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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Solution to ISIS Problem Widely Ignored

It's been about three weeks since I solved the ISIS problem.  Sadly, the world has yet to take notice, or even start a debate about my solution.  Yesterday's Wall Street Journal reported that Syrian Islamic Staters are getting only $400 a month, while less capable foreign recruits are getting $800.  The same article reports that there are about 18,000 of each, for a total of less than 40,000.  And there are divisions within ISIS, as different religious extremists will always different ideas of how best to please their God.

Right now, state armies are fighting ISIS as best they can.  That's fine, but it doesn't change the recruiting landscape.  Nobody is going to choose to join the Iraqi army to fight ISIS over ISIS itself.  Again, what is needed is a counter-ISIS -- something that appeals to many of the same natural yearnings in young men than ISIS does, but, on top of that, appeals to their innate desire to do the right thing.


  1. Didn't Eric Hoffer solve the ISIS problem in 1961?

  2. Not quite the same way I did; he doesn't seem to have been aware of Maslow, and therefore focuses on the personal inadequacies of joiners of mass movements. Here are some representative Hoffer quotes:

    "There is a fundamental difference between the appeal of a mass movement and the appeal of a practical organization. The practical organization offers opportunities for self-advancement, and its appeal is mainly to self-interest. On the other hand, a mass movement, particularly in its active, revivalist phase, appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self. A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation."

    PF: This may be true for some mass movements, but one of the scary things about ISIS is that it is all that AND it offers the possibility of self-advancement.

    "Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves."

    PF: Not necessarily -- one doesn't have to have lost faith in oneself to believe in a seemingly great cause. ISIS appeals to both the capable and the inept.

    "The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause."

    PF: Same objection -- yes, it's probably easier for ISIS to recruit disaffected losers, but that's not all they attract.