Contemporary Political Violence and its Legitimation
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The legitimation of contemporary political violence is central to its understanding. Whereas in earlier times, self or group interest narrowly defined, provided, in most cases, sufficient justification, in recent times demand has grown for loftier ones. This is not to suggest that crusades and other religious wars of the past could be explained by material interest or conflict over scarce resources, although the latter might have aggravated them in some instances.
It has been since the beginning of the past century that voluminous and elaborate ideological justifications and rationalizations became central to the initiation and infliction of political violence—preceding, accompanying, or following it. Several circumstances seem to account for this development. One is the actual presence of ideological motivation and fervor spurring on political conflicts; the second is the emergence of political propaganda and the mass media of communications that disseminates it. Further explanation...