Status anxiety

The lesson of the young men fighting for Isis: evil is in all of us

I suspect more and more that Isis fighters are motivated more by bloodlust than by ideology

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

6 September 2014

9:00 AM

I had an interesting discussion with my friend Aidan Hartley earlier this week about whether the young men fighting for the so-called Islamic State are psychopaths. (This was before the news broke of Steven Sotloff’s beheading.) Aidan is better placed than most to answer this question, having worked as a war correspondent for many years and written a classic book on the subject called The Zanzibar Chest.

His view is that the Islamic radicals attracted to IS are not run-of-the-mill jihadis, but a particularly nasty sub-species. Without in any way trying to defend the activities of terrorist groups like al-Shabaab, whose handiwork he’s witnessed close up, he thinks of them as being more like the IRA. That is, their adherents are motivated by a toxic cocktail of political and religious ideology which sanctions the murder of civilians as a means to an end.

The members of IS, by contrast, aren’t ideological fanatics so much as bloodthirsty monsters. They’ve travelled from places like Sydney and Manchester purely because they want to chop people’s heads off. Their talk of wanting to reverse the Sykes-Picot Agreement and create a caliphate joining Iraq and Syria is just so much rhetoric. In reality, they’re evil predators who’ve flocked to the killing fields so they can indulge their sick fantasies.

Now, I can see why Aidan has reached this conclusion. The actions of some members of IS, such as tweeting pictures of their children holding up severed heads, is so shocking that they do seem different in kind from other jihadis, not just different in degree. It’s as if the part of the human brain that recognises such behaviour as abhorrent is missing and, for that reason, their behaviour is more disturbing than hijacking a plane and flying it into a skyscraper. It’s a step beyond terrorism into something closer to insanity — Mr Kurtz territory.

Still, I think Aidan is wrong about IS. To begin with, I don’t think there’s a significant difference between these Islamists and their counterparts in groups like al-Qa’eda or Boko Haram. They are no less murderous, no more merciful. When it comes to non-Muslims, they are all completely indiscriminate about whom they maim and kill: women, children, the disabled — it makes no difference. If you want to call the jihadis in IS ‘psychopaths’ I think you have to apply the same label to the al-Shabaab terrorists who murdered more than 50 people at the Westgate shopping centre.

But, more importantly, I think very few of the members of these radical Islamist groups actually do suffer from psychopathy — at least, not in the sense that they would be clinically diagnosed as suffering from that specific personality disorder if examined by a psychiatrist. I dare say that in their day-to-day lives back home in Maida Vale, or wherever it is they’re from, the IS fighters lead perfectly normal lives, exhibiting all the customary amounts of empathy, remorse, inhibition and so on. Indeed, I think that is what’s so profoundly frightening about them — they are no different from the young man sitting beside you on the bus or working behind the counter at the local sports shop.

I don’t mean that all Muslim young men are capable of these crimes — I mean all young men. Middle-aged men, too, and not a few women. I am a Catholic when it comes to the existence of evil — I think it’s in all of us, and never far from the surface.

All the religious and political nuts out there who convince themselves that the end justifies the means — whether Nazis, communists or jihadis — are just trying to mask their true impulse from themselves, which is their atavistic desire to slake their bloodlust. It’s always about raping and torturing and murdering — everything else is window dressing.

As Freud said, ‘Men are not gentle creatures who want to be loved… they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbour is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus.

The appalling atrocities taking place in Iraq are just the latest illustration of a truth that is as old as mankind itself. There is a wolf in all of us, struggling to get out.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • Mitzi

    I think so too that in all of us are hidden depths that only surface at a time of crisis. I have never believed when people say “I would never do this or that” because we would do anything to survive. Same as these terrorists, it’s like a mass hysteria once they reach Syria or Iraq they go with the flow and nothing is too bad for them to do. But I wouldn’t like to take my chances with them should they return to the UK, maybe just a little spark could set them off again on the bloodthirsty path they have trodden on for so long.

