The Islamist Terrorist as Psychopath

There are basic interrelated questions that any student of human history must ask. Why is human history filled with so much evil, and why do good people so often do nothing in the face of evil?

Jamie Glazov’s new book, Jihadist Psychopath: How He Is Charming, Seducing, and Devouring Us, addresses that troubling question.

The answer that he comes up with in Jihadist Psychopath is a collusion that is not born only of simple radicalism, but of the ways in which Islamic political movements play on our own emotional weaknesses.

Jihadist Psychopath is a journey into the dark heart of the Western world using the metaphor of the interplay between the psychopath and his victims. That metaphor pervades Glazov’s text, structuring his understanding of the growing terror death toll and the accompanying sympathy for the terrorists.

Glazov, who has a BA in Political Science and a PhD in History, had already made a study of Islamic terrorists. To prepare for the writing of Jihadist Psychopath, he also made a study of the most fascinating and deadliest element in the criminal life of societies: the psychopath. Human societies are bound together by empathy. Multiculturalism and diversity stretch and expand our sense of empathy to its limits. The psychopath plays on our sense of empathy despite lacking any empathy of his or her own.

That paradox makes the psychopath extremely curious and deadly. Like a cuckoo bird, the psychopath has evolved to exploit a biological loophole, empathy, meant to bind a species together around shared interests, without the biological commitment to those interests, creating a predator that is facile and adept, as Glazov’s title puts it, at “charming, seducing and devouring us”.

The uses and abuses of empathy by the psychopath and the Islamic terrorist are a major focus of Jihadist Psychopath. Islamic terrorists take advantage of the empathy bonds that multicultural societies use to bind diverse populations together into a single functional entity whose members cooperate and even sacrifice for the benefit of the group, without ever sharing in that sense of mutual responsibility.

Like psychopaths, Glazov argues, Islamic terrorists create the illusion of a mutual relationship while viciously exploiting and eventually destroying their victims by degrees. These victims can be the individuals, the women who marry Islamic terrorists only to be used by them to obtain legal status or to birth new Jihadists, but they are the microcosm of our larger society which is also being charmed, seduced, and destroyed by an ideology that turns our own values and our sense of self against us.

“Once he succeeds in lodging his hooks into his target’s body, he inflicts the key wound, convincing him that he (the victim) is the actual offender and guilty party, and that the psychopath is the actual victim,” Glazov writes.

The exchange of roles between perpetrator and victim is crucial to the predation of weaker societies on stronger societies. As predatory plants mimic the appearance of the prey of their victims, the Jihadist appears to resemble a victim of Western civilization, of colonialism, capitalism, and imperialism, turning guilt and grief into the aphrodisiac of his monstrous appetite, before entrapping his civilizational victim.

Victimhood is the protective coloration of the psychopathic predator, both in his familiar role as the demon haunting a thousand crime stories, thrillers, and action movies, and the less familiar guise of CAIR, ISNA, and countless other Muslim Brotherhood front groups who defend the predation of terrorists by reinventing them as the victims of the very people whom they are killing and destroying.

And yes, the victims are neither truly helpless nor innocent. As the con artist exploits greed, the psychopath’s swollen sense of self-regard feeds upon the narcissism of his victims.

As Glazov notes in Jihadist Psychopath, “It is crucial to emphasize that many victims in the con game possess a tremendous narcissism, since in needing to believe that they are part of the script and can actually change it, they incubate a pathological and self-destructive ego.”

The boundless narcissism of the Left, which convinces its true believers that their beverage choices and their menu options can save or destroy the planet, that even their pettiest actions and emotional states are deeply meaningful signifiers of great and terrible changes in the world, makes it absurdly easy for the Islamist psychopath, who offers the illusion of saving them and himself, to hook them on his line.

The Left hungers for victims to justify its inflated sense of self-importance and its greed for power. Islamists exploit their messianic delusions by playing the victims in need of rescuing. The Islamist psychopath validates the twisted psychology of his radical victims only to destroy his rescuers.

This same psychodrama has played out in Iran, in Egypt, in the United Kingdom, and the United States. When the alliances unravel, as they finally must, the socialist utopia instead becomes the caliphate.

Jihadist Psychopath is an invaluable resource for understanding and coming to grips with the human drama behind the headlines and the radical emotions behind the radical march of political events. It gets at the unacknowledged truth behind the political psychodramas of the Left, the narcissistic notion that even the most destructive behaviors can feel good because they make us feel good about who we are.

“Who we are” was the theme of  a number of Obama speeches. It is no coincidence that the politician who most definitively straddled the cultural divide between Islam and the Left, while uniting them politically in their mutual hatred of the United States of America, could never get enough of telling us who we are.

The core of Jihadist Psychopath lies in the conflict of identities, the slow sonorous clash of civilizations between a West that is losing its sense of self and an East that is regaining it, and between former conquerors losing their religion and renewed conquerors regaining it, between monsters and victims.

“Islamic supremacism crushes all individuality within itself. Its members cannot have their own identity or beliefs, nor can they explore or nurture their own happiness or talents,” Jamie Glazov writes.

And those same Islamic supremacists use their conviction in the inferiority of the individual to destroy the identities of their victims, temporarily adopting their borrowed identities as camouflage, mirroring their victims, gaining their confidence, abusing them, destroying their sense of self, and killing them.

Jihadist Psychopath is a compelling look at the process by which the West is losing its life and its soul.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.