Spin – The Art of Political Lying

July 20, 2016


By Terence T. Gorski

Here is how Wilipedia defines and describes SPIN: 

Spin is propaganda or presenting lies to the public as the truth. The term, “plausible deniability” actual means to protect politicians from the consequences of getting caught in a lie. 

In public relations, Spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. 

While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, “spin” often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.[1]

Politicians are often accused by their opponents of claiming to be truthful and seek the truth while using spin tactics to manipulate public opinion. Large corporations with sophisticated public relations branches also engage in “spinning” information or events in their favor. 

Because of the frequent association between spin and press conferences (especially government press conferences), the room in which these take place is sometimes described as a spin room.

Public relations advisors, pollsters and media consultants who develop spin may be referred to as “spin doctors” or “spinmeisters” who manipulate the truth and create a biased interpretation of events for the person or group that hired them.
The term has its origin in the old American expression “to spin a yarn”. 

Sailors were known for using their spare time on board making thread or string (yarn) and also for telling incredible tales when they were on shore. 

When someone fooled you, it was said that “he spun me an amazing yarn”. Yarn also became a synonym for “tall tale” – “What a yarn!”, means “what a lie”. 

A coarser and more contemporary version of this expression is “bullshit”, and, for anyone who seeks to deceive, “bullshit artist”. 
History of Spin

Edward Bernays has been called the “Father of Public Relations”. As Larry Tye describes in his book The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and The Birth of Public Relations, Bernays was able to help tobacco and alcohol companies use techniques to make certain behaviors more socially acceptable in the 20th-century United States. Tye claims that Bernays was proud of his work as a propagandist. 

As information technology has increased dramatically since the end of the 20th century, commentators like Joe Trippi have advanced the theory that modern Internet activism spells the end for political spin. By providing immediate counterpoint to every point a “spin doctor” can come up with, this theory suggests, the omnipresence of the Internet in some societies will inevitably lead to a reduction in the effectiveness of spin.[4]
The techniques of spin include:
Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one’s position (cherry picking). For example, a pharmaceutical company could pick and choose trials where their product shows a positive effect, ignoring the unsuccessful trials, or a politician’s staff could handpick speech quotations from past years which appear to show her support for a certain position)

  • Non-denial denial
  • Non-apology apology
  • Politically-correct deception
  • Making misinformation (deliberate lies) seem like the truth 

“Mistakes were made” is an expression that is commonly used as a rhetorical device, whereby a speaker acknowledges that a situation was managed by using low-quality or inappropriate handling but seeks to evade any direct admission or accusation of responsibility by not specifying the person who made the mistakes. The acknowledgement of “mistakes” is framed in an abstract sense, with no direct reference to who made the mistakes and what exactly the mistakes were. The ultimate mistake, of course, is to get caught in the lie. 

A less evasive construction might be along the lines of “I made mistakes” or “John Doe made mistakes.” The speaker neither accepts personal responsibility nor accuses anyone else. The word “mistakes” also does not imply intent.
Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths, or avoiding the question[5]

“Burying bad news”: announcing unpopular things at a time when it is believed that the media will focus on other news. In some cases, governments have released potentially controversial reports on summer long weekends, to avoid significant news coverage. Sometimes that other news is supplied by deliberately announcing popular items at the same time.

Spin includes the art of misdirection and diversion[6]

For years businesses have used fake or misleading customer testimonials by editing/spinning customers to reflect a much more satisfied experience than was actually the case. In 2009 the Federal Trade Commission updated their laws to include measures to prohibit this type of “spinning” and have been enforcing these laws as of late. 

Additionally, over the past 5 to 6 years several companies have arisen that verify the authenticity of the testimonials businesses present on the marketing materials in an effort to convince one to become a customer.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(propaganda) 

GORSKI BOOKS: www.relapse.org


What Makes Us Stronger

July 7, 2016


By Terence T. Gorski

What Makes Us Stronger? Why is that question important?
The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche believed this simple principle:

“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”

The principle is correct on many levels. It eloquently states Nietzsche’s “superman hypothesis” which proposed that it is best for people to be determined, strong and merciless so that human empathy and compassion did not interfere with people living their lives or supporting their collective causes.