    • Moa

      Nope. The jihadis are told they are doing “good” and “the will of Allah” when they kill, rape, and crucify the enemies of Allah. It’s all laid out there in Islamic doctrine (Qur’an, Sira and ahadith) for them that they must do this to please Allah.

      Too bad we westerners are so bad at listening, and too lazy to study Islamic ideology as the Muslims understand it. That is why we get people like Mitzi who make up reasons like “mass hysteria” – when this is completely false. The jihadis tell us *exactly* why they do what they do, because the proper reading of Islamic ideology (taking into account “naskh”/abrogation) commands it.

      Why do you refuse to listen to what the jihadis are saying, Mitzi? why can you not accept that the reason is the totalitarian ideology called “Islam”? why is this so hard for you all to grasp, when the truth is so simple?

  • PetaJ

    I think there is evil in all of us but varies in degree. I can’t agree that we are all capable of this kind of behaviour. Fortunately very few of us are.

    • Simon_in_London

      Squeamishness is a factor. I recall the tale of Himmler visiting one of his own concentration camps – and vomiting with nausea.

      • PetaJ

        How about ‘compassion’, ’empathy’, ‘kindness’, ‘sympathy’ and just being a good human being?

        • Simon_in_London

          Those are lovely. 🙂

        • Mike

          Sadly you wont find any of that in Islam.

    • Ne11y

      The work of Zimbardo – The Stanford Prison Experiment, and Milgram’ s electric shock experiments, proves that unfortunately, we are, or at least the majority are, capable of this kind of behaviour, given the right circumstances.

      • JR

        I don’t recall beheadings or ethnic cleansing playing any role in this study.

      • JR

        I don’t recall beheadings or ethnic cleansing playing any role in this study.

        • red2black

          It’s also worth noting that the only volunteer who refused to have anything to with administering electric shocks to people was free to do so.

      • passionflower3

        anyone that can behead or crucify an innocent persom and not feel empathy are evil,of course we are all sinners ,but i do believe evil is void of empathy.the heart knows,yes it does.

  • SteveLee


  • Anthorny

    The numbers involved don’t support the theory that ISIS fighters aren’t ideological fanatics but are bloodthirsty monsters. Outside of the Muslim world there aren’t so many of the latter thankfully.

    Yet in the Muslim world adulterous wives are stoned to death and those stealing to eat have limbs removed.

    So with the numbers joining from Britain and the barbaric behaviours seen in the Islamic world, it suggests to me they are joining simply because they are Muslims.

    • Moa

      Of course it is Islam that motivates them to do this. The jihadis themselves do nothing unless it is “halal” under Sharia. And beheading of the hated kufr (infidels) is not only halal, but Allah greatly desires this.

      The jihadis tell us and each other exactly why they do what they do. The problem is, the West (and especially, our media and politicians) does not want to listen. Instead we project all sorts of Western (and especially, Cultural Marxist) memes onto their motivations: poverty, lack of opportunity, etc etc. This is complete fantasy on our part. The jihadis come from all walks of life, including rather affluent positions with lots of opportunities. But Islamic ideology trumps them all.

      How many Muslims do you see in the streets holding signs saying “No to Sharia!”? You will see some saying “No to terrorism” because “terrorism” in Sharia are those that resist jihad (which we call “counter-terrorism” forces), but you never see any Muslims holding up signs “No to jihad!”?

      But it is not Muslims (people) that are the problem, it is Islam (the totalitarian ideology). Just like German, Russian or Chinese ethnicities were not intrinsically problems but the ideologies of National Socialism, Communist Socialism and Maoist Socialism were the problem and resulted in a hundred million people murdered.

      Islam is the problem – especially when you understand the principle of “naskh” (abrogation) and how it replaces all peaceful verses of the Qur’an with the later violent ones. ISIS are the true and pious Muslims practicing Islam as Mohammed practiced it and how Mohammed intended it to be practiced.

