Further off-the-wall thought
but this time serious: suppose that young people have a fledgling system of ethics; that all develop a philosophy; that the more intelligent are more likely to develop a more insightful system; that only a minority, a rounding error of possibly neurologically-damaged people develop lifelong ‘criminal’ ethics - say ‘my own gain is all that matters’ – but that, in youth, there is a marked tendency to selfish motivation, in natural progression from the infant that doesn’t credit others with individuality through to the well-rounded adult capable of self-sacrifice.
Thus the intelligent teenager is capable of audacious thinking and actions, along with zealous idealism, but naive, unrestrained by the wisdom of long experience. That the intelligent young adult will be disproportionately prone to criminality borne of the innate rebelliousness of raging hormones and the simplistic assuredness of all morality being reducible to ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘black’ and ‘white’, ‘1’ and ‘0’.
That this tendency is what is reinforced by maladjusted adults – for example, in recruiting to this, that or the other extremist organization. And that this is all amply illustrated by older, wiser heads that decry their badly-misspent youth – those that live long enough.
I know that, had I the education, had I, as a teenager, known of how the NSA/GCHQ/Five Eyes would spy on me and everyone else (had they the ability at the time), I’d likely have used my talents for highly-criminal purposes. I almost did anyway.
Essentially, teenagers and young adults are the resource that maintains organised crime and extremism. Some, of lower intellect, are more overtly pawns, influenced by whoever gets to them first: which might be who they associate with when ‘out on the town’, or, equally, Government rhetoric and/or the local religious institution; so in the lesser brains there’ll be a steady supply of ‘soldiers’, whether in the Mafiosi sense, the ‘Onward Christian’/ISIS sense, or the literal, Armed Forces sense; and these are the majority, and whom the State and the Church actively seek to sway. But the arguments with which they do so turn off the more-intelligent. To the switched-on teenager their rhetoric ‘proves’ State and Church fools and liars; and the fact they spy on them is the icing on the cake.
Meanwhile, criminal organisations are the ones who actively encourage the disaffected. When you don’t have decades of experience to, let us say, understand that they’re all liars and cheats, that they’ll all sell you down the river at the end, that they’re all in it for themselves, it isn’t really a difficult choice, when the State and the Church treat you as a matter of policy as little better than a simpleton, palpably lie to you, and are ‘fun’ only if what you like doing is drilling and being shouted at. Then you meet people who treat you with respect, celebrate your cleverness and enthusiastically encourage you to use it. Give you primo drugs.
This has always been the case – with the exception of modern times being that what I as a teenager imagined in my paranoid fantasies has turned out to be true. It is, I suppose you could say, logistically necessary that State, Church, and Organised Crime recruitment overwhelmingly target those of average intellect; but all require exceptional minds to pass leadership onto and only Organised Crime also cultivates those (who aren’t already in the fold). Witness the persistent failure to sufficiently reward the ‘backroom boys and girls’. This is because the morality of our 'leaders' is a pose; not necessarily understood even by them, for self-knowledge is a rarity, but because the best way to fake sincerity is to suppress the self-knowledge that would expose it and make the portayal hollow.
Extreme dystopian scenarios, to my mind, include not just being spied on as a matter of course by my own side, but extraordinary rendition, waterboarding, Guantanamo Bay, dodgy dossiers, world leaders praying while instigating war, Arms for Hostages. Arms Fairs. MK Ultra. Not to mention what I knew at the time but, being just a kid, couldn’t appreciate the enormity of, such as Viet Nam and Watergate.
Mostly what I knew back then was my country would destroy my future for smoking a joint, which I did in the absolute certainty that the ‘War on Drugs’ was bullshit and which, therefore, strongly disposed me to also try cocaine, among others. This, of course, continues unabated in Britain (and seems to be ramping back up, post-Brexit).
There is nothing new in State/Church rhetoric.
The whole lot of them can fuck off.