Which Emotional Strategies Influence Orthodox Muslims?


AL SIEBERT, author of Survivor Personality, said something interesting in his book, and I've been thinking about it for awhile now. The book is about what personality traits survivors hold in common. Siebert has studied survivors of POW camps, concentration camps, plane crashes, boats sinking, etc. He's made this study his life's work. Here's the quote, and then I'll tell you what I've been thinking:

"Bob Mitchell, a marine who fought first on Bataan and later on Corregidor, told me that many of the POWs who gave up were unable to cope with the cruelty and hostility directed toward them by the guards. He said that many prisoners tried to influence the guards by feeling upset, expressing pain, pleading, or trying to win them over. When this didn't work, they had nothing left. Many gave up and died."

Siebert's main quest with his research is to discover what survivors do that non-survivors do not do. In the case above, the non-survivors didn't change their strategy when they could see it wasn't working.

Now here's what I was thinking: Most people I know who don't want to believe Islam is a political and supremacist ideology are good-hearted people. They believe we should all just get along, that killing is a bad thing, and that even hurting someone is bad and it should never be done. They are kind to dogs. They recycle their trash so as not to make things harder for future generations, etc.

I am overgeneralizing here, but I'm not too far off with this characterization. These good-hearted people don't want to believe there are millions of fundamentalist Muslims in the world who would like nothing better than to cut off their heads. It's
unthinkable. Maybe these fundamentalists just need some clean water and enough to eat. Maybe they've been abused in the past. Maybe they just need to be understood.

These are all perfectly good strategies for normal interactions between healthy people within a liberal democracy with a good police force and an overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens.

When you want to work out your differences with someone, and you have a
disagreement or anger between you, it's a pretty good strategy to talk and try to come to some kind of mutually-acceptable compromise. That's one kind of strategy and it works very well in a particular context. The problem is, it doesn't work in every context, nor with every person.

One of the traits Siebert found common among survivors is the ability and willingness to change strategies. Siebert discovered it is one of the most universal traits survivors have that non-survivors do not have: They are flexible enough to see the strategy they're using isn't working in a particular situation, and they're able to come up with something else.

Those who can't do that in some situations die.

Flexibility means being able to be kind in some circumstances, and cold-blooded in others if it is necessary. It means being able to be cooperative with some people, and more competitive or even hard-nosed with others if it seems necessary.

A lack of flexibility means you'll run out of options for some situations.

I think that's what is happening with at least some blind multiculturalists. They don't realize that the strategies they might normally employ do not work with someone who is hell-bent on murdering us all for no other reason than we're not Muslims.

That kind of ruthlessness is hard to fathom for most people, I think, and multiculturalists seem even less willing to even entertain the possibility. They think there must be some other explanation. And because they think people can't really be that way, or that a large group of people or a religion can't be that way, they don't understand the why anyone would criticize Muslims.

If you can't understand the strength and intensity of the ruthlessness arrayed against western democracies, then you can't understand the need to defend against it.

Those who can fully grasp the ruthless intentions of orthodox Muslims will recognize how profoundly indifferent they are to pleading, expressing pain, feeling upset, or trying to win them over with appeasements.

We need to use some other strategy if we are to survive. My guess is that in a serious situation such as a concentration camp, the people who are now multiculturalists would be the kind of people who would die first. Peaceful, cooperative strategies don't work against ruthlessness, and those who aren't flexible enough to change their strategies are less likely to survive.

Even with ample flexibility, ruthlessness is almost impossible to deal with successfully. I squirmed while I watched a Frontline program called Target America. It showed the clumsy, incompetent attempts of one American president after another trying to deal with Islamic terrorism.

I said ruthlessness is almost impossible to deal with successfully, but that's not really true. Ruthless terrorists would be easy to deal with if you were willing to be equally ruthless yourself. But it is very difficult to deal with within the parameters of humanity and human rights.

The jihadis, of course, are aware of the West's ethical restraints and so they tailor their strategies for us. Their strategies are carefully designed to put us in double-binds where we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. And where we make a horrible mistake no matter what we do. Orthodox Muslims constantly do their best to give us Sophie's choice.

