In psychiatry--and particularly addiction medicine--we talk about people who "enable" addicts. Enabling refers to any behavior or action that assists the addict in the continuation of their addiction. Enabling can be either intentional or unintentional, but enabling behavior allows the addict to continue their destructive behavior. An example of enabling behavior is a man or woman who, although they verbally disapprove of their spouse's drinking, repeatedly will go out and purchases alcohol for him/her. Frequently enablers tell psychiatrists that they "only want to help" or that they are "afraid" of what will happen to them if they don't do the things that help the addict (e.g., the addict will beat them up or hurt them in some way).
From this site about Alcoholism, an interested person can find out if his or her behavior makes them an enabler. Here are a few questions that one might ask:
1. Have you ever "called in sick" for the alcoholic, lying about his symptoms?
2. Have you accepted part of the blame for his (or her) drinking or behavior?
3. Have you avoided talking about his drinking out of fear of his response?
4. Have you bailed him out of jail or paid for his legal fees?
5. Have you paid bills that he was supposed to have paid himself?
6. Have you loaned him money?
7. Have you tried drinking with him in hopes of strengthening the relationship?
8. Have you given him "one more chance" and then another and another?
9. Have you threatened to leave and didn't?
10. Have you finished a job or project that the alcoholic failed to complete himself?
Of course, if you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you at some point in time have enabled the alcoholic to avoid his own responsibilities. Rather than "help" the alcoholic, you have actually made it easier for him to get worse.
If you answered "yes" to most or all of these questions, you have not only enabled the alcoholic, you have probably become a major contributor to the growing and continuing problem and chances are have become effected by the disease yourself.
I would like to propose a corollary use of "enabling"--to refer to those individuals who intentionally or unintentionally behave in such a way as to encourage terrorists and terrorism.
Asking the same questions can be revealing:
1. Have you ever made excuses for terrorists or terrorism ?
2. Have you ever accepted part of the blame for the terrorist's behavior? Examples: after 9/11 the Left responded by demanding that we look at the "root causes" of terrorism and there was a chorus of "America's policies are to blame". Or, for more indepth discussion go here, here, and here, and here)
3. Have you avoided talking about terrorism--even avoided using the word "terrorist"--because you are afraid of the response terror groups might have or just because it is politically correct?
Let's see if we can identify all the words being used for "terrorist" (except, of course, the word "terrorist") - rebel, insurgent, militant, militia, guerrilla,freedom-fighter, minutemen(a la Michael Moore), hostage-takers. It is totally breathtaking the amount of effort that is being expended to AVOID using the "T" word. It has become the new political correctness. Is there any doubt that it enables murderers? RantingProfs has some good analysis.
4. Have you bailed a terrorist out of jail, or paid his legal fees?
5. Have you provided financial support or aid to terrorist groups or regimes that support terrorism?
6. Have you loaned money to terrorists or regimes that support terrorism?
Well, we have seen this over and over again. Germany releasing the Islamofascists involved in 9/11 because we wouldn't permit access to a key witness in our custody; our own Supreme Court saying that they are entitled to the same priveliges and legal options as citizens of the US (there can be reasonable debate about this issue, but there is no doubt that this kind of decision--IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR--only helps the enemy and enables them to continue to harm us); Our own foreign policy prior to 9/11 consisted of giving money to the Middle Eastern dictators (Egypt comes instantly to mind); the people in this country who unwittingly gave money to charities that purported to help muslim/palestinian children etc. etc.
7. Have you marched in solidarity with terrorists, even to the point of participating in acts or encouraging acts of terrorism against others?
ANSWER, United for Peace and Justice ; this letter to Glenn Reynolds is a good example; and numerous other organizations that probably actually believe in their mottos.
8. Have you given terrorists or regimes that support terrorism "one more chance" and then another and another?
This one is so obvious that it requires only two words: United Nations
9. Have you threatened to be tough with a regime that supports terrorism and then weren't?
Every European country comes to mind; US policy for decades also was a textbook example of waffling behavior in this area. At least we seem to have stopped for the most part.