This philosophy of Nietzsche was embraced by Hitler and integrated at the core of the education and training to be a NAZIS.

I believe that ideas have powerful personal and collective consequences. Either for good or evil. The more eloquently and memorably an idea is crafted the more effective it is. Ideologies that are brief, easy to remember and repeat to others are most effective. These brief compelling descriptions of ideologies take on a life of their own as they spread from mind to mind.

I try to be careful about the ideologies I embrace and promote because I realize a well-crafted idea is more powerful than a loaded gun.

Like a virus, once an idea or ideology is released to other minds it spreads and is very difficult to stop.

GORSKI-BOOKS: www.relapse.org


Thought Terminating Cliches

October 3, 2015

by Terence T. Gorski

No Need To Think!

A thought terminating cliché is something that we memorize and start to use automatically that keeps us from thinking clearly and deeply about something. For example: “Screw it, I don’t need this now!” 

The key to identifying a thought terminating cliché is to recognize that we don’t really understand what the thought means and it turns off our thought process when we are confronting a problem that we really need to think through. As a result we become trapped using this thought terminating clichés to shut down our mind whenever we start thinking about something that makes us feel uncomfortable but that we need to confront in order to grow in our recovery.

We need tp recognize the difference between thought terminating clichés that stop us from thinking about issues we need to face, and healthy thought stopping commands that we use to turn off habitual irrational thinking, ruminations, and resentments.

In my definition of a thought stopping cliché presented above, it says very clearly tat it is: “something that we memorize and start to use automatically that keeps us from thinking clearly and deeply about something.” This is very different from thought redirecting phrases that have a deep personal meaning and change our way of thinking from old addictive thought patterns to new recovery supportive ways of thinking.

The slogans in 12-Step programs are a perfect example of thought redirecting phrases if they are used properly. And this is a big if! 

It is both “what we say to ourselves” and “how we have conditioned our brain / mind to respond to what we say to ourselves.” Let me explain. 

If our response to the slogan “Easy does it!” activates the belief “It’s OK to do nothing at all if I don’t feel like it!” the slogan is being used a a thought terminating cliche – a form of thinking without thought that gives us permission to only do what we feel like doing and not what we need to do to recover.  

If the same slogan “Easy does it!” helps us to start thinking about: 

• The need to slow down and lower stress;

• The importance of not biting off more than we can chew to avoid choking (Father Joe Martin’s concept of “not feeding spiritual steak to spiritual infants); 

• The real danger of running down as hill as fast as you can because it feels good in the moment while ignoring the long term consequence of falling flat on our face as gravity and momentum compel us to run faster than out legs can carry us; 

• Don’t take on so much that it takes us away from our recovery program and distracts us with other things we believe we must do now;; 

• We are not what we do! We are who we are as sober human beings. We are good people and it is OK to “just be and grow” in response toour spiritual voice within that tells us sobriety is necessary for us to stay alive and grow so staying sober need to come first.

If the phase Easy does It helps is to stop obsessively thinking addictive compulsive thoughts by telling ourselves to “do more and more and do it now or else” it gives us permission to slow down, turn off the mental chatter, practice patience, and just be.”

The question that determines the difference between thought stopping and thought redirecting is:

• “Does the memorized phrase stop me from thinking and reflecting on important issues that I need to face to move on in my recovery?. or

• Does the memorized phrase give me permission and motivational to go on doing self-defeating things that can lead to relapse? 

If the memorized word or phrase reminds me to stop and think about the new principles of recovery and personal responsibility it is a positive thought redirecting phrase because by thinking about it I am learning and growing in my recovery program.

If the memorized word or phrase keeps me locked into a pattern of addictive, compulsive and self-defeating ways of thinking it is a negative thought stopping cliché.

The difference between the two can be subtle and difficult to judge in the moment. This is why discussing our thinking with our sponsor, fellow members of our program, and at meetings is so important. These conversations about how to evaluate what we are thinking should, in the best tradition of recovery, teach us to think more clearly and rationally about addiction oriented versus recovery oriented thinking and behavior. This distinction is difficult to understand and even more difficult to explain (I feel I have not done the concept justice here and will keep working on an explanation that is more clear and easy to understand). It is a distinction, however, that is critically important to make in our own minds so we can learn how to manage our mental and emotional life in recovery. 

