For many years, the United States has been suffering from political nihilism — disbelief in its institutions.
I have seen political nihilism in various Muslim countries around the world. It manifests itself as a form of futility, the feeling that one cannot recover from what is ailing the people.
Two common results occur. The people either find escape from themselves by embracing the mundane or they lash out in frustration against others. In Muslim countries, the mundane is an unhealthy obsession with the arcane points of Islamic jurisprudence, and the frustration is directed towards America, Israel and women. In the American context, the mundane is an unhealthy obsession with meaningless celebrities, and frustration is directed towards Iraq, Iran and women.
How are we to clamber out of our psychological doldrums? What is the best way to push back against our political nihilism?