Former British PM’s sister-in-law becomes a Mohammedan

Tony Blair’s wife’s sister, Lauren Booth, like Cherie Booth a champion of the Palestinians and evidently as charming as Cherie herself, has converted to Islam. Mark Richardson has the story.

- end of initial entry -

Sage McLaughlin writes:

There is not much we can say about the phenomenon of liberal, spiritual thrill-seekers such as Lauren Booth that was not anticipated by GK Chesterton (speaking here about the religious recession of the late Romans into the darker pagan cults of the past):

The psychology of it is really human enough, to anyone who will try that experiment of seeing history from the inside. There comes an hour in the afternoon when the child is tired of “pretending”; when he is weary of being a robber or a Red Indian. It is then that he torments the cat. There comes a time in the routine of an ordered civilization when the man is tired at playing at mythology and pretending that a tree is a maiden or that the moon made love to a man. The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere; it is seen in all drug-taking and dram-drinking and every form of the tendency to increase the dose. Men seek stranger sins or more startling obscenities as stimulants to their jaded sense. They seek after mad oriental religions for the same reason. They try to stab their nerves to life, if it were with the knives of the priests of Baal. They are walking in their sleep and try to wake themselves up with nightmares.

The “pretending” that is going on in the case of decadent Western women like Booth is not just a rejection of the older traditions of their own civilization. No, the real fantasy that is wearying to them right now is the desolating and exhausting make-believe world offered by liberalism. What they cannot forever pretend to accept is the universal sameness of all peoples (contradicted both by reason and by daily experience), the lack of differences between men and women that matter socially (ditto), the impossibility of miracles, and a self-created multiverse of cosmic exiles, estranged in essence and locked in their own drab mental prisons impervious to the liberating expansiveness of real transcendence. Nothing could be more pathologically masculine than such an oppressively abstract wonderland, at odds with women’s natural desires and so hostile to the natural bonds of family and community.

Women are more naturally inclined to be religious than are men, and while they are also more inclined to be liberals, this is a transitory state of affairs, a result of their irresistible need to conform to the prevailing order of things, to fit in, to play nice. As that order proves literally dangerous to them, and ever more at odds with the very things that bring women comfort and security, they will begin to glom onto a way of life at once more stable and more exhilarating. As the welfare state collapses all about them, and as they discover that self-interested corporate paymasters are a terrible exchange for the security and personal fulfillment offered by husbands and family, they inexorably will gravitate to “mad oriental religions” (though of course in the meantime many will dedicate themselves to more extreme and perverse forms of the ruling ideology).

This is why the maintenance of real Western religious institutions dedicated to Tradition—such as the Fraternal Society of St. Peter and the traditionalist Anglican communions worldwide—are so critical. They offer a real alternative and deserve all the support we can offer them. That’s also why sites like VFR are critical, because they provide the intellectual and rhetorical framework for people to understand and engage the mounting absurdities and horrors of liberalism’s coming apocalypse.

I’m sorry to run on like this, and I know this is probably too long to print, but I am particularly moved by this phenomenon and by the need for Western traditionalists to go ahead and buck up.

October 27

Philip M. writes from England:

Far from “going on too long,” this is one of the most powerful, eloquent statements I have read on your site.

Sage McLaughlin writes:

“The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere; it is seen in all drug-taking and dram-drinking and every form of the tendency to increase the dose. Men seek stranger sins or more startling obscenities as stimulants to their jaded sense.”

Lauren Booth (from the Daily Mail)-“‘It was a Tuesday evening and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy.”

Sounds like a perfect fit.

I know you have talked about liberals capitulating to Islam in the future, and this seems to prefigure the trend. Leftism is in some ways a rather feminine ideology, and I think there is something in leftists that draws them to violent Islam in spite of themselves, rather like some women are drawn to violent, thuggish men. They find their ruthlessness and brutal commitment secretly thrilling. They call for tolerance, but when they mock the Church and it does not respond, they actually despise it for its weakness. Liberals are only impressed by raw power.

Perhaps one of the reasons they despise conservatism is the way it wisely seeks to circumscribe and dissipate power, to find ways of constraining and controlling it. They are so full of their own righteousness that they find this frustrating. “If I had all that power, imagine the good that I could do—and instead they seek to diminish and restrain that power. What fools!”

On a slightly more prosaic note, it should be noted that Lauren Booth works for an Iranian TV company, so there may be more practical, professional reasons for converting.

Seeing as she converted in Iran, at a Shia holy site, this presumably means she has become a Shia? Does she realise how strange this is? I can see there being some logic to becoming a Sunni, as this is more universal, but Shia is so rooted in the region and its people, it would be like a Westerner converting to Hinduism and considering the Ganges sacred. It also has such odd beliefs like the 13th Imam. Just goes to show people with no culture will fall for anything.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 26, 2010 09:47 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):