ih  "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."    -Mahatma Gandhi
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From Hitler and his Nazi's carrying out the infamous holocaust of European Jews, to Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization attacking the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, there exists a unifying ideological thread that links the vast majority of extremist movements that have surfaced on the earth in modern history.

Working with the examples of Bin Laden and David Koresh, we examine how the ideology of totalism has been present in the background of every documented incidence of terroristic violence. There are eight variables of totalism - which largely center around milieu control, or a near complete lack of civil liberties - are defined - that make it possible for such sects to thrive. In order for us to prevent future acts of terrorism, we must not only wage a military campaign against terrorists and the nations that harbor them, but also attack the psychological factors that act to form the basis of such organizations.

If we are going to begin changing the world for the better, we must first start with ourselves. We must learn to lead by example. After all, if the United States is truly looking to eradicate terrorism, perhaps it should direct its attention to within its borders, or more specifically, to within the confines of its government. Examples of international terrorism perpetrated by the United States include our using violence in an attempt to influence the policy of the Nicaraguan government in 1986, and the 1998 bombing of the Al-Shifa plant in Sudan. Such actions only provide madmen like Bin Laden with a means of defending their irrational hatred of America, and aid extremist movements in garnering more support and sympathy for their causes. Rather than aiming its war against Osama Bin Laden, America should target itself, and scrutinize its own actions. Only by altering our status as the world's leading terrorist state can America truly seek to eradicate terrorism.

Terrorism and Religious Extremism
: An examination of the psychological factors that create a terroristic mind set, and the social conditions that cause these factors to develop.

Totalism - The Terrorists Mindset: A basic definition of totalism, and a description of the conditions that lead to the development of that ideology.

The Psychological Development of David Koresh: A closer look at the development of David Koresh, which considers how his childhood set the stage for his eventual rise and fall as the leader of the Branch Davidians.

Osama Bin Laden: The Anatomy of a Mass Terrorist: Bin Laden's early life, and the similarities that exist between his psychological development and the development of David Koresh.

The Making of Totalism: Scholar Robert Lifton defined eight major variables that form the basis of the ideology known as totalism. These variables, which center largely around Milieu control and a complete lack of civil liberties, have been present in almost every recorded instance of totalistic violence in modern history.

Totalism and the Taliban: Lifton's variables as applied to the Taliban.

The Prevention of Terrorism - Part One: In order to prevent terrorism, we will need not only to wage a military campaign, but also to attack the psychological principles upon which terrorist sects are built.

The Prevention of Terrorism - Part Two: We should only support a government that allows for freedom of thought and statement. Furthermore, we must make it clear that we are attacking only those who attacked us. We are not waging a holy war against the Islamic religion.

The War Against Terrorism and the American Double Standard: Examples of American terrorism in Nicaragua and the Sudan would suggest that if the United States is truly looking to eradicate terrorism, perhaps it should direct its attention to within its borders, or more specifically, to within the confines of its own government.

The Unfinished Fight for Freedom: One of the best ways to influence people in other countries is by being a good role model. But in order to make the world a better place, we'll have to start with ourselves. We can begin by reforming those institutions in our society that inhibit healthy mental and emotional development, and/or rob people of their autonomy.

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