I will end with the words of one of my favorite singers and song writers, Harry Chapin, when he says in one of his songs: “Sometimes words can serve me well and sometimes words can go to hell!”

To Start Using Thought Redirecting Phrases In The Workbook

The Cognitive Restructuring for Addiction: http://www.relapse.org/custom/cart/edit.asp?p=92050 

Gorski Books: http://www.relapse.org

Gorski Home Studies: http://www.cenaps.com 


Thank God for the Atom Bomb

August 7, 2015

 Nuclear Weapons: A Time-Lapse History 

By Terence T. Gorski 

All people with a conscience have mixed feelings about war and the weapons of mass destruction used in modern day warfare. 

The fear of nuclear war is once again raising its head. Many of us would prefer to ignore the issue and pretend “it can never happen again.” The current deal with Iran over nuclear weapon development and the possibility of widespread nuclear proliferatio in the Middle East is raising the issue and the fear of the real possibility of nuclear war. 

People without a conscience (i.e. psychopaths/sociopaths) are not hobbled in their decision making about nuclear weapons by issues of morality, empathy, and fighting for the good. When making decisions involving the use of weapons of mass destructions psychopathic/sociopathic leaders will do anything necessary to expand their power even if it means destroying humanity in the process. 

In my opinion, the reality is that people of conscience need to come to terms with the need for violence to protect personal freedom. This means facing the issue of using violence on all levels to protect individual freedom. This includes, of course, coming to terms with the production and use of nuclear weapons. If they don’t, people motivated by high moral standards will eventually be killed, imprisoned, or controlled by psychopaths/sociopaths who are well armed and organized. This is especially true if evil intent can be cloaked by a religious ideaology. 

People of good will must recognize and name the true nature of the enemy –those who don’t are usually condemned to be defeat by the enemies they refuse to name. 

The following article was forwarded to me by Buck Yancy, a friend and mentor who keeps challenging me to face and think about the hard issues of life. It is the reprint of an essay written in 1981by the late Paul Fussell, a cultural critic and war memoirist. 

Reading this essay was unsettling. It contrasted two perspectives of making decisions about using nuclear weapons: the anstract perspective of those who make and critique policy; and the personal perspective of the troops whose lives were spared because the land invasion of Japan became unnecessary because the use of nuclear weapons forced Japan to surrender. 

Here is an article by the same name in The New Republic

Below is the original essay I received:

Thank God for the Atom Bomb  

 

Wed Aug 5, 2015 7:36 pm (PDT) . Posted by: “Jim Baker” baycur on Aug 5, 2015, at 11:42 AM, by Jeff Murray tamu73@sbcglobal.net [CHAT_281AHC] <CHAT_281AHC@yahoo groups.com> who wrote:

The headline of this column is lifted from a 1981 essay by the late Paul Fussell, the cultural critic and war memoirist. In 1945 Fussell was a 21-year-old second lieutenant in the U.S. Army who had fought his way through Europe only to learn that he would soon be shipped to the Pacific to take part in Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese home islands scheduled to begin in November 1945. 

Then the atom bomb intervened. Japan would not surrender after Hiroshima, but it did after Nagasaki.

I brought Fussell’s essay with me on my flight to Hiroshima and was stopped by this: “When we learned to our astonishment that we would not be obliged in a few months to rush up the beaches near Tokyo assault-firing while being machine-gunned, mortared, and shelled, for all the practiced phlegm of our tough facades we broke down and cried with relief and joy. We were going to live.”

In all the cant that will pour forth this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the bombs—that the U.S. owes the victims of the bombings an apology; that nuclear weapons ought to be abolished; that Hiroshima is a monument to man’s inhumanity to man; that Japan could have been defeated in a slightly nicer way—I doubt much will be made of Fussell’s fundamental point: Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t just terrible war-ending events. They were also lifesaving. The bomb turned the empire of the sun into a nation of peace activists.

I spent the better part of Monday afternoon with one such activist, Keiko Ogura, who runs a group called Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace. Mrs. Ogura had just turned eight when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, the epicenter less than 2 miles from her family home. She remembers wind “like a tornado”; thousands of pieces of shattered glass blasted by wind into the walls and beams of her house, looking oddly “shining and beautiful”; an oily black rain. 

