Ed Driscoll

Nihilism Versus Power and Purpose

Why causes young men to abandon the west and join radical Islam? Ralph Peters explores “The Joys of Killing for Allah:”

Take the profoundly un-Washingtonian step of suspending our cultural vanity to consider what jihad offers the young and adrift, the failed and embittered, or the simmering convict. Then weigh that “Allah wants you!” package against our pathetic counter-bid.

By embracing Islamist extremism and the terrorist mission, the misfit gains:

  • Acceptance for the first time in his life
  • A sense of belonging
  • Structure (never underestimate the appeal of rigor to troubled souls)
  • A comforting explanation for his failures
  • Power and purpose
  • Justification for hatred and his anti-social impulses
  • Revenge and respect
  • The thrill of torturing others and the ecstasy of killing human beings
  • The prospect of fame
  • Paradise, should he die on jihad, with a host of submissive virgins who cannot compare him to other, more potent, more appealing males

And what do we offer to those we hope to deter?

  • A job stocking shelves at Walmart

That line is rather glib, isn’t it? Actually, it’s a failure of the nihilistic West and its 150 year old war on the bourgeois to explain why stocking shelves at Walmart isn’t such a horrible idea; this duality also causes causes many bitter young men to deal in petty crime or sell drugs rather than accept an entry-level job to begin his career path. But thievery and dope pale in comparison to blowing up infidels the 72 virgins when you yourself explode.

(Via Steve Green.)