Dr. Tomer Persico is a Research Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute. He was the Koret Visiting Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies at U.C. Berkeley, where he was also a Senior Research Scholar in the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Dr. Persico is a social activist advocating for freedom of religion in Israel. A leading thinker about secularization, Jewish Renewal and forms of contemporary spirituality, Persico writes the most popular blog in Hebrew
“The war joined the crisis of liberalism just in time. Western countries, whose satisfaction slid them into Baroque intricacies of morality and decadent consumerism, suddenly stand – again – before the threat of an armed dictator. Former President Donald Trump’s admiration for President Vladimir Putin, and the groveling sympathies of Trumpists like Tucker Carlson and Steve Bannon, now seems clearly deranged. So do the observations about the “extremists on both sides” of leftist groups like the Israeli Communist Party. Violence sharpens one’s values, for good and for bad.
Putin isn’t offering an ideology different from that of the West. He isn’t offering any ideology at all. He is neither a fascist nor a Bolshevik. The victory of liberalism does not permit him to formulate a distinct worldview. This is not “post-modernism,” but rather hyper-modernism, which manifests itself in rampant capitalism and extreme individualism. At its height, the 20th century proposed convictions in which individuals had to see themselves as inevitably part of a collective, whether ethno-national or class based. This is now inconceivable. The individual is the distilled essence.”