Lynn is a terrorist. The terrorist, like Lynn, is a person who sees himself as powerless to redress his grievances through legitimate means. He resorts to violence in order, he hopes, to achieve a political end that he cannot achieve through the political process. He attacks civilians because he cannot get at the real enemy, and because he holds civilians accountable as accessories to his oppression. He feels that his actions, no matter how violent, no matter who his victims, are justified by the pain he has unjustly suffered. “Clearys” attacks the terrorist’s rationale. Willis makes the point–one I’d call “liberal democratic” but that a revolutionary might call “conservative”–that such action holds people accountable for situations over which they have little if any control, that the terrorist assumes an absolute moral authority that nobody possesses, and that even when successful in its immediate goal terrorism can lead to evil far beyond its intention.
“A Letter from the Cleary’s” and the Science Fiction Audience
(from Short Form, vol. 2, issue 1, June 1989)