A "Larger" Problem...and an Old Problem Recent discussions have made me aware that the problem of terrorism is larger than I realized. And I don't mean support for terrorism itself, I mean the attitudes that enable it. I'm seeing these attitudes even from people I know don't support terrorism - and it also may be the reason I have a hard time accepting it when other people claim they don't, while seemingly arguing in favor of it. The problem is the "larger goals" theory. People (and perhaps this is part of human nature) have a tendancy to accept a small wrong to enable a larger right. At its most extreme, some would argue that any action is justifiable if it is in defense of your life or some other "larger goal". Most people accept a more subtle version of it, but it still doesn't jive with modern western morality: the ends do not justify the means. One example brought up recently was a perfect one: the Tuskegee syphilis study. The theory under which that study was undertaken was that it was worth the lives of ~400 poor black men in Alabama to save thousands of others infected with syphilis. The ends justify the means, right? Not in this world, they don't. The US is one of the first places that this attitude started to die. The reason is our insistence on the sanctity of individual rights. People bash the US for the continued existence of the KKK, yet fail to realize that destroying the KKK requires tearing up the Bill of Rights. Someone in another thread said "you've already lost the war" if you refuse to consider any means of defense. What s/he doesn't see is that by accepting tactics that are immoral in defense of a "larger goal", you are, in fact, surrendering right off the bat.