Islamism appeals to Europeans, converts and third generation members of immigrant families, because society does not provide simple answers to life’s questions. There is a searching that happens in a bourgeois life. When one is born middle class or upper class there is time to read and relax, and eventually somewhere online one finds the “answer” and the answer for a handful of people is ISIS or something like it. Mass murder terror is entirely a product of bourgeois life. The very nature of wanting to exterminate one’s fellow citizens and imagining oneself as the judge and jury of those people appeals to frustrated elites. In their own secular European society they aren’t permitted to be the new Auschwitz commandant, but ISIS provided them that ability in Syria and Iraq. It advertised Jihad and mass murder the way one might advertise a kind of psychotic vacation. Come to the Middle East where you can do whatever you want. Foreign jihadists were promised the first pick among the “slaves” and “booty.” German jihadists, the kind of people who would have been neo-Nazis at home and ISIS-nazis abroad, proudly boasted on Facebook of selling people.
If you want to find potential extremists you are more likely to find them in a coffee house next to an elite university in Europe, than you will in a downtrodden part of town. An employee of an intelligence agency in Germany was even unmasked as an extremist. One must understand that extremism appeals to people the way Nazism and Stalinism appealed to them. The way football hooliganism appeals to them. Humans seek fulfillment in life. They don’t want complicated answers. Many of them are natural born bullies, predators, psychopaths and sadists. Given the menu of jihadism in which they are promised the right to murder, the right to rape, the right to decide the fate of others, the potential pyschopath will join. The adherents of mass-murder beliefs in Europe are the same people who worked as bouncers and loved driving fast cars and were petty criminals, most enjoyed a decent standard of living and could afford to jet off to a foreign country.
There is almost no alienation at the root cause of terror and extremism. It is alienation from a secular society that has no answers and doesn’t provide adolescent males and men in their twenties an outlet to their aggression and natural bullying instincts. In a culture that promises men an existence where chauvinism is frowned upon, where they are told there is no nationalism, no national awakening, some men will gravitate towards religion. Some women will gravitate toward it. Educated women make up the majority of jihadist-brides and also converts to the most extreme forms of Islamism. Just like educated women flocked to extremists such as Carlos the Jackal or the murderer of Yitzhak Rabin, women are like their male counterparts, they want extreme answers. For the men the extreme answer is rape and murder. For some women it is slavery, to serve men and obey.
Why is this surprising. The same people that are not surprised that sadomasochism brings in hundreds of millions to the porn industry are apparently surprised some women choose burkas and Jihad. Why are you surprised. Read any self-description by a female porn star of why they wanted to be in fetish porn and being beaten and tied up on camera in BDSM and and then ask yourself again, are you surprised that another woman wanted to put on a burka. What’s the essential difference? Free choice is involved in both. Degradation as well as some point.
And then ask yourself about the men who enjoy watching women be abused on camera and ask why there are male jihadists. One study claimed that 70% of the male tourists in Thailand were sex tourists, and that there were 200,000 women working in sex tourism to please these millions of men. So millions of men are going to just one country to seek out sex, some of those men are going after underage girls. Then multiply that by the other sex tourism destinations. And then ask about the 50,000 men who joined ISIS as volunteers.
Yes, ISIS sold women into sex slavery. But sex slavery exists in New York City as well. We don’t ask too many questions about the extremism that leads middle aged men to fly half-way around the world to rape 13 year olds, but we ask and survey a lot about what causes a 20 year old to go to Mosul to rape and murder people, or causes them to want to slaughter priests in France.
When you look deeper you’ll find the cause of extremism is right in front of us. It’s not alienation. It’s part of society. It’s not so fringe. And it’s not possible to survey for it because so much of it involves conversion and people who change. Most people won’t say “I’m a jihadist,” but the man who today is on the journey to mass murder is still on that journey and no survey will find him and all his friends.