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Thousands of young men and women who grew up in the West are giving up everything to commit themselves to jihad. These so-called homegrown jihadists are denounced as the disenfranchised and disaffected, lonely misfits and born losers who go from their parents’ basements to posing in YouTube videos that shake the world. President Obama called them “nihilistic,” “violent,” “almost medieval.” Prime Minister Cameron called them “warped” members of a “poisonous death cult.” And it’s true: most of the jihadists are lost souls who cannot adjust to life as it has come to be lived in the West. ¶ But what is rarely talked about, what is taboo in our media, is that many of them are reacting with revulsion to the spiritual emptiness of corporate consumer capitalism. To them, life in places like the UK, Australia, Canada, and especially America have become a freak show, a world where it is perfectly normal for one in three people to be clinically obese; where one in ten use antidepressants to get through the day; where the average net worth of a U.S. Congressman is $15 million; where celebrities’ sex lives bump dying child refugees out of the headlines in a matter of hours. For these jihadists, there is something irresistible in the self-discipline and sacrifice of radical Islam, from its rejection of alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes to its brutal fight for a “higher” cause. The wannabe jihadists may have no idea of what they’re getting into, but they are pretty clear on what they’re running away from: the hollowness and meaninglessness of modern life in the West. After a spectacular 500-year run, the expansion of Western values looks like it is coming to an end.

— Kalle Lasn

 

 

 

 

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