growing lethality of hatred

The Neocon Paradox
The New York Times, 24 April 2007:

A confluence of technologies, from the Internet to biotechnology, is making it easier and easier for far-flung hatred to assume organized form, intersect with weapons technology and constitute unprecedently potent terrorism. This growing lethality of hatred may be the biggest long-term problem we face.

Here’s a response favored by many left-of-center and right-of-center thinkers. Address the “demand side”—the desire to obtain and use nuclear and biological weapons—by reducing the number of people who hate the U.S. and the West. Address the “supply side” by improving arms control.

Will Globalization Make Hatred More Lethal?
The Wilson Quarterly, October 2006:

Why has terrorism become public enemy number one? The most common answer—the rise of a brand of radical Islam that uses terror as its weapon—is true insofar as it goes. But the reason this weapon is so scary is that something deeper has changed: technology now makes it possible for clusters of intensely hateful people to cause thousands, even millions, of deaths without using the political or military machinery of a state. Yes, the hateful people most likely to exploit this fact today are radical Muslims, but even if this threat subsides, the generic threat will remain: hatred is more lethal than it used to be. And the underlying technological trends will persist over the next three decades, making it more lethal still.

With Liberty and Connectivity for All, 13 July 2010:

It matters whether the government can, in the name of fighting terrorism, hold American citizens in jail indefinitely without trial, or even assassinate them without trial if they’re overseas—prerogatives claimed by, respectively, the Bush and Obama administrations.

If indeed the threat of terrorism grows as hatred grows, then we could buy ourselves more freedom by reducing the amount of hatred; the famous trade-off between security and liberty isn’t calibrated in ironclad terms after all.

Terror in the Past and Future Tense
The New York Times, 26 April 2005:

But letting the memory of [Timothy] McVeigh fade has its own dangers. In a crucially instructive sense he and Mr. bin Laden represent the same threat. Though their ideologies differ (I’m guessing they wouldn’t have hit it off), both were empowered by a force that will empower tomorrow’s terrorists even more.

TED | February 2006:


Other related articles:

“Two Years Later, a Thousand Years Ago,” The New York Times, 11 September 2003
“A Real War on Terrorism,” Slate, September 2002
“Be Very Afraid,” The New Republic, 1 May 1995