Rebirth of Reason

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - 2:57pmSanction this postReply

Very interesting results. The perspective on the future stats are especially telling as are the education stats. The determinism and hopelessness arguments concerning 'the making of a terrorist' seem all the more hollow.

But, I wonder about if the future stats are somewhat skewed. I heard a news piece a couple years back about a female suicide bomber. Apparently her wedding was supposed to be the week after her suicide attack. Yet, she had been excitedly planning for the wedding even as she was preparing to blow herself up days before the ceremony. 

I guess my point is that these people determined to be extremists are deeply irrational and in some cases even delusional. Could it be that they see their future as bright because they have faith that either they will go to heaven for whatever efforts they make against the West and for God here on earth, or because they think their violence and support of it are actually going to produce a better world?

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Thursday, November 30, 2006 - 1:52pmSanction this postReply
The more I think about it, the more I believe this idea has validity: 

It is a "fantasy" ideology - deeply irrational, and akin to a disease of the mind.  This disease is being allowed to spread willingly in the name of the civil rights of the infected.  Perhaps quarantine is justified - not necessarily all muslims, but any who preach this brand should be summarily extradited, none should be allowed in, and whatever else is necessary. 


What is common in such interactions is that the fantasist inevitably treats other people merely as props — there is no interest in, or even awareness of, others as having wills or minds of their own.

But in the fantasy ideology of radical Islam, suicide is not a means to an end but an end in itself. Seen through the distorting prism of radical Islam, the act of suicide is transformed into that of martyrdom — martyrdom in all its transcendent glory and accompanied by the panoply of magical powers that religious tradition has always assigned to martyrdom.

In short, it is a mistake to try to fit such behavior into the mold created by our own categories and expectations. Nowhere is this more tellingly illustrated than on the videotape of Osama bin Laden discussing the attack. The tape makes clear that the final collapse of the World Trade Center was not part of the original terrorist scheme, which apparently assumed that the twin towers would not lose their structural integrity. But this fact gave to the event — in terms of al Qaeda’s fantasy ideology — an even greater poignancy: Precisely because it had not been part of the original calculation, it was therefore to be understood as a manifestation of divine intervention. The 19 hijackers did not bring down the towers — God did.

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