Libertarians: “Terrorism Poses No Existential Threat to America”

In an article posted on the website of the Cato Institute, John Mueller (a senior fellow at Cato) and Mark G. Stewart (a professor at the University of Newcastle) claim that “terrorism poses no existential threat to America” and that “we must stop pretending otherwise.” Their article begins: “One of the most unchallenged, zany assertions during the war on terror has been that terrorists present an existential threat to the United States, the modern state and civilization itself.”

In reading their piece, one is immediately struck by the fact that Mueller and Stewart are not concerned with the objective unit of moral and political concern: the individual. If they were concerned with individuals, they could not conceivably say or imply that Islamic terrorism poses no existential threat to America and the civilized world. Islamic terrorists, after all, murdered (i.e., put out of existence) nearly three thousand American individuals on 9/11 and have murdered many thousands more individuals in America and other parts of the semi-civilized world since then.

In their Cato piece, Mueller and Stewart ignore all such murders. They also ignore the existential threat posed by jihadists to Americans who have not already been murdered for “Allah.” The authors instead focus on whether Islamic terrorism—which they irresponsibly refer to as “terrorism,” with no mention of the motive behind it—will put America out of existence, and they assure us that it will not. . . .

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