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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Doctors plot and the romance of purity

English media is confused over the motives of the "nice" Moslem MDs behind the recent bungled mass murder attempts.

I offer myself as an expert consultant on why good boys and girls go bad. The romance of the pure and uncorrupted has a powerful attraction to folk with excess leisure time and an awareness and regret for the fundamental unfairness of the world. This romance leads the young, unemployed Pakistanis to the fundamentalist Wahhabist Madrassas and middle class doctors to reach out to their peers, and organize to fight injustice. The rest of the horror story is cultural (in this case Islamic) norms, frustration and group dynamics. Somehow purity of religion, politics or race will fix everything and redress unjust history.

How can such evil come from good intentions? Communists came from a desire to create a better life for Victorian industrial workers, and, filtered through a hundred years of culture and history, lead to the Killing Fields of Cambodia. Don't get me started on Fascism and Christianity.

There is a romance of "The Movement" that develops over time. Worship of the Myth of Purity of Motive permits unspeakable horror if used to fight the corrupt. The appeal of being one of "The Select" is perhaps the most intoxicating wine on the market. Oh! A place in history! To make a difference! To right the wrongs! Fighting for the downtrodden! It's like being Superman without the tacky costume.

There is no military solution to combating the ideals of purity. There are some poliitcal/military/police policies that can be used in keeping the worst extreme excesses tamped down. The appeal of messy secular liberal democracy trumps The Way Of The Pure in the real world, where we all live.

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