      Wake up folks and stop listening to Western nonsense about ISIS (and Hamas and Boko Haram and Abu Sayyaf and Hezbollah and Jabhat al Nusra, and …, etc). They are trying to tell us that Islam commands them to do these things, but we refuse to listen. We cannot defeat an evil ideology we refuse to accept as the motivation of these people.

      Wake up!

      • Mike

        No disagreement here as Islam has a lot to answer for. Either you modernize it as has happened to Christianity or you ban it.

        • Moa

          Islam cannot be modernized.

          The Bible and Torah are considered works of men that are divinely inspired. This allows re-interpretation and evolution of doctrines.

          Islam is different. The Qur’an is considered the “direct, eternal and unalterable word of Allah”. To alter the Qur’an is to say Allah got it wrong – and such a suggestion is “apostasy” (which is punishable by death; this is why ISIS is killing so many Muslims, because ISIS considers them apostates).

          This is why Islam can never be reformed. It can only be eradicated.

          There is another huge difference between Islam and Christianity that you ought to know about. In Christianity there is “vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord” – only the Lord has the right to enact revenge. Christianity and Judaism also only apply to believers. Non-believers are subject to justice by the Lord alone.

          In Islam this is not so, every Muslim must enforce the Sharia and enact revenge (if they do not guess what they are – apostates, and we now know what happens to apostates, right?). Furthermore, the Islamic political order is supposed to cover everyone, Muslims and non-Muslim alike. This is why Muslims work relentlessly for their Sharia to cover your life, even if you are an unbeliever. That is a massive difference, and makes Islam incompatible with secularism and personal Liberty.

          Islam is evil. There is no way to modernize Islam. Its ideology must be exposed and discredited. That is the only way to win and prevent the destruction of 21st Century Enlightenment Civilization by 7th Century Sharia barbarism.

          • Mike

            Some very good points here and all backed up by the way Islam works.

            I especially agree with your points about the bible, old and new as they were definitely works of mankind that were created as an early blue print for social order. Apart from a brief period in the middle ages it has worked pretty well for societies moral guidelines and has generally been modified and interpreted in a way that matches societies evolution.

            Islam offers no such interpretation and because its taken literally across the world by mental retards incapable of understanding morals and right from wrong, they see nothing wrong beheading or gang raping young girls. Evil it is and evil it will stay until it can evolve into a civilized blue print for Muslims.

          • yata6

            To call them “mental retards” is going too far and tells me you miss the point. Islam as well as all monotheistic religions are capable of inspiring the same hate and atrocities we are seeing in ISIS. People are a product of their environment. Can you really blame someone that has no choice in where they are born and becomes a slave to others? Religion along with other similar ideas, be it nationalism, facism, communism, etc, are just ways others control one another. Feeding on the fear of death we all have and giving many a reason to be, meaning in their lives through belief in something bigger than our ephemeral existence. Until we identify the problem and stop stereotyping others (via name calling, generalizing, etc) to make ourselves feel better, we will continue to have the same issues.

            Christianity went through similar periods in its history and progressed past many of those same dogmatic and fundamentalist attitudes through pressure from an advancing, scientific/secular, as well as increasingly accepting society. Hopefully Islam can aspire to a similar form of secularism(at the very least). The jury is still out and I hope that society can overcome its prejudice and weakness for the sake of all humans, (not Muslims, not Christians, Hindus, etc). We are humans first. All with our own dreams, aspirations, emotions, and weaknesses. Sometimes we seem to forget that…

          • Mike

            OK, I’ll call them mentally disadvantaged if you prefer. Its a well established fact that in-breeding within a very small gene pool causes babies to be born with physical and mental disabilities and our own royal family lineage can attest to that years back.

