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2009 November 07 Saturday
Intellectual Bankruptcy In Reaction To Fort Hood Shooter

Now, you might think that if a Muslim (who has said he is a Muslim first and an American second) US Army Major goes on a killing spree after he made many complaints about the US war on terror as a war on Muslims that the guy was motivated by his beliefs as a Muslim. If you thought that way you'd be out of touch with American multi-culturalists who find other possible explanations. The latest: Without even yet setting foot in Iraq or Afghanistan Nidal Malki Hasan was pre-traumatized by the stories he heard about those conflicts. Post-traumatic stress disorder has a sibling called pre-traumatic stress disorder. The cool thing about this explanation: the acronym PTSD still works. Just change the Post- to a Pre- and you are good to go.

As the military begins its eighth year of the war on terror, much of the focus has been on the inability to fully support the growing number of troops diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. But the events at Fort Hood cast the issue even wider.

According to reports, Mr. Hasan desperately wanted to avoid being deployed to a war zone. While there appeared to be several reasons for this, including a conviction that he was a victim of harassment, he was also troubled by the stories he heard from overseas.

Among the reasons US Army Major Hasan didn't want to go to deploy to the Middle East: He didn't want to fight the side (Muslims) he feels loyalty toward.

Megan McArdle has rendered herself incapable of learning anything from the Fort Hood shooter.

This guy was some form of lunatic or psychopath, and it seems pretty clear to me at this point that he was inspired by terrorists.  But there's no evidence that he was a terrorist--that is, that he was hooked into some organized network.  Lots of people do terrible things in the name of their religion--just ask George Tiller.  Their acts are, as the Catholic Church says, "sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance".  But they are no more indictments of a community than the acts of that Korean kid who went crazy at Virginia Tech.

Check out a definition of psychopath. Note the lack of empathy. But Hasan did have empathy for Muslims. He wasn't amoral. He was obeying a different moral code that has millions of adherents.

A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.

Hasan, Palestinian bombers, and Iraqi bombers have very similar motivations. They fight for their tribe, their religion, their in-group against others. Their empathy exists but has a focus. The focus isn't on the entire globalized world. It isn't on all the religions, nations, tribes or races. Their loyalty is to their group and their moral beliefs are built around what is good for their group. This isn't lunacy or mental illness. They are acting well within the normal range of human behavior as can be seen over a period of many centuries.

Megan's painted herself into such a small box of understanding of human nature that she can learn nothing from this episode.

There is absolutely no political lesson to be learned from this.  Gun control would not have stopped a commissioned officer from obtaining guns.  Barack Obama had no power to stop this.   Infectious PTSD is a lousy theory.  And nations certainly do not--and should not--shape their foreign policy around the possibility that a random psychopath will start shooting up a crowd.  Evil people do evil things.  That's all.

Evil according to whose moral code? There's not a global moral code accepted by all. You can find many Muslim preachers in the Middle East who see an attack by someone like Hasan in Fort Hood or by Iraqi jihadists in Iraq as acts of the highest moral order. Are all the Palestinians who attack Israel just randomly deciding to do this? Are the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan just coincidentally all just deciding to go plant road-side bombs or attacking American and NATO outposts by chance?

To dismiss something as simply evil is to place a stamp on it that says "no more thinking here". We can't run a foreign policy or an immigration policy or a US military recruitment policy with such a stamp on them. We've been trying to do that and the results have not been salutary.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 November 07 06:04 PM  Immigration Culture Clash


Comments
Red said at November 7, 2009 6:40 PM:

It's not "Intellectual Bankruptcy" it's the petty lies we tell ourselves to justify our theology. We live in an age of not distortions, not basis, but willful lairs.

Mthson said at November 7, 2009 7:56 PM:

There seems to be an administrative solution. It seems likely military administrators will in the future be more likely to intervene when a Muslim soldier shows signs of disgruntlement. Hasan was disgruntled for years.

Nathan said at November 7, 2009 8:12 PM:

Everyone is a tribalist. We care that we've lost 4000 young soldiers to these wars, but we don't care that hundreds of thousands of native innocents have been killed as "collateral damage". Rather, we take umbrage when its bought up.

This has more to do with a failure in the chain of command. Many Muslims serve honorably in our forces, giving up their lives because they love America. Hassan didn't want to be one, and he had was trying to make arrangements to get out. Why doesn't the army let a person leave, when they're clearly unfit/unbalanced?

Chuck said at November 7, 2009 8:14 PM:

Randall:

this echos a post i had a few months ago after george sodini's shooting spree.

http://chuckross.blogspot.com/2009/08/dont-give-sodini-scapegoat.html

judgements of "crazy" or "evil" compartmentalize the problem and insinuates that if he only wasn't "crazy" or "evil" he wouldn't have done this. also, as you touched on, it's interesting that muslims, in hasan's case, and single white guys with no hope in sodini's case, tend to do these types of things. when we label their action we take the blame from them and put it on society; i don't want them to have that scapegoat.

icr said at November 8, 2009 5:36 PM:

Future Jihadists in the US military will probably more careful about what they say-unless they primarily want an early and easy separation from the service.

One thing the Army should do is ease up on the super-strict gun control. At least all combat arms (infantry, artillery, armor) officers should be required carry sidearms on base-and probably NCO's at E-7, E-8, E-9. Then you might not have to wait for the civilian contractor cops to come to the rescue when something like this happens in the future.

Anonymouse said at November 8, 2009 8:14 PM:

I think it's pretty clear that Hasan was on a personal jihad that day -- but I also think there was an element of revenge on his part towards certain of his coworkers who he didn't like (hated, I guess) or didn't get along with.