And then came the refugees from the city center, appallingly burned and mutilated, “like a line of ghosts,” begging for water and then dying the moment they drank it. Everyone in Mrs. Ogura’s immediate family survived the bombing, but it would be years before any of them could talk about it. 

Because Hiroshima and Nagasaki were real events, because they happened, there can be no gainsaying their horror. Operation Downfall did not happen, so there’s a lot of gainsaying. Would the Japanese have been awed into capitulation by an offshore A-bomb test? Did the Soviet Union’s invasion of Manchuria, starting the day of the Nagasaki bombing, have the more decisive effect in pushing Japan to give up? Would casualties from an invasion really have exceeded the overall toll—by some estimates approaching 250,000—of the two bombs?

We’ll never know. 

— We only know that the U.S. lost 14,000 men merely to take Okinawa in 82 days of fighting. 
— We only know that, because Japan surrendered, the order to execute thousands of POWs in the event of an invasion of the home islands was never implemented. 

— We only know that, in the last weeks of a war Japan had supposedly already lost, the Allies were sustaining casualties at a rate of 7,000 a week. 

— We also know that the Japanese army fought nearly to the last man to defend Okinawa, and hundreds of civilians chose suicide over capture. 

Do we know for a certainty that the Japanese would have fought less ferociously to defend the main islands? We can never know for a certainty. 

“Understanding the past,” Fussell wrote, “requires pretending that you don’t know the present. It requires feeling its own pressure on your pulses without any ex post facto illumination.” Historical judgments must be made in light not only of outcomes but also of options. Would we judge Harry Truman better today if he had eschewed his nuclear option in favor of 7,000 casualties a week; that is, if he had been more considerate of the lives of the enemy than of the lives of his men?

And so the bombs were dropped, and Japan was defeated. Totally defeated. 

Modern Japan is a testament to the benefits of total defeat, to stripping a culture prone to violence of its martial pretenses. 

Modern Hiroshima is a testament to human resilience in the face of catastrophe. It is a testament, too, to an America that understood moral certainty and even a thirst for revenge were not obstacles to magnanimity. In some ways they are the precondition for it.

For too long Hiroshima has been associated with a certain brand of leftist politics, a kind of insipid pacifism salted with an implied anti-Americanism. That’s a shame. There are lessons in this city’s history that could serve us today, when the U.S. military forbids the word victory, the U.S. president doesn’t believe in the exercise of American power, and the U.S. public is consumed with guilt for sins they did not commit.

Watch the lights come on at night in Hiroshima. Note the gentleness of its culture. And thank God for the atom bomb.


THE DEFINITION OF RELAPSE 

May 10, 2015

By Terence T. Gorski

Here are the key points of the definition of relapse from a wide variety of internet dictionaries :

To experience a relapse means:

1. The return of a disease or illness after partial or full recovery from i

2. To suffer a deterioration in a disease after a period of improvement.

3. To fall back into illness after convalescence or apparent recovery

4. To have a deterioration in health after a temporary improvement.

5. To fall or slide back into a former state of illness or dysfunction.

6. To regress after partial recovery from illness.

7. To slip back into bad habits or self-defeating ways of living; to backslide after a period of progress.

8. To fall back into a former state, especially after apparent improvement.

Origin of the word RELAPSE: the word relapse comes from the Middle English word “relapsen,” and from Latin meaning to to “forswear” (to promise or swear in advance that a change will be made.   A combination of the words: relb or relps-, came to mean to fall back gradually; or to slide back without being able to stop ones self (as could happen when trying to move up a slippery or muddy hill.

The word relapse results from a linguistic process called “nominalization” which means to describe a process (like loving someone or relating to someone) into a thing (like love or relationship).

It is important to do a “cross-walk” between 12-Step language (i.e. dry drunk leading to a wet drunk) and the language of cognitive behavioral therapy (the process of falling back into an illness, condition, or habitual problem behaviors that ends in the act of drinking, drugging, or acting out an addiction or habitual self-defeating behavior.

Using an “addictive release” provided by an addictive drug or behavior is often seen as the start of a “relapse episode,” a single discreet episode of addictive use.