            In Europe, Muslim communities have created their own small gene pools due to the religious teachings that want to keep the ‘Muslim blood line pure’ in a similar manner to Germany and their Aryan race program in the 1930’s. The problem being that unlike Germany which had a relatively large gene pool, these small communities dont. As a result the incidence of birth defects in these communities is 100 times that of the rest of Britain. I don’t believe its any coincidence that these Jihadists are aged around 25 and came from a small gene pool in EU cities.

            People are a product of their environment – Thats partially true so one has to ask just how did these men get radicalized to actually go off to fight some religious crusade. These European jihadist were all living in welfare states with most getting hand outs and none of them were starving to death or suffering injustices. They had the whole world of democracy and were handed everything on a plate by their parents and the state. They weren’t poor, they weren’t abused by the state and in many cases were given more rights than the indigenous majority. So why did they turn their back on their provider with the intent of biting the hand that fed them. There is no rational rhyme nor reason for this in their environment sense.

            We have identified the problem however and it is Islam. Now I know all the apologists will rant that most Muslims are peaceful and so is the religion but that totally misses the point. Christianity went through its genocidal phase and got over it but Islam hasn’t. The reason Christianity put aside all its barbaric practices was due to a separation of religion from state and the state slapping down all the excess’s of Christianity.

            Islam is the state and the culture whether its across the world or towns across Europe. Its certainly the governance of Islamic states and even to a great degree in Islamic communities in the West. That religion controls everything and no one is allowed to water down the excess’s preached in the Koran or Hadith . When mentally retarded men are preached to by Islamic hate mongers, we all see the result first hand be it Jihadist or Rotherham.

            Ban or emasculate Islams control over communities in the west and the problem will be fixed. We’ve tried pandering to it and that didn’t work so its time to get serious.

          • passionflower3

            you are full of shit ,we have a heart band it would not matter where u were born,your heart would know ,u would know the feeling of pain,they are far worst than what that person called them,they are demons.

  • Augustus

    Extreme measures for an extremist cause usually bring up bloodthirsty monsters. The Nazis, for example, had an indoor guillotine made and proceeded to decapitate over 16,000 opponents of the regime (about as many as during the French Revolution). The flag of Hamas is green and the ISIS banner is black, but the flags are identical. The videos of beheadings are the same videos, and the message is the same message: Intimidation, as when IS posted YouTube videos depicting the beheading of prisoners in Iraq and Syria, so that many had fled before the mujahedeen had arrived giving them easy access to places like Mosul.

    When Muslims conquered Constantinople, the city which was once the capital of the Roman Empire, and turned it into Istanbul, the seat of power of what would become the Ottoman Empire, they and their descendants understood that anything was possible. The day would come when even the Vatican would convert to Islam, they thought. The Western inability to comprehend the cultural, psychological, traditional, mental, and historical aspects that shed light on the true nature of this enemy makes it difficult to gauge the threat level and the danger that awaits. The main culprit, however, is political correctness and its impact on the public dialogue.

    • Donafugata

      Absolutely, the mindset necessary to elevate religious dogma above all other values is impossible for the modern western mind to imagine.

      A bored, young Muslim in the UK may well be attracted to finding a purpose in going off to fight jihad.

      Once they find themselves in the caliphate where none of the rules of civilised behaviour exist and they are expected and encouraged to kill they can become entirely different people.

      The Nazi occupation of Lithuania had a huge impact on many “ordinary” people once they thought that anything was permitted.
      The Nazis were astonished at how little prompting the locals needed to round up Jews in the village, force them to dig their own grave and then shoot their neighbours in the head.

      In certain circumstances people are capable of anything.

  • Donafugata

    Hannah Arendt’s “the banality of evil” comes to mind.

    These are ordinary idiots who live dull lives with mum and dad in a Bradford terrace so looking at other young Muslims draped in black and armed with automatic weapons has a kind of glamour.

    Added to this is the opportunity to murder anyone that disagrees, believing it to be justified as God’s work must seem more exciting than signing on for job seeker’s allowance.

    Once over there either they have a thoroughly good time or they start crying for mum, the ready supply of food, the sofa to lounge on while watching Sky and Internet porn.

    Bradford may not be as dull as they once thought.

  • To the best of my knowledge, wolves don’t take pleasure in killing for the sake of killing.

    • red2black

      Demonisation. The wolf was regarded as a noble beast in ‘pagan’ times; totem animal of the Viking Ulfhednar warriors (‘wolf-skin clad’). The name Adolf (tee hee) is derived from the more ancient name Utolf, meaning ‘noble wolf’.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Over-population and Islam, the twin problems currently facing mankind.
    Two birds, one stone?

    • Moa

      Overpopulation? When did you last get your data, from the idiot Paul Erlich in 1970?

      The problem of the West is of *underpopulation*. Most countries in the West are in demographic decline. The Ponzi scheme of the socialist welfare state is unsustainable given the demographics of the West are well below replacement level. This presented the Big State collectivists (socialists, because no matter what they call themselves, they all believe in the Big State) with a problem: either abandon the socialist Ponzi scheme because of not enough babies, or have mass immigration even if that means the destruction of the local culture and problems for native-born citizens. Guess which one they choose?

      • red2black

        The author of ‘Planet Ponzi’ seems to regard the whole global economy as one great big Ponzi Scheme. Libertarian Socialists believe in either as small a state as possible, or no state at all.

        • Moa

          “Libertarian Socialist” is an oxymoron. Libertarians believe in personal liberty, which necessitates a small state.

          Socialists believe in more state power to achieve collectivist aims, which requires a Big State and “small” individuals.

          Here is a diagram that shows how Libertarianism and Socialism are incompatible:


          Now, you may have heard people use the word “Libertarian Socialist” (perhaps you’ve even adopted the title), but the term is complete oxymoronic nonsense, and those who deploy it simply demonstrate they don’t understand the principles of either ideology – but have invented a term that sounds fashionable enough. I wouldn’t use the term unless I was in a beauty pageant – because that is the level of thinking behind that drivel.

          The people who believe in “a state as small as possible” are the Libertarians.

          The people who believe in “no state at all” are the Anarchists.

          The people who believe in “as BIG a state as possible” are the Socialists. You cannot be for a small state as well as a big state at the same time. Get it?

          Perhaps you mistake voluntary “charity” for “socialism” (which is non-voluntary coercive redistribution orchestrated by the State) ? If you believe in voluntary charity then simply say you are Conservative or Libertarian, because charity is an intrinsic part of these ideologies (that is why they think the State can be small, because virtuous citizens voluntarily give charity rather than the coercive redistribution that the Socialists enforce).

          Please check the political spectrum I posted before responding – it’ll make it much easier if we’re on the same page 🙂

          • red2black

            Thanks for your reply. I see your diagram is American.

            ‘Although some present-day libertarians advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights, such as in land, infrastructure and natural resources, others, notably libertarian socialists, seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production in favor of their common or cooperative ownership and management. While minarchists believe a limited centralized government is necessary to protect individuals and their property from certain transgressions, anarchists propose to completely eliminate the state as an illegitimate political system.

            The term libertarianism originally referred to a philosophical belief in free will but later became associated with anti-state socialism and Enlightenment-influenced political movements critical of institutional authority believed to serve forms of social domination and injustice. While it has generally retained its earlier political usage as a synonym for either social or individualist Anarchism through much of the world, in the United States it has since come to describe pro-capitalist economic liberalism more so than radical, anti-capitalist egalitarianism.’

          • Moa

            I see your diagram is American.

            Yes, because this diagram follows Einstein’s dictum, “As simple as possible, but no simpler”. I am not an American, but their view of politics is actually more insightful than the European’s in many regards (although many Europeans haughtily dismiss America as anything to learn from, you’d be amazed what one can learn once this bad attitude is dropped).

            notably libertarian socialists, seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production in favor of their common or cooperative ownership and management.

