Speaking to Newsweek, and opposing the view that murderous violence is always to be explained as a consequence of grievances over previous wrongs, Martin Amis says some shocking things:
In the story you describe jihad as the most charismatic idea of Atta's generation. Do you really believe this?Shocking but, unfortunately, true - though often resisted by the progressive, sociologizing mind, which can confuse the need to understand what background conditions tempt or facilitate evil-doing with the nice but delusory idea that there are no inner human impulses towards evil-doing. We have too much evidence that given the freedom, the licence, to kill and do other terrible harms, there are enough people who enjoy using it. I've argued this at some length here. A passage I quote from David Rousset, who was imprisoned at Buchenwald:
It's self-evidently true. You're always onto a winner if you can persuade people they can be righteous and violent at the same time. Nothing beats that. Officially sanctioned violence is unimprovable. And with this paradise which they've stirred into the mix - whereby with an act of mass murder, you gain the keys - you've got a very attractive idea. Also, it gives the "nobody" a chance to play a decisive role in world history, and there are lots of people who are going to be drooling at the thought of that.
So you think that's what motivates terrorists?
I'm sure. I say in the story [that Atta] was in it for the killing, and I think that's another underestimated consideration: killing people is obviously terrific fun. It's a crude expression of power to kill people, and it's arousing.
Normal men do not know that everything is possible. Even if the evidence forces their intelligence to admit it, their muscles do not believe it. The concentrationees do know.So, now, should we all. (Thanks: ME.)