Essay about people who are driven by wanting to be a certain kind of person rather than real-world political goals. This is about mostly about Islamist terrorists, but includes some other people as well. For example, there are people who do destructive actions at demonstrations because they want to think of themselves as people who do dramatic resistance, and the Italian invasion of Ethopia during WW2.
This is in contrast with practical politics-- trying to achieve practical goals by plausible means.
The idea of fantasy ideology makes excellent sense to me-- I'm inclined to think that Islamist terrorism is mostly a Muslim vs. Muslim fight, with attacks on the west almost being collateral damage.
Something that's not as narcisstic but still in the same range is having a primary goal of making the other side angry.
This fits in with my idea that it doesn't make sense to describe terrorists as cowards, though I admit I've been seeing less of that in recent years. It might make sense to hammer on their lack of empathy, which I haven't seen enough of. There's a lot of emphasis on the bad effects of what they do, but less than I'd like to see of "If you're considering terrorism, you, yes, you personally, need to wake up to what you're considering doing to people." I'm not saying that this is the whole solution, just something that might help. There are people who pull back from terrorism.
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