only other nations with the capacity to
interfere. In this sense, for neither side are
nuclear weapons merely weapons of defence.

Again, I should make it very clear that I am not
here comparing Mrs Thatcher, or Mr Brezhnev, with the
IRA killers or with the gunmen who took over the
Iranian Embassy in London or with Mehmet Ali Agca, the
Pope’s assailant. What I am doing is pointing to the
fact that terrorism is a very diffuse and disparate
phenomenon and that concentration of our attention
and concern on isolated and relatively infrequent outbreaks of terrorist attack divert us from the more
pervasive and more ultimately disturbing use of
terror as a part of the common currency of politics.

It is this widespread acceptance and use of terror as
a political tool to which we should direct our
attention and concern. It is not for nothing that
world ‘peace’ is widely recognised as involving, and
some would claim resulting from ‘a balance of terror’ .

It is for similar reasons that we cannot confine
our conception of terrorism, as Martin Hughes, a recent
writer on the subject, wishes to do, to ‘a war in
which a secret army – one whose members have other
overt occupations, wear no uniforms and do not otherwise admit their membership openly – spreads fear’.

[12]. Or perhaps the office of Prime Minister is
just such another overt occupation?

So a first conclusion is that any judgements we
make about the morality of terrorism must include

what might be called ‘State Terrorism’. Moreover any
blanket condemnation of terrorism, of the kind to
which we ar~ so often treated by politicians, is
fatuous unless it can relevantly distinguish the
morality of state terrorism from the morality of what
we can call for convenience ‘Rebel Terrorism’.

Let’s look at a different but related case. The case
is that of the siege of the Iranian Embassy and its
breaking by members of the SAS Regiment. This is
from a newspaper [13] report of the trial of the
surviving terrorist:

‘At the moment of the shooting one of the hostages
asked the terrorists to give in. He said: “They
were panicking anyway. The terrorists dropped
their guns. A hostage asked them to throw their
guns out of the window. The hostages threw the
guns out.”
Cross-examined by Mr. Richard Du Cann, QC for
Nejad, Mr Fallahi said: “I was standing at the
desk when the soldiers entered. The terrorists
and hostages were all huddled together. The door
was opE-no We had left the door open and Mr
Morris, another hostage, was sitting by the door.

We left the door open on purpose.

“Mr Morris was holding his hands up. Mr Morris
told them they had all given up. Then I saw the
soldiers. I was frightened: I thought they were
going to shoot me. The SAS men asked who were
the terrorists. I couldn’t answer, but someone
answered, I do not know who. And then they killed
them. They asked us to leave the room. We left
the room.”
There was a great deal of confusion and shouting
and screaming and smoke was coming into the room
from all directions. When the soldiers came in he
did not think they would shoot the terrorists.’

There is, as might well be expected, some confusion
about what happened and this is by no means the only
version of these events that the court heard. However, the suggestions contained in this piece of
cross-examination, that the SAS carried o’ut what
amounts to summary executions on some of the captured
terrorists, is reinforced by the accounts given by
Sim Harris and Chris Cramer in their book Hostage
[14] .

‘Ali Tabatabai recalled that one of the SAS men
walked across the room and picked up one of the
terrorists, Faisal, by the hair. He pushed his
head against the wall and jabbed a pistol into
the gunman’s neck. “I can clearly remember it”
he said. “Faisal ‘s face was against the wall and
I could see the soldier’s gloves holding his
Afro-style hair. The soldier shouted ‘Bastard’

and shot him”. Under later cross-examination at
the inquest Ali admitted that although he had seen
the gun jammed into Faisal’s neck, he couldn’t be
certain that the trigger was pulled. But another
hostage, too frightened to be named, confirmed
that Faisal had indeed been shot through the
neck.’ [IS]
Harris and Cramer also record that:

‘Several other hostages in the room, in interviews
conducted immediately after the siege, also
claimed to have seen one or two of the gunmen
shot, or apparently shot at close quarters.

Ahmed Dadgar, who was seriously wounded at the
time, clearly recalled seeing one gunman at
first machine-gunned and then approached by an
SAS man. “He cradled his head in one arm and
shot him through the head with a pistol” ….

