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Democracy and Terrorism

Published in Compass: Thinkpieces. 2009
Abstract Terrorism is a threat to democratic government, albeit one with which we may have to live. But what, if anything, does thinking about democracy tell us about terrorism or counter-terrorism? Democracy takes many forms and the inevitable gaps between ideal and reality exacerbate disagreement about what counts, or should count, as an example of democratic government. Nor is the term ‘terrorism’ less opaque. Still, if democracy is valuable, the differences between democratic and undemocratic government should affect the ways we think about the ethical challenges posed by terrorism. Here are three related suggestions about how a commitment to democratic government should affect our thinking in this area. (1) It is a mistake to think that any distinctive policy proposals follow from the ways in which terrorism is exceptional. (2) Sir David Omand’s ‘ethical guidelines’ for fighting terrorism need to be revised. (3) Citizens are entitled to understand and debate the principles of counter-terrorism.
Keywords DemocracyTerrorismCounter-terrorismEthicsSecurityPrivacyDavid OmandUk
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LEVER, Annabelle. Democracy and Terrorism. In: Compass: Thinkpieces, 2009. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:26465

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Deposited on : 2013-02-25

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