The Roots of Terror: The Lesser Evil Doctrine under Criticism

The Roots of Terror: The Lesser Evil Doctrine under Criticism

Maximiliano Emanuel Korstanje (University of Palermo, Argentina)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1938-6.ch011
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Risk would serve as a fertile ground to move resources, otherwise would be stagnated, so that elite may centralize and solidify “extractive institutions” to enhance the economic performance. The war of all against all, predicated by Hobbes sets the pace to the war of few blocs to yield a supreme authority over the rest. The theory of globalization is reluctant to explain how the world tends to a centralization of resources and violence. Here we come across with a paradox, if the XXth century posed a lot of states making the war to forge their own identity (as it was the case in Europe and US who participated in two total wars), within the state a sentiment of nationhood persisted over other counter-reactions. Citizens not only were twinned to embrace a same history and heritage, but also suspended the internal violence against their brothers.
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Contemporarily, the flourishing of fear corresponds with the production of media information and the adoption of new technologies. As never before, we live a culture of fear that marked a turning point respecting to other times (Timmermann, 2015). Whilst Latina America poses its concerns in the problem of crime and delinquency (Kessler 2009; Damnert & Arias, 2007), in Anglo-Saxon countries terrorism becomes the main threat (Howie, 2007; 2012; Skoll 2007; Altheide 2004; 2006; Soyinka, 2005; Achcar, 2006; Ignatieff 2013). There is a clear cultural matrix in Latin and Anglo-culture to understand the risk which was widely examined by Korstanje (2014b; 2015). The reform introduced the concept of predestination, unknown by Catholicism, reconstructing in this way a bridge between present and future. The risks in English speaking countries represent a platform to conquest the future by embracing the “precautionary principle”. The needs of preventing risk, in the local crime or the war against terror has been situated as the main agenda of US government (Gray, 2007; Sunstein, 2002). As Gregory Flaxman & Ben Rogerson observed, “the culture of fear” may be defined as a symptomatology of our contemporary society, even paradoxically living safer than earlier generations. Capitalism has reproduced over last years new tactics to colonize our feelings. The psychological fear, likely, and its logic remain obscure for our understanding. What 9/11 inaugurated, was a deep dissociation between mediated disasters and the probabilities of risk. We are subject to countless threats as car accidents, heart disease, or even cancer, most of them ignored, but what we frighten is terrorism. In terms of authors, “our fears are misplaced” (p. 334). Not surprisingly from Hobbes on, the modern state passed this original fear of death to moderated levels of trust. Logically, fear inoculates changes that help regulating the production and economies within each state. Thus, we need to speak on the “economy of fear” instead of a basic emotion (Flaxman & Rogerson, 2011).

In this context, a great variety of scholars have addressed the problem of post modernity and fear from diverse angles. In these approaches, there was a strong focus on linking risk with society as Richard Sennett (the corrosion of character), Ulrich Beck (Society of Risk), Giddens (risk and attachment), Sunstein (the laws of fear), Niklas Luhmann (the sociology of risk), Naomi Klein (the doctrine of shock), Diken Bulent (the comedy of terror) or Geoffrey Skoll and Maximiliano Korstanje (the fetish of risk). The conceptual discussion in the ways the academicians understand the crises. If risk is enrooted in the economic system, how may understand the last Wall Street collapse in 2008?, is the introduction of risk conducive to the decline of nation-state?.

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