The Internet and ISIS: The Vanguard of Idiocracy
ISIS/ISIL and its ever-growing sickening murderous activities have increasingly become of concern. If we wish to combat this cancerous terrorism and violence; we should take a page from Sun Tzu.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
There is no question that ISIS/ISIL represents an ever-increasing serious threat to peace in the Middle East; but it is also a growing threat to global peace; perhaps more so than any ‘movement’/ ’uprising’/ ‘revolution’ since the Nazis in the Germany of the 1930’s. In facing such a threat, it is important that we understand this enemy for what he/she is. We must understand the conflict and ourselves in opposition; if we wish to prevail and succeed in victory.
There were many who misinterpreted the actions of the Nazis based on misunderstandings of their ideas, ideology, and ultimate goals. These misunderstandings led to their popularity in their early growth, successes in war, and contributed to delays in their ultimate demise (in fact, they are not gone yet). In retrospect, many aspects of their rise and the global conflict that resulted have been clarified. There was no mistaking the results of their actions. The cost to global peace, personal freedom, and civilization-at-large is undeniable in the deaths of not only the approx. 6,000,000 Jews of the Holocaust; but with approx. 50-80,000,000 people world-wide. The Nazis achieved such a powerful effect on humanity by shaping personal opinions and perceptions. Their tactics and techniques were certainly successful to their ends initially.
It is my opinion that ISIS/ISIL is utilizing the same tactics and techniques to far greater effect. Let us not misinterpret their actions in any other light, as were those of the Nazis; other than as crimes against humanity. ISIS has taken up the cloak of deception. They have cast themselves as a religious movement (Islamic); as did the Nazis (Nazism). Both are anti-Christian. But being anti-Christian by purporting to be Islamic is only a ploy. The difference between the leaders of ISIS and those of the Nazis is that the Nazis proselytized a ‘new religion’ and ISIS promotes an ‘old’ one. When looked at closely though; there are few differences in the actual tenets and doctrines of hate, distrust, murder and lack of humanitarian principles in general that are prominent aspects of both.
As Nazism spread, it learned to count on being ‘anti-Christian’ to garner popular support. Not that being a ‘Christian’ is necessarily a mortal sin, but by making it so; they justified actions that propagated crimes against humanity. The Nazis justified the murder of millions on the basis that they were only acting as Christianity had in the past, citing The Inquisition; and as the means necessary to their ends. They added hatreds for history, scientific rationalism, and indeed, for common human understandings, that eventually created the pure evil of the Nazi state and its influence on humanity.
The tactics and techniques of the Nazis focused on using all of the media and technology at their command at the time; let alone the weapons of mass destruction they were able to conjure as they gained momentum. Through ‘reeducation’ of ‘the masses’ to their ideas and goals; they were able to win many battles. They sought power and control through the manipulation of the ‘public’ sentiment, history, philosophy, religion, and even the love of the human family; in the most common of understandings of life, personal liberties, and our pursuits of happiness.
ISIS does the same. However, it has at its disposal the most powerful weapon of all time. It is one that the Nazis could dream of; but never had; the World Wide Web. Making matters worse, they frame the debate about the use of such weapons in terms that no one can argue. Their V2 rockets and atomic bombs are videos, pictures, and symbols that evoke human emotions in the form of fear, disgust, and hatred of others. They justify their murderous, misogynistic, and downright evil inhuman behavior by framing their actions in religious and philosophical terms. They blame Christianity, Judaism, and Capitalism equally for what they consider to be the ills of the world they live in. While there may be many truths in their perceptions; they are willing to accept the same ‘Final Solution’ the Nazis were.
They seek to use the media (the ‘Fourth Estate’) in the same way the Nazis did. “What a fool believes, he sees”. They seek to create not an “Independent Islamic State”; but a state where only what they believe is real; and therefore valid. Their ‘evil’ is in recognizing that what most people believe to be the truth is not. Furthermore, they seek to destroy any questioning or rational thought given as to why the world is the way it is.
They seek to replace rational thought with mere images and illusions. Videos of gay men thrown off of buildings in front of jeering and cheering crowds, hate-mongering language and actions toward Israel, brutal slaughter and murder of opposing voices, masked fearful warrior personas, and worse, the destruction of women and children.
“Hatred, murder, and rape run rampant in societies where Sharia law does not rule” is their mantra. Meanwhile, they practice the same actions in their day-to-day affairs, branding those as ‘infidels’ any whom they deem to be ‘heretics’. Is this not the same behavior of which they accuse ‘Christians’ and ‘Jews’?
This distinct hypocrisy is something that should not be ‘tolerated’. In fact, it is probably the only intolerance that can be justified. If we are to find a way to defeat ISIS and their recent allies Boko Haram; it is imperative that we find ways to neutralize and disarm them. We need to pay as much attention to disarming their ‘virtual’ weapons as we do to their ‘conventional’ weapons. Otherwise, we can look forward to the situation becoming explosively widespread before any progress is made in relieving ourselves and the planet from this threat.
Why use the subtitle “The Vanguard of Idiocracy” to describe the actions of ISIS/ISIL? The movie “Idiocracy” projected a “nation of the idiots, by the idiots, and for the idiots”. The definition of the word “idiot” according to Webster’s is “an utterly foolish or senseless person” and/or a “person of the lowest order…”. I do not use the term in the meaning of the leaders of ISIS/ISIL being stupid. On the contrary, they may be very intelligent; as were at least some of the leaders of the Nazis. They are certainly creatively intelligent in their manipulations of the perceptions of people as to their means and ends through public media spectacle. Their actions however are ultimately “foolish and senseless”.
Their actions lead me to believe that their view of society is that the masses of people ARE “stupid”. They believe that the majority of people in Western societies (in fact, in most of what we know as civilization) are ignorant fools. They use ‘spectacles’ of murder and mayhem to promote their world view as did the Nazis, knowing that any media attention is ‘good’ attention to promote their cause and establish power and control. There is no difference in their approach to gain power, recognition, and control of others and that of the Nazis. In fact; their approaches, tactics and methods rely on deception and all of the same techniques that the Nazis; used to establish their footholds in civilization and extend their influence with disastrous consequences to the world-at-large.
We must make the internet distribution of their hatred, murder, and lies impossible. We must make such marketing so painful to them; that they cease to find it a fruitful means for disseminating their terrorism. This should be a priority as rational, thinking human beings. We cannot ‘nuke them’ into submission. That is impossible without causing the ‘collateral damage’ wars have involved in the past. So, what is the solution? Sun Tzu makes a few good points we can attend to:
“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.”
― Sun Tzu
“When strong, avoid them. If of high morale, depress them. Seem humble to fill them with conceit. If at ease, exhaust them. If united, separate them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.”
― Sun Tzu
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War