Re: Chapter 13: Obsessed with reality
Sagan's warning about the selling of war (by some group) by advocating the "dangers of skepticism" is not entirely accurate for all radical terrorist orgs.
Al Qaeda's propaganda machine is based mostly on political grievances (occupied territories, puppet regimes, etc) and the imposing of western values, most of which Islamic culture simply does not share (capitalism, consumerism, materlalism, certain forms of "entertainment).
There are other organizations that protest the imposing of western values. This past valentines day there were scattered protests that objected to the capitalist nature of the day. Quite frankly, V-day is a day of legal robbery, in my opinion.
The price of tokens of affection are doubled - literally DOUBLED. So are dinner prices. All because of an expectation created by a voracious capitalistic machine influencing the herd.
I heard on some local radio station that claimed a recent poll indicated 53 percent of women said they would "break up" with their partner if he didn't do something for them on V-day.
If that's true (who was being asked, how many, etc. etc) it's truly, in my opinion a horrific indicator.
One of these days I might protest "love capitalism" myself.
Al Qaeda's intention at the start was not, from what I understand so far, the global dissemination of sharia law.
The last model of the coursera course on Terrorism deals strictly with an analysis of Al Qaeda. I'm looking forward to it.
Since 911, splinter groups have emerged from A.Q. with their own priorities.
Interestingly enough, the magazine associated with AQ, "Inspire" was not endorsed by Osama Bin Laden. Actually, he rejected it as part of AQ's "brand" and did not want it to represent AQ. Since the death of OBL and the authors of Inspire that started it, my understanding is that it continues to circulate to this day.
I better example of a "war on skepticism/critical thought" and autonomy might be the terrorist organization Boko Haram which translates to "Western Education is Forbidden"
Boko Harem's primary targets at the start of their splinter campaign were educational institutions.
(side note: no, I am not saying sharia law or fundamental religious governments are better than democracy).