Terrorists and revolutionaries are on two sides of a wide, prominent schism. While both a terrorist and a revolutionary wish to create pivotal change, terrorists use violence nondescriptly to influence those around them, whereas revolutionaries value the process of achieving their goal as well as the goal itself. Terrorism is a word that seems to permeate modern media. Not a day goes by that the average American hears of the activities of a terrorist group halfway around the world. It’s easily observed that we dislike terrorists.
In the context of American politics, we don’t dislike them so strongly just for their push for religious conservatism, but rather for their violent and random attacks against innocent civilians. They are radically hateful toward their ideological enemies. Which is not a relatively uncommon concept – however, terrorism has the word ‘terror’ at its core for a reason. A terrorist like Osama bin Laden, for whatever motive, wishes to affect the world politically by terrifying people into some sort of action.
In the field of political science, this is the definition, and historically it has been used the same way. Terrorists don’t care how many people are injured by their actions. If anything, they encourage it, because that will attract more attention to their cause. And change does occur, too. For example, in pre-9/11 days, there was little security in airports. Now citizens have to submit to government agencies like the TSA searching them for harmful non-regulation items – everything from guns to medium-sized bottles of shampoo.
Unlike revolutionaries, there are even different sub-groups of terrorism. Eco-terrorism, a new term come to light, describes someone with environmentalist motives using violent actions to urge the government to be environmentally friendly. Such instances include threats to blow up bridges or dams that cause damage to nearby ecosystems. Environmentalist and eco-friendly views are not out of the ordinary – but threatening to explode a bridge certainly is. Terrorists are otherwise referred to as extremists, because their methods of inciting change are very extreme indeed.
News stories of terrorists usually involve attempted harm to civilians through bombs and explosives, whether through the mail, or underneath cars, or within an airplane thousands of feet into the atmosphere. If anyone else wanted to change politics in the US, a responsible citizen might pass around a petition – but not a terrorist. The only want to change the world in ways that harm others and cause needless violence. Revolutionaries, on the other hand, do not believe that the ends justify the means. Thinking of revolutionary figures, people like Isaac Newton, or Ralph W.
Emerson come to mind. These are people who desired to change their world and did so – creating pivotal alterations and thereby becoming immortal in their various fields. They aren’t called terrorists because they didn’t behave like terrorists. Their effect on the world was done peaceably and with no violent intent whatsoever. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. is seen as a potent revolutionary in civil rights. In an effort to dispel the injustice he saw toward his people in America, he held famous demonstrations throughout the south.
These demonstrations are mot famous because they were violent or destructive; on the contrary, King put an emphasis on non-violent civil protest. He was a revolutionary anti-segregation figure, and not a terrorist, because he did not use extreme and violent methods to get his views across. In conclusion, although both revolutionary figures and terrorist have high ambition to change current policy and perception; however, terrorists use violent and injurious ways to get attention whereas revolutionaries have peaceful means to acquire a goal.
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