Britain is turning into a country that can't tell its terrorists from its journalists


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Sooooo basically…


Anyone who’s accidentally clicked a Daily Fail link might have the same problem.


One man’s journalist is another man’s terrorist.
One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.


“Whistleblowing is the new civil disobedience.”


Any government? So, say, a Chinese national with an axe to grind could report me to the authorities for publishing my own “Free Tibet” blog?

Awesome. Our current political climate in the US might be horrible, but our reporters still have freedom to act.

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Your second sentence may be true. However, I’m having a hard time thinking of a non-contrarian definition in which writing about stuff can be considered terrorism.

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Arguably (and arguably worse) it isn’t that they can’t tell the difference; but that they don’t consider there to be one.

And, if you follow the correct truly-awful-person-please-end-yourself logic, it’s actually a self-consistent position: If you think of ‘terrorism’ as a crime primarily against The Rightful Order of Things, rather than a crime because it tends to involve killing people and blowing up stuff(which is really a position that gets uncomfortably close, just waiting for you to come over and sit down for a drink, the moment you start defining some of your assorted violent criminals as ‘terrorists’ and others as just run-of-the-mill spree killers, largely on underexamined motives of ideological convenience), why wouldn’t other people who threaten The Rightful Order of Things also be considered terrorists by other means?

(This line of thinking sometimes drifts straight into measures designed to curb the potential threat posed by asymmetrical warfare waged by ‘voters’ attempting to influence governments, which is probably best avoided…)


There is no official definition of terrorism that isn’t politically convenient to someone. It’s a largely useless term that no longer has anything to do with its original meaning. Everyone should stop using it, so that when someone does use it, we can easily identify them as fools and go on about our day.


It is a largely useless term; but if there were an ‘original meaning’ from which it has been divorced, it could always be salvaged just by unleashing a crack team of assault philologists on the problem.

Doing so would probably be interesting in any case; but I suspect that the larger problem is that there simply isn’t some sort of ‘original meaning’ in any but the most trivial “Well, as it so happens, Mr. So-and-So first called his opponent a ‘terrorist’ on date X in publication Y…” sense.

Origin: late 18th century: from French terroriste, from Latin terror (see terror). The word was originally applied to supporters of the Jacobins in the French Revolution, who advocated repression and violence in pursuit of the principles of democracy and equality.

The word, in its politically charged form, convenient to the wielder, has been around for a very long time.

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