Monday, July 10, 2006


If you have the stomach for it, go and read this "beautiful story" told on Egyptian TV about the wonder of child martyrdom. It begins:

"Let's listen to a very beautiful story to learn about the courage of a child, and how, when a child is brought up in a good home, and receives proper education in faith, he loves martyrdom, which becomes like an instinct for him. He can never give it up."

Another religious leader on the same program, tells a tale about Mohammed and a Jew, then asks what the children have learned from it.

A young child replies, "I learned that the Jews are the people of treachery and betrayal..."; and the Sheik, overjoyed that his message has come across so clearly, responds, "That is the most beautiful thing I have heard - that the Jews are the people of treachery, betrayal, and vileness."

These religious hatemongers brought to mind something that Gagdad Bob at One Cosmos wrote the other day. He was talking mostly about the left and child-rearing, but his words are certainly applicable to the discussion today:

It has always surprised me that more historians and anthropologists don’t look at child-rearing practices to try to understand the basis of cultural health, pathology and change, and why some cultures are so much sicker than others. But hardly any do, mainly because of the dominance of the politically correct view that no culture is better or worse than any other--except for Western culture, which is the worst. And yet, how could it not be? If you have a culture that systematically abuses children in the most grotesque way--say, the Palestinians--why should anyone be surprised that they are arguably the most comprehensively depraved people on earth?
Harrison cites a couple of scholars who have attempted to quantify the link between child-rearing practices and cultural progress, in particular, progress toward democracy, economic prosperity, and social justice. As I noted in my own book, the further back in history you go, the more evidence there is of abominable child-rearing practices--what we would now call outright abuse. Perhaps this is why, as Harrison notes, “Early humans were neither democratic nor egalitarian during the first 80-90 millennia of human existence.” Instead, we see ceaseless war, violence, oppression of women and children, and frankly crazy cultural beliefs and practices. The romantic idea that humans were ever peaceful “noble savages” has been thoroughly debunked by anyone who cares to actually look at the evidence.

For anyone who cares to actually look at the evidence, the romantic idea that Islam is a "religion of peace" has also been thoroughly debunked. The heirs of Mohammed have had ceaseless war, violence, oppression of women and children and frankly crazy cultural beliefs and practices since the religion's inception; and all of it has been culturally designed to keep practitioners from noticing their own religion and culture's inadequacies, irrationality, and barbarism.

But what do the medieval child-rearing practices of Islam--as evidenced by the two TV programs for children--show us about the culture?

What a good parent does is hard to remember; and what a bad parent does is hard to forget. When we are confronted with repeated behavior that shocks us, dsmays us and even repulses us, we can be sure that something has gone wrong somewhere.

Without ignoring the role of biology, it is clear that family obviously plays an extremely important role in the development of personality, especially in providing values and role-models. There is an entire dissertation or two in the dysfunctional family of Middle Eastern Muslims, where women are hidden and prevented from being able to be whole persons.
What impact does such a system--even in its mildest incarnation--have on the developement of BOTH girls and boys? Under the Taliban, which arguably was the most malignant iteration of Islam's dysfunction (unless we now count the evolving Somali incarnation), women were actively oppressed and beaten for any attempt to express themselves.

Even today in the halls of "modern" Islam, there are actual "debates" about whether women can drive cars or go out into public alone. The double standards of modesty and behavior encouraged by the current practice of Islam are destructive to the normal development of personality in both males and females.

Is there anyone who believes that such medieval attitudes towards women don't have a profoundly negative impact on the personalities of both the men and women who develop in such environments? Males are encouraged to be psychopaths; females to be their willing victims and enablers; as well as breeders for the jihad. When you see large groups of men willingly blowing themselves up to kill innocents, you know there is some sort of psychopathy at work. When the only way to express "gender liberation" is for a woman to imitate the homicidal / suicidal rages of the males--you know there is a problem.

Consider also, how a child could grow up in any sense normal-- knowing that their mother and father think of them only as fodder for jihad and that he has no worth to them otherwise.

Along with parenting issues, cultural factors in child-rearing play an extremely important role in personality formation and can, under certain circumstances, "stack the cards" against normal develoment even if all other factors, including biology, are benign. Michael Stone, the author of Abnormalities of Personality: Within and Beyond the Realm of Treatment comments:

Children born into authoritarian, tyrannical regimes are systematically programmed (by teachers or political authorities) to develop habits of thought and behavior at variance with parental and ommon human values. Such programming deforms the personility in any of a number of ways: one will become rigid, or mindlessly obedient, or cruel, or rebellious, or dour and bitter, etc.
We see in research studies of people from fringe or outcast social groups (such as gangs), that the members of such groups often behave respectfully and honestly toward others within their own group, but treat outsiders as if they were not human, without any sense of wrongdoing.

The ringleaders of such groups are often the the true psychopaths, and these leaders have a seemingly unlimited supply of morally weak or immature individuals (many of them very young)--who embrace antisocial behavior under group pressure.
We also know that in time of war, or social ferment, many formerly respectable, or at least "contained" non-aggressive persons (young men, especially) turn to thuggery--their morality extending only so far as expediency and conformity to the mob or gangster group of which they have become a part. Some will remain antisocial even after the crisis/riot/war passes; the majority revert to outward respectability.

