Jonah Goldberg

On the Internet, you're never really alone. Name any fad, any cause, any hobby or passion -- Shaker furniture? Dungeons and Dragons, Bolivian tree frogs? -- and you're only a few clicks away from someone who shares your obsession.

That's great. It's also horrible. Because while there's no harm in tree frog fans sharing pictures and stories inspiring others to fly to the Andes to take pictures of exotic creatures, the Internet also lets evil people share stories and pictures inspiring others to cut off the heads of various infidels and apostates.

Though I'm perfectly comfortable with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and similar platforms doing what they can to undermine the PR campaigns of fanatical murderers, my point here isn't necessarily that such things should be banned or censored (even if that were technologically feasible). I weary of reflexive responses to barbarism that involve curtailing the freedoms of Americans in order to not offend savages.

Rather, my point is that to a considerable extent, ISIS -- and groups like it -- is a modern foreign legion for losers. When discussing people who openly boast of rape, murder and torture, "loser" is hardly too harsh. But invective is not my intent when I call them losers. These men -- and a few women, too -- are losers in a more significant sense. They are losers at Western Civilization.

Recently the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted transcripts from Facebook and Twitter conversations among various French and British supporters of the Islamic State. They enthusiastically chatted about the exciting news that you can buy slave women in areas controlled by the Islamic State. The terrorist group reportedly captured an unknown number of women from the ethnic minority called Yazidis. They aren't Muslims, so they can be used as chattel.

The men in the discussions asked all sorts of questions about the rules for sexually abusing (i.e. raping) the women. One British Muslim asked, "I have 3,500 dollars to spare, I am going to buy 10, who wants one?" A French one joked that 180 dollars must be the "price for the ugly ones." There were plenty of "LOLs" in the thread. Because, you know, collecting the female survivors of mass murder and raping them is just so Laugh-Out-Loud funny to cretins who can only bed women at sword-point.

Many of the Westerners flocking to Syria and Iraq for "Jihad tourism" don't have any of the usual excuses one hears for terrorism. Just like the 9/11 hijackers, they are often middle class, educated and technologically adept.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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