The world's most dangerous terrorist group is a threat to life on the planet. It has killed millions and excited about killing hundreds of thousands if not millions more, in attacks it envisions that could kill hundreds of thousands within hours. Those visions could lead to the end of modern civilization.
It has fomented hate and division at historic levels, wiping out fifty years of success at building tolerance and unity.
It has degraded decades of work, across the planet, which made humanity and nature safer. It is aggressively, intentionally working to reverse and destroy laws and policies which brought more justice and fairness to disadvantage and minority peoples.
The propaganda efforts of this terrorist group have been so effective that many of its victims actually support it enthusiastically, even while it kills their family members and impoverishes them.
But what exactly is terrorism? Wikipedia's page on terrorism offers this:
Terrorism is defined in Title 22 Chapter 38 U.S. Code 2656f as "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents." According to Matusitz (2013), terrorism includes the following:
It is the use of violence or threat of violence in the pursuit of political, religious, ideological or social objectives. It can be committed by governments, non-state actors, or undercover personnel serving on the behalf of their respective governments. It reaches more than the immediate target victims and is also directed at targets consisting of a larger spectrum of society. It is both mala prohibita (i.e., crime that is made illegal by legislation) and mala in se (i.e., crime that is inherently immoral or wrong).
The Wikipedia page also offers that caveat that acts of violence during war or self defense are not considered terrorism. I'd disagree with the part about war, particularly if the combatant starts the war.
It probably won't surprise you that Donald Trump is the leader-- making him the most dangerous terrorist in the world.
But I must confess that while I started out conceptualizing the Republican party as the most dangerous terrorist group-- one that has leaders supporting a droolingly rabid warmonger like John Bolton to be Trump's National Security Advisor-- I changed my mind as I began fleshing this article out.
I considered characterizing the whole US congress-- a collection mostly made up of millionaires and billionaires-- as the most dangerous terrorist group, with it's simpering DINO Democrats who sell out their constituents by protecting billionaires and big, predatory corporations. And the Democratic leadership, in the form of the DNC, DCCC and DSCC and comparable groups protect these traitors and help them win primaries to insure their election. But they are a symptom.
Then I realized that the biggest terrorist group is not exactly a group, though it is comprised of a collection of people. It is a system. And really, we humans exist in an inescapable collection of interconnected systems that affect each other.
It's the predatory, extractive top-down, capitalist system-- one that is a very new phenomenon on this planet. It's one that has produced more billionaires and more wealth inequality than ever before. It is a system that is the penultimately inevitable result of centralized, hierarchical, predatory civilization that allows predatory narcissists to rise to the top and surround themselves with narcissistic reflections of themselves.
This recent development puts humanity and earth's precarious ecosystems in great danger. Fortunately, there are trends, especially among people born after 1980, which could reverse the danger this terrorist system presents. Younger people and some born before 1980 have a different sense of how things should be. Their brains have been marinated in the bottom-up experience of the internet and smartphones, which has, to some extent neutralized the top-down, authoritarian collection of cultural influences that have inundated people over 50 years old, particularly white males.
This alternate experience leads younger people, women and minorities to see and relate to the world in a different way. They are not so deeply programmed to accept things as they are, to accept the abuses and predations of the powerful. It's not perfect. They DO accept the loss of privacy. But overall, they are our hope for the future. Today, young people are protesting in Washington and across the globe, in the "March for Our Lives" movement.
This is not just another protest. It is the beginning emergence from the cocoon of a new, metamorphosing humanity, one that offers hope, if we can survive the malignant, insane ship of fools leadership of now totally unhinged and out of control Trump.