A relapse episode is usually preceded by stressful events (triggers), that raise stress and activate old self-defeating and addictive ways of thinking, feeling, acting, and relating to other people.

Marlatt distinguished between a lapse (a short term and low consequence episode of addictive use) and a relapse (a return to a previous state of out-of-control addictive acting out usually accompanied by a return of secondary problems related to the addiction.

I believe in a Twelve-Step Plus Approach that matches the needs of individual recovering people with a strong recommendation to attend 12-Strep Programs and to participate in other treatment activities (professionally supervised) and recovery activities (peer supported and community based) that meet individual needs, promotes long-term recovery, and uses appropriate relapse prevention methods. There is no wrong door into recovery. There is no wrong treatment or recovery activity if it helps people to live a sober and responsible life filled with meaning and purpose.

Language Programs The Brain,
Focuses The Mind, and
Motivates Behavior.

Think clearly to get results in recovery!

~ Terry Gorski Blog: www.terrygorski.com

~ Terry Gorski, via www.facebook.com/GorskiRecovery

www.relapse.org

— PERMISSION IS GRANTED TO REPRODUCE OR REPOST —

 


Understanding the Terrorist Radicalization Process

February 18, 2015

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This is directly reposted from the Department of Defense (DOD) – Defense Human Resource Activity: http://www.dhra.mil/perserec/osg/terrorism/radicalization.htm I decided to post this blog on the radicalization process because the problem of terrorism appears to be growing and we all need accurate information about how people are recruited to a terrorist cause and the steps taken to motivate them to reject previous belief systems and to embrace new, radical, and often deadly beliefs, even when, on their face, they are absurd and irrational.

We must all understand the raprocess so we can recognize it early and stop the process before the radicalized individual does horrible damage.


The basic message we need to give is clear: the promises of radicalization are false and will lead to horrible inner pain and eventually death. ~ Terence T. Gorski 

Here is the DHRA Report: The Radicalization Process

There has been much research, writing, and theorizing about what causes or motivates people to become terrorists. The one consistent finding based on extensive empirical research is that there is no “terrorist profile” that can be used to predict who or even what type of person might become a terrorist.

Research clearly rules out the early theory that participation in terrorist actions is associated with some sort of personality or mental disorder, that only “crazy” people commit horrible acts of terrorism. Studies have shown that the prevalence of mental illness among incarcerated terrorists is as low or lower than in the general population. Although terrorists commit horrible acts, they rarely match the profile of the classic psychopath. They are also not necessarily from a lower socioeconomic status or less educated than their peers.1

Social scientists, law enforcement organizations, and intelligence agencies all agree that terrorists are the product of a dynamic process called radicalization.

Brian Jenkins, one of our country’s most senior terrorism scholars, defines radicalization as “the process of adopting for oneself or inculcating in others a commitment not only to a system of [radical] beliefs, but to their imposition on the rest of society.”2 The compulsion to use violence to impose their beliefs on the rest of society, or to punish others for their “evil” actions or beliefs is the final stage in the radicalization process.

The commitment to violence is what distinguishes a terrorist from other extremists. This process occurs over time and causes a fundamental change in how people view themselves and the world in which they live. The exact nature of this process is still poorly understood. Researchers have developed a number of different theories and conceptual models that seek to explain the process by which an individual becomes radicalized, but these theories have not been empirically tested.

Most see three to five stages from beginning to end of the process, from initial exposure through indoctrination, training, and then violent action. However, different researchers conceptualize these stages differently and use different terminology to identify or explain them.

There is broad agreement, however, that many people who begin this process do not pass through all the stages and become terrorists. Many people who become extremists stop short of the violence that is typical of militant jihadists.

Our focus here is on violent jihadism, and specifically on several aspects of the radicalization process about which there seems to be some consensus. While the researchers have not identified causes of terrorism, they have identified three vulnerabilities that may provide sources of motivation or make one more likely to endorse violence. These vulnerabilities are:

1. Perceived Injustice or Humiliation: Violent attack may be perceived as an appropriate remedy for injustice or humiliation.

