Excerpted from: The lynch-mob mentality
The fact that the Government labels Person X a “Terrorist” is not proof that Person X is, in fact, a Terrorist.
“But these are Terrorists, and Terrorists have no rights, so who cares what is done to them?” What they actually meant was: “the Government has claimed they are Terrorists,” but in their minds, that was the same thing as: “they are Terrorists.”
The Government should have to demonstrate someone’s guilt before it’s assumed (e.g., they should have to show probable cause to a court and obtain warrants before eavesdropping; they should have to offer evidence that a person engaged in Terrorism before locking them in a cage, etc.).
. . . A very long time ago, I would be baffled when I’d read about things like the Salem witch hunts. How could so many people be collectively worked up into that level of irrational frenzy, where they cheered for people’s torturous death as “witches” without any real due process or meaningful evidence? But all one has to do is look at our current Terrorism debates and it’s easy to see how things like that happen. It’s just pure mob mentality: an authority figure appears and affixes a demonizing Other label to someone’s forehead, and the adoring crowd — frothing-at-the-mouth and feeding on each other’s hatred, fears and desire to be lead — demands “justice.” I imagine that if one could travel back in time to the Salem era in order to speak with some of those gathered outside an accused witch’s home, screaming for her to be killed, the conversation would go something like this:
Mob Participant: Hang the Witch!!! Kill her!!!
Far Left Civil Liberties Extremist-Purist (“FLCLE-P”): How do you know she’s a witch?
Mob Participant: Didn’t you just hear the government official say so?
FLCLE-P: But don’t you want to see real evidence before you assume that’s true and call for her death?
Mob Participant: You just heard the evidence! The magistrate said she’s a witch!
FLCLE-P: But shouldn’t there be a real trial first, with tangible evidence and due process protections, to see if the accusation is actually true?
Mob Participant: A “real” trial? She’s a witch! She’s trying to curse us and kill us all. She got more than what she deserved. Witches don’t have rights!!!
Return to Question 1.
That’s essentially how I hear our debates over Terrorism, and how I’ve heard them for quite some time. And it’s how I hear them more loudly now than ever before. And with those deeply confused premises now locked into place on a bipartisan basis (“no trials are needed to determine if someone is a Terrorist because Terrorists don’t have rights”), imagine how much louder that will get if there is another successful terrorist attack in the U.S.
For us, the mere accusation by our leaders is sufficient: Kill that American Terrorist with a drone!