Until recently, the provocative media and politicians liked to label a person they disagreed with a “Nazi.” Yes, even President Obama has been accused of acting like a Nazi, as absurd as that is. It didn’t matter if the person they accused of being a Nazi opposes everything the Nazis stood for—it only mattered that the accuser disliked the actions the supposed Nazi was taking. But now there’s a new word that has replaced Nazi: terrorist.
Just like the media and politicians frequently called people who behaved in no way like a Nazi “Nazis,” they have now taken to calling people “terrorists” with no regard to what the word means. Let’s take a closer look at that.
- terrorist: noun, a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims
- terrorism: noun, the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion
That means a terrorist must act in a manner that strikes fear into the hearts of the people he or she opposes. And the terrorist must intend for their actions to coerce the people to act according to the terrorist’s political aims.
The latest people that have been accused of being terrorists are the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom who recently occupied a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon. However, this militia has explicitly stated that “we have no intentions of using force upon anyone…this is about taking the correct stand without harming anybody.” Without any threat of force or harm against the people, the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom lack one critical element to be terrorists: terror.
Robert Lewis Dear, who shot a dozen people in a Planned Parenthood facility, killing three, last November is a terrorist. He intended to coerce Planned Parenthood into ceasing abortions by terrorizing its staff and consumers. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who killed fourteen people at a San Bernardino county holiday party last month, are terrorists. They intended to coerce “infidels” into converting to Islam by terrorizing people who were presumably Christians (or, at least, not Muslims). The Citizens for Constitutional Freedom and the Bundy brothers who lead them are not terrorists—they are traitors.