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Jurgen Habermas Quotes


A German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and American pragmatism.
(1929 - )

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A threatened nation can react to uncertain dangers solely through administrative channels, to the truly embarrassing situation of perhaps overreacting.
 

After September 11, the European governments have completely failed. They are incapable of seeing beyond their own national scope of interests.
 

Disappointment over nationalistic authoritarian regimes may have contributed to the fact that today religion offers a new and subjectively more convincing language for old political orientations.
 

Each murder is one too many.
 

From a moral point of view, there is no excuse for terrorist acts, regardless of the motive or the situation under which they are carried out.
[Acts]
 

From the level of pragmatic, everyday knowledge to modern natural science, the knowledge of nature derives from man's primary coming to grips with nature; at the same time it reacts back upon the system of social labour and stimulates its development.
 

Global terrorism is extreme both in its lack of realistic goals and in its cynical exploitation of the vulnerability of complex systems.
 

Historically, terrorism falls in a category different from crimes that concern a criminal court judge.
 

I cannot imagine a context that would some day, in some manner, make the monstrous crime of September 11 an understandable or comprehensible political act.
 

I consider Bush's decision to call for a war against terrorism a serious mistake. He is elevating these criminals to the status of war enemies, and one cannot lead a war against a network if the term war is to retain any definite meaning.
 

I do not know whether the U.S. government was slightly paranoid or merely shunning responsibility. The repeated and utterly nonspecific announcements of possible new terror attacks and the senseless calls to be alert further stirred a vague feeling of angst.
 

If the September 11 terror attack is supposed to constitute a caesura in world history, it must be able to stand comparison to other events of world historical impact.
 

In New York people seemed ready for the worst. As a matter of course, the anthrax scares were attributed to Osama bin Laden's diabolical machinations.
 

In the U.S.A. or Europe there is no realistic way to estimate the type, magnitude, or probability of the risk, nor any way to narrow down the potentially affected regions.
 

Instead of the international police action we had hoped for during the war in Kosovo, there are wars again - conducted with state-of-the-art technology, but still in the old style.
[Action]
 

Manhattan... capital of the 20th century, a city that has fascinated me for more than three decades.
 

One never really knows who one's enemy is.
 

Only in retrospect will we be able to understand if the collapse of the capitalistic citadels in lower Manhattan confirms a long-known vulnerability of our complex civilization.
 

Only in the surge of patriotism that followed did one begin to recognize the importance the towers, with their irreplaceable imprint on the Manhattan skyline and their powerful embodiment of economic strength and projection toward the future.
 

Osama bin Laden, the person, more likely serves the function of a stand-in. Compare the new terrorists with partisans or conventional terrorists in Israel. These people often fight in a decentralized manner in small, autonomous units, too.
 


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