6/27/2019—A lot has been written about an essay in First Things last May by Sohrab Ahmari. In the essay, Ahmari argues that the civility exhibited by National Review writer David French is inappropriate given the stakes in the culture war. Ahmari also says that cultural renewal is not enough to win back the culture war—"it doesn’t work that way.”
The reason I say that Ahmari does not believe in God, aside from one revealing aside when he accuses French of “an almost supernatural faith” in culture—as if supernatural faith were a bad thing—is that he does not take seriously the idea that God is the Lord of history.
In the context of losing the culture war—drag queen readings in the public library is the one that sets Ahmari off—there are two options for someone who believes that God is in charge. The first option is the route of Gamaliel in Acts—if this is from God, we must understand it and not oppose it. If it is not from God, it will pass away. Since abortion remains a moral concern for Americans while same sex marriage does not, maybe God has done a new thing. Maybe same sex marriage is God’s will. Many Jew hated what the new Jesus movement stood for (also a Jewish movement, of course)—they thought it violated traditional morality.
The second option is to assume that the people I am contending with are sinning and will be punished along with our whole society. This is Jesus addressing the women of Jerusalem—don’t weep for me, but for yourselves and your children. The days are coming when people will say it is better not to have been born. If Ahmari believed this, he would say to French, your mistake is that you do not love your enemies. If you did, you would do everything to save them from God’s wrath. You would not be held back by the secondary virtue of civility.
What Ahmari believes is that God is powerless and irrelevant. It is all up to Ahmari. He is Lord of history. So, he decides what must be done.
We are all atheists now. We are all nihilists now. This is the time of the will to power.