Having already a predisposition because of parenting issues, the culture of Islam "stacks the deck" further by first encouraging the subjugation of women by men and giving it a religious blessing. This is nothing new in the history of the world, and it certainly occurred throughout the history of Christianity too. But the idea that women are inferior to men has been challenged for a thousand years, and as women have taken their equal place with men in the countries promoting women's rights, there has been an incredible improvement in those countries' economic and political standings. The culturally sanctioned misogyny of Islam results in a dysfunctional family unit that has tremendous impact on both male and female personality development.

The Koran says (Sureh 4, Verse 35) that men have authority over women (not just the wife but sisters, daughters, and all females). If they disobey, "first admonish them, then refuse to sleep with them, and then beat them". In Islamic countries, women are second-class citizens. They are counted as one-half a witness in a legal proceeding; and they can inherit only one-half as much as a man. Their sexuality is considered so inflammatory, they must be hidden under clothing that prevents anyone from seeing them. In Saudi Arabia, sons may be sent to foreign universities but daughters are not even allowed to drive.

Why are women's rights issues--or rather, the lack of them-- of importance in developing antisocial psychopathology? In the case of Islam, the religion itself has set the stage for an ongoing potentially abusive situation in the family; in heterosexual relationships; and in the culture.

The subservient role of women in the religion and their status as lesser beings breeds sadism in the male, simply because it is so easy (and sanctioned) to take out your frustrations or impotence on the "inferior" half of the population. This practice is not dissimilar to why people will take out their anger and negative emotions on pets or children. Being allowed to do so teaches an important psychological lesson that all budding psychopaths learn: "I am more important and powerful because I can hurt or kill this weak person". It is often a matter of honor to have absolute control over the identified weak person; and a matter of shame if they disobey you (see here). A male's status as a man can only be maintained by having power over the women.

Through a process that Anna Freud documents called "Identification with the Aggressor" these dynamics also breed the same sadistic tendency in women, though they have many fewer options in acting it out (female suicide bombers; and mothers who cheer the deaths of their sons and daughters in Allah's cause etc.)

The second factor in Islamic culture that "stacks the deck", encouraging abnormal personality development is the perpetual war against the infidel inherent in externalization of the concept of " jihad".

Those who see "jihad" as an inner struggle will not generally evolve into psychopaths, because internalizing the process has a greater chance of fostering insight and self-awareness, rather than brutality. But even these "moderate" practitioners of Islam do not stand up and loudly contradict the psychopathic elements in their religion; rather, they invite these elements to come "teach" at their mosques and abdicate leadership roles to them.

Those who do not have the innate biological or parental resources to prevent it become the disposable fodder that can then act out the psychopaths' scripts for them. Such individuals become the stooges--the suicide/homicide bombers--who mindlessly carry out their leaders' orders without every once considering that if holiness and sainthood are guaranteed by becoming a human bomb for Allah , then why is it that their leaders are not jumping with joy to grab the opportunity for themselves?

Islam has become toxic, infusing the entire Middle East with a culture inimical to not just the 50% who are female; but equally to the half who are male and consider themselves "superior". Children are raised in a misogynist family and cultural environment and the young boys are thus encouraged to hatred and violence. This has been going on for decades among the Palestinians in particular; but everywhere the jihad mindset has spread it cancerous message.

The child-rearing practices of a toxic Islam have achieved a pinnacle in the suicide bomber/murderer; and the religious indoctrination of children into the cult of jihad and hate. Those who willingly follow this cult of death meet many of the psychiatric criteria for an antisocial personality including: (1) A glib, superficial charm (especially the leaders) (2) A grandiose sense of self-worth; (3) Pathological lying; (4) Manipulative behavior; (5) Lack of remorse or guilt for their behavior; (6) Lack of the usual behavioral controls; (7) Deviant sexual behavior and attitudes (this has repeatedly been reported on in the Arab and Islamic culture and would not be surprising considering the distortion and denigration of females in the society); (8) Jealousy and envy; (9) A sense of entitlement; and (10) A failure to accept responsibility for one's own actions.

A combination of cultural and social factors in Islam encourages the development of the many of traits inherent in the psychopathic or antisocial personality. The predominance of this personality pattern fosters and feeds on phenomenon of terrorism and provides the cultural underpinnings that support its continuation.

Psychopathic behavior exists within all cultures. What is different about Islam is that the content of its creed has given personal and societal sanction to such behavior when it is directed toward "inferiors" within the culture and anyone outside the culture. Within this religious framework, murder, torture, intimidation and brutality can be used --not only with impunity--but with guarantees of holiness and rewards in the afterlife. Not only are the adherents safe from censure, they are actually lauded and celebrated as heroes of Islam.

Psychopaths cannot function openly or for long where there is freedom, equality, and the rule of law. That is why terrorists are so desperate to prevent the establisment of democracies and prefer Islamic law which encourages and supports their psychopathy. Individual thought and creativity; reason and justice; and the pursuit of happiness--all are completely incompatible with the psychopath's agenda.

As we see in the TV programs in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, there is an ongoing abuse of children, both psychological and physical, of monstrous proportions. To become a ruthless, cold, semi-human serial murderer, you have to be carefully taught and nurtured.

Tiptoeing around this issue so as not to offend or make judgements about the sickness of Islamic culture is nothing more than enabling hate and true evil.

You've got to be taught to hate and fear
You've got to be taught from year to year
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear.
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
and people whose skin is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught
before it's too late
before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught.

--From the musical, South Pacific

Shame, The Arab Psyche and Islam

Where Have All The Mothers Gone?

UPDATE: A related cartoon from Cox and Forkum:

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