Duly Noted: From the Rule by Consent to the Rule by Fear


George Handlery about the week that was. The Islamic Republic of Iran is openly transmuting into a theocratic dictatorshi. The virtues of applied Socialism. How about a charter to protect the endangered majority? Again they are fighting Coca-Cola. Property is theft, expropriation via taxes is what?
1. Any reaction to the days past must include Iran. The need is clear. Having witnessed the collapse of several systems, an attraction to follow comparable events develops. Admittedly, in some of its details, the wobbling of Iran’s theocratic dictatorship differs from the writer’s experience. Iran’s system is not supported by the probable intervention of a great power. The security organs of the régime are still obeying orders. Furthermore, a significant segment of the public not only tolerates, but also supports the system. Regardless of the caveats, one can foretell much about the years to come.
A. Iran might be one country but it harbors two societies. Their gears match badly. One of these is rural and pre-industrial. It is mired in an obscurantist traditionalism supported by lacking knowledge. It is also badly educated in areas that determine the modern world. The other society is urban, possesses modern knowledge and skills. Therefore, it can fearlessly connect to the modern world.
B. On the long run, the ruling system is threatened, as it must base its ideology-driven power grab on the weapons-hardware contributions of relative progressives. This means that, the internal enemy’s support is needed to implement the foreign policy the regime’s extremist supporters demand.
C. The political ambitions of the reactionary rulers demand that the contribution to the armaments demanded by their foreign policy and contributed by the modernist group be emphasized. Its will to cooperate will prove to be fickle.
D. The rulers’ ideology makes them not to want to participate in and comprehend the processes that shape our time. Ignoring a suspected process and blocking it at home will still not stop global transformation.
F. The retrograde system, even if, for the sake of utility it decides to enter the modern world, is unfit to survive the consequences of its needed modernization. Ultimate success demands reforms. However, these reforms are not system-compatible. Thus, forces are unleashed that the system cannot accommodate. As in the case of the Soviet Union, to reform the system you need to abolish it.
G. Challenged at home, the clerics will need its hard core constituency’s support. Accordingly, the US attempt to cozy up to them will be resisted.

