Ahmari offers twelve questions for us to grapple with — twelve timeless, fundamental queries that challenge our modern certainties. Among them: Is God reasonable? What is freedom for? What do we owe our parents, our bodies, one another?
Ahmari urges people to honor their parents, not to expect always to think for themselves and to grasp that religious and sexual liberty mask 'deeper unfreedom.' A final chapter recalls advice from Seneca, the Stoic philosopher who tutored Nero, not to worry unduly about death ... Keen as he is to fight, there is much that Ahmari’s foes, whether liberal progressives or liberal conservatives, can warm to. He sees that ideas matter in politics and regrets intellectual over-specialization ... The book’s virtues, however, struggle throughout with a damaging vice: the abuse of tradition. In this, Ahmari is at least evenhanded. He caricatures not just liberalism but his own faith by attributing to it more unity, simplicity and authority than historically it has ever possessed.
An easy going, ecumenical, rather cosmopolitan tour of 12 moral questions and select thinkers who responded to each of them ... Ahmari uses ‘she’ and ‘her’ where English would traditionally use masculine pronouns for instances of unspecified sex, and the sins of racism, sexism, colonialism and consumerism come in for as much execration here as in any trendy tome of Critical Race Theory or gender studies. The radical feminist Andrea Dworkin stands alongside Confucius, St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in the pantheon of moral sages Ahmari has assembled ... Sohrab Ahmari introduces a generation (and more) to the spiritual patrimony of which they have been robbed. And he does it in the gentlest way possible, knowing that its riches may dazzle eyes that have too long alighted on only the rusted scrap of utilitarian liberalism.
Ahmari argues in this sweeping work that the West needs to re-engage more meaningfully with religious traditions in order to flourish ... While Ahmari’s arguments are intriguing, he is more concerned with telling a story than engaging with his points. Secularists will disagree with Ahmari’s basic argument, but those who worry about the decline of religion will appreciate this adamant call to return.