Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Terrorism and Nationalism. (Humanistic Economics)

By Buell, John | The Humanist, March-April 2002 | Go to article overview

Terrorism and Nationalism. (Humanistic Economics)


Buell, John, The Humanist


We are told repeatedly that the U.S. war against terrorism is a new kind of war. However, while it's different from World War 11, it has analogies in many other conflicts, both contemporary and historical. Terrorism is best understood as a form of civil war. It reflects the fundamental tensions and incompatibilities within a global economy where most citizens--and terrorists --still embrace nineteenth-century notions of nationalism.

If Osama bin Laden is the mastermind of a terrorist network, he has spawned vigorous offshoots. One reason many U.S. citizens find the events of September 11, 2001, so upsetting is that the terrorists managed to blend so well into American life. There are good reasons for this. Life in the United States is no longer--if it ever was--culturally homogeneous. Some people now easily imitate or even embrace the outward consumer trappings of our society while speaking different languages and holding vastly different cultural and religious ideals. For many this duality is a source of anxiety.

When some visitors to the country, who privately disparage public, mainstream culture, engaged in an act of criminal violence against that culture, many citizens embraced an all too familiar response: find and expel the foreigners in our midst. Bush administration supporters maintain that, since these "intruders" are here either illegally or as "guests," our government need not observe many of the nuances of law in dealing with them.

Whatever one thinks of the legal merits of this argument, it hinges on a highly questionable dichotomy between host and guest, inside and outside. At the same time as the Justice Department officially turns a hostile eye toward some noncitizens it deems potentially dangerous, Congress and high technology corporations devise ever more liberal visa provisions to bring highly trained foreign technicians to our shores. Even for less esoteric occupations, reliance on foreigners has become entrenched. Neal Pierce, a widely syndicated columnist, points out: "It's often said the economy of many sunbelt cities would grind to a halt overnight without their legions of Hispanic gardeners, waiters, maids, and truck drivers--some in the U.S. legally, many not."

Much of the dynamics of the modern world is illustrated by careful consideration of the supply and demand side for this labor. The paragons of our culture--including world-class hotels, restaurants, and meat-packing and food-processing firms--widely employ undocumented workers but seldom press for their legalization. Having the ability to turn in these workers to the Immigration and Naturalization Service ensures that they will work cheap and without complaints, no matter how fast the assembly line runs or however long the hours. An INS that enforces its mandates selectively serves business purposes well.

On the supply side, most of these workers come from nations where the myth of nationality is pervasive and destructive. Modern nations are composed of many ethnic groups, and even these ethnic groups are hardly pure and easily demarcated from one another. The quest for national unity leads to rampant discrimination on ethnic, religious, economic, and ideological grounds. Minorities are often compelled, either by force of arms or economic circumstance, to relocate. The rapid flow of financial capital, information, and goods exacerbates the urge to reestablish a mythical national purity and makes human flight more necessary all the time.

To point out that terrorism's agents often spring from the ranks of these diasporas is taken as a defense of terrorism. Yet unless we are to embrace some notion of terrorism as a random freak of nature--in which case moral revulsion and consistent policy response hardly seem appropriate or effective--we need to identify its preconditions in ways that encourage amelioration without excusing the terrorists themselves.

Terrorists are best regarded as hypernationalists.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Terrorism and Nationalism. (Humanistic Economics)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.