Can terrorism ever be morally justified?

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Government agencies and various legal systems define terrorism in different ways. The concerned bodies have been reluctant to come up with a legally binding meaning.  The most common terms used involves purporting a religious, political or ideological change by the use of violence. Individuals who perform the acts of terrorism are known as terrorists (Richards, 2014).

Moral theories guide us in identifying which action is right or wrong. According to utilitarianism, good or bad action can be determined by a cost-benefit investigation. We must always evaluate the right or wrong impacts of a certain action before doing it (Barrow, 2015). Hence, according to this theory, an action is good as long as it has good results compared to alternative actions. Utilitarianism does not encourage harming others for personal benefits. Every human being has a right to life and therefore it discourages any form of discrimination or egoism.

Moreover, the theory states that is not nice to do something we have strong hope that it can have good results if the action itself is risky and has a high probability of causing harm to people. For instance, the act of terrorism is wrong because all people have value and every person desire is to stay alive with their beloved ones (Hayry, 2013). Killing innocent individuals or any type of a person makes the affected group unhappy. Even though the terrorist has the courage and different motives to perform such action, there are no theories that can justify their behavior as many people in the globe are against it and always curse their actions.

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  1. Barrow, R. (2015). Utilitarianism: A contemporary statement. London: Routledge.
  2. Hayry, M. (2013). Liberal utilitarianism and applied ethics. London: Routledge.
  3. Richards, A. (2014). Conceptualizing terrorism. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 37(3), 213-236.
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