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News Boston Tea Party Activists Were Terrorists

  1. Jul 3, 2011 #1
    It tickles my funny bone to note that the U. S. Code of Federal Regulations defines the original Boston Tea Party activists as terrorists! 28 CFR Section 0.85 defines terrorism as "the unlawful use of force and violence . . .to intimidate or coerce a government . . . in furtherance of political or social objectives." This makes the Libyan insurgents all terrorists, and any attempt to assist them could well be called "aiding terrorism". Moreover, the Zionist movement that fought the British under the mandate were also "terrorists" under the U. S. Code, as were the anti-Nazi resistance fighters during WWII.

    If you think the law is ridiculous, I agree. Tell it to your legislators who wrote it.
     
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  3. Jul 3, 2011 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Why do you think the law is ridiculous? It sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. No secret there. As far as the Brits were concerned, the Boston Tea Party was an act of terrorism. It is all a matter of which side you're on.
     
  4. Jul 3, 2011 #3

    cristo

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    Absolutely they were. Why do you think Wills and Kate are on their way over? Come on colonialists, time to pledge your allegiance to the Queen.
     
  5. Jul 3, 2011 #4
    Because it also defines George Washington and the rest of our founding fathers as terrorists. I believe that any law that makes that assertion is a ridiculous law for the country that they founded to adopt.
     
  6. Jul 3, 2011 #5
    slightly rewritten. ... ( or .. as I read this sentence )

    I believe that any law that also defines George Washington and the rest of our founding fathers as terrorists, is a ridiculous law for the country that they founded to adopt.



    That's a mighty tall pedestal to be putting simple people on.
     
  7. Jul 3, 2011 #6
    Our founding fathers were not simple people by any stretch of the imagination. They were extremely complex people. Read their writings.

    Nor were they admirers of the "common man". They distrusted the common man's ability to govern himself. That is why we have a representative democracy and not a direct democracy. None of the first six presidents were voted into office by the public. Andrew Jackson was the first president to be elected by the citizens, and look what that got us--a corrupt and bigoted leader of the worst kind.
     
  8. Jul 3, 2011 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think you are missing something here. If a person commits an "act of terror" against say an invader of the US, they might be considered a terrorist by definition, but according to US law they wouldn't be guilty of a crime. The law would only apply if the act was committed against the US government.

    As I indicated, when the terrorist is on your side you call them a freedom fighter.
     
  9. Jul 3, 2011 #8
    This equivalence has a glib surface appeal, but fails utterly when carried to its logical conclusion. Surely you wouldn't say that there is no significant difference between Thomas Jefferson and Osama Bin Laden?

    A well-written law would distinguish between a democratic group that seeks redress of unjust wrongs from an oppressive government and an authoritarian group that seeks to impose a single set of social constraints on the public.

    Thomas Jefferson despised religious authoritarianism and advocated democracy. Osama Bin Laden promoted religious authoritarianism (as long as it was his own brand of religious belief) and considered democracy to be Satanic.

    Any law that cannot distinguish between the two is--in my opinion--a bad law. And any law that lumps the founding fathers in with Al Qaeda as both being terrorists groups is a law not worth of respect by any thinking American.
     
  10. Jul 3, 2011 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    That is an obviously cherry-picked example where the terrorist is a bad guy. But if you were to ask some radical Muslims, they might think the example applies to Bin Laden just as well.

    How are you going to include broad concepts like "oppressive" and "authoritarian" in a simple law. What you are suggesting is impossible.

    Right or wrong, good or bad, if I commit an act of terror against the US, I'm a terrorist. This is true even if the government is corrupt beyond hope and needs to be overthrown. And it would still be a crime, which is why you have revolutions in the first place - oppression isn't fair or just. The oppressor will never admit that he is the villain and the terrorist is fighting for justice.
     
  11. Jul 3, 2011 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    In order to make the distinction between terrorists, and freedom fighters, we have the Constitution and esp the Bill of Rights. That is how you know the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. But it takes a Constitution to make that distinction.
     
  12. Jul 4, 2011 #11
    I have a copy of the Constitution in front of me now. I see nothing in it that distinguishes between freedom fighters and terrorists. That was not and is not the purpose of that document.

    If having a law on the books that defines our founding fathers and other patriots as terrorists does not bother you, then there is little I can say. It bothers me.
     
  13. Jul 4, 2011 #12

    russ_watters

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    Ugh I hate this pointless discussion. We do it way too often. Its great for people who love to propagandize, but for people who prefer being objective it is painful to watch

    Please use the whole quote klimatos: you edited out qualifiers and are overinterpreting some of your examples, including Washington and the Libyan rebels.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  14. Jul 4, 2011 #13

    russ_watters

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    You're trying to have it both ways Ivan. Either it has an objective definition or it doesn't. It can't be both at the same time.
     
