The Lesser Evil : Political Ethics in an Age of Terror, Paperback

The Lesser Evil : Political Ethics in an Age of Terror Paperback



Must we fight terrorism with terror and torture with torture?

Must we sacrifice civil liberty to protect public safety?

In the age of terrorism Michael Ignatieff argues that we must not shrink from the use of violence.

But its use - in a liberal democracy - must be measured. And we must not fool ourselves that whatever we do in the name of freedom and democracy is good.

We may need to kill to fight the greater evil of terrorism, but we must never pretend that doing so is anything better than a lesser evil.

In making this case, Ignatieff traces the modern history of terrorism and counter-terrorism, from the nihilists of Czarist Russia and the militias of Weimar Germany to the IRA and the unprecedented menace of Al Qaeda.

He shows how the most potent response to terror has been force, decisive and direct, yet restrained.

The public scrutiny and political ethics that motivate restraint also give democracy its strongest weapon: the moral power to endure when vengeance and hatred are spent.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Social & political philosophy
  • ISBN: 9780748622245



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