Rhoda Unger (2002, pg. 44) wrote that “covert worldviews exist within Western society that differ in degree rather than kind from the worldview of the radical fundamentalists who bombed the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. These worldviews share certain features, including abdication of moral responsibility to a source outside oneself, maintenance of attitudes and behaviors that value one’s own group at the expense of other ‘deviant’ groups, and closing oneself off from experiences and viewpoints that might influence the worldview one possesses. These ideology-maintaining mechanisms make it easy for people to believe that there is no true worldview other than their own and to demonize others who do not recognize this ‘truth’.”
For this week’s discussion, consider Unger’s statement above related to the possibility of the emergence of an American terrorist group. By this I don’t mean Islamic or other types of “sleeper cells”, the kind we most often see in movies and hear about, as possible threats, in the news. This discussion question is about homegrown terrorism. According to our readings so far, we know that terrorism groups comprised solely of U.S. citizens have existed in the past, so this is not at all an impossible thing. What conditions currently exist that could foment terrorist ideologies among members of our own society? Identify and concretely link to your ideas at least one concept from your assigned readings to date (supplementary readings from the Course Materials folder may also be used).
This one asks you to stretch beyond a “not in my country” orientation to concerns of today’s world. In spite of recent 9/11 anniversary lamentations, a substantial amount of patriotism and nationalism exists in the U.S. today, a fair amount of it fueled about anger and fear following 9/11. Not in my country represents a set of beliefs that serve a psychological purpose–they keep those fearful of new attacks able to leave their homes and function in the world that scares them–but they are also dangerous if they blind us to geo-social realities that can intersect with the human condition to create conditions we’d rather not think about.
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