Ive been reading an engaging book called Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of its Enemies, by Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit. Its a broad, sweeping work--probably too much so for something so brief--but among its many interesting arguments is that todays suicide bombers have no genuine precedent in Islamic history, but that, like the earlier "death cult" of the Japanese kamikaze pilots, have their origins in the poisonous soil of 19th century German romanticism, with its volkisch racial ideology, its disdain for liberalism and capitalism, and its hatred of urban culture. He notes how the 9/11 bombers, like the kamikaze before them, had educations that were far beyond those of their ordinary countrymen. Anyway, this particular passage struck me:
Where the free market dominates, as in the United States, intellectuals feel marginalized and unappreciated, and are inclined to be drawn to politics with grander pretensions. Taking their freedoms for granted, they become easy prey for enemies of the West.