Totalism and the Taliban

Steven Barrie-Anthony

Lifton’s variables lend themselves to understanding the current situation with the Taliban.  It should be noted that in this case, the charismatic leader Bin Laden provides the doctrine (that is, his own extremist reading of the Qur’an).
There exists milieu control, themedia is controlled by the state and there is a noted absence of civil liberties.
Mystical manipulation can be seen in Bin Laden’s bastardization of the Qur’an to provide impetus for the ideology.There is a lack of privacy in the Taliban-controlled areas much like thelack of privacy in Nazi Germany – this cult of confession dictates that you inform on any faltering in your posture of belief.
Bin Laden’s doctrine isconsidered the sacred science in that it is objectively correct, persuasive to any « reasonable person »; America and the west is considered irrational (to say the least) because we differ in our interpretation of the world. The demand for purity is clear in that you are either for Bin Laden’s interpretation of God, or against God.
Any differing interpretations of the Qur’an are considered blasphemous to Bin Laden et al, thus there exists doctrine over person.Perhaps most importantly, the terrorist actions perpetrated by BinLaden demonstrate a clear tendency towards the dispensing of existence.  Anybody who disagrees with his ideology deserves the death sentence, and he (and his followers) can dispense that penalty without feeling any guilt, because the doctrine says you’re obligated to do so.