02.27.2015 08:21 AM

Cause and effect

Cause. Cause. Cause.


I’ve written a couple books that deal with this subject, here and here, so forgive me for asking (what should be by now) a wholly rhetorical question: why do young people turn to extremism?

Because they feel rejected by the mainstream. Because they feel they do not belong. Because they are shunned. So they leave civil society, and embrace a decidedly uncivil one.

As I suggested after the Conservatives foolishly eliminated section 13 of the Human Rights Act, people turn to anti-democratic action when they feel democracy has turned on them. Or, as one politician once said: “If I were a Palestinian at the right age, I would have joined one of the terrorist organizations.”

His name? Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister of Israel.


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    Michael Clifton says:

    I don’t disagree. But the truth is, it doesn’t happen to all of them. So perhaps an equally important in question is: why do some young people *not* turn to extremism? It’s never, it seems, a majority who turn extreme. So what else turns, or doesn’t turn, the coin for these particular young people? There must be more than the kinds of causes cited, something else “missing”, or something else “present”, in the minds, hearts, families, communities, beliefs, understanding, experience… I don’t know… of those young people who do turn.

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      Warren says:

      Love. Family, friends. Opportunity. Jobs. Respect. When they get those things – and my focus group were skinheads, descending into neo-Naziism – they don’t radicalize.

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    wsam says:

    I love that quote from Barak. Especially because his military service was pretty dark.

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    EB says:


    I think Mr. Harper said we wouldn’t recognize Canada when he was done. Well, he doesn’t appear to be done, and I am not sure I recognize ‘us’ anymore.

    Just following the three recent stories, Bill C51, nihab, and hijab and the comments being left on NP and Globe leaves me shaking my head. A majority of the comments demonstrate so much anger and intolerance. Given the opportunity to be anonymous, are the real thoughts of people coming out? Have we always worn just a mask of civility?

    I fear that our Prime Minister is only seeking to exploit a political advantage to the situation. I hope that by ‘throwing gasoline on the fire’, that we don’t all get burnt when it blows up on us. Now it appears that others, like that judge, are going down the same path.

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    davie says:

    The Conservatives are arguing that their Bill C 51 will allow more actions by the government/police to reduce radicalization. The government/police also say they have a list of some 90 names of people suspected of having been ‘radicalized.’ I haven’t been that long away from working with young adults, lots of them. I do not see much in the Atlantic mag article that would appeal to any young adult. I think it would be a good idea if we could somehow hear from those who go to join foreign groups, in a foreign place, so that lwe have a better idea of what is turning their heads and hearts.

    Now a parliamentary committee is holding hearings regarding the bill. Suppose that committee were to invite those suspected of having been radicalized to speak. That would give those young people the recognition that their grievances are being heard, and it would give the rest of us a better idea of what angers them, or what is attracting them.

    I remember that somewhere in his ‘Discourses’ Machiavelli argued that a sound governor would ensure a public avenue for grievances; that not doing so, would not do away with grievances, but would ensure that they take forms destructive of the community.

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    wsam says:

    “If young people live in places where the only option is between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground,” he said, “no counterterrorism strategy can succeed.”
    — Barack Obama

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    Roney says:

    But, if, say, on May 4th (election), Harper asks Canadians: “Do you want me to be your prime minister for another 4 years?” …….. what do you think Canadians will say?

    • No we want Justin Trudeau and/or Thomas Mulcair! (Unlikely)
    • Yes, but only with a minority government! (Possibly)
    • YES, and here’s another strong stable majority government, because we like what we hear from you!

    Wanna bet?

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      davie says:

      I suspect that you are right that all this terrorism fear has less to do with real terrorist threats, and more to do with the lection campaign.

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    Joe says:

    Ever notice how we project our motivations on to other people to explain what is seemingly irrational actions by said others? Materialist Barak Obama spoke eloquently about how poverty is the driving force behind radicals. Warren presented a cogent argument that it is lack of acceptance in social settings that motivates radicals. As a pastor I would suggest that many are becoming radicalized by religious fervor. They want to be a part of a greater cause than simply putting bread on the table. They want to leave a changed world and earn brownie points with their God. As one who is motivated by a form of religious fervor I vehemently disagree with their course of action but their religious motive I can understand.

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      terence quinn says:

      That is correct Joe. Kids have been “radicalized” since the 60’s in various cults. Those cults were primarily “hippie” type love and peace things where people dropped put of mainstream society. There were groups like the black militants in the US who were more violent and appealed to youth in a more violent fashion. Then along comes radical Islam and it basically appeals to the same disaffected youth.

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    Mark says:

    And yet, amazingly, you somehow manage to not make the connection between the racist war-mongering of your new-found friends, and the resultant racism.

    Only you, Kinsella, only fucking you could be that stupid.

    Given that it is obvious you have never actually read a history book at any point in your life, here is a brief summary of a relevant bit of history, put into the context of what’s going on today:

    In case you don’t know, Eric Margolis is a former foreign affairs columnist with the Washington Post and the New York Times. He was highly respected, but lost his position when he refused to toe the line when it came to the fear mongering of President Bush (The Lesser.)

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      Joe says:

      Bwhahahahahaha! Gasp!!!! You call Warren a F*****g Idiot and then you use Eric Margolis as a source! Bwahahahahaha. ow my sides hurt.

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