Michael Walzer
Professor Emeritus, The Institute for Advanced Study

Michael Walzer on Just War and Terrorism

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Is terrorism ever justified?

Michael Walzer

Michael Walzer is one of America's leading political philosophers. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and editor of Dissent, a left-wing quarterly of politics and culture. He has written on a wide range of topics, including just and unjust wars, nationalism, ethnicity, economic justice, social criticism, radicalism, tolerance, and political obligation. He is also a contributing editor to The New Republic and a member of the editorial board of Philosophy & Public Affairs. To date he has written 27 books and has published over 300 articles, essays, and book reviews. He is a member of several philosophical organizations including the American Philosophical Society.

Terrorism is the murder of innocent people. It is the deliberate killing of people who are known not to be government employees, government agents, soldiers, police, the deliberate killing of people like you and me, and I think it is in our self-interest as well as in--well, first let me say, it is our self-interest to deny that it can ever be justified to kill you and me and people like us--and, since most people are like us, it's in everyone’s self-interest to deny that terrorism can ever be justified. Recorded on: 2/27/08