Friday, June 16, 2006

Hey John

A little later than expected... (this is a follow up to this discussion)

You seem to be saying that if someone does not explore how their desires will affect others, then they could be said to be ignorant.

It might not be a problem of taking the time to explore how their desires will affect others; maybe they haven’t learned to be so circumspect about anything, let alone their desires, actions, beliefs, etc.

"could be said." Hmmm. (yes, I say could be said because there probably is a better way of explaining what I’m suggesting… I’m not a social scientist, at least not a qualified professional one) Since you determined that they are missing knowledge and experience that gives them a true appreciation of their own self interest, I will run with that. Under what circumstances would they be said to be ignorant? Similarly, under what circumstances would they not be considered ignorant?

I think I've been pretty clear on this point John; it's a judgment call on my part, to be sure, but I don't think I'm far from the mark: When people break the law, conspire to harm others, and basically behave in a manner that is counter to the rules of our society, there is an issue. Granted, this is based on the assumption that the cause of their actions isn't related to other problems, such as mental illness. It is possible that a suicide bomber is a person with an illness which has been exploited by extremists.

The apprehended terrorist suspects where comprised mainly of teens and young men, who are still at what can be a volatile age with regard to socio-political development.

On a related note, there was an interesting article in the Star on June 12th by Andrea Gordon on the development of young men by the title of “Consider the mysteries of the teen mind

A quote in the article from Toronto psychologist and brain scientist Dr. Ron Clavier.does say

"It's very murky, and too complicated to make sweeping statements about because there are so many factors at play."

I do agree with that… there are many factors, ignorance just being one. Physiological causes come into play also:

"Brain development, while only part of the picture, is a place to start. Scientists used to think that by the time the body was all grown up, the brain was too. But now, thanks to technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging, they know that long after an adolescent has stopped putting on inches, their brain is continuing to develop. The pre-frontal cortex — responsible for executive functions such as judgment, impulse control and decision-making based on assessing consequences — isn't fully formed until the early or mid-20s. And until it is, "they don't really have a full understanding of the impact of their actions on society or on themselves," says Clavier, author of the 2005 book Teen Brain, Teen Mind.”

I’m also reminded of the recently released book on young Pierre Elliot Trudeau, which talks about the political beliefs he had when he was a young man.

The point here is that it’s common for young people to experience some radical ideological phases; fortunately most people won’t be dangerous during this phase of their development, and will grow out of it.

You admit that you are only guessing what the would be terrorists goals were and whether or not they achieved any of their goals. In light of your guessing, it would be difficult to figure out their level of ignorance. How do you know what their knowledge and experiences are? How do you know if they have a "true appreciation" of their own self interest? How do you know if they do not?

Yes, and then again… no. The Behavioural Science Unit of the FBI do some pretty amazing work. I would bet that they could, if they haven’t already, give an accurate assessment of the development and motivation of terrorists that haven’t been apprehended; this information would be easy to gather from any who are in custody.

And without proving that the ignorance exists, how can you state that it is the crux of the problem that is faced by the liberal democracies?

Again, let’s be clear that what I wrote was: “the crux of the problem that is faced by the liberal democracies, with regard to the threat of terrorism.” You keep leaving out the “with regard to terrorism,” and it’s a key part of what I was saying; and I can state that easily… many hypotheses start off that was you know, as statements, guesses, possibilities… the proving or disproving will eventually follow.

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