In light of the brutal loss of life at the Russia school hostage situation (many children were shot in the back as they fled), I was reminded of an article several years ago by Paul Hollander titled The “Banality of Evil” and The Political Culture of Hatred in FrontPageMag.com where he discussed the shift from disinterested institutionalized evil in which people are dispassionate cogs (banal evil) in the killing machine, typified by Nazi Germany, to a climate of radical hatred that is both personal and institutional, typified by Islamicists such as those who murdered the Russian school children.
However, when discussing the causes of this hatred, Paul identified for me not just the cause for the current problem between Islamicists and Israel or the United States and the West, but the cause of many of today’s problems that center around the culture of victimhood, which Islamic radicals currently embrace.
Its “root cause” is not poverty, as so many would have you believe, but relative deprivation or frustrated expectations and the overpowering but comforting belief that others are responsible for one’s misfortune. “Relative deprivation”, “frustrated expectations”, and “others are responsible.” That sounds to me like the hatred spewed from radical mullahs in mosques all over the Middle East. It does not listen to reason, accepts no rational discourse, and makes its demands from a platform of anger and retribution, whether or not that anger is justified and that retribution valid. If the current grievances are in the least bit justified, that is icing on the cake, but it is only significant for use as propaganda.
It is not hard to see why radical Islamicists resort to these tactics when you consider their essential beliefs. Without a constructive baseline of redemption, such as Christianity exhibits in the Passion of the Christ, who demands that you forgive as you are forgiven (remember the Lord’s Prayer), there is nothing left but what I want and feel I deserve to quench my anger, no matter how warped or illogical the premise. The Christian demand for forgiveness brings balance into our cultural and social relationships by allowing daily activities a way past problems without destroying everything by an unrelenting pursuit of vengeance and vigilantism. Islam has no theology of forgiveness, therefore they pursue their destructive goals unabated and unabatable.
It is also important to understand that from their perspective, nothing is the Islamicist’s fault. The fault is in the unforgivable other and anything they feel they need to do to seek redress is also not their fault, but the fault of the unforgivable other. Blame the victim. It is an old problem, as old as our first parents. When God confronted Adam over breaking the one command God had given him and Eve his immediate reply was, “The woman you put here with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Adam set the pattern and sowed the wind and we are seeing the whirlwind in all its glory in the current conflict with terrorism.