My colleague and friend Fareed Zakaria wrote not long ago in these pages that there was a significant difference between, say, the Taliban takeover of the Swat Valley and the launching of suicide attacks on the non-Muslim world. I said to him then and I say once more that in the long run this is a distinction without very much difference. A country that attempts to govern itself from a holy book will immediately find itself in decline: the talents of its females repressed and squandered, its children stultified by rote learning in madrassas, and its qualified and educated people in exile or in prison. There are no exceptions to this rule: Afghanistan under the Taliban was the worst single example of beggary-cum-terrorism, and even the Iranians were forced to denounce it—because of its massacre of the Shia—without seeing the irony.
But when the crops fail and the cities rot and the children's teeth decay and nothing works except the ever-enthusiastic and illiterate young lads of the morality police, who will the clerics blame? They are not allowed to blame themselves, except for being insufficiently zealous. Obviously it must be because the Jews, the Crusaders, the Freemasons have been at their customary insidious work. Thus, holy war must be waged on happier and more prosperous lands.
If you think I exaggerate even slightly, consult the Web sites of the Iranian theocracy and of its Hamas and Hizbullah surrogates and proxies.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
One of my favorite wirters, Christopher Hitchens, makes some great points...
...about theocracies in general and Iran in particular: