Catholicism’s centuries-long war against kin-based social structures helped create the conditions for Luther’s individualist Protestantism.
From the 4th century through the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church fought to protect personal choice in marriage, while prohibiting marriage between cousins and other relatives. This policy undercut social forms based on kinship and collective identity, laying the basis of democratic individualism in the West. [italics added]
How often have we heard of the church’s cutting through customs that undercut individualism, that is, human dignity, during the Middle Ages, for God’s sake?!
Point is, we see nothing like this concern for the individual in fundamentalist Islam, which rules the Middle Eastern weltanschauung.
Hence, the long-slog, not-in-our-lifetime-realized democratization of Muslim Brotherhood, Kurtz argues, vs. Reuel Marc Gerecht, whose books he discusses — The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundamentalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracyand The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East — in Claremont Review of Books for summer, 2013.