            “Libertarian socialist” is just a re-branding of the failed system of Marxism. This same idea was tried in dozens of countries for a century and it failed, miserably and utterly – while killing 100 million souls in order to keep the failure from falling apart when it became obvious it could not work.

            Not only does Libertarian socialism/Marxism not work, it CANNOT ever work, because it fails to appreciate where wealth comes from, and disregards human psychology. I’ve been to kibbutz and Cuba and other countries and seen what your “common or cooperative ownership and management” brings. Failure and an equal level of poverty for all.

            The thing is, wealth is not a zero-sum game. Wealth is *created*. Consider the case of Steve Jobs inventing the iPhone/iPad/iPod. His entrepreneurial vision CREATED billions in wealth. It made his employees rich, it provided jobs in manufacturing countries and resource suppliers, and he got rich too. In addition, his company paid a lot of tax which helped build for roads, health care, defence, police, teachers, etc. In a Free Market wealth is created using the talents of individuals and *everyone wins*. Some win more than others, but everyone is still better off than when they started. Steve Jobs didn’t take anything away from anyone to create the wealth (which is the fundamental false premise of all socialism) – if Steve Jobs had not existed then the wealth would not have been created and everyone would be worse off.

            This shows why the Free Market is vastly superior than socialism. When surplus wealth is created it can be distributed as *voluntary* charity (instead of the immoral, involuntary socialist wealth distribution coerced with threat of State force), used for research, used to create jobs or new businesses, etc.

            The trick is, keep the market Free and Voluntary. The Government’s role should be to ensure monopolies are not used to stifle competition, and the Government should not use taxpayer money to promote crony capitalism (which is also bad).

            The problem is “choice”. Only the Free Market gives long-term choice. Marxism removes choice because when it fails the political elites use force to try prevent the *inevitable* collapse.

            So, put the lipstick on the pig, but your “libertarian socialism” is just a re-branding of a system which is guaranteed to end in failure (and misery!).

            Instead, I suggest you accept the natural order which is competitive with voluntary cooperation. Get ahead of the game, make your wealth through hard work and great ideas, and then decide how you will spend it – rather than having your hand out for someone else to pay for your wishes (which is what the “socialism” part means).

          • red2black

            My only reason for pointing out that your diagram is American is that Free Market idealists have adopted the word ‘libertarian’ for their own purposes.
            There are many aspects of Marxism and Anarchism that are diametrically opposed; ‘libertarian socialism’ is not a re-branding of Marxism. If you’re in favour of a ‘free market’, then fair enough.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        7.2 billion and counting.

        • Moa

          Is that too much? how many is acceptable.

          The projections show that the World population will top out at around 9-10 Billion before gradually declining.

          However, the “Agenda 21” believe that 0.5 Billion is the perfect number and are engineering circumstances to ensure we get to that as quickly as possible.

  • Hippograd

    Paging Dr Heinz Kiosk!

    There is a wolf in all of us, struggling to get out.

    But some societies are better at keeping the wolf under control than others. Not the UK, however, as Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, Oldham etc, etc show. What an indictment of us British folk those scandals are. And according to James Delingpole, late of this parish, there’s a lot more to come:

    Rotherham is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

    The British are also responsible for beheadings, FGM and the torture of child-witches. What wolves we are.

    • Mike

      Right on, those with mild disorders who might develop a wolf situation would normally be controlled by education, their parents and the criminal system. When that fails due to religious brain washing and a lack of parental control, that’s when Jihadists & rapists come out !

  • James Conan

    I’d say this author has a vested interest in citing/isolating violent impulses as the cause behind murderous jihadism. He is religious after all, merely of a different creed – why would he wish to implicate religion as anything less than a purely positive force by alluding to what I imagine he perceives as coincidental – those biblical passages which invoke slaughter of heretics and infidels?

