The issue I’ve chosen to write about is terrorism more specifically the Boston Marathon Bombing, I will be analyzing if man is inherently good or bad. I will also provide different explanations for the motivations of the attacks in the perspective of man being characterized by reason and tolerance, (Locke) man being naturally evil but manipulated by the government/laws (Hobbes) and man being born naturally good and innocent but influenced by outside forces/corruption by society (Rousseau). I will compare how the attackers got influenced throughout their lives to these philosophers point of views.
The Boston Marathon Bombing was a terrorist attack on April 15th 2013, it occurred when two bombs went off around the finish line of the marathon, this attack killed 3 people while injuring 260 people. After a little time the police found one of the bombing suspects. At 19 years old his name was Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s. His older brother was killed by law enforcement in a shootout. People that investigated the brothers found out that they spent a part of their lives in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. After further investigation the FBI found out that they were motivated by Islamic beliefs. While in custody Dzhokhar said “he and his brother wanted to defend Islam from the United States, accusing the United States of conducting the Iraq war and the War in Afghanistan against Muslims” Another big influence that impacted the motivation the younger Tsarnaev’s brother was the bigger figure of his older brother. Dzhokhar identified Tamerlan as the “driving force” behind the bombing and said that “his brother had only recently recruited him to help”, and that his older brother had it all planned out that he “just joined” further establishing the way how someone can get influenced or manipulated just by the way they perceive someone.
Each philosopher explains the Tsarnaev brothers motivations differently, In Hobbes perspective he would argue that we shouldn’t have been surprised with this attack as man is naturally evil. Hobbes believing that the nature of humanity lead people to seek power further emphasizes the Tsarnaev’s brothers’ motivation for power. Tamerlan wanted to engage and do something he thought really mattered (being brought up think he was going to be great). It’s really easy to engage with the United Sates, something as simple as throwing a bomb can make it seem like you are declaring war. Getting recognized for something you did makes you feel like you have more power over others bringing it back to Hobbes perspective in man always fighting to be more powerful and one another. Rousseau’s belief is also very convincing. Rousseau’s perspective in man being born good and molded by experience is a big part of what shaped the Tsarnaev’s brothers. Both brothers when younger lived part of their lives in the former soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, they stated that they were “motivated by Islamic beliefs” but were “not connected to any known terrorist groups”. Not growing up with these influences would’ve led both of their fates in different ways according to Rousseau belief. Both Rousseau and Hobbes perspectives are very similar and different in many ways. They are similar because in both perspectives man are manipulated, with Hobbes man are manipulated by the government rules or laws to keep man kind in place as with Rousseau man is manipulated by experiences created by society or actions made by man themselves. Although the perspectives are similar in some ways they are also different, Hobbes states that “without subjection to a common power of their rights and freedoms, men are necessarily at war” as Rousseau counters and states that “the state exists to preserve and protect the natural rights of its citizens. When governments fail in that task, citizens have the right and sometimes the duty to withdraw their support and even to rebel”. These statements highlights the differences of how Hobbes sees man as a group of people always striving to become more powerful than another and unblameable for their actions while Rousseau emphasizes how man can have the freedom to do what they desire due to their pass experiences leading to things like riots against governments or protests.
The Tsarnaev brothers both grew up in a similar environment. They were both born in the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, North Caucasus. They got raised, living part of their lives, in the Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan their points of views on what is right or wrong changed due to their environment. In the environment they grew up they were also exposed to “bomb-making instructions found in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine” this is where they learned to create pressure cooker bombs causing the whole attack in the first place. As Locke once said “No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience” adding on the my initial explanation around man being nurtured by the environment. Finally, the government in the environment they grew up also had a big impact on the influence of the two brothers, just like the “Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire Magazines” were exposed to them other magazines could have also been very manipulating, triggering and building their perspectives very slowly.
The type of government you would want would depend on your pass experiences that shaped you, for example the Tsarnaev brothers perspective in this whole situation was to protect their Islamic beliefs by getting vengeance on the United States for conducting war against Muslims. But to us this was a terrorist attack pleading war against the United States. The Tsarnaev brothers in my opinion would want a communist government where everyone is equal and there’s nothing to fight over, minorities enjoy the same status as the majorities, no ethnicity, religion etc. there is no reason to show power over anyone. This ultimately means that there would be no purpose to fight over each other having a more stable country.
In conclusion man can be born good or bad but are mostly affected by the manipulation of their pass experiences. The Boston marathon attacks carried out by the Tsarnaev brothers where influenced by their backgrounds. In Hobbes perspective the brothers were “born naturally evil” only held together by laws and further discipline but as for Locke and Rousseau the brothers were shaped and molded. Their pass experience leveraged a lot of what was to become of them, emphasizing that in Locke and Rousseau’s point of view man can control and shape what they want to become by the circumstances they put themselves in.