Elitist Shi’ites

Razib has a wonderful post, “The Global Elite Is The Only Elite Now“, that touches on rich people and (very) tangentially on my Faith.

Since those are among my favourite topics and the fact that I’m slightly scared of Razib’s ahem “firm” moderating style I thought I would troll Brown Pundits with my own thoughts after the jump.

I think Rupert Murdoch is emblematic of the Anglospheric elite and probably perceives himself in that way. Mind you there were rumours of Chinese ex(?)-wife with Tony Blair so that strengthens the connection even further!

Speaking of the Anglosphere I just came back from California (after a very long stint away from the US) and it’s as different as it can be from twee old Cambridge (UK). So even though there is a global banker cosmopolitan class, with NY-LON as its capital, the national and regional differences are still very much there!

I have no idea about what’s actually happening in Iran but when I went there (twice in 2016) I imagined this is what China must be like (Capitalism with Shi’ite characteristics).

For what it’s worth I do think that a model like Britain (which at the heart of it is a constitutional theocracy) can potentially work in Iran so maybe time to bring back the Pahlavis?

It’s also interesting that heresies in Shi’ism evolve out of Islam whereas heresies of Sunn’ism stress their connection/return to Islam. The Alawites, Alevis, Ismailis, Druze & we the Baha’is have extremely ambiguous relationships to the Islamic parent (dependent somewhat on political circumstance) whereas Ahmedis stress their authentically Muslim identity.

The paradox of course is that in Pakistan the Ahmedis are persecuted BECAUSE they claim to be Muslim and in Iran Baha’is are persecuted because they claim not to be Muslim. Pakistani passport forms explicitly state(d) that the person is a Muslim who does not believe in Ghulam Ahmed whereas in Iran there are only four religions to choose from (Christian, Muslim, Zoro & Jewish) which Baha’is deliberately leave blank.

Speaking of extreme Shi’ism and liberal offshoots the Shakhyis could be considered Spiritual-Philosophical Shi’ites; I would hazard an even greatest contrast between a militant origin and an eventually liberal offshoot is the Nizari Ismaili assassins and their decadent (I use that in the nicest possible sense; the Aga Khan has so much swag) descendants.

As for the membership of the global class, to some extent it’s also a question on outlook. For instance because of the dampener on nationalism among Baha’is there is an inherent internationalism that transcends socio-economic structures.

An example from the story of these two wonderful pioneers, Charles & Yvonne Macdonald:

A couple of years later, and attending the International Bahá’í Conference in Frankfurt, Germany, Charles was now totally infused with the oneness of humanity, and with a burning commitment to world peace. When asked by a German Bahá’í if he had ever been to Germany before, he paused for a moment, and then said “Yes. But only at night!”

The Faith, in the fifties, brought to the rather insular and bigoted culture of Belfast, an almost exotic sense of a world and peoples beyond, and the steady arrival of young Persian/Iranian Bahá’ís (notably the Jamshidi brothers: Rustam, Qudrat and Hushang, then Beman Khosrovi and later, Jamshid Arjamandi who much later in life became the custodian at Bahjí) was not only intriguing, but a direct link with the great Central Figures of the Faith, their lives, language and suffering.

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