  15. Jul 4, 2011 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    I thought it was explained pretty well. What part do I need to explain to you?
     
  16. Jul 4, 2011 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yes, it is. It defines the rights and protections that we enjoy. When you take office or join the military, you swear to defend the Constitution with your life. This might make you a terrorist to some but a freedom fighter to the US.

    Why? As far as the Brits were concerned, they WERE terrorists. But they weren't acting against the US government. That's the difference.
     
  17. Jul 4, 2011 #16

    cristo

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    This argument really doesn't make any sense, since the US did not exist back then. Perhaps the constitution was written with hindsight to try and stop traitorous acts of overthrowing the government in the future.
     
  18. Jul 4, 2011 #17
    I was quoting from Wikipedia, which itself did not include the entire statement. Here is the Wiki quote:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_terrorism#United_States_Code_.28U.S.C..29

    "The US Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as "...the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives" (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85)."

    It turns out that Wiki's reference to Section 0.85 is erroneous. Section 0.85 has nothing to do with terrorism.

    As to my "overinterpretation", I fear that you must be more specific.
     
  19. Jul 4, 2011 #18
    Not true. The law specifies "a government", not the U. S. government.
     
  20. Jul 4, 2011 #19
    There was a quote from the early years of the US - Jefferson, I think, said that he expected there to be rebellion every generation or two.
     
  21. Jul 5, 2011 #20

    russ_watters

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    What irritates me so much about what Ivan posted is that it's terrorist/terrorist sympathizer propaganda designed to sabbotage rational discussion of a pretty important and frankly not all that complicated issue.

    At it's best is it as useless as saying 'one man's plumber is another's union member': the two aren't discussing the same issue and aren't even mutually exclusive. So it's pointless to say it.

    It's meant to point out that the same action can mean different things to different people and if that were all there was to it, it wouldn't be so bad, but there's more to it than that: to those on the wrong side of the issue, it isn't just a matter of using a different definition, but rather of flip-flopping and messing with definitions for different scenarios, for the sake of propagandizing. As seen in Ivan's post, those on the wrong side of the issue will gleefully accept one of the standard definitions when it allows them to criticize actions of Americans. But then when looking at the actions of other's, the term is rejecected in favor of a more romantic/nostalgic one. It's intellectually dishonest to not objectively apply definitions and it plays right into the hands of the modern-day terrorists.

    And yes, it is true that there are a lot of people that think this way, but that doesn't make it a useful basis for an intellectual discussion to say it any more than it is a useful basis for an intellectual basis for a discussion of crime and punishment to go to a prison and ask the inmates. Odds are, most of what you'll get is similar nonsense, that doesn't help one learn about how the legal system works. So why do it?

    It also bothers me because as I said above, this is a pretty important issue. It informs as to the logic behind much of the West's foreign policy for the past 10 years, so shouldn't people be trying to understand - rather than just attack - the basis for it?

    Now, the Tea Party: For those who have never considered one of the accepted definitions of "terrorism" - perhaps becasue of the type of intentional obfuscation discussed above - it sometimes comes as a shock that it fits the definition. But it is important to note that just as not all speeding is the same (5mph over won't get you noticed, 100mph over will land you in jail), not all terrorism is the same either, particularly when it comes to the property crimes as aspect of the definition. There's an important example with ecoterrorism that informs as to the importance of making the definition broad at that end of the spectrum: In the '90s, sabbotage by arson was a popular modus operandi of ecoterrorists and if no one gets hurt, it's just a property crime or sabbotage similar to the Boston Tea Party. But in one case, someone died and that turns the same act into murder. Since the act is the same, there needs to be a way to categorize it the same for different outcomes. It's really as simple as that. But don't make the mistake of thinking that since the label is the same, the Boston Tea Party is equivalent to 9/11. They're oceans apart.

    Now a quick note on Washington to hopefully quell that sidebar: Washington was a military general and afaik, wasn't at the Boston Tea Party. Afaik, nothing he did during the revolution qualifies as "terrorism" under any accepted definition. You can certainly use other words such as "treason" and "insurgent", but they aren't the same thing at all. Don't fall into Ivan's trap of tossing the definitions in the trash and labeling him based emotion. This thread is about one of the accepted definitions, so use it faithfully. If you use the definitions of words faithfully/honestly/objectively, they shouldn't scare you. It shouldn't even scare you to recognize that the basic crime of all of our founders was treason - a pretty big crime, up until recently punishable by death. Yes, the founders were all criminals. But if you understand what that really means, it shouldn't be too troubling.
     
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