The wages of perverse gratification

Making the assumption that terrorism attracts the idealistic, disaffected, and alienated is as epic a blunder as assuming Che Guevara was a nice guy. Or that Pol Pot only had humanity in mind. Like everything else, the prospect of inflicting death, pain, and cruelty on others attracts a certain kind of individual.

It’s the same old call from the same shadowy places. The lure of power. The chance to gratify sadism, perversion, and greed. For the most brutal, it is a chance to inflict fear and absolute abjection as a way of affirming the nothingness in them.

Oh they dress it up with a line of patter. But that’s just to add insult to injury. Not only are they going to hurt you, but they are going to make you thank them for it before they’re through.

There have always been people like that, in every society, on the fringes of certain political ideologies and even at the center of them. And of course there are people ready to make excuses for them. For they feel the attraction too, but are too chicken to put their actions into practice. So they cheer instead, feeling they’ve done their bit by supporting the Cause. It gives them a sense of importance and an escape from their own deeply felt mediocrity.

- Richard Fernandez, 'The Flowers of Evil.'


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