"Jihadi John" proves terrorism isn't about jobs

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Several news media outlets are now reporting that the real man behind the chilling masked figure on those ISIS beheading videos is Mohammed Emwazi. Emwazi was until recently a resident of posh West London, was born into a wealthy family, and had a college degree in the very employable field of computer programming.

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In other words, we have the latest hard evidence that poverty, joblessness and other "grievances" aren't the root cause of violent terrorism no matter what the Obama administration's mouthpieces say. Emwazi joins a long list of well-to-do Jihadists led by Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Atta, Ayman Al-Zawahri, the "Underwear Bomber," etc.

But you already knew that the "economic hardship" excuse was wrong. What you may not know, or may not think about very often, is the fact that a very different kind of poverty may be responsible for creating these kinds of murderers. And it's not the kind of poverty that can be fixed by any government program.

More and more people all over the world are suffering from a poverty of spirit, a poverty of morality, a poverty of purpose, and most of all a poverty of proper parenting.

Now before I go on, let me make one important disclaimer: it's possible that in Emwazi's case he had nothing but the most meaningful and loving upbringing. Sometimes, evil just sprouts on its own and can't be explained or fixed.

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But that aside, more and more young people across the world are being brought up without essentials they need just as much as food, shelter and a formal education. More and more parents seem afraid or ashamed to insist their children act with a sense of moral honor in their relationships, and then they're perplexed when their sons and daughters float from lover to lover, or never seem to feel like dating or getting married at all. More and more parents are ashamed to explain to their children why they are or aren't raising them in any established religion, and then they're shocked when their children get turned on by an extremist religious message online. More and more parents are ignorant of the signs of mental illness in their children or are unwilling to seek professional treatment for them, and then they're dismayed to learn they may have waited too long to set them on a path to a normal life.

The message ISIS sends out on TV and on the Internet may not be the slightest bit attractive to you or me. But imagine if you were a teenager desperate for some clear meaning or purpose in life. Where you might be nervous or sheepish about giving your kids a loud and clear understanding of how you expect them to live their lives, ISIS and the other terror groups are not. Clarity and clear boundaries are like oxygen to a lot of children and young adults.

The simple truth is that if you don't teach your children about morality, religion, and acceptable behavior, I can guarantee you someone else will. And that "someone else" might be anything from reality TV to an extremist religious fanatic on Twitter. It's like the old saying: "no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan."

Freedom is the essential God-given right of every human on Earth. But freedom without any personal responsibility results in chaos. That's why it's up to parents to make sure children aren't set forth into the free world until they've learned how to be responsible, peaceful and moral. And that's why there's a lot more work to do other than just feeding the college fund and hiring the SAT tutors.

Commentary by Jake Novak, supervising producer of "Power Lunch." Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.