In an absolute what-is-this doing here release, [NAME] in The Atlantic makes a serious attempt to understand the Americans, Britons, and other Westerners who’ve flocked to ISIL. By “Westerners,” of course, we mean the real Westerners, not the cuckoo’s eggs like Abdulazeez, the Charlotte murder, or the Tsarnayevs, the Boston Marathon bombers. And his most interesting finding? That the down-and-outers who flock to the black flag are the same exact malformed personality types that flocked to the red flag in previous generations. (That’s the bit that shocking in a contemporary liberal magazine).
ISIS’s caliphate project, because it offers a bracing utopian alternative to Western secular society, speaks directly to those who feel their lives are worthless, spiritually corrupted, empty, boring, or devoid of purpose and significance, and who see no value in their own societies.
Don’t all those words add up to: “losers. ISIL appeal in the West is pretty much to losers”?
The article is a little deeper than that, as it carefully compares the ISIL enthusiasts in the West to the Communism enthusiasts of an earlier era. You know what? They’re the same people, falling for the same empty promise of heaven on earth — by betraying the world you know for the enemy you imagine just must be better, because you don’t like the world you know. Because it was mean to you. (Note that losership unites not only left-wing dregs like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski with ISIL, but also right-wing dregs like Timothy McVeigh).
Anyone who’s studied criminals in depth may be less impressed with the depth of this article. But ISIL has an appeal, right now, that has more TV appeal than the old loser/terrorist/loser modes.
It promises, in short, salvation and ultimate meaning through total commitment to a sacred cause. “I don’t think there’s anything better than living in the land of Khilafah,” or caliphate, said one British jihadist in a video, “Eid Greetings from the Land of the Khilafah,” released last summer by ISIS’s media arm. “You’re not living under oppression. … You’re not living under kuffar [unbelievers]. … We don’t need any democracy. … All we need is shariah.”
Similar themes come out strongly in a recent report on female Western migrants. Based on the social-media postings of self-identified migrants apparently within ISIS-controlled territory, the authors found that estrangement from Western society and anger at perceived injustices against Muslims worldwide, together with a strong sense of religious calling and an unwavering faith in the rectitude of the newly emerging caliphate, form the basis for why these women journey to ISIS.
Much more in the article. Like the pathetic losers who follow ISIL, the pathetic losers who followed Communism were often wealthy and educated, but they felt dislocated and had an ingrate’s loathing for their own world (think Jane Fonda as a type. If she weren’t an osteoporotic septuagenarian, she might be out there now wearing a burkha over a TATP corset).
But the bottom line is, the Westerners who up and join ISIL are losers, pathetic, hopeless losers.
No wonder ISIL leaders think they can beat us.