What ISIS and such groups are responding to is not simply military and sectarian opportunities but a broad cultural malaise. Accelerating technological, social, and cultural change undermines many strong beliefs and practices, which can be particularly damaging to individuals and weak institutions. Those who are unable to keep pace with, or accept the changes inherent in, such a world sometimes retreat to faith, which is an understandable response. Similarly, the ever-greater social and cultural complexity of an increasingly multicultural world may have the same effect, reinforcing the value of mythic cultural stereotypes and “golden ages” of the past as refuges. While the immediate military threat of ISIS and similar organizations can be managed through traditional military responses, the reasons ISIS is there in the first place—the civilizational conflict dimension of ISIS—cannot.
Is Fear of Modernity & Technology fueling return to Medievalism?