How Globalization Spurs Terrorism: The Lopsided Benefits of "One World" and Why That Fuels Violence

By Fathali M. Moghaddam | Go to book overview

PART THREE
The New Global
American Dilemma
In the preceding chapters, the main argument I have presented is that terrorism can be best understood from a cultural evolutionary perspective, with the following four points being central to this perspective.
1. In the course of evolution, involving animals, plants, as well as humans, there develop competition between life forms seeking scarce resources that enhance their chances of survival.
2. In conditions where competing life forms experience sudden contact and where one or both groups have low preadaptiveness, catastrophic evolution can result. Consequently, one or both groups can experience decline and even extinction.
3. Groups experiencing sudden contact react through a wide variety of defensive strategies to enhance their survival chances. The defense mechanisms adopted can vary considerably in characteristics (e.g., how aggressive or peaceful a tactic is) and also in outcomes (i.e., with respect to how effective and adaptive a tactic actually proves to be).
4. Among the many defensive strategies adopted by human groups perceiving serious external threat are radicalization and terrorism.

On the basis of the perspective outlined above, terrorism can be interpreted as an extreme evolutionary-developed reaction to out-group threat, and the perceived possibility of in-group annihilation. Of course, it would be a gross misinterpretation to view this analysis as in any way a support for or endorsement of terrorism.1 This would be like endorsing rape as a strategy for passing on one’s genes.

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