People and their groups

About ISIS and Joyce Carol Oates and humanity and whether or not there’s anything good to say about groups like ISIS or the people who join ISIS…

Here’s my view. I don’t think there is anything good to say about ISIS as a group. Its purpose and actions are rooted in a theocratic loathing of human beings. Its prxis is about what you would expect from such a loathing.

But the┬ápeople who make up ISIS? That’s a very different question. Some may be thoroughly horrible yet still redeemable, some may be thoroughly horrible full stop, some may be more deluded than horrible. I don’t know. There are a lot of such people, and it’s all but certain that they vary along that continuum.

But Oates’s question was about ISIS the group. ISIS the group doesn’t resemble, say, the Catholic church, which includes some wonderful people doing wonderful work, and which also includes people doing more or less useful, compassionate, etc work but with churchy strings attached, and people doing good work who also do terrible things. It’s a mixed bag. ISIS not so much. Hizbollah does some useful work along with other kinds, but ISIS, as far as I’ve ever heard, doesn’t. It conquers people and kills all the ones it doesn’t enslave. It’s not sweet.

People who join ISIS and help with its projects may be redeemable but even if they are…they have a heavy load to bear for the rest of their lives. People can change, people are seldom all one thing, but it seems safe to say that belonging to ISIS is not good for the character.

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