2. Need for Identity: An individual’s search for identity may draw him or her to extremist or terrorist organizations in a variety of ways. The individual may be searching for a purpose or goal in life that defines the actions required to achieve that goal. A violent act may be seen as a way to succeed at something that makes a difference. The absolutist, “black and white” nature of most extremist ideologies is often attractive to those who feel overwhelmed by the complexity and stress of navigating a complicated world. Without struggling to define oneself or discern personal meaning, an individual may choose to define his or her identity simply through identification with a cause or membership in a group.

3. Need for Belonging: Many prospective terrorists find in a radical extremist group not only a sense of meaning, but also a sense of belonging, connectedness, and affiliation. One researcher argues that “for the individuals who become active terrorists, the initial attraction is often to the group, or community of believers, rather than to an abstract ideology or to violence.” 3

There is also some consensus on two factors that facilitated the radicalization process.. These are:

1. Spiritual Mentor: About 20% of the homegrown terrorists examined in one study had a spiritual mentor, a more experienced Muslim who gave specific instructions and direction during the radicalization process. Such a mentor might be associated with a mosque or be accessed via the Internet. The mentor keeps the radicalization process on track. About a quarter of the terrorists in one study had a perceived religious authority who provided specific theological approval for their violent activity. 4

2. Internet: The increased radicalization of American Muslims is driven in part by a wave of English-language websites designed to promote the militant jihadist doctrine. These websites are not run or directed by al-Qaida, but they provide a powerful tool for recruiting sympathizers to its cause of jihad, or holy war against the United States, according to experts who track this activity. Jihadist websites and chat rooms provide indoctrination and training to aspiring jihadists and enable them to establish contact with like-minded individuals in the United States or with terrorist groups abroad. “The number of [active] English-language sites sympathetic to al-Qaida has risen from about 30 seven years ago to more than 200 recently,” according to the head of a Saudi government program that works to combat militant Islamic websites.5

Terrorism is not random violence for its own sake. It is violence guided by an ideology that provides the rules for one’s behavior. “Ideology is often defined as a common and broadly agreed upon set of rules to which an individual subscribes, and which help to regulate and determine behavior.”6 The rules often link behaviors to anticipated long-term positive outcomes and rewards. This is the basis for the suicide attacks that are characteristic of violent jihad. By fulfilling one’s duty to God by killing infidels, one allegedly gains access to paradise.

The ideology that supports militant jihad is very different in its substance from other forms of extremism or terrorism such as white supremacy groups or eco-terrorism, but they all have four features in common. All terrorist movements are: 5

1. Polarized: They have an “us vs. them” mindset.

2. Absolutist: The beliefs are regarded as truth in the absolute sense, sometimes supported by sacred authority. This squelches questioning, critical thinking, and dissent. It also adds moral authority to framing us vs. them as a competition between good and bad (or evil).

3. Threat-Oriented: External threat causes in-groups to cohere. Good leaders know this intuitively. They persistently remind adherents that the “us” is at risk from “them.” Because the “us” is seen as being good and right in the absolute sense, this works not only to promote internal cohesion but also opposition to all nonbelievers.

4. Hateful: Hate energizes violent action. It allows principled opposition to impel direct action. It also facilitates various mechanisms for moral disengagement, or dehumanization, which erode the normal social and psychological barriers to engaging in violence. This is an important point, as it is the active support for violence that distinguishes the simple extremist from the terrorist.

The section on The Militant Jihadist Terrorism Threat describes the threat. One empirical study of 117 homegrown jihadist terrorists in America and the United Kingdom has identified the following observable manifestations of the radicalization process. This may be useful for identifying how far along individuals are in the radicalization process. 4

At an early stage, one comes to trust only the interpretations of an ideologically rigid set of religious authorities. These role models and scholars one looks to as guides have a significant impact on how others interpret what their faith demands of them.

Also at an early stage, one adopts a legalistic interpretation of the Muslim faith. There are rules that must be followed, not just for practice of the faith, but also for virtually every aspect of one’s daily life. For example, playing music, taking photographs, or women laughing in the street may be considered sinful.

At the final stage of radicalization, these rules include an obligation for all believers to undertake violence against infidels in order to advance the faith.

