Ive posted before about a proper working definition of terrorism. Today its time to declare that the word terrorism has officially lost all meaning. This isnt the first time a word has lost all meaning. It happens quite a bit. Sometimes it is the sign of a good thing. For example, when I was a kid in Connecticut I would see on the news stories of meatheads from Brooklyn of New Jersey heading down to Greenwich Village to Gay Bash i.e. to literally assault homosexuals for being homosexual. In the last 20 years however you see something different happening. Gay Bashing has by and large lost all meaning. When I hear gay bashing I dont think that a homosexual was assaulted, rather I think that some politicians or some conservatives are opposing LGBT rights (see here and here). The reason the definition of gay bashing is different today is because violent assaults on homosexuals dont happen nearly as much as they used to (of course they still do happen). This is a good thing.
Another word (or phrase in this case) that is losing all meaning is PTSD. It used to be that when someone said that they have PTSD that I assumed they had seen combat in Vietnam or one of the endless aggressive wars the United States has waged since then. Now when I hear someone has PTSD I assume he had a crappy relationship with his father and is un-motivated and depressed and want s to be able to take his dog on airline flights. That PTSD has changed meanings is generally a bad thing because it leads to less accommodation by society of people suffering from truly traumatic experiences.
Terrorism has lost all meaning. Governments have learned that the fear of terrorism has allowed a massive expansion of the Warfare State along with the corresponding infringement on civil liberties. As a result, the accusation of terrorism or terrorist is employed in the most ridiculous of circumstances.
This article is the most recent and best example of all that. Last week Serbia and Albania had a football match in Belgrade. During the match a drone carrying a Greater Albania banner that showed Kosovo as a part of “Greater Albania” was flown just over the field. A Serb player ripped the flag down, causing an Albanian player to retrieve the flag. A melee broke out and outnumbered 30,000-15 or so the Albanians feared for their lives and fled the field. A dispute broke out between Serbia and Albania over the incident and Serbia called the Albanian players and coaches “accomplices” to a plan that was a “pre-planned terrorist action”. Absurd. (That being said, Albania wasnt much better about the incident, instead whining about racism.)
So is this change in the definition of terrorist a good thing or a bad thing? I think it is good thing. Terrorism and the fear of it has been used by governments to such great affect in expanding the Warfare State that the more ridiculous governments get with the phrase eventually more people will start to see through the entire terrorism charade.