Musings —03.28.2016 12:07 PM—
The New York Times, here, attempts to answer that question, and comes up short, I think.
I have made a few attempts at doing likewise – as here – and I always find myself turning back to demographic profiling (as I learned in politics) and youth subcultures (as I learned in punk rock). Ipso facto, the things which the radicalized share is that they are almost always:
- young (teens to early thirties)
- unsuccessful (at love or life)
- unemployed (often after post-secondary study)
- angry (at everything and everyone)
- alienated from family (who often have lost contact)
- involved in petty crime
From skinheads to jihadists, they become incandescent balls of rage. They are looking for a replacement family, a new beliefs system, a sense of belonging, a higher calling, a culture that rejects the popular culture, a new religion, even a uniform to wear. And along come manipulative older men, practiced in deception, who give them all those things. They give them a manifesto of hate.
Want to stop terror and extremism? Create a society where these angry young men get hope, where they get support, where they get jobs. Where they get a sense of purpose.
Desperate young men do desperate things, as we are now seeing almost every single day. We need to get to them before the haters do.