Terrorism as phenomena has dominated World of security studies, discussions of security studies used to entail discussion of Power dynamics of European powers or of the consequences of new power centers like China in Asia or Israeli presence in the Middle East. As such, there has been a lot of literature about the issues of Terrorism as a global menace. Unfortunately, the issue of Terrorism is largely interpreted in terms of Power Politics or International intrigue, which no doubt plays a role but the role of Sociological perspective is essential because it sees terrorism as Political Behavior and not a security risk. This leads to the Rationalization of Human Behavior which essentially means that Terrorism like all human behavior is motivated with some sort of reason, some sort of rationale rather than the simplistic rhetoric of most Terrorism Literature describing it as a “fanatic” movement. This article tries to understand the madness behind it all as it were.
Extremism in isolation can never be understood, like all behavior, Terrorism too (a violent political behavior) is contextual. All human beings are a product of their time and age. People are socialized to have particular political thought and political behavior leanings, through their interaction of political culture. Under normal circumstances, such Political discourse leads to the formulation of Political ideas which then leads to Political action like voting and protests.
However these are under normal circumstances, under extreme circumstances however, Political socialization can take a very violent turn, these extreme circumstances may be due to war, economic crisis or identity crisis which can, in turn, create a violent political culture, as feelings of tolerance are evaporated and are motivated and moved by feelings anger and resentment against the other groups, which taken to the extreme is called “Terrorism”.
This paper breaks down the process of terrorism into simpler steps, into a linear progression each stage refers to an important stage which leads to the final act of Terrorism. The Linear Progression Theory follows the development of violent behavior in the form of Stages. The First stage is Extremism, Second Stage is Radicalism, the Third Stage is Militant and the last Stage is Active Terrorism.
This paper refutes the claim that terrorism is grown overnight; rather it is a progression process, socialized due to extreme Political cultures in which they inhibit which then exhibits Extremist behavior. This article claims that terrorism is a response, to extreme scenarios which the “terrorist” claim as its only “logical and moral responsibility”, we will see in this article how their sense of rationalism and morality gets distorted as each stage progresses.
Stage 1 Extremism
The first stage of terrorism, is Political Opinion formulation, like all terrorist organizations fight for some cause or the other, the first stage of Organized terror, is having a cause. Most people consider themselves free from extremist views this however is not true. We live in a highly complex society, with people living under different conditions, due to their Class, Religion or Race. All these differences entail people having unpopular opinions which are kept at check by society’s morals. However, this does not stop, extremist views being formed. People have extreme views, largely in part due to a perceived sense or real sense of injustice that is linked to their own identity someway. Man in his own nature is Ego-Centric that is he understands the world under his own terms, and as such acts particularly violently when people who share the same characteristics suffer, largely due to association. And as such develop extreme views about any particular group. Hitler’s wrath against the Jews is one such example, which then leads to a generalized hatred for the Jewish creed, as he saw the Political and Economic suffering of Germans responsible in large part to the Jews.
Stage 2 Radical
After the formation of Extreme views, Extremist see that the current order is not sustainable and a great change in society needs to happen in order to solve the injustices in society. This sense of injustice is what drives them what can only be called a “drive to Radical Politics”, Radical Politics is not necessarily bad if there are appropriate Political channels, and Radicalization make take appropriate measures. However, if Radicalization does not have any appropriate channels then it can lead to some serious repercussions including Revolutions if Revolutions seem unlikely they tend to foster deep hatred against the “other” group in question and increasingly ask ideas which do not service the Political spectrum of the State hence Radical.
Stage 3 Militant
Militant Stage briefly put is the stage in which the Radicals decide to employ but do not act Violent means to pursue their political goals via Terrorism
Militant is the Stage in which the Radical actively supports insurgent activities on a moral level but simply cannot find appropriate means to do Terrorism. It is important to note that Terrorism is the combinations of Unsustainable Radicalism (Extremist Opinions with no Political Outlets) and Weapon availability in society.
Intellectuals of various backgrounds fail to understand that the Guns in it themselves have no will it is people that give will to the guns themselves. Moreover, if terrorist truly wants to commit an act of wanton violence any act, would suffice modern terrorism does not drastic measures, appropriate measures such as simple pocket knife can act as a weapon of terrorism, as we see many knife attacks in Jerusalem against Jews and Muslims respectively.
Stage 4 Active Terrorism
The last Stage is Active Terrorism in this Stage the Militant has found access to the necessary methodology of Terrorism this may include lone gunman attacks as we say in New Zealand, Suicide bombings like in Syria, Iraq and many others or can include Kidnapping, forced ransoms and enforced disappearances like the TTP and BLA forces in Pakistan.
Unfortunately, however people simply see and are understandably shocked by the incident but they do not see how the Extremist opinion has been formulated and how it lead to terrorism, which is the end product. As they say the process is more important than the product, however, States see Terrorism more as a Statistic and less as a Political and Social breakdown of their respective political societies.
The Truth of the matter is that Terrorism is not a Global Issue, for it was it should garner the support of all States into one united goal to eliminate Terrorism, however, such actions would cause harm to the perceived National Interests of the State. The truth of the matter is that States have used proxies as weapons against each other, this trend sadly does not end in the so-called free world, as States sponsor these groups to fight against each other for either survival or Political gain.
Perhaps, the problem lies in the perception of Terrorist, Terrorist are not the irrational and stupid beast that has been wooed by Religious zeal and Ideological fervor. Nay, rather they are the product of State struggles against each other which creates appropriate conditions for the socialization for such violent behavior. As the Extremist rally against the perceived or real injustice against each other, to take up arms and fight the State, through any and all means necessary. The barbarity of War and the spiral of violence creates a descent which humbles most men, as Man in his zeal for “justice” does terrible thinks which under normal circumstances would be impossible.