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  1. How and why Islamic ideology is the fuel behind ISIS. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roy-abbas/think-isis-are-not-islami_b_8608048.html
  2. A while ago I was criticizing the notion that the elderly ought be thought of as wise because of their decrepitude. I've been considering the other age demographics and I think the notions surrounding children are just as rife with misrepresentations and fantasies as those hovering around their grandparents. I'll admit to some apprehension here, knowing that a lot of people here are probably parents, and how defensive parents can be where their offspring are concerned. I've noticed that a lot of parents are totally delusional about the extent of their childrens' intelligence or ability. A lot of simpering mothers have boasted to me about the fact that their sprog is capable of buttoning his own overalls at the age of 12 months, and that this is clearly the rudiment of some embryonic genius which will probably manifest itself in later years as a cure for cancer. I can't be the only one who is totally unimpressed and unmoved by this, can I? If a child was writing symphonies aged five like Beethoven was then I'd be the first to concede their potential, but something as innocuous as tying one's shoelaces, irrespective of age, is never impressive and shouldn't elicit such praise. Children also receive ovation for the potency of their imaginations, which has always been confusing. When George R.R Martin or Hillary Mantel are weaving together intricate and original universes full of complex political intrigue and subtly rendered characters, I don't see why a slobbering juvenile receives such adulation for drawing a lion in rollerskates, as though such a concept would be inconceivable to anyone else. There’s also the idea that children are pure and innocent, little angels and little darlings as yet unschooled in the ruthlessness of the world. It's strange to think that people who were once children themselves can entertain such saccharine naivety. The primary school playground operates under a system of politics similar to the one prevalent in high-school corridors, albeit more simplified. One might even call it more animalstic/unevolved. All the features of the latter find an expression in the former, the exclusive cliques, the ostracized outcasts sitting alone in some well-shadowed spot, violence, bullying, et cetera. Children simply are not more attuned to morality. Our ideas of right and wrong are accretions from the societies we inhabit, from the figures whom we consider to be authorities. A child will never stop stealing biscuits if nobody tells them that it is wrong. Children seem to me to be far more susceptible to wrongdoing because societal ethics haven't really had enough time to make an impression upon them. I'd be interested to hear the sangat's thoughts on the subject.
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