One of the more disturbing elements of this current crisis is the fact that ISIS seems to have taken over from old guard extremists in the area of propaganda. A significant number of western youth have already flocked to the ISIS banner. Indeed one of the bigger problems with this war will be what to do about citizens who have enlisted on the other side. ISIS holds an attraction for disaffected and disillusioned youth that very little in the west can compete with.
There are two questions that come to mind immediately. First of all, what exactly is the west prepared to offer to people who are living an ascetic lifestyle for a religious ideal? The West has completely jettisoned and disavowed any in its midst who might offer such an alternative. Christians who speak out against the immorality, sexual preoccupation and narcissistic self indulgence of the society around them are ridiculed and marginalized. What exactly are you going to say to a youth who has forsaken home and hearth to fight for these extremists?
The second question that comes to mind is contained in David Brooks' opinion piece for the New York Times.
If ISIS is to be stopped, there will probably have to be some sort of political and military coalition. But, ultimately, the Islamists are a spiritual movement that will have to be surmounted by a superior version of Islam.Who or what is this superior version of Islam and who are we to make this determination? More to the point, where is the Moslem critique of ISIS and its ilk? Where is the outcry condemning the actions of ISIS?