The diplomat said that the terrorist was unarmed
and showed no sign of resistance.’ [16]

Although it must be emphasised that evidence such as
this conflicts with that given by the anonymous SAS
men at the inquest [17], it certainly establishes a
prima facie case for the SAS to answer. But, as is
well known, no case was brought.

If events were as reported above, what could
justify such actions? Assume that the terrorists had
no right on their side and that all the people they
had taken hostage were as innocent as it is possible
to be. We should note that in law it is almost certainly either murder or manslaughter to kill unarmed
people who no longer pose any threat and who could
have been arrested and brought to trial. Even if we
think of. the Iranian Embassy as temporarily a war
zone, it would normally be a crime to kill combatants
who have surrendered unless there is no possibility
of accepting the surrender.

Now the justifications for the SAS conduct might
well be sound and if we look at the sorts of considerations which might be adduced in their defence they
seem all to be utilitarian in form. It might well be
sound to suppose that the best way of inhibiting
future hostage taking in the United Kingdom would be
to show that not only will no terrorist demands be met
but that hostage takers will not only have no chance
of success but little chance of surviving at all.

Thi§ as a clear policy might well be the most economical of innocent lives and be justifiable on this
ground alone. Relatedly it might be argued that if
the SAS or others are to be required to put their
lives on the line to save others and to act as instruments of government policy, then they must have a free
hand and be assured of support almost whatever happens.

This too might be justifiable in terms of economy of
lives, particularly lives of ‘our own’ people since
there may well be a real, if odds against, chance
that someone who surrenders to well trained and
highly armed men might still be able to do them harm
if allowed to live (set off a concealed bomb or reach
a concealed weapon or whatever). Finally it might be
thought that the taking of terrorist prisoners is too
dangerous on the grounds that it offers their friends
a permanent pretext for future outrages in order to
get their comrades released and so a prudent society
will guard against this danger by killing terrorists
out of hand. This seems the least persuasive argument for killing captured terrorists since their
comrades seem neither to need pretexts nor to be
short of them.

The point seems to be this: The ‘authorities’ did
not say, ‘this may have technically been murder or
manslaughter but it was more than justified in the
circumstances’. They have not acted as if (as may be
the case) there were real questions but more than adequate answers. They have acted as if there were no

This inconsistency is even more glaring when we
compare it with the way in which the law requires us
all to run risks in order to preserve the lives of
those we might reasonably see as threats to our lives.

If someone, let alone a gang of people, breaks into ~y
house the law will not allow me to attack them on the
off-chance that they might be carrying weapons or
concealed weapons. I must run the risk that they are
murderers or desperate and only use ‘reasonable force ”
even if my only chance against so many would be to
attack first.

A few months after the Iranian seige, the following
report appeared in the national press [18]:

‘A man who stabbed an intruder because he thought
he was brandishing a gun appeared in court yesterday accused of murder.

Leonard Bennett stabbed the burglar, who was
carrying a gun-shaped torch, at least nine times

with a kitchen knife, Liverpool Crown Court was

He told the police of the attack the following
day and the dead man was found, clutching the
torch in a pool of blood at Mr Bennett’s home.

Mr Martin Collins, prosecuting, said that Mr
Bennett, who had escaped unmarked, had “stagemanaged the scene”. He said that Bennett, aged
51, of York Street, Sefton Park, Liverpool, who
denies murdering John Hargreaves, also of
Liverpool, on November 20 last year, had used
unreasonable force.

“As Mr Hargreaves entered the defendant’s
home he was followed by a friend. That man, Mr
Horst Schlanke, saw the torch fly across the
room and heard the words ‘hold it mate’ ,”, said
Mr Collins.

“As he ran away from the house he heard his
friend screaming. He was screaming because the
defendant proceeded to inflict a series of knife
wounds on his body.'”
The law requires that individuals take quite considerable risks to avoid the risk of death or injury
to others, even others who are lawbreakers and who
may be violent. If it is right that individuals
invaded in their own homes stand trial for injury
done to the invaders and demonstrate what if any
circumstances justified their conduct, then it must
also be right that so-called ‘security forces’ also
stand trial for injuries they inflict which are likewise not obviously legal or morally justified. Of
course in each of these cases the injuries may turn
out to have been justifiably inflicted. The point is
that they should be seen to have been so.

