Response to Article3
Here is CCC’s second response to ghandchi:
Please note that the "S" indicates my original postings and the "C"
shows CCC’s comments:
S) .....Iranians have buried so many of their brightest intellectuals in
S) mass graves in the last century, without even achieving half of
some nations such as
S) Why? I think because of sensational assessments of the world and
S) our society; and replacing brevity and fearlessness contests for
C) But isn't this a bit simplistic? Lets see... :
S) It may not be detailed, but I do not think my assessment is
S) simplistic. I am presenting a new angle in my whole posting and
S) my angle is to view our history from the viewpoint of someone
S) who thinks everyone has had choices;
within certain constraints...
S) and has made right and wrong
S) choices; rather than seeing things as inevitable.
S) In other words, according to my viewpoint, one had the choice to
S) act like Amir Kabir or Mirza Reza Kermani under the same
S) dictatorial rule. Some people chose the former option and some
S) anothers chose the latter and the choices they made were not
S) inevitable. They could have done the reverse. This is all I am
S) trying to convey. I agree that to cover what I have tried to cover, I
S) would need to write a book and not a short article [Sorry SCI
S) friends, I know, it was not even short.!!!:).].
S) I also agree with someone, who in an Email corrected me, that it
S) was not just two tendencies of sensationalism and rationalism. She
S) did correctly disagree with my dichotomous/binary referencing. I
S) agree with her, and I also prefer a pluralistic analysis.
S) But here I am just referring to the sensationalist extremism in our
S) history. I know none of our historians make such an allegation, but
S) I believe there is a major tilt towards sensationalism in our
S) history. I accept that I have not given enough arguments to
S) substantiate this view in every juncture of our modern history
S) and definitely a lot more work is needed. But I am trying and I
S) need your help to add your research to prove or disprove this
S) In my opinion, the number of individuals, who chose the
S) rationalist path in our modern history is very small: Amir Kabir,
S) Kasravi, Arani, and Dehkhoda. The liberal tradition, even before
S) 1953 coup, was extremely weak. Even in that period, it was rather
S) Mossadegh as an individual, and not Jebheh Melli as a party. It is
S) is noteworthy to say that unfortunately Jebh-e Melli had more
S) emphasis on nationalism than on liberalism and individual rights.
S) Also needless to say that Jebh-e Melli never grew to be a real
S) The only party of significance in our history was Tudeh Party, as a
S) party, and that was neither rationalist nor liberal. It was not even
S) communist. Kianoori and Ghasemi were adventurists long before
S) guerrilla movement. And I classify them more with the
S) sensationalist tendency of our intellectuals in modern times,
S) rather than the rationalist tradