Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Lure Technique

The Wall Street Journal put up an interesting article yesterday (27 Feb 2015):

The biggest coup of Islamic State's propaganda is its capacity to touch a similar nerve with it's own Utopian vision today, attracting the bored idealists, the misfits, and the adventurers from across Europe.  Like the Communists, Islamic State promises universal welfare, free medicine and social justice.  "It is fundamentally the same malaise that is also inspiring the far-left activists," said Thomass Hegghammer, director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment.  

Over the past year, I've watched German, French and British coverage of the recruitment aspect of ISIS.  You tend to notice after a while....they don't go after thirty year old to sixty year old guys.  These are the ones who aren't so easily lured into some get-dead-quick scheme.  If you approached some forty-five year old Turk in Frankfurt and laid down the VIP status of a Islamic warrior....there would be questions.  Just suggesting some sixty-odd virgins might be gained by this unique status.....won't usually work with a forty-five year old guy.

All of this brings me to the topic of mass movement....something that Eric Hoffer wrote about in the 1950s and introduced the public to the various methods where a mass movement wins converts and establishes itself as a significant power.

He wrote:
Faith in a holy cause is to considerable extent a substitute for lost faith in ourselves.  (page 14, True Believer)

Hoffer might be absolutely right in this regard.  Whether by bad luck, poor schooling, or lost trust in the system.....a generation has been created in the midst of Europe who are uninspired about their future.  "False-friends" up a cause and inspire their new friend for a purpose in life.  They climb onto the wagon and go off for the great thrill of life.  Weeks later, reality hits them, or they are dead.

But Hoffer goes a step further in talking about this division of society:

A man is likely to mind his own business when it worth minding.  When it is not, he takes his own mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business. (page 14, True Believer)

By losing sight of any achievable accomplishment in life.....a guy gets a warped sense of society and his ambitions in life.  Suddenly, he's worried about other people, their intentions, and their achievements....NOT his own.  This is where ISIS took their convert and delivered them to some fundamental view of life.....worrying less about himself and those close to him, and worrying more about everyone except himself and those close to him.

A psychological bluff?  In some way, it's a simple task.  You take a guy who isn't that bright or been around the block enough to ask stupid questions.  It helps to be young and naive.  You give them the mission talk about helping those of your religion.....and keep the discussion secretive.  It helps to avoid letting your parents know, or the real friends in your life know your acceptance of something different.

One of the odd themes of the that over fifty-percent of the document concerns non-believers, not Muslims.  A great deal of his worries.....weren't about religion or the lifestyle of a good member of the was worry about non-believers.  In 1,400 years....some things haven't changed.

In essence, there is a substitution going on for individual hope and individual thinking.

For all the wisdom dished out by Eric Hoffer in The True Believer.....there's a general belief that a mass movement can only survive through certain stages.  It either resolves itself, comes to a conclusion, or simply runs out of steam.   Hoffer has been dead for over thirty years.  He never envisioned something like ISIS, and he might suggest some alternate ending scenario for them.

As for this misfit behavior and recruiting tool?  You would think that a broad band of parents observing this....would eventually react and realize the impact of naive thinking.  But then what?  Is a forty-year old parent going to sit down and talk over false-friends and false religious agendas?  It's hard enough to get some parent to talk over lusty stuff and sex with a thirteen-year old kid.....but talk radical Islam?

The radical guys are more or less betting that these frank discussions between a parent and child won't occur.  Their recruitment tools depend on a lack of discussions.

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