The most obvious response is against our code of ethics, and any other response is inadequate.

You can watch the Frontline program online. It is painful to watch the presidents try (and fail) to deal with the jihadis' double-binds. The presidents just wanted the problem to go away. They were all seeking a short-term, quick-fix solutions, and refused to see this for what it is: A global, long-term strategy of millions of orthodox Muslims who will do anything to gain a political advantage, with the ultimate aim being something that to most westerners is unthinkable: An Islamic world.

I like Western civilization. I like normal interactions between healthy people within a liberal democracy with a good police force and an overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens. I like not having to settle differences with my fellow citizens with violence. But I hope the island of civilization within which we live our lives doesn't blind too many of us to the fact that there are still people in this world who think differently and that different strategies than we're used to may sometimes be required.


Citizen Warrior 12:27 PM  

One woman wrote in saying "millions of fundamentalist Muslims is an exaggeration."

In case anyone else thought that, I thought I'd give the figures.

An estimated 15 percent of Muslims worldwide are fundamentalists. The total number of Muslims is 1.2 billion.

That means there are approximately 180 million fundamentalist Muslims.

Pastorius 8:12 PM  

I actually think the percentage of fundamentalist Muslims is higher. Polls I have seen show that 25-40% of Muslims surveyed want Sharia law to be the law of the land.

Considering that Sharia calls for death to all apostates, homosexuals, and adulterers, I'd put the total number of fundie Muslims way higher.

For instance, check out the numbers of Muslims who support terrorism in this Pew Research poll:


Percentage of Muslims who express confidence in Bin Laden:


Citizen Warrior 11:37 PM  

I agree with the higher numbers. Weighing all the evidence, I'd have to say the 25-40 percent estimate is closer to the truth. I chose the most conservative estimate I could find, and I think it applies to the most hardcore jihadists.

But there are people who support jihad in many ways other than actually traveling to Afghanistan or Iraq to kill infidels. Islam has a sliding-scale of commitment just like any other kind of purposeful endeavor. Some people are extremely committed and some are only casual about it.

Any way you look at it, even taking the very lowest estimate, it's still a lot of people! And they are gaining recruits all the time, and having a lot of children.

Anonymous 7:35 PM  

America has definatly gone way too soft. Too many people are optomists when they really should see realist veiws. They need to be shown the facts and that's why this is an awesome report. Citizen Warrior, you are a true American.

Anonymous 6:03 AM  

Citizen Warrior, as always you have a way to articulate the essence of the problem.

And your responses to comments equally so.

There is this mass denialism that is within vast amounts of Westerners.

I was watching a TV programme last night that was waxing lyrical about Istanbul.

All I saw was Constantinople, countless churches turned into mosques, and an issue that is far greater than Palestine and has been completely forgotten and ignored over centuries.

As Istanbul however it remains the symbol of a Past Genocidal Power, silent in regards to the genocide it unleashed on Armenians; even the subjective journalist that Robert Fisk mostly is says so. Farcically, Turkey expects an apology from Israel for the deaths of ten Turkish activists in the Gaza Aid Flotilla incident. Armenia is still awaiting the apology for the genocidal murder of millions of Armenians!

However, in the older Greeks living today, there is still an echo of a memory that Constantinople was one of their main cities, inasmuch as Athens is.

They will express surprise that as non-Greek you may have that sensitivity ... eyes roll up in amazement but they remain opaque in resignation, hiding an invisible dull hurt which will be forever ignored by Western PCs.

The Eastern Roman Empire was culturally Greek leaning.

Constantinople is Islam's greatest conquest so far of the West - and remains a launch pad for an on- going conquest by attrition of the West.

The New Rome is New York by the way.

Constantinople is the ongoing unspoken colonialism of Islam - but should one suggest this to PCs they will think you are bizarre.

But the Islamic colonialism is intent everywhere - the on going Indonesian subjugation of Papua New Guinea no less an expression of colonialism than any examples of past Western Colonialism.

