Last week, Will Begley posted on the topic of terrorism in response to the Gamma class’s discussion that week. He brought up an interesting point about the nature of the terrorist as being a product of nurture rather than nature. I think that this is a really relevant discussion to be had in western society, as I believe that so much of our xenophobia stems from our false beliefs that terrorists are inherently different from ourselves. I believe that history has shown us time and time again that young men are constantly looking for a cause to give their lives for. In World War Two, for example, many men would even lie about their date of birth in order to enlist for our campaign against the Third Reich. In our cities, young men and women will even risk imprisonment, death and injury to be a member of a local gang. Whether Islam is used as the basis for much terrorist aggression, I believe is irrelevant, as a terrorist group could almost as easily rally the youth against capitalist ideology or against race as they could against the infidel. Terrorism has a very tangible goal to cling to, as well as very clear guidelines for success.
Ultimately, I believe that young men sign up to fight and die for terrorist causes simply because young men have a primal desire to fight and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In Western society, we fulfill that desire by pursuing careers and hobbies, but both of those are intangible concepts in societies that have no clear system of government and no real authority.