A state then which practices state terrorism and
which permits (indeed celebrates) acts which seem on
the face of it to involve summary execution, cannot
consistently condemn terrorism out of hand. It must
(and perhaps it could easily?) distinguish its own
acts and those of its agents from the kinds of terrorism it wishes to condemn. But to do so would of
course involve stating the sorts of circumstances
which justify ‘this’ terrorism and do not justify
‘that’ terrorism and this would be a signal advance on
the level at which public debate on such matters is
usually carried on.


Can any conclusions be drawn about the justification
of terrorism? I shall not explore further absolutist
stands against terrorism of the sort avowed but not
espoused by William Whitelaw, Margaret TIlatcher and
others. The sincere adoption of such positions
involves, as we have seen, the rejection of any
policy intended to ‘strike with terror those against
whom it is adopted’. This must include at the very
least a foreign policy or ‘defence’ strategy based on
terror or ‘the balance of terror’ and would also
include domestic use of terror of the sort engendered
by the apparent licence of agencies such as the SAS
to carry out, inter alia, summary executions.

A first conclusion then is that if a policy of
nuclear deterrence is justifiabl~ and if the operations of agencies like the SAS are justifiable then
terrorism of the more informal sort, rebel terrorism
as I call it, is also justifiable. One cannot argue
that terror is an unjustifiable weapon in one cont~xt
but not in another. And of course the converse is
also true. Those who think that rebel terrorism is
justifiable cannot argue that State terrorism is eo
ipso unjustifiable. The crucial question in each case
is of course, not whether the use of terror is justifiable, but whether it is justified.

Now, to arrive at an answer to this question in

any particular case is likely to be quite complex and
difficult and to arrive at a general account of the
circumstances under which terrorism might be justified
well nigh impossible. But the point is that we must
try to arrive at an answer in any and each particular
case, for to fail to do so is to renounce morality.

Terrorism is both by definition and by nature a
terrible weapon to unleash and anyone contemplating
so doing would have to be clear that, not only was the
goal to be achieved by terrorism worth the cost of
achieving it, but also that the goal was most probably
achievable by those means and most probably not
achievable by any less costly means. And here we are
of course talking about moral costs. To calculate
these we would also need to know something about the
relative ‘guilt’ or ‘innocence’ of proposed or probable victims and have a view about (and whether) to
draw distinctions between combatants and non-combatants and many other gradations between friends and
foes. Any advocate of terrorism (and of course any
opponent) would likewise have to have a clear idea of
whether the harm occasioned by the terrorism was proportionate to the abuse it was designed to remove and
as to whether such harm remained proportionate as the
campaign progressed.

Martin Hughes has further suggested that insistence~on this last point is illicit.

Noting the
general approval of terrorism against the Nazis,
Hughes goes on to remark:

‘I doubt if even the IRA would say the British
were as bad as the Nazis. They do conduct propaganda offensives about particular grievances or
particular British policies. But if the justification of nationalist terror comes not just from
the occupation of territory that the nation claims
but from the compounding of this deed by policies
of Hitlerish atrocity then the justification
lapses when these causes of unhappiness are
firmly changed. Thus Ireland should cede Ulster
if we try hard to make government there no more
oppressive in practice than it is in most democratic countries such as Ireland itself.

But is this utilitarian limitation on terror
acceptable? If it were, it would in effect give
rich and populous nations the right to seize
tracts of territory from smaller and poorer neighbours and to keep them forever. Being powerful
they would be safe from reconquest by conventional
war. Being rich they could afford to act far
from atrociously, even to provide kinder government than the old sovereign could; the Catholic
minority in Ulster enjoy better social security
than’ they would get in the poorer Irish Republic.

