So, I was at a meeting the other day to see a presentation on radicalism. The presentation, presented by a local well known professor focused on the psychology of radicalism, examining commitment, motivation, and the role of group dynamics.
It was an interesting presentation, of which I’ll provide a quick synopsis to capture the point of this post.
The professor provided a quick breakdown of what radicalization means: “support/adoption of radical means to address a problem.” Of course, this required a definition of radical: “a means that is contrary to generally accepted norms and values.” From this, the professor identified two implications
- The perception of radicalism is subjective to the value and importance one—and society in general—place on those norms and values.
- Radicalism is a matter of degree in the willingness of one to move outside those norms and values.
The professor then equated radicalization with extreme commitment, from which he identified a theory of three factors the develop commitment:
- Motivation (Individual level)
- Ideological Narrative (Cultural level)
- Group Dynamics (Social level)
The professor, at this point synthesized motivation down to a quest for significance. This is interesting in that the professor breaks it down as such:
The Significance Quest:
- Significance loss (individual level, level of social identity)
- Threat of loss
- These therein introduce an uncertainty about the self, need for certainty (dissonance)
- Which then provides an opportunity for significance gain and the removal of uncertainty
- Summarized by Significance Loss creates opportunity for Significance Gain
The significance quest then uses ideology to reinforce the goal of significance and providing the means to attain it. For example, in Islamic terrorism, the return of the global Caliphate would be the goal and the use of Jihad is the means to attain it.
Group dynamics, through persuasive ideology and charismatic leaders, provide entry of uncertain individuals into a social process that acts as a conduit for the Significance Quest.
Basically, the professor’s point was that individuals who are less successful, who feel insignificant, and who are psychologically uncertain, are more easily susceptible to radicalization. Radicalization is about self-esteem.
So where am I going with this? The professor, who has traveled extensively and conducted many interviews and studies with radicalized individuals, displayed some empirical data that was quite telling. In particular, there were two charts the professor displayed that immediately jumped out at me.
I will not provide the chart itself, by I will provide an accurate representation:
As you can see from the chart, individuals who are successful are independent, whereas those who are failures are interdependent. Let us let that sink in for a moment: success breeds independence and failure foments interdependence. It takes a village anyone?
Couple this with the second chart:
Like the first chart, this one demonstrates that those who are successful identify as individuals, whereas those who fail, tend to identify in a collective. Now, the professor was studying terrorism, so the collectives he was most interested in were religion and nationalism, but one could easily substitute ideology. In fact, especially in the Error of Obama, Obamaism is the religion because everything is based on faith, despite what the facts or reality dictates.
The Left’s NEED for Failures
These charts are extremely telling, and explain so much about how the left engages and expands its base. It explains the policies, the decisions, and the ideology. Liberalism, Socialism, and Communism have just been summed up.
Conservatives have pointed out the consistent failures of leftist ideology for years, and I have commented several times on the left’s tactic of pulling everyone down to the lowest common denominator. This tells us why; the left is made up by, and caters to, failures. Of course, not everyone on the left is a failure, but that is the target demographic because failures need others because, well, they’re failures.
This explains what the left has done to the “black community”, and why it is necessary to destroy the family unit, diminish educational and professional work habits and expectations, and center all problems on race. Failure forces interdependence, and if there is anything “successful” about liberal policies, it is that they force collective failure. Of course, this failure then forces collective identification and interdependence, which becomes a self-licking ice-cream cone as collective liberal policies breed new failure—and the cycle then continues.
I have always looked at the left as a bunch of incompetent boobs, who’ve religious zealotry to a failed ideology inherently foment failed policy after failed policy. But now I have to sit back and really question this. Is it incompetence or intentional? Can a movement possibly be wrong every time?
Sure, this starts to sound awfully Alex Jones, but Conservatives have always believed that liberal leaders intentionally looked to force popular dependence on the state, and thus on them, for survival. That is demonstrably clear just based on the last six years of food stamp rolls, unemployment, and the entire premise of Obamacare. None of these were ever intended to fix anything. In fact, the exact opposite has occurred in each case; more—not less—people are on food stamps, more—not less—people are unemployed, more—not less-people are without healthcare coverage.
The Obama Administration has been the epitome of failure. Its foreign policy has made the United States weaker, less liked, and more isolated. Its economic policy has bankrupted the treasury, hamstrung the economy, and damaged the fundamental ability to get a decent job. Race relations have plummeted as every single criticism of the Administration have been blamed on race instead of accepted on the merits of the facts. The nation has never been more divided or partisan. Class warfare, race warfare, political warfare—this Administration is destroying the fabric of the nation.
Obama’s fundamental change has been to celebrate failure, which clarifies who the radicals are in this country…