Why does terrorism exist? An analysis is offered the essay, “The Despair of Having Everything” by Jean Baudrillard. Baudrillard espouses the viewpoint that, through the spread of Western society, other cultures and societal aspects are being lost. He indicates that, through the spread of Western culture, the world is becoming homogenized, and that the hatred directed toward the West is that which is felt by countries “to whom we have given everything and who can give nothing in return.” This statement seems wrong on the face of it.
Baudrillard argues that terrorism can be viewed as a ‘singularity.’ His definition of singularity is as an event that opposes the establishment of homogeneity, which in this case, is what he terms Western globalization. In this, he seems to liken other cultures in the world to a recalcitrant child who opposes a parent, in that they rebel against the status quo in various ways. Per Baudrillard, that opposition can be either through something as subtle as language characteristics or as severe as acts of violence/terrorism. By this definition, he argues that terrorism as defined as an act of rebellion or a ‘singularity’ against the imposition of a dominant culture is neither positive nor negative, which is a vast oversimplification of a complex issue.
Empirical evidence indicates that, throughout time, countries which have been dominant or most powerful are targets for those entities wishing to obtain that power for themselves. In addition, history shows that those countries, cultures or what-have-you identified as ‘powerful,’ such as the Church in Europe during the Middle Ages, the Roman empire, or any other such powerful organization have always been singled out for rebellion and attack, usually by those who wish to usurp that power for themselves.
Currently it is the Western hemisphere, specifically the United States, which wields considerable power. That television and mass media have broadcast Western culture to all parts of the globe, and that other cultures are threatened by that culture is not a...