Economists routinely talk about how this or that policy — on trade, taxes, whatever — creates “winners and losers.”
A big part of Donald Trump’s winning appeal in the 2016 election was that Americans were on the losing end of trade policy. Trump took it further, arguing that we don’t win wars or anything else anymore. Elect me, he promised, and you’ll grow tired of all the winning.
The logical and semantic inference of this rhetoric is that Americans, Trump voters, or the American military are losers.
.. “loser” is one of Trump’s favorite insults.
.. a lot of the people attracted to Islamic extremism are losers in all the meanings of the word.
- .. Omar Mateen, the avowed disciple of ISIS who killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, was a screw-up and school bully who dreamed of becoming a police officer but ended up a very disgruntled security guard instead.
- The Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, a college dropout, appears to have been a misfit.
.. Islamic terrorist organizations are hardly the only groups to recruit from the ranks of loserdom. Street gangs, neo-Nazis, and countless Communist fronts have been seducing resentful oddballs, outcasts, and misanthropes. It simply makes sense that such people would be attracted to such groups. Radical causes provide a sense of meaning, belonging, and importance to people who lack such things in their daily lives.
.. Osama bin Laden was the scion of a wealthy and prominent family. Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s successor as the head of al-Qaeda, was from a successful Egyptian family of doctors and was himself a surgeon. They chose to become terrorists for ideological reasons. Subscribing to a doctrine first explicated by Sayyid Qutb, an Islamist intellectual, they believed that the true faith was losing the battle with the forces of modernity and the West.