Like I pointed out over on Steve Sailer's blog:

"Five of the 13 victims were fellow mental health professionals from three units of the army's Combat Stress Control Detachment, it was disclosed yesterday."

So, at least 1 in 8 of the people Hasan shot (he shot a total of 43 people) were "fellow mental health professionals." There could've been additional coworkers amongst those injured (don't know those numbers). That doesn't sound random to me.

That sounds to me like there's at least an element of "revenge" shooting here, i.e. he didn't like his coworkers for whatever reasons. Along with not agreeing with the Iraq/Afghani wars and, possibly, being a Muslim fundamentalist (Fort Hood shooting: Texas army killer linked to September 11 terrorists).

Kinda like the Columbine boys shooting lots of jocks in their "revenge" killing spree (although almost no one ever mentions this -- their killings were supposedly random, too).

Anonymouse said at November 8, 2009 8:14 PM:

I think it's pretty clear that Hasan was on a personal jihad that day -- but I also think there was an element of revenge on his part towards certain of his coworkers who he didn't like (hated, I guess) or didn't get along with.

Like I pointed out over on Steve Sailer's blog:

"Five of the 13 victims were fellow mental health professionals from three units of the army's Combat Stress Control Detachment, it was disclosed yesterday."

So, at least 1 in 8 of the people Hasan shot (he shot a total of 43 people) were "fellow mental health professionals." There could've been additional coworkers amongst those injured (don't know those numbers). That doesn't sound random to me.

That sounds to me like there's at least an element of "revenge" shooting here, i.e. he didn't like his coworkers for whatever reasons. Along with not agreeing with the Iraq/Afghani wars and, possibly, being a Muslim fundamentalist (Fort Hood shooting: Texas army killer linked to September 11 terrorists).

Kinda like the Columbine boys shooting lots of jocks in their "revenge" killing spree (although almost no one ever mentions this -- their killings were supposedly random, too).

Engineer-Poet said at November 9, 2009 5:10 AM:

icr:  you are assuming that the Islam-infected are smart enough to keep quiet and not show other obvious signs.  The oppressive demands of Islamic life aren't going to be so easily concealed, especially given the type of person who seeks them out.  Even without looking at people's associations, anyone who prays 5 times a day should attract notice.

sestamibi said at November 9, 2009 4:13 PM:

"As the military begins its eighth year of the war on terror . . ."

Actually the ninth year. Do the math.

weissman said at November 10, 2009 1:32 PM:

Megan McArdle is utterly worthless. She's the worst kind of neocon/libertarian - a number-crunching robot who is incapable of distinguishing between the "gross" and the "net". Like most liberal-minded people she refuses to acknowledge the costs and consequences of "change", even when they're completely obvious, if they can't be quantified in dollars and cents.

averros said at November 12, 2009 2:24 AM:

> neocon/libertarian

An oxymoron.

These two ideologies are complete opposites. Do yourself a favour an read something. Wikipedia is a good start. Do not forget to look up trutskyism (which is what the "neoconservatism" used to be called) and classical liberalism (called "libertarianism" nowadays, to distinguish it from American liberalism, which is, to say, international socialism).

Bob Badour said at November 12, 2009 6:10 AM:

Averros, I am a classical liberal. I sure as hell ain't no libertarian.

MaryJ said at November 14, 2009 11:06 PM:
But Hasan did have empathy for Muslims. He wasn't amoral. He was obeying a different moral code that has millions of adherents.

Your understanding of Islam is probably more profound than you even know, Randall. Muslims, like Christians, have a Golden Rule. The difference is that the Muslim Golden Rule literally states "do unto other Muslims as you would have them do unto you." Infidels are specifically excluded from their version of the Golden Rule. I studied Islam for eight years and I remember the relevant hadith quite well, though it would probably take some time for me to look it up.

averros said at November 16, 2009 3:52 AM:

Bob - if you were classical liberal, you'd know that the minarchist side of modern American libertarianism is virtually indistinguishable from classical liberalism. Before it got taken over by progressivists, that's it. Since there's no more coherent political movement identifying themselves as "classical liberals" nowadays it is simply a part of (and aknowledged predeccesor to) libertarianism - which aknowleges work of von Mises and Hayek as fundamental to all branches of libertarianism. (The anarchist part currently has much better developed - and internally consistent - political theory and theory of ethics (something which was lacking in classical liberalism; this is due, in large part, to the work by a student of Mises, Murray Rothbard). The most popular libertarian sites (mises.org and lewrockwell.com) are pretty much Rothbardian. Miarchist sentiment can be mostly found at the broader political movement (Campaign for Liberty), though CfL and Ron Paul are supported by all kinds of libertarians.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

Raimondo Cubeddu of the Department of Political Science of the University of Pisa says "It is often difficult to distinguish between 'libertarianism' and 'classical liberalism'. Those two labels are used almost interchangeably by those we may call libertarians of a 'minarchist' persuasion—scholars who, following Locke and Nozick, believe a state is needed in order to achieve effective protection of property rights". Libertarians see themselves as sharing many philosophical, political, and economic undertones with classical liberalism, such as the ideas of laissez-faire government, free markets, and individual freedom.

Bob Badour said at November 16, 2009 6:44 AM:

Averros,

Perhaps, as a libertarian, you are blind to the differences, but as a classical liberal, I can distinguish them.

Libertarians see themselves as sharing many philosophical, political, and economic undertones with classical liberalism, such as the ideas of laissez-faire government, free markets, and individual freedom.

But we classical liberals see ourselves as acknowledging the reality of human nature the denial of which makes libertarians so nutty.


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