How doth the story change

Why Sri Lanka attackers’ wealthy backgrounds shouldn’t surprise us

Lots of terrorists with lots of causes have come from educated/wealthy backgrounds. Therefore:

Taken together, this teaches us that neither education nor economics can help explain any one individual’s violent activism.

But back when we didn’t know that they came from educated and wealthy backgrounds it was said that economics explained it all. The righteous anger of the proletariat at the capitalist and bourgeois classes.

Is it that we iz learnin’? Or we’ve changed the story when it became inconvenient?

17 comments on “How doth the story change

  1. The terrorists who ran the French Revolution tended to be provincial lawyers, not sons of toil.

  2. There’s just no way of knowing what causes guys called Mohammed to murder Christians. It’s a mystery of the ages.

  3. But it’s good to know that wealth, education and exposure to liberal western values leads those guys away from their age old ways.

  4. A theory. These people come from families are movers & shakers. Themselves, they find they’re not cut out to be movers & shakers in the fields their families are. Mostly because they don’t have the work ethic So they look for areas where they can be.
    Terrorists are an extreme example. But it explains a lot about the behaviour of certain people.

  5. Taken together, this teaches us that neither education nor economics can help explain any one individual’s violent activism.

    If only we knew something about them which could explain it…

  6. In the American War of Independence it’s my impression that the “patriots” in the northern colonies weren’t terrorists. No doubt there were exceptions: war is coarsening and anyway makes opportunities for the wicked. But I’ve never heard of any organised terrorism by the “patriots”.

    But in the southern colonies plenty of them were terrorists. What was their background: rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief?

  7. Tim’s point applies to the G but think Jason Burke from a few articles i read is a fairly straight reporter.

  8. These people come from families are movers & shakers. Themselves, they find they’re not cut out to be movers & shakers in the fields their families are. Mostly because they don’t have the work ethic So they look for areas where they can be.

    Osama Bin Laden being the prime example. There would have been plenty of opportunities for him to earn an honest living in his father’s construction company, but he was too unreliable and lazy.

  9. @ BiS
    Yes, plus given that the modern education system teaches the students that they are wonderful and bound to do great things leaves them searching for great things to do. Since most of them are normal and not bound to do great things that leads them to uncritically latch on to any great cause going. Like all those stuck up people blocking London’s streets last week.

  10. You would have to try quite hard to find ideological terrorists (and I include Islamists in that) who aren’t from comfortable, middle-class, educated backgrounds. The claim that poverty causes terrorism is one of the more risible ideas of the Left (in a densely packed field).

  11. @dearieme. Apart from when the rebels burnt down half of New York in retaliation for the warm welcome the city, in particular the ladies, gave the soldiers of the crown, you mean?

  12. Bloke in Spain, re your theory. Paris Hilton made a giving head video. These people make taking heads videos. It may be true that the feckless youth of movers and shakers seek their own journey to significance but some of them take a particular route, don’t they?

    What could the explanation be?

  13. Rob, Poverty also doesn’t cause crime, but crime definitely causes poverty – or at least, costs the victim usually more than the perpetrator benefits.

  14. I believe the american economist Paul Kruger did a wonderful study then a book/series of lecturers on the economic background of terrorists.

    Clear findings that they were disproportionately middle or upper middle class in their countries of origin.

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