Another Lebowski Enlightenment : Why no effective anti-Jihadi propaganda? We have anti-Islam propaganda everywhere, but that makes the situation worse.
Has not civilization well understood how to deal with Zealots of whatever stripe? Or at least provided itself with all of the evidence needed to know how to do that.
The theory is simple*. People really don’t like bores. People who hammer on and on about one thing are eventually annoying, no matter how sincere and likable they might be otherwise. All people in the grip of social frenzies annoy their friends. If you haven’t noticed that, what do you think it means?
While some of us are catching up in theory of mind, the rest of you can follow along. People only hammer on who are oblivious, and they are only put up with voluntarily so long as they are just one of the guys who happens to have gone a bit crazy, people do fads of all kinds all the time and most get over it. (Unless it is really crazy, extreme sports of all kinds are killing people left and right, drug binges, and a lot of strange behavior shortens your life. But mere religion, we all have to put up with, all of us have relatives in their grip.)
Now think about your reaction to missionaries of any kind coming to your door. You may be polite, but I think there is little welcome anywhere in the world unless the person whose door is knocked upon is really desperate for company. In our area, every door has a sign saying “No salesmen” and/or “No evangelicals”, religious people visit my door less than once per year. I think that is a good measure of how welcome they are, on average.
People are people around the world, rich, poor, 1st world or 3rd world, rainforest or desert. All you need to do to understand them is to ask yourself how you would react.
Can you seriously believe that any people is going to welcome into their community a bunch of religious zealots who feel free to kill those who disagree with them? Do you really believe neighboring villages approved of the way these barbarians behaved toward the Azidis or the Shiites? In most of these countries, it is likely that their cousin married a Shiite, the religious differences are not significant in most people’s ordinary lives. Would you approve killing any of your neighbors because of their religion? Those people are much more modern in mind than you are, if you believe that.
We are using military weapons to deal with zealots. That amplifies the zealots, of course. It makes them religious martyrs, heroes of their civilization in their own eyes and the eyes of other young, stupid, impressionable potential zealots.
Suppose a smart person in the CIA, our major generator of propaganda of this kind and using 30% of their budget to do so, really wanted to weaken ISIS. The first thing to do would be to eliminate recruits from Europe, as ISIS burns through jihadis at a high rate, street fighting with modern weapons is expensive of even very well-trained and well-equipped troops highly motivated to preserve their own lives. Without continuous replacement, ISIS will quickly be impotent, and will start losing battles with the Kurds, Iraqis and Syrians.
Think about how easy it would be to make the Islamic extremists look primitive, ignorant and intolerant simpletons, naive rubes being led down a standard path in human history, and here is how that usually worked out in history, with error bars. How intolerance has, most of the time, resulted in making the world a much worse place, and really, you can’t doubt that, deep in your soul, can you? Be neutral, use the very many examples of Christians killing each other and discuss the politics of that, how religious differences were intentionally amplified and used for political goals. There are plenty of Islamic examples they can find or recognize on their own, no need to emphasize that point.
This is easy PR, you can do those stories pitched at the potential recruits, the young Muslim male in a society that has not provided much life satisfaction, the same mental hook that makes them vulnerable to the religious fundamentalist thoughts. Every major religion would cooperate in making the world the kind of place where people don’t think it is cool to become a jihadi because people understand better what beliefs are and how they should fit into our lives if they are to improve them.
I could even drop that into the Jihadi flow of videos, as anti-Christian propaganda, seeming to come from their own side. Propaganda is ubiquitous, everything is filtered and framed. Governments control the news very nearly completely in telling us who the enemy is and why they are the enemy. The absence of this kind of propaganda is telling us that ISIS is not a serious threat, that our governments like them as an enemy and want to keep the wars going. (Found later, some action.)
If they were serious, this is easy. Pay some slick PR people, take the money from the useless analysts.
Or, we patriots could do it. Why wait on government? Youtube is a delivery mechanism. I thought this was interesting and effective propaganda, as an example, tho not to this point. (Also, there is very little reality behind that story.)
We might have interesting effects on various Monarchies with this public interest message series. Lebowski Enlightenments everywhere today.
2000 years in the modern development of statecraft and the art of running large organizations in international affairs, including understanding the science and art of managing the public opinion of international populations and extracting more money and power every year with that understanding, and the entire Western World can’t figure out how to out-PR a bunch of zealot fundamentalists who reject the modern world. Don’t expect much out of anything in this end of an era, our rulers are paralyzed by the weight of the many layers of protection they have built around themselves, insulation from the reality of an increasingly hostile environment.
They are very connected people. ‘Connected’ in the sense of firmly caught in the social, mental, economic and political spider’s webs they themselves constructed, and make ever-more complex. Those are their power. Power consolidates, it has its own mass attraction, their powerful connections are strangling them. And us.
*As an honesty honest member of the Honest Party, I must inform you that I put the theory first so as to guide your acceptance of my examples as confirmations of the theory. Grease the mental skids, so to speak. It is a common technique in persuasive speech and writing.
Did you notice that I labeled a bunch of words a ‘theory’, gave them stature in your mind, slipped that thought in at a higher level of status than you might have given it on your own? If not, you aren’t being skeptical enough, dammit.
Never allow ideas into your head without application of skeptical wisdom from as many points of view in as many dimensions of analysis as you can imagine. Except for me, of course. My wisdom is so prior, so much more fundamental than any other wisdom could possibly be and there can be no disagreement, it is safe to let it through the barriers. After you do, I am sure you will agree with me.
Get serious here. Watch the following.
Afterwards, do you see how impossible it is that our press does not notice the patterns of information flow. How impossible it is that no one in the PR world has gotten rich from an expose. Do fish notice water? We notice the foulness, not the air. PR is their aire.
I found this later. You can see they took it seriously, put their first team on the effort. All they had to do was the usual, as our government is largely incompetent at anything. Can you name one thing it does well, beyond deliver checks and collect taxes?
Added yet later. So they did have a first team, and this it or one of them, he thought not so good. Then the guy went to tracking $, whereupon he found CIA funding. Not being a long-time military guy, he was shocked.
Added yet later. ISIS has a better media strategy than the entire US/Nato war effort in the ME. No kidding.
Yet later. People who have joined ISIS often come to despise it, and why is this not mainstream discussion?
This is the original of that academic report on the ISIS defector’s stories.
Added yet later : someone took my advice. Progress on a simple measure, tho I think the Russians wiping out ISIS in Syria probably is mostly responsible. Fewer ISIS to twitter and much less enthusiasm for the Caliphate.