Let me suggest four parts or elements that get the machinery working:
1. “Malignant Narcissism” / “Civilizational Narcissism” / relatives of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” / “Bipolar Disorders” (“grandiose, messianic delusion”) –> each of the labels may represent a straying of innate human energy plus some craziness. The application to conflicts within the “Islamic Small Wars” context should be apparent with some meditation but outside of that, the same applies to variants of “National Socialist” presence, e.g., Putin in Russia, Jobbik in Hungary.
2. “Cultural Poetics and Social Grammar” — words do have a power and poison put in the ears or set before the eyes gets into children very early in the development of language plus self-concept. Good adults are careful with what they impart to their children, and, perhaps, good politicians must be careful with their words, but bad parents and bad politicians — there are lots of “BadDaddy’s” — may have cause to hide something shameful in themselves, to deflect attention away from themselves, to keep on stage a glorious image of themselves in the eyes of others, starting with their children.
3. Ideological Political Programming — the conservative’s abhorrence of dhimmi status, poll taxes, state discrimination speaks to that and may make something of a match between old Stalinist Soviet practices and some notes in Islam that seek the transformation of whole populations using central absolute authority and political torque to do it.
4. Cultural linguistics or language behavior –and as behavior, this may differ from “poetics” (the arrangements of symbols that make language possible). When we listen, when we read: how much do we memorize, parrot, ingest and sustain as stable? How much do we create, invent, question?
When Jews greet “The Binding of Isaac” (“The Akedah”, and bear with me on Isaac), a minority opinion notes that perhaps Abraham should have talked back to God (!) instead of setting off to carry out His instructions without hesitation.
Listen and obey? Listen and question?
Narcissism, cultural programming, political programming, and language behavior as behavior (we’re part of as wild a species as any) would be the four anchors of any approach or analysis of ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah.
Notably, both Putin and Khamenei operate deeply piratical regimes beneath the cloaks of nationalism and religiosity. They have different trajectories as persons and as representatives of very different states, but they are similar in the pursuit and maintenance of absolute power — absolute control, as if from God — and they apply the same sets of tools for doing that.
I fear overdoing the knowledge part of this kind of view for the fascism it might inspire, if as much has not happened already in the intellectual warrens of governments invested in part in social control. However, considering the Loud Fascism evident in the wild and the necessity of reducing the same in number and force, the above suggests four useful ways of approaching rogue leaders, their psychology, and their movements.
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