10. Have you finished something like a project or job for a terrorist or a terrorist regime who wasn't able to finish himself?
France supporting the development of the Iran nuclear plants is one example; Companies that continue to support the oil industry in Saudi Arabia (they don't have the technical expertise in the country); continued financial support for dictators (and the US has had its share of guilt in this behavior).
As you can see, there are many Terrorism Enablers around. Some of these people truly don't have a clue that their behavior is not all sweetness and light and that it encourages the exact opposite of what they think it does (e.g., some of the innocent groups--like the Episcopal Church--who are members of "United for Peace and Justice"). These "Do-gooders" are usually completely deluded about the nature of the terrorist and often cry that we must "try to understand" why the terrorists are angry at us and want to kill us. They believe that with enough soul-searching we can discover how to change ourselves and the terrorism will then cease. They are the same "useful idiots" who said the same things about communism and socialism in the last century as communist and socialist regimes murdered millions and enslaved even more. They are the pacificists and the genuinely good people who continue to maintain a denial so intense that they cannot see that they are supporting Evil.
A second kind of Terrorist Enabler is an individual or group engaging in enabling behaviors for manipulative reasons and for personal gain--primarily because it is financially or politically beneficial for them in the short run. They are deluding themselves as they appease the terrorists or the regimes that support terrorism so that they can earn a few more bucks from them; or politically benefit from opposing efforts to stop terrorists. In truth, they cynically doubt that the terrorist are really "all that bad", and believe that by befriending them, they can have the best of both worlds.
And then there is the third kind of Terrorist Enabler. This kind is as morally reprehensible as the terrorists themselves because their motivation is one with the terrorist. They do their enabling because they gain sadistic pleasure from the acts of death and destruction that terrorism involves, yet since they don't directly participate in these actions, they consider themselves not responsible. They know that they are supporting terrorism and terrorist regimes, and that is why they behave the way they do. They hate freedom and indivudality; they hate their own country and desperately wish for its destruction. For them I have no sympathy and I feel nothing but the same contempt and revulsion that the subhuman terrorists engender within me.
So, are you an enabler? Is the newspaper you read or the TV station you tune into; or the actor/singer/comedian you idolize an enabler of terrorism? If you think this doesn't matter, you are fooling yourself--just as the woman who buys the alcohol for her alcoholic husband is fooling herself. Someday in a drunken rage, he will beat her up--even kill her. Her efforts at appeasement are folly and they only encourage the very thing she fears.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
Hi, Dr. Sanity. I just linked to you via LGF, where I post as Promethea.
Thanks again for pointing me to the article and to your blog.
Could you go back to the root and define terrorism for me? Is terrorism the senseless murder of innocent people to acheive a personal or political gain? Would you say that is terrorism?
I'd be interested in knowing what the components of terrorism are.
The reason I ask is I think murder is a terrorism enabler. That it spawns the rage and hatred that motivates terrorist to act.
I think a person who just wakes up and for no reason kills people is a sociopath or a psychopath right? A person who has a cause and is willing to kill any innocent people is a terrorist correct?
But surely if you dig into it, there is an incident that triggers a terrorist response. That should be included on your list of terrorist enablers. Sort of a play with matches - you'll get burned.
What about attacking the wrong people? Say a terrorist group like Al-Quaida funded by the Saudis launches an attack against your country and you retaliate against Iraq, who had nothing to do with the original attack. In the process you kill thousands of innocent Iraqis because they "seem" like terrorists. Surely any rational person can see how that would enable terrorists to feel justified in commiting atrocities against innocent people.
To use your metaphor, the wife that brings beer to the abusive husband is certainly an enabler but she's not nearly as guilty as the abusive father who taught the son violence was an acceptable form of expression instead of teaching him the importance of discipline and self-control.
