While those in power try to tell us ISIS is a problem of “empowerment deficiency” (an issue also apparently shared by Blacks), a mainstream outlet publishes a definitive explainer of the militant group that cuts through all the bullshit.

The Atlantic’s “What ISIS Really Wants” has spread like wildfire in the media, and rightfully so. It should be mandatory reading for anyone with an interest in the situation in the Middle East and rising global trends. Radix readers especially should give it a read to see how such a radical organization, condemned by every government in the world and at war with several regimes, can come to dominate an entire region.

This passage is particularly illuminating:

They believe that they are personally involved in struggles beyond their own lives, and that merely to be swept up in the drama, on the side of righteousness, is a privilege and a pleasure—especially when it is also a burden.

Fascism, Orwell continued, is: “psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life … Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time,’ Hitler has said to them, ‘I offer you struggle, danger, and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet … We ought not to underrate its emotional appeal.”

Nor, in the case of the Islamic State, its religious or intellectual appeal. That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent. It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model. Ideological tools may convince some potential converts that the group’s message is false, and military tools can limit its horrors. But for an organization as impervious to persuasion as the Islamic State, few measures short of these will matter, and the war may be a long one, even if it doesn’t last until the end of time.

The article should be read in its entirety to understand ISIS’s appeal, why it’s so seemingly brutal, its strategy, and how it continues to grow stronger in the face of overwhelming opposition.

It’s clear they want more than midnight basketball.