PZ Myers has an interesting post discussing the motivations of people who join ISIS, and which attributes similar motivations to the alt-right. In short, it’s about people “who feel a lack of significance in their lives”, people “who felt culturally homeless”. People start “from vague dissatisfaction, and desire for social status and sexual success” and become radicalized.
For the most part, I feel powerless to do anything about the radicalization of men. The world is big and incomprehensible–and also I live in California. So the reader may forgive me if I turn this more introspective.
What even is this desire for “significance”? I feel that we in the atheist community have been discussing it for years, usually in the context of discussing the appeal of religion, and calling for the atheist community to fill the void that religion has left. If PZ is correct, some of those atheists went on to fulfill that need by joining the alt-right. But for all that discussion of “meaning”, I don’t think I understand it. I don’t know if this is something I feel myself.