And Islam is far more supremacist than Apartheid South Africa ever was - yet very few get it.

The Radio Jihad Network 4:22 PM  

The Radio Jihad Network

What an excellent article and I will tell you why. Many of us in the Pro Constitution, Pro Freedom, Pro Liberty, and Pro American movement do not understand the psychology of our adversaries.

The mainstream press allows to demonize the Chinese, North Koreans, and even Hugo Chavez to some degree.

The Islamist however is a protected class and many Americans without getting knee deep in the Qur'an, Sunnah, and Shariah will not understand the mindset of the Political Islamist.

For every violent Muslim there are scores that provide financial support (JIhad with Dollars) to our Islamist enemies.

We only have to know one thing - and that is what the Muslim believes - what we believe is irrelevant.

The Muslim believes their Qur'an and Shariah are Divinely inspired and uncorrupted by man. Every other religion or man made political system is subservient to the "Divinely" inspired. Most every Muslim believes we Americans are corrupted and it is their "Duty" to bring us peace at any cost.

The Muslim believes their peace under Shariah is doing us a favor and it is Allah's will that we find the divinely inspired Shariah and throw away our Constitution, Bible, Torah, and Bill of Rights.

Then there will be peace when we forsake all man made laws for the true divinely inspired Political Islam.

The Choice is yours!

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John K 7:50 AM  

"Ruthless terrorists would be easy to deal with if you were willing to be equally ruthless yourself. But it is very difficult to deal with within the parameters of humanity and human rights."

Churchill made the same observations when talking about the difficulty of being English gentlemen while having to descend to Hitler's level of violence to resist him with the same violent weapons of war.

John K 7:53 AM  

Regarding the comments on the percentages of fundamentalist Muslims, the PEW polls are quite precise in enumerating the statistics by country. It varies from about 40% to 85% depending on the country, and sympathy or support for terrorists also varies from about 10% to 20%. Check the polls for precise numbers.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

The real nut of the problem is cultural differences, not so much between Islam and the West as between a 12th Century mindset and a 21st Century mindset. Those militant fascistic leaders within Islam fomenting jihad are trapped in a rigidity of thinking that cannot comprehend ecumenism, simply put.

Angela 10:47 PM  

Fight fire with fire.

Remember the old saying "Hell hath no fiery as a woman's scorn" ?

Well, I'd like to change that to...
"Hell hath no fiery as a Muslim's scorn" !!

I think they come from the same energy. Like a mother bear who sees another animal just thinking about messing with her cubs, she'll tear him up and ask questions later.

Both can feel very self righteous haha. And both can fight to the end for their "babies".

So I think that sort of emotion is needed.

Like when the Biblical Sarah got worried about Hagar and Ishmael. She just threw the whole lot out of the house. Finished.

Anonymous 4:08 AM  

You're absolutely right that clean water etc won't stop people from being jihadists, However there are parts of Pakistan and other countries where the only free education comes from the madrassas, which teach their students nothing but the Qur'an and the most hardline interpretations of it. This is where the jihadis become indoctrinated. If their parents had better options, they wouldn't send their kids to a suicide factory. I think that if we're going to invest aid in Pakistan (as we continue to do so) then it ought to be on our terms and it ought to be givin parents other education options for their kids.

Anonymous 4:22 PM  

Muslim grievances have nothing to do with being in the third world and being left out of development, jobs, clean water etc. The attackers on 9-11, as well as Bin Laden himself, were children of privilege. The poor in the Islamic world are actually just struggling to make it from one day to next, and don't have time to think about killing westerners or turning themselves into bomb delivery vehicles. All that is done by the conservative elite in Islam- and the scary truth is they are among us, because they speak English or French or German and are able to reconcile being technologically advanced and yet philosophically infantile. These people will, like the A.Q. Khans of the world, one day deliver nuclear and chemical and biological weapons to their religious masters or take these weapons into the heart of London, Paris, or New York, to cause carnage in the name of a murderous 7th century lunatic lecher and pedophile.


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