Monday, June 05, 2006

Terrorists and Freedom Fighters

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that! Lewis Carroll

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. George Orwell

Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today. Malcolm X

This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic. Terry Prachett

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. John F. Kennedy

An article in Saturday's Guardian on Che Guevara, titled 'Poster Boy', brought to mind a recent purchase of mine...a T'shirt with the famous Alberto Corda image of Che on it with the word "Revolution". I haven't worn it yet. I love the is beautiful and the sentiment is too but I am not so sure about the idea that 'the end justifies the means'. I have struggled with this idea since I was a teenager when I first heard of Machiavelli and for a period of time believed that the end did actually judtify the means, it became almost a mantra of mine.

But now I think of terrorists and freedom fighters wonder where the boundaries are...what is the difference between Al Qaeda, the IRA and Che Guevara? All fight for ideals. As the Guardian remind us

Most of those who sport the Che Guevara logo today forget that he was the Osama bin Laden of his time.

I want to wear the T Shirt but I feel that with the Che as an icon and the word Revolution I will need to temper the statement I make with some words of my own. Should I look to Utilitarianism an ethical principle which John Stuare Mills describes as:

The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure.

Is as Mills prescribes having a goal that the "greatest amount of happiness altogether” of the "greater number of people" the right one and is can that be at the expense of or be more important than an individuals happiness?

Is it just the difference between a slow and a fast revolution? Perhaps I need to read the Motorcycle Diaries.


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