Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taliban Grows in Pakistan

This isn't good.

I'd be interested to know more about the draw of the Taliban since we have a rather two-dimensional view in the US. How does such an entity - particularly the Taliban - grow and spread ideologically? What is the attraction? Is poverty the main driver? Any good books or articles worth reading?

For that matter, why do people follow this guy?


MT said...

Why suppose there's any attraction, when the spread seems so predominately by compulsion and coercion? It seems like asking: What was the attraction of "Tudorism"? There's an attraction to Marxism, but it doesn't explain Lenin's victory in Russia.

MT said...

I guess besides the methods of conversion by the sword for in the field there are other "recruitment techniques" for enticing people into the fold at home, and if any of the Taliban ideology is on view as recruiters make their pitch, it can't be downright repulsive. But there's a distinction we draw between an ideology and ideas that matter to the campaign in which it outcompetes the alternative. e.g. supposedly an idea that made Protestantism attractive was that the old Church was a corrupt institution, which isn't Protestant religion itself, or isn't supposed to be. I think I just read the posted question too literally, because my only point is a darn niggling and doubtlessly unnecessary one.

helmut said...

I'm not so sure it's just "compulsion and coercion," at least not much farther beyond that of any other religious ideology. It's just that other religions use "compulsion and coercion" with perhaps more subtle tactics and more of a smiley face.

I guess one foil for Talibanism is Western modernity, right? This makes it not unlike some versions of Protestantism.

But, still, whence the attraction? I honestly wonder about the extent to which fundamentalist religions of any stripe are reactions to modern society in the sense that those who feel alienated from the latter are driven to the former. And modernity, of course, does alienate people.

Maybe this is trite point, but it seems to me that postmodernity (or post-postmodernity... whatever) will be largely defined by its fundamentalisms, and not only religious ones. The genuine conservatives, then (since conservatism necessarily implies some historical referent), will end up being those hanging on to the hopes of modernity, humanistic liberalism, Enlightenment.

Anyway, still curious about the driving motivations here....

MT said...

The weapons are modern, and many can watch modernity on TV, but I think it's pretty medieval out there otherwise. What would you think of modernity, if all you knew about it was from TV?