Scott Atran is one of those smart and capable people who have many good ideas, but are dead sure they have ONLY good ideas. This one, from his prediction (likely correct) that the worst is yet to come in Europe, is the weirdest yet:
The best hope we have to counter the lure of ISIS and its ilk in the long run will come from a global push for community-based initiatives led by trained young activists who are equipped to offer an alternative expression of idealism founded on adventurous, festive and glorious forms of “peace-building” as enticing as war.
What does that even mean? It is one of those brilliant things that you can always say, and you will never be wrong because it is not happening, so the onus of failure is on the human race for not making it happen.
This actually applies to his famous suicide-bomber theories as well. They are just enough removed from the actual conflicts and counter-measures being taken or capable of being taken to make them pretty much useless. There is information in his research, but there are no actionable recommendations. Those have to come from someone else who can read that information and maintain just enough detachment to be able to say: “yes, this part seems true, and even though it is padded around with BS, I think I can come up with something actually useful here”
I am not that detached wise warrior saint. But there must be one out there. I hope 🙂
Meanwhile, I do have some background reading here 🙂