Saturday, 13 June 2009

Iranian Elections

It looks like Ahmedinejad has won.

This election reminded me of a book I read recently -"The Future of Freedom", by Fareed Zakaria, which talks about how liberalism (the rule of law, free markets, free speech, etc) leads to democracy, but how democratic elections in countries without those institutions often leads to dictatorship and the complete abrogation of rights.

Ever since the Iranian election and the rise of Islamic theology, this has been the case in Iran. In times gone by, I've posted pictures here of Iranians accused of being homosexuals being hanged, not an uncommon practise in Iran. The West needs to learn that the rise of Islamic ideology in Iran has led to this, and the continuing descent into absolute dictatorship in that nation.

Zakaria talks about how liberal institutions can act as a deterrant to the rise of extreme Islamism. Although in the short term this can be true, the introduction -by some miracle, no doubt- of liberal institutions in Iran would simply be showing a practical side to Persia. But at the end of the day, Islamic extremism will rise again -no country can be based on a contradiction for too long, and as political institutions merely express an underlying philosophy, they will be the ones to lose out.

This is what I fear is happening in the West, and Western intellectuals need to take note: with the philosophy of altruism still present in every part of Western society (art, politics, and religion being just a few examples), the West is also based on a contradiction, which has nearly spelt its end, in World War II, for instance. Although we are lucky to have survived for so long, we need to be very cautious, especially with economic crisis on our hands, where we tread.

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