In the aftermath of the terror attacks last week have ensued about radicalization. The question of how someone was radicalized and what can be done to prevent it from happening to other people in the future
The problem with this is that radicalization is not something that happens to someone. It is something in which an individual must actively participate.
Who is most likely to become radicalized? Most studies indicate that young men, typically between 18 and 30 years of age, are the most affected demographics. These individuals typically have a sense of grievance, real or imagined. They are likely to believe that the world is aligned against them. They’re disproportionately likely to engage in conspiracy theorizing.
Holding radical or unorthodox political views is not identical to radicalization. Radicalization is, at its core, the process by which someone comes to see violence as the only solution to a perceived political problem.
So how do we fix radicalization? We can’t, not completely. People embrace dangerous worldviews for all sorts of reasons. Society cannot be responsible for every grievance.
But some things can be done. Fixing the root causes of extremism, like joblessness, mental illness, or maladaptive emotional responses are also options. This is especially true in regions or countries with high rates of youth unemployment or underemployment.
But there is no silver bullet. At the end of the day, vigilance is key.