  • Mike

    They are the product of in-breeding that creates a 100 fold increase in mentally retarded babies compared to producing babies from a much larger gene pool. We had our own nut jobs in Britain and even in the royal family due to a limited gene pool of Europes royalty and its no different here.

    Mass immigration began gathering pace at the time many of these Jihadists were born, add in an alien culture, no integration and clerics preaching death to infidels and mental retards are easily brain washed as they can’t think for themselves.

    • red2black

      The Royal Family? I know the Duke of Edinburgh’s usually ‘up for it’, but he’s getting a bit long in the tooth for charging around the desert waving a black flag and shooting the place up. (tee hee)

  • beenzrgud

    Perhaps the potential to behave like an utter savage really does exist in us all. If that is the case then we should be examining the commonalities of those who fail to keep the savage under wraps. I’m sure there’s a remedy in there somewhere !

    • Mike

      There’s many factors that can make us a savage but foremost among the reasons has to be lack of intellect and being able to understand right from wrong.

      As others have pointed out, given an extreme situation it is possible that some people could leave the country just to commit murder but why just one ethnic group

      These young men are not in any extreme situation where they are starving to death or being brutalized by the state as they are in fact molly coddled, so thats not an excuse or reason.

      Perhaps they are bored, but no one from non Islamic faiths has reacted in this manner, so boredom cant be the reason.

      Perhaps they are brain washed to go and do it, now we’re getting closer to the truth. Are they easily led, now we’re getting even closer. Why are they easily led, perhaps most of them are mentally retarded and will follow the lead from some militant cleric.

      So we have a higher than average number of mental retards in one culture due to a limited gene pool, they can’t find a job because of their condition and are easily brain washed to act out their Play Station fantasies for real.

      • beenzrgud

        So we have identified a few commonalities. The remedy should now be clear.

        • Mike

          Unfortunately LibLabCon don’t do cause and effect or joined up writing !

  • rtj1211

    It actually depends on what the disciplining for enforcing ISIS will is internally. They might not have been monsters when they set out, having been duped by false propaganda. Once there, the option of rebellion might be death with dishonour, which might not tempt too many of them. So it’s also conceivable that many became like lower level Nazis under Hitler, once in, never out. Having to do what they had to do to try and survive, no matter how horrific.

    You may be right, but I wouldn’t associate beheadings with all of ISIS being psychopaths. Some of them obviously are, but you haven’t addressed the male equivalent of being a trafficked slave: tied into a terrorist organisation with no hope of escape.

    I don’t know, but we all know how the false recruitment for WWI tied in millions of innocent Brits who could then be shot for deserting what for them was not what they signed up for.

    It could well be the same with ISIS

    I know the West has to try and make out how humane it is and how evil the others are, but life really isn’t that black and white, once your emotional and spiritual age is greater than about 8.

    • Mike

      Careful now, you’re heading awfully close to making them victims !

  • Jaysonrex

    Quite true: Evil is indeed in all of us. However, as of lately, Muslims seem to have been ‘invaded’ by evil to an unbelievable extend. And the worst aspect of this tragedy is the ‘pride’ Muslims display at that terrible state of affairs that forces ‘non-believers’ (Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.) to peremptorily reject all ‘believers’ (in Muhammad the so-called prophet that invented Islam). And rightly so.

  • picquet

    Quite possibly, what the IS ‘fighters’ are displaying is the natural state of mankind when the bonds of civilisation are loosened, a la Lord of the Flies, or as is seemingly demonstrated every time an archaeologist opens up a stretch of bogland in Denmark. The law is apparently the weakest of those bonds, and if the infantile tales and instructions of educationally-deprived men a thousand years ago are also demanding blood to appease their pixies and elves, gormless Ahmed from Luton will jump at the chance of inflicting a bit of extreme violence. It’s a step up from Grand Theft Auto.

