This essay attempts to understand why liberal democracies are relatively ineffective in countering fanaticism. It argues that this is because (a) liberalism (like fanaticism) is unable to account for the virtue of moderation; and (b) that this view is also “the basic mechanism” of fanaticism. This is demonstrated by defining moderation as (1) the opposite of fanaticism, (2) a modifier that is dependent on circumstances and (3) unaccountable for in principle. As a result, any view (such as liberalism and fanaticism) that seeks justification in principles will also be unable to justify moderation. The essay concludes by asking whether and how liberalism can lose its commitment to the “basic mechanism” of fanaticism without losing itself.