ISIS and Liberalism's Existential Crisis


One of the things that has contributed to the freak out against ISIS is that it is attracting recruits from the West


. Many commentators worry that these Westerners are a product of liberalism's spiritual weakness – its inability to provide a "transcendental" purpose, a cause to die for. And if ISIS is not defeated decisively, they fear, liberalism will only look weaker, producing a loss of confidence and an existential crisis in the liberal West.

ISIS does indeed deserve to die. But I note in my column at The Week, if anything bespeaks a loss of confidence, it is what counts as an "existential crisis" now.

There is nothing new about a small number of Americans bolting to join foreign armies fighting for anti-liberal causes. Over 2,800 Americans enlisted on the communist side in the Spanish Civil War, despite America's official policy of neutrality (because, as in many current conflicts, there were no clear good guys). What's more, in the first eight months of 1931, when Stalin's atrocities were approaching their zenith, more than 100,000 Americans applied to emigrate to the Soviet Union, several thousand of them successfully.

Go here to read the whole thing.