The Prime Minister of Italy has decided a good way to combat terrorism is to give free money to teenagers to entertain themselves.
This $300 million government-funded social experiment will last one year, and all 18-year-olds living in Italy are eligible regardless of religion or ethnicity.
The logic of the program is that unemployed teenagers are the most likely demographic to join a terrorist organization, and Italy suffers from a nationwide youth unemployment rate of nearly 40%. To prevent radicalization, the Italian government has decided to give more than half a million 18-year-olds free vouchers that will allow them to attend concerts, watch movies, and visit museums for a reduced price.
Italy’s cultural offerings make it one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi views ISIS as a serious threat to that culture. “They imagine terror, we answer with culture. They destroy statues, we love art. They destroy books, we are the country of libraries.”
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister doesn’t seem to understand the term “assilimilation” (or lack thereof) and the fact that those inclined to terrorism are not likely to abandon a lifetime of Islamic teachings in exchange for a few hundred bucks worth of entertainment.
The idea of using culture to fight extremism is becoming increasingly popular among Europe’s welfare states, and Britain has already launched a program to provide social support to individuals who are “at risk” of radicalization. The program remains controversial, however, because many Muslims view it as a government-led initiative to spy on terrorism suspects. Germany and France are experimenting with similar programs.
“[The program] sends a clear message – a welcome for those who reach the age of 18 and a reminder of how crucial culture is, both for personal enrichment and for strengthening the social fabric of the country,” says program leader Tommaso Nannicini.
Nannicini hopes the vouchers, valued at over $500 each, will encourage the nation’s youth to take advantage of what Italy has to offer and in turn cultivate a new appreciation for the country.
Maina Kiai, UN special reporter on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, is highly critical of these anti-radicalization programs. “You have to be careful to not marginalize and to make people feel as if they are targets and unwanted,” he says.
Editor’s note: This is an example of liberal pseudo-psychology, believing you can change an 18 year old whose already experienced a lifetime of influence, and whose long term perspectives and personality have already formed.
If the intention is to prevent terrorism, its chances are zero. If a kid is trained from a young age to hate Christian culture, a few visits to a museum, where a high percentage of the exhibits are Christian in nature or inspiration, will not change his direction in life and may even have the opposite effect.
The science of psychology will tell you that you can’t change an 18 year old with $500, and you have little chance of changing them with $100,000 worth of cash, education, entertainment and therapy.
If you really want to change a generation of immigrant children, assimilate them and have them appreciate Italian culture, send them to a Catholic school when they are 5 years old. Then you have a chance to offset the Islamic teachings of their parents. It won’t happen at age 18.