Monday, August 2, 2021

From Fire By Water, Ahmari

The review is excellent. I made the mistake of reading "The Unbroken Thread" first, and my comments on the "Catholic specific" nature of the final conversion apply here. I recommend that book as superior to this, though both are worthy of attention and enjoyable reads. 

A quote from the book that hit me ... 

"My native land [Iran] smelled of dust mingled with stale rosewater. There was enjoyment in Iran and grandeur of a kind to be sure. But when it wasn't burning with ideological rage, it mainly offered mournful nostalgia. Those were its default modes, rage and nostalgia. I deserved something more."

I'm reminded of the divisions in Wokeistan that used to be America.  Iran remained Iran even though the culture shifted, because Iran is primarily a piece of land. The ideology can change, but the borders remain. Not so America. It was an idea ... that "all men are created equal, endowed by their creator ...", allegiance to a written constitution, etc. For at least half the country, neither the endowing God, nor the rights protected by the Constitution are seen to be truth at all ... let alone "self evident". 

So Wokeistan is much like Ahmari's Iran ... the "red" are filled with "mournful nostalgia", the woke are filled with ideological rage. 

From the review: 

Readers who are historically attuned may recall with a laugh another Iranian who was educated in the West and radicalized by the experience, though in a different direction:

If one allows the infidels to continue playing their role of corrupters on Earth, their eventual moral punishment will be all the stronger. Thus, if we kill the infidels in order to put a stop to their [corrupting] activities, we have indeed done them a service. For their eventual punishment will be less. To allow the infidels to stay alive means to let them do more corrupting. [To kill them] is a surgical operation commanded by Allah the Creator.

Those are the words of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Although, in a sense, Ahmari’s teenager infatuation with Nietzsche and later Marx are not so far apart from the Ayatollah’s reaction. Each disdains bourgeois life in the West. I myself have been accused of the same disdain. But whereas I would seek to re-enchant life in the West — adding something that has been lately subtracted — a nihilist and revolutionary Islamist would seek to negate the modern world which is marked by phoniness, and compromise.

Ah yes, "re enchantment" of the disenchanted West - it pulls at the strings of my heart. "A Secular Age" by Charles Taylor gives a glimpse into what the "subtraction story" of the secularists took from us. Our souls for some cell phones and other entertaining baubles. 

Thankfully, as Ahmari discovers, enchantment still exists in the confessional liturgical church of Christ. Is that Church the Catholic Church? Prior to Luther, there was really no other option, Post Luther, I'd argue the LCMS is for the present a more Biblically grounded option. 


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