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Is motivation relevant?

Reader comment on item: Defending and Advancing Freedom

Submitted by YochevedMiriam Russo (Israel), Nov 3, 2005 at 00:24

B"H

You discuss the differences between problems/solutions as applied to radical groups, as compared to regions. Makes perfect sense.

But is there another distinction, too? Is motivation relevant, in any sense?

Maybe it's the old 'Atila and the Witch Doctor' comparison -- Historically, some tyrants fought for dominion because they wanted control over land and peoples for -- presumably -- the power and/or wealth it gave them. Hitler being the classic example.

But others operated on the 'my-god-says-I-have-to-kill-you' theory. Religious wars, and the Crusades being the most obvious example -- whether the killing was out of love, to save the souls of the infidels, or out of hatred for those who wouldn't accept the doctrine, whatever it was.

Today, once again, the problems of the world seem -- I don't know -- to be more caused by people whose motivation is the Witch Doctor -- they are divinely commanded to conquer, to establish and secure their place in some other world.

It might seem that their fanaticism might be more deeply rooted than that of someone who merely wishes to conquer for wealth and power in this world. There, it would seem, an element of rationality might eventually intrude: if fighting becomes painful enough, the tyrant will stop, and be satisfied with what he has.

Not so in divine wars -- there, there might be no rationality involved. The one who kills for a better 'life' after he's dead isn't going to be persuaded by pain in this world.

Does motivation matter? Or is a bomb just a bomb?
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