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Saturday, July 31, 2004

Battle Causes of Terrorism - Challenger - Closing

I give you the desert chameleon, whose ability to blend itself into the background tells you all you need to know about the roots of ecology and the foundations of a personal identity.

-Book of Diatribes
from the Hayt Chronicle

from Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

Humans are social animals. Few people can exist by themselves without human contact. And being social animals, we form groups; social, political, and religious. Many of us belong to more than one group and all of these groups affect and often shape our behavior and belief.

Groups can be as simple as a small tribe or as complex as a whole civilization. We form sub-groups within larger groups. The Iron Blogger supplied us with many links describing group behavior and the formation of in-groups and out-groups. Classically, groups have their own reason for existence and they formulate rituals, myths, historical contexts, and in-group mannerism that distinguish them and give them identity.

For instance, if you were a member of the Bensonhurst Chapter of the Raccoon Lodge, or more formally the International Order of Friendly Sons of the Raccoons, you would wear a double-breasted military jacket with oversized epaulets on each shoulder, white shirt, dark tie and a hat with a raccoon tail. If however you were Morris Fink, the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler of the Bensonhurst Chapter of the Raccoon Lodge in 1953, you would wear three tails on your hat to signify your exalted status.

Yes, when you arrived at the Raccoon Lodge meeting you would sing the Marching Song

In the West and in the East
There's a mighty little beast
For courage there is no other.
When the chips are all at stake
We are proud to call him brother.
So with our noble tails entwined
And a spirit strong of mind
We'll have hearts that cannot melt.
In the forest, in the trees
On the land or seven seas
We're brothers under the pelt.
Raccoons, the noble Raccoons

And you would then hold up your glass and recite the official toast:
Fingers to fingers, thumbs to thumbs, watch out below, here she comes.
When greeting a fellow Raccoon, you would perform the secret handshake by touching elbows (first right then left), followed by a "Woooooo" sounding cry as you wiggled the raccoon tail on your lodge hat and end by chorusing: "Brothers under the pelt."

All the while you would look like these two gentlemen:

Apachesm



Groups have leadership and members. You either in the group or you are out.

If you are in the group, you hold the values that the group has in common. Some of the values a group may have in common is opposition to another group.

Classic literature is rife with examples of struggles between groups and the innocents that caught in the middle. Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is a classic example that shows us how a group as fundamental as a family can, through differences of opinion result in murder, suicide, and tragedy.

That some groups are fundamentally opposed to another should not surprise us, we see it all the time. We've grown up with the Cold War if nothing else. That some groups are murderous while others are peaceful also should not surprise us. A groups will act in accordance with it's values and ideology.

Just as there is great variation among the behavior of individual humans, it should not surprise us that there is great variation between groups comprised of humans.
And while most humans function to a greater or lesser degree as good socialized animals, some don't. Just this fact alone should tell us that it is the same with groups.

But as all humans act in accordance with their imperatives, so too will groups act in accordance with their reason for existence; their ideology.

Why do people join murderous groups? I don't know.

But I do know that once in the group, individual members will act in accordance with the group imperatives.

And some group imperatives lead the members to engage in terrorism.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I want to thank the Chairman for giving me the opportunity to participate in this great experiment for which I give my full support. It can't be easy and I encourage you to stick with it.

I would like to thank the judges for the time and attention you spend to determining these matches. I think we here on the Internet are part of a new conversation that the human "tribe" is having. More and more people will participate over time. And having a forum where people can really discuss issues, present evidence, and have the strength of their presentation assessed is invaluable to the rational discourse that needs to go on.

Keep up the great work.

And finally, I want to thank the Iron Blogger Democrat, Jay Bullock, for a great debate. Differing in the intellectual arena should never result in personal attacks or animosity. We just think differently. We may still be good folks despite our "wrong-headedness". The Iron Blogger has treated me with respect and honored my arguments. I hope I have managed to do the same.

Respectfully submitted
Frank LoPinto
Took an untrodden path once, where the swift don't win the race,
It goes to the worthy, who can divide the word of truth.
Took a stranger to teach me, to look into justice's beautiful face
And to see an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

I and I
In creation where one's nature neither honors nor forgives.
I and I
One says to the other, no man sees my face and lives.
-Bob Dylan (Copyright © 1983 Special Rider Music)


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