Mix of youthful idealism, tech-savvy culture could make Millennials prime target for terrorist recruitment

Millennial Terrorists

Millennials are many things, most of them innocuous and slightly detached, befitting a generation born into a world of smartphones and delayed adulthood. But they display a relatively vanilla cultural generational shift, certainly not as shocking as the counter cultural revolution of the late 60s-early 70s, to name a recent example. Harmless. Or are they?

Once they walked out, Dagan announced, with utmost poise, “It’s funny, because I am for a Palestinian state.”

He proceeded to speak at length about the roots of Islamic fundamentalism, the history of Islam, and the creation of ISIS—its philosophy, structure, economics, and future. His talk was utterly uncontroversial. The protestors, most of whom were graduate students, were ill-informed about their target. Dagan did not come to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nor does he deny the need for a Palestinian state. And yet, because he served his country as a soldier and an intelligence officer, he was branded an enemy.

It’s not unusual, of course, for young people to get wrapped up in the chatter they hear most often, even if — as is the case in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict — much of what they hear barely scratches the complicated surface of the issue. As The Federalist piece puts it:

Fueled by an ideology where Israel is 100 percent guilty and Palestine is 100 percent blameless, these students failed to see the shades of gray. They protested a man whom they agreed with more than they would like to admit, and who was not there to discuss the topic they were so anxious to weigh in on.

So, the naive will be naive. But in the case of millennials, there’s something else happening that should give pause. They are the targets of an aggressive and violent strain of humanity that seeks their technological skill (among other things).They are potential hacktivists for some pretty dangerous people that hope to do pretty destructive things.

Reaching out to hackers with equipment and expertise could enable those groups to transmit viruses or worms to take over computers and direct them to send spam, carry out identity-theft or take down Web sites.

Some officials contend that extremists don’t have to take down a critical network or system to have an impact. Even the ability to penetrate and deface a well-trafficked Web site could shake public confidence in the government.

While the link above doesn’t mention millennials explicitly, it’s not hard to make that leap of logic when you consider that millennials are, by default, more technologically savvy than previous generations. And if you need a survey rather than simple commons sense and a pair of eyes to prove it, that exists.

Couple this with a tendency for young people to parrot easy tropes they hear their friends throw around — and one of those, as mentioned above, borders on what used to be known as “hate speech” — and there is a potentially serious problem.


Perhaps the oddest part of all this is that millennials are also reportedly more libertarian than concurrent generations with whom they share air. Odd because a look at the official Libertarian Party platform and it’s easy to see some radical divergence with what happened at the University in The Federalist piece. From the Libertarian Party platform preamble:

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.

The good news here is that it should be an easy case to make that signing up with hate groups that seek to silence those who would point out the shades of gray is counterintuitive to the liberty millennials profess they admire. Should be.

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