  • Absolutist religious beliefs warp the brain and personality more strongly than anything else that makes up a shared culture. It kills the humanity in humans, the basic respect for other humans that is only abandoned by the unwarped when they feel threatened or enraged by some injustice, perceived or real. The absolute believer is enraged enough by the others’ failure to share his belief. Irrationality is an unraveller of personality, of sanity, of humanity. Absolutist religion is profoundly irrational and inhuman. And it is being taught in schools in Britain.

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    Yes, maybe so, Toby, but the points you and your Speccie colleagues keep making about the ISIS lads come across as apologies and excuse-making.

    First, let’s kill the bastards, all of them. And their supporters. Then we can analyse what made them tick.

  • Who knew Toby Young had a friend?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    How do you think the Russians would respond if their citizens were captured and publicly executed by Islamic terrorists? They would kidnap a high-ranking Islamic leader, preferably a cleric or terrorist (but I repeat myself) and propose an exchange. The side benefit being that said Islamic leader abducted would be fatally compromised. “What did he disclose, was he turned?”
    And obviously if the exchanged failed it would be Game Over for Mustapha Jihad. What’s the downside besides losing the high moral ground …?
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • stag

    Evil is in all of us, yes; but Islam and the Qu’ran seem to call it forth very effectively. Don’t you think?

  • DianneP

    The picture that was most disturbing was a man with his boys, one holding a severed head…and they are all smiling. No doubt in my mind these are psychopaths. It has nothing to do with religion…

    • Hoansbuckler

      What’s more disturbing to me is the chanting of ALLAHU AKBAR! before, during, and after the whole ordeal.

  • Deborah Kerr

    The author of this article appears to be pretty clueless as to what constitutes a psychopath. The passage where he states the murderous jihadists when back in Manchester lead normal lives, helping friends etc… this is 100% typical psychopathic behavior. This double life of two extremes where one wears a mask of normalcy yet carries out barbaric acts and is a blood thirsty killer is indicative of the disorder. For examples, read up on any American serial killer. Now is every single member of IS a psychopath? Of course not. But there is no way on earth that you can convince me that any person who up close and personal is able to sever the head of another human being is not a psychopath.

    Lastly please stop trying to place your religion above Islam. All of the major organized religions have blood on their hands. The Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades anyone? These alone are additional examples of psychopaths using religion to further their agenda of power and quench their thirst for blood.

    • Mia Seths

      The Crusades were a response to Muslim wars of conquest including 200 years of invading Southern Europe.

  • passionflower3

    and i do not believe for a second when u hear these parents of these rotten rats ,”oh my little ahab was never like that,he is peaceful and he faces mecca when he prays,[be it they are praying to a non exixtent god.No no ,they were taught by their holee koran that teaches their already volatile mindsets that it is ok to decapitate and rape and amputate innocent people .they are all losers esp the women ,one bragging i read she got her licence to drive ,pigs actual pigs

  • passionflower3

    they like the attention ,with their ridiculous outfits ,a bunch of unnatural loathsome rodent rot,soon to have their day in hell.

  • passionflower3

    can u imagine the terror and fear they inflict on innocent people,i pray our LORD swiftly avenges these poor souls,why the hell doesnt the whole mideast just lambase every one of them,those little bitches going thru turkey to become jihadist brides ,,nothing absolutely nothing should we care about these brats.let them go ,they deserve exactly what is in store for them,rotten from the start,just shooting innocent christians ,they are perverted saddists and delight in what they do,they will reap exactly what they sow.

  • Mia Seths

    Quit whitewashing this oppressive, violent, and inhumane religion. You turn the public against its cultural elites when you lie about issues that affect national security and the future of democracy. When enough people turn against the media and politicians, violence will follow.

    Stop alienating us and start earning our trust again. Tell the truth about Islam. It is not a religion of peaceful coexistence, it is a religion of peace through the elimination of all other belief systems.