Addiction and Fundamentalism
This piece about the British converts to Islamism prompted some thoughts. Money quote:
Myfanwy Franks, a researcher who has studied converts to Islam and is the author of "Women and Revivalism in the West: Choosing Fundamentalism in a Liberal Democracy," said, "Being troubled does not necessarily lead people to conversion — people who aren't troubled convert — but it could lead to extreme radicalization."
Mentioning reports in the news media that Mr. Waheed was a heavy drinker and drug user before turning to Islam, Ms. Franks added: "I think there's a tendency for some people, when they stop using some kind of addictive substance, to be left with a big hole in their lives. To do something extreme is the easiest way to go, because it fills that big hole."
The path that some addicts take - not to go into lengthy, difficult recovery but to adopt, cold-turkey, the most absolutist religious position as the panacea for their addiction - is a fascinating one. I think it helps explain the strange management style and worldview of the current president.