Transnational terrorist organizations want to destroy free societies, using their twin weapons of the high-profile attack and the reactions it provokes. In the wake of a terror attack, civil liberties are routinely restricted so that citizens feel safe. But a policy fixated on security harms democracy and plays into the terrorists’ hands.
Katharina Klöcker believes that a change of perspective is needed in counterterrorism. Christian ethics can point the way forward. Jesus’s teaching to turn the other cheek yields a first suggestion. For Klöcker, this does not mean helpless submission. Instead, the key point is that we should not allow our opponent to dictate the methods of our resistance: we must not fight evil with evil.
Her second suggestion derives from human vulnerability. Violent counterterrorism measures are often based on a desire for invulnerability. Yet this ignores the fact that total security is impossible, and that freedom always implies vulnerability. If a democratic society wants to be safe from terror, it should acknowledge and appreciate its own vulnerability.