Killing killers is a necessary evil of life. Making absolutely sure you are killing the killers is imperative if you are to be justified and not just become a killer yourself.
To kill a weed you have to start at the roots, not the flower. Otherwise it just grows back. Blaming enablers for terrorism is like blaming the atmosphere for sunshine. It just doesn't add up or address the real problem which is unecessary or unjustified violence. Especially violence with a political agenda that is hidden but obvious.
Ah, Anonymous, did Dr. Sanity hit a nerve? Which type of enabler are you? Are you the "useful idiot" or the sadistic SOB. Or don't you have a clue???
If you are an enabler then I would be right to question your patriotism wouldn't you say?
can't we all just get along???
That's just it, I can't possibly be an enabler on any level. I don't sympathize with terrorists, I don't do drugs, I don't contribute, I don't buy porn. Whatever you want to lay at my doorstep, including calling me an idiot - just doesn't apply.
I abhor terrorism as much as I abhor unjustified violence against anyone or anything. I do disagree with "rightys" (what does that mean anyway?) who accept at face value anything handed down from on high without question.
But I noticed no one (so far) felt up to the task of defining terrorism and had to quickly resort to personal attacks and name calling. Which points to the problem, including the problem of hate.
Hate isn't a natural emotion (sorry Doc). It's an invented response to betrayal. It's the unnatural result of irrational negative self talk. It's most commonly created after experiencing the realization "you've been had." That your belief system has broken down. You have to make a key distinction between hate and righteous anger. Hate is usually unfounded and bitter and ultimately only hurts the hater.
Righteous anger is the feeling when you witness someone brutally beheaded on a video tape. I don't hate those people but I am fully committed to the idea of forcing them to live by their own standard of the value of life (death).
If all the right has is name calling and personal attacks and glossy slogans - that just isnt' enough meat to go with those potatoes.
You're already in trouble when you are dealing with people who have to boil everything down to left and right to understand it anyway. What a moronic division. Left is right if you turn around. Liberal and conservative are just as bad.
It's a crying shame we don't have better metrics in place to actually measure the things we are discussing in real objective amounts. It's too bad we can't find anyone to tell us what's really going on without agendizing it.
I'm in the same boat you are, I just don't feel the need to call you an idiot while we're riding. Maybe you could discuss the issues too.
So what IS terrorism?
check out here: http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/2004/09/none-so-blind-theres-night_109464755405712336.html
This analogy/comparison between terrorism's enablers and alcoholics'enablers is spot on! Cool.
When I worked with battered women a majority of their assailants were substance abusers. Guess it's hard to break bones and hit pregnant women in the stomach if you're sober...
Anyway, long before our attention was forced onto acts of terrorism--say, via 9/11--I thought that domestic violence was emotional terrorism and used that comparison to help women to see that it was not about anything they did or didn't do. The permission for the act of terror resides within the heart of the terrorist. You don't reason with an abuser, you don't try to get a violent man to stop bashing you by promising to do what he wants, and you don't demand that others help you to stop him. The biggest lie women ever got sold was the court-ordered "restraining order." Do you know how many women died this week with a copy of that order in their pocket? The headline in the paper will begin with "ESTRANGED HUSBAND...."
When, shortly after 9/11, comments about our complicity in the attacks began to surface,I knew that the people speaking these words were in victim mode and it was going to be hard to define a course of action that would both ensure our safety and would be acceptable to such a world-view.
When people talked about taking legal action and going to the United Nations, I gave up listening to them at all. Right. The UN is looking out for us? I don't think so. As they used to say, "go tell it to the Marines."
The weird thing is, the same people who are talking this trash can often be found working for battered women, or staffing Rape Crisis Centers. This kind of double-think is truly amazing, akin to the pro-choice/anti-death penalty divide.
What seems to be in short supply is critical thinking. Activists have traded their intelligence for ideology. What a waste.
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