In the partisan battle over describing the Islamic State, Democrats have fastened on a philosophical term from 19th century European intellectual history. They’re being too clever by half.
“Extremist nihilism” is what Barack Obama has called ISIS’s ideology. In the second Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton labeled it a “kind of barbarism and nihilism.” John Kerry dismissed it as “nothing more than a form of criminal anarchy, nihilism which illegitimately claims an ideological and religious foundation.
This makes it sound like nihilism has nothing to do with religion. But it has everything to do with religion.