January 10, 2007

The radical loser

Hans Magnus Enzensberger—one of modern Germany's most interesting and celebrated writers—looks at the kind of ideological trigger required to ignite the “radical loser”—whether amok killer, murderer or terrorist—and make him explode. In an article which originally appeared in German in Der Spiegel on November 7, 2005 and now available in English translation.

The loser may accept his fate and resign himself; the victim may demand satisfaction; the defeated may begin preparing for the next round. But the radical loser isolates himself, becomes invisible, guards his delusion, saves his energy, and waits for his hour to come.
[…]

The project of the radical loser, as currently seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, consists of organizing the suicide of an entire civilisation. But the likelihood of their succeeding in an unlimited generalization of their death cult is negligible. Their attacks represent a permanent background risk, like ordinary everyday deaths by accident on the streets, to which we have become accustomed.

In a global society that constantly produces new losers, this is
something we will have to live with.
[Read the rest]


[This post was first published at windrosehotel.splinder.com on December 12, 2005]



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