Thus they would make terrorism, the only possible
weapon against them, unjustifiable. Our putative
limitation thus seems to put national rights up
for sale and to make small nations exist on sufferance with an actual duty to submit to conquerors
who come dam fel’entes. Thus I am not sure that

this limitation would be widely agreed.’


Hughes’ point is well taken, but it has a corollary
Every [20] nation state contains some groups of people
with claims to separate (national?) identity and selfdetermination. If a utilitarian view of the justification of terrorism contains perhaps a permanent
licence for big states to invade smaller ones and puts
‘national rights up for sale’, the contrary view contains a permanent license for terrorism and revolution (regardless of cost?) whenever a constituent
group can claim something approaching national identity. Of course Hughes has rather overstated his case.

It is not that rich and populous nations would ‘have
the right to seize tracts of territory’, only that
it might be unjustifiable to use certain means with
high costs in terms of lives, suffering and security
to evict them. Similarly we are not committed to
deny the right to self-determination to small groups
within larger nation states if we believe that their
right to self-determination does not necessarily
carry with it the right to use any means at whatever
cost to achieve that self-determination. Not every
just cause is a just cause for war, or for terrorism.

The morality of terrorism is in many respects like
that of war, it is not unjustifiable but it requires
weighty and careful justification. An essential
part of that justification is the careful assessment
of the importance of what is at stake, compared with
what the costs and the benefits of war or terrorism
will be. Where wars are lightly contemplated for
trivial ends they are rightly condemned and nowhere
is this condemnation better stated than by
Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in conversation with the
Norwegian Captain: [21]
Captain. Truly to speak, and with no addition
We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.

To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.

HamZet. Two thousand souls and twenty thousand
Will not debate the question of this straw:

This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies.

The morality of terrorism is not then much different to the morality of war. If we are interested in
whether or not either of these activities mayor may
not be justified we must be able to point to some
consideration which is a good and sufficient cause
why the man dies. But to pretend that there is a
radical moral divide between terrorism and legitimate
prerogatives of government, like war, or between rebel
and state terrorism, is a gain for hypocrisy and not
for morality [22].

1 ShonBl’ O:&fol’d Engtuh IXotiorral’y.

2 Willi . . Whitelaw, speskina an BBC ‘IV, NiM O’C1.oc1c NfnJa, 13 April 1i81.

3 Willis. White law , speskina an BBC Tv Pc2nol’ama, 13 April 1981.

4 Jean-Paul Sartre, Preface to F. Fanon, 2’hs WNtohsd of thB Eazoth, Penguin,

5 The Times, Parlia.entary Report, London, 29 April 1981.

6 John Finnis, Natumt LaJJ and Natumt Rights, Oxford University Press, 1980,

7 Hemann Melvil1e, Bitty Budd, Signet, 1964, p.64.

8 Barrinton fobore Jnr., Sooiat OM-gins of IXotatol’ship and Dtnnooraoy, Boston,
1966, p.103.

9 In an unpublished paper, ‘Tbe Violence Done by the Bour,eoisie’.

10 This point about the point of the concept I have elaborated elsewhere. See
IIY ViotsMe and ResponBibiti.ty, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980, pp.ll9ff.

The distinction between ‘violent acts’ and ‘acts of violence’ is discussed
at length in Otapter 11.

11 Crispin Wright, op.cit., pp.15-l6.

12 Martin Hughes, ‘Terrorism and National Security’, Philosophy, 52, 1982, p.5.

13 Guazodian, London and Manchester, 15 January 1981.

14 Chris Cr8lller and Sim Harris, HOBtagS, John Clare Books, London, 1982. Cramer
and Harris were of course both hostages in the Iranian Embassy.

15 ibid., p.164.

16 ibid., p.165.

17 See ibid., pp.165ff.

18 Guazodian, London and Manchester, 13 May 1981.

19 Hughes, op.cit., pp.13-l4.

20 Are there any exceptions?

21 W. Shakespeare, Hamtst, Act IV, Scene IV.

22 This paper was written in response to an invitation froll The Public Affairs
Forum, University College London and I IlJII grateful to the organisers of that
ForUII for their invitation and to all the participants, but particularly to
the other speaker, Roger Scruton, for their coments.


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