Huir de la libertad

LONDRES – Una de las situaciones más escalofriantes del surgimiento del Estado Islámico es que tantos ciudadanos de países occidentales se hayan unido a las tropas del grupo para convertirse en terroristas suicidas y decapitar rehenes. ¿Por qué cientos de musulmanes, muchos de ellos cultos y provenientes de la clase media abandonan las cómodas democracias occidentales para unirse a un movimiento brutalmente primitivo? ¿Qué torna a jóvenes hombres y mujeres susceptibles al mensaje islámico extremista?

Mientras observaba el surgimiento de los nazis en la década de 1930, Sigmund Freud describió el peligroso atractivo de los líderes autoritarios y el satisfactorio autobombo que experimentaban sus seguidores cuando subsumían sus personalidades a una ideología o un grupo. Para esos acólitos, la libertad es una situación psicológicamente onerosa. Según una famosa afirmación de uno de los discípulos de Freud, Erich Fromm, la necesidad de escapar de las exigencias del libre albedrío –adoptando rígidas creencias o normas de conformidad– puede resultar especialmente atractiva para quienes no han desarrollado completamente un fuerte sentido de identidad autónoma o la capacidad de pensar por sí mismos.

Las democracias contemporáneas de las cuales escapan los yihadistas occidentales ofrecen un grado de libertad sin precedentes. Es difícil concebir una forma de comunidad política que requiera tan poca lealtad de sus miembros, proponga tan pocas normas compartidas e imponga tan pocas pautas de comportamiento. En casi todos los aspectos de nuestras vidas –la moralidad, los modales, la sexualidad, la estructura familiar, las carreras y las creencias religiosas– los occidentales básicamente podemos hacer lo que nos plazca.

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