As they radicalize, Muslims come to perceive a fundamental conflict between Islam and the West. The idea of loyalty becomes critical: they have obligations to Islam alone and cannot have any kind of duty or loyalty to a non-Muslim state. Even participation in the democratic process in one’s own country violates religious principles that the rules are made by Allah, not by man.

This rigid interpretation of Islam leads to a low tolerance for any alternative interpretations or practices. After changing one’s own beliefs and practices, one feels compelled to impose the newly found beliefs on other family members and close friends. Any deviation by others from this rigid interpretation is seen as a personal affront. This is usually expressed by telling others that they are not good Muslims, which can sometimes lead to violence. It causes some individuals to separate themselves from and come to hate other Muslims who previously had been an important part of their lives.

In the latter stages, radicalization usually includes political as well as religious beliefs. Radicals believe the Western powers have conspired against Islam to subjugate it politically and corrupt it morally. They want to restore the caliphate that once united the Muslim world and ruled according to Allah’s dictates.

Remember that in the United States, expression of radical or extremist views is not illegal. It is illegal only when it reaches an advanced stage of supporting or engaging in an act of violence or other illegal behavior. For an individual who holds a U.S. Government security clearance or some other position of public trust, however, a stricter standard of allegiance to the United States applies. Advocacy of militant jihadist views as described in The Militant Jihadist Terrorism Threat is clear evidence of an absence of loyalty to the United States and is grounds for denial or revocation of a security clearance or access to other sensitive information or installations.

References
1. Randy Borum, “Understanding Terrorist Psychology,” in Andrew Silke, ed. The Psychology of Counter-Terrorism. Oxon, UK: Routledge, 2010.
2. Brian Michael Jenkins, “Outside Experts View,” preface to Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Laura Grossman, Homegrown Terrorists in the U.S. and U.K.: An Empirical Examination of the Radicalization Process. Washington, DC: FDD’s Center for Terrorism Research, 2009.
3. Martha Crenshaw, “The Subjective Reality of the Terrorist: Ideological and Psychological Factors in Terrorism,” in Robert O. Slater & Michael Stohl, eds., Current Perspectives in International Terrorism. Hampshire, UK: Macmillan, 1988, p. 59.
4. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross & Laura Grossman, Homegrown Terrorists in the U.S. and U.K.: An Empirical Examination of the Radicalization Process. Washington, DC: FDD’s Center for Terrorism Research, 2009.
5. Randy Borum, ibid., p. 9.
6. Randy Borum, ibid., pp. 10-11.
7. Donna Abu-Nasr & Lee Keath, “200 Web sites spread al-Qaida’s message in English, The Washington Post, November 20, 2009.


God and the Sunrise

February 15, 2015

image

By Terence T. Gorski, Author

Once, in the early morning just before sunrise, I was standing with a student waiting for the sun to come up. I was teaching a class on relapse prevention at a conference center in Arizona. I got up early to watch the sunrise. A young man, one of my students, walked up next to me. We both gazed toward the east waiting for the sun to come up

“Do you believe in God?”  the student suddenly asked.

The question surprised me. Before I could answer,  the first rays of the sunrise broke over the eastern horizon – pushing away the darkness of night and blanketing the sand-colored rock with an incredible mist of swirling colors.

I looked at the young man and for a moment. Then I turned back to watch the brilliantly colored rays role gently role toward us. They seemed, at first, to be boiling above the hot desert sand. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the multicolored mist turned into a blazing ball of silver and gold. it was so bright we had to squint our eyes and look away.

“Well – Do you believe in God?” The boy asked again. I had forgotten he had asked the question. His voice was so insistent and his face was so serious that I knew I had to answer

“Yes,” I Said. “I believe in God. There is certainly someone or something bigger and more powerful than me – Someone who capable making much better sunrises than I ever could. I believe in God very strongly when I watch his powerful works unfold all around me.” The boy seemed satisfied with my answer.

We gave one last glance at the rising sun. We turned and walked back into the conference room. Even though the rising sun was incredibly beautiful, there was no time to waste. We were learning about how to help addicts and their families recovery. As we settled in and I began the class, I could feel the presence of God in the room and I realized that the work we were doing in the classroom was just as powerful and awe-inspiring as the sunrise we had just experienced

The Books of Terence T. Gorski


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