Eric Voegelin On Terrorism

Another “Pungent Observation” of Eric Voegelin, this one “On the Pathology of Terrorism”:

A further reason for my hatred of . . . ideologies is quite a primitive one. I have an aversion to killing people for the fun of it. What the fun is, I did not quite understand at the time, but in the intervening years the ample exploration of revolutionary consciousness has cast some light on this matter.
The fun consists in gaining a pseudo-identity through asserting one’s power, optimally by killing somebody—a pseudo-identity that serves as a substitute for the human self that has been lost. . . . A good example of the type of self that has to kill other people in order to regain in an Ersatzform what it has lost is the famous Saint-Juste, who says that Brutus either has to kill other people or kill himself.
. . . . I have no sympathy whatsoever with such characters and have never hesitated to characterize them as “murderous swine.”

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