[ExI] beheadings etc.

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Fri Feb 27 17:23:54 UTC 2015

Mirco Romanato <painlord2k at libero.it> , 27/2/2015 4:01 PM:
Il 26/02/2015 15:50, Anders Sandberg ha scritto: 

> You make a mistake in ascribing Boko Haram to sociopathy: sociopaths are 
> rare, you cannot build a large organisation from them (and they make 
> lousy members). Most Boko Haram members are just like you and me. That 
> is of course the real horror and lesson of BM, IS or the Nazis: most 
> members were totally ordinary people swept into a pathological culture. 

Any solution to propose? 

How we interact with people like these? 

How do you interact with any fanatical people? Figure out what makes them tick and then use it. 

I am no expert, but BH is very much a response to Nigeria's rich south ignoring the poor north: it could have turned into normal guerilla/rebellion, but now it took on religious angle since the north-south divide is also a religious divide. Rather than adding anti-western sentiments in the socialist mode, it settled on a religious mode (hence the name - to BH education is a weapon of cultural assimilation used by the south and the West). Maybe there is also Salafist foreign aid, I don't know. So a first issue that needs to be addressed is what the Nigerian government is doing with the oil money - it might be necessary to start squeezing them on corruption and the need to include the whole country. This won't stop BH directly, but handled well it might deprive it of the core driver, and make more people willing to resist. Most likely the only proper solution is for Nigeria to actually get its governance act together and construct a working police and military. 

The thing is, when members of groups like this are interviewed they turn out to be fairly nonideological: a few zealots here and there, but mostly a lot of people who recognize a good thing for themselves when they see it, or are scared not to join in. The demonisation that happens in the standard media depictions is partially deliberate, but partially just because the real story is depressingly banal. Some people really did join he Nazi party for the dental plan. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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