2. Iran’s rulers, self-deputized to rule in the name of the Almighty, might be able to club down their more moderate opposition. Today the struggle is not yet between freedom and theocratic tyranny. So far, only senseless servitude and the cause of a better dictatorship confront each other. The ruling prophets may disapprove, but the dispute is still about the improvement of the existing system. Characteristically for a pre-revolutionary situation, the leadership is developing fissures. Supporters are mobilized and the masses are appealed to for support. However, as long as the instruments of the power-monopoly (army, police and “party army” thugs) are not yet infiltrated by the doubts that divide the clerical elite, the troglodytes will prevail. This victory will fundamentally change the real agenda of the opposition that will evolve within a decade. The reform’s failure and indications that the system can not be reformed, will create an opposition with a program that is adjusted accordingly. Regardless of the formal terms used in public, the next time the goal will not be reform but revolution. Ultimately, unfolding events will convince a minority as it grows into a majority that clerical rule, whether exercised by bad, good or indifferent mullahs, is unsuited to solve their nation’s problems.
3. Until now, Iran’s ranting clerics could rule with the consent of a majority and without having to contend with a principled and organized opposition. It helped that the system’s failures could be attributed to the lay apparat. Rescuing Ahmadinejad undermines the Mullah’s ability disassociate themselves from their flunkies’ failures. The prophets will be able to continue to rule by credible threats of violence and the fear that this instills. In the process, they will surrender the advantage of ruling with the consent of the governed. From the pinnacle of moral authority the elect is about to descend to the level of extorting compliance by applying physical power. Until now, indigenous critique aimed at persons endowed with state power. Future doubters will fundamentally question the system of rule by men acting for God.
Ahmadinedjad’s cronies were smart enough to steal votes. They were dumb enough to leave their fingerprints on the evidence left on the crime scene. The resulting charge sustains claims against them in a court in which society is the jury.
4. What were the belatedly realized virtues of applied Socialism? All leaders were in theory equal to all in their official poverty. Legally no one earned more for working badly than you did. The input of others was rewarded the same as your indolence multiplied by demonstrated “partyness”. The achievements of the able could not shame you, while those who had more could be dismissed as being well connected.
5. Moslem immigrants in Europe are displeased. Actually, the term “immigrant” needs modification. It does not include the case of those who have slipped into the country illegally. It also ignores the situation of the un-integrated element that does not want to accept their hosts’ way of life and who lack skills to build existences commensurate to their self-esteem and the demands of the local economy. Athens, for centuries under the occupation of Muslim conqueror has no minaret and no Muslim cemetery. The easily insulted (it pays!) but uninvited guests express their disapproval of the hosts by riots and criminal violence. Its excuse is that it is directed against unworthy nonbelievers. These happen to be the majority harboring them in the name of tolerance. The global duplication of comparable situations suggests we need a new charter regulating entrants’ privileges and residents’ rights. It could assert; Majorities retain a right to live according to their preferred life-style. They are protected from the demand of migrants to continue in the style of the homeland they had decided to abandon. There is no absolute right to immigration. Illegal entrants forfeit the rights they might have had had they entered as refugees. The laws of the land apply to all on the territory of the hosting state. These are to be enforced regardless of their rejection justified by the imported conflicting culture and the lacking formal consent of immigrants. The way of life found at the place of immigration might not suit an individual because of a commitment to contradictory norms: therefore, he might consider the way of life he finds to be an insult of his religion. Nevertheless, the claim is expressly rejected that, the adjustment to be made is a duty of the majority that offers refuge. Taking residence abroad entails an express obligation to adjust to the norms of the hosting entity.
6. Chavez’ epic struggle with the “Empire”, has pushed him to open a new front. In doing so, he has boldly declared war on Coca-Cola. His “Kampf” makes him knowingly or unknowingly to trod in Stalin’s footprints. This is typical while it is also easy. The prints left in the mud are larger by several numbers than Chavez’ boots. In my Stalin-shaped youth, Coke had my special interest although, unfortunately, I could find no one who has ever tasted it. The curiosity was not accidental. In “civics” we were taught that the world revolution – the uprising of the West’s proletariat – is delayed because of the lacking class consciousness, meaning the revolutionary will, of the exploited masses. This “false consciousness” had a cause. It was Coca Cola. The junk fed to us alleged that the Capitalists feed Coke to the working class in order to suppress their revolutionary class-consciousness. This made me curious as I surmised that, being declared the source of evil by the Party, that dew must be something terribly good. Therefore the writer feels safe to predict that the struggle against Coke will augment its attractiveness and that even without that drug, just due to Chavez’ policies, the revolutionary consciousness of Venezuela’s masses will imitate the southern section of the Amu Darya river’s flow in the dry season.
7. The Left’s problem is that it regards property as theft. That might explain why its addicts steal so much once their will becomes the law. In case of taxing, allocating and the self-maintenance of bureaucracies, no crime comes to their mind covering expropriation via taxes.

RE: "From the Rule by Consent to the Rule by Fear"



1.  The Khatami/Ahmadinejad faction is not convinced of the loyalty of Iranian internal and national security forces. It relies upon the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij. Indeed, the regular armed forces are widely rumored to be cautiously monitoring events. The post-revolutionary purges and interference of the mullahs reduced their effectiveness during the war with Iraq; these bitter memories are not lost on the generals. Even the nuclear programme and capture of the British marines were delegated to the IRGC, who command a steep fee for their loyalty.


A.  Persians constitute only some 50% of the Iranian populace and are highly urbanized. The rural areas include many ethnic and religious minorities, and far from backing central government, often harbor insurgent groups. Ahmadinejad's electorate is mainly urban; that the 2009 results include support from disaffected ethnicities such as the Azeris, is yet another indicator of their fabrication.


B.  The transition from extremism to moderation in Iran among the elite has been surprisingly quick, occurring over mere years rather than the long decades of the Soviet experience. Already, Ahmadinejad and Khatami lack the legitimacy necessary to engage the international community.


C.  Although scientists are more likely to question religious dogma, they are no less incapable of ultra-nationalism. All that is required of them is the fanatical conviction that Iran is threatened by foreign powers, namely the United States, Israel and Great Britain, and that only nuclear weapons can deter regime change.  


G. The clerics need American engagement to remain in power. Iran is not Cuba or North Korea.


2.  Many reformers are more than able to adapt to change e.g. Boris Yeltsin. All Vladimir Putin needed was self-interest.


6.  Revolutionary Socialism has finally taken on a relevant issue - high-fructose corn syrup. What's next? Is "sizzurp" preventing minorities from seeking equality?


7.  The heart of the matter is that property and wealth were often acquired due to coercion prior to liberal democracy, and that this was never resolved in accordance with liberal notions of property ownership.

Duly Noted

Mass political demonstrations on the streets of Tehran as Neda dies vs Mass hysteria in Trafalgar Square after Michael Jackson dies. This says it all for me.

@ Capo'

I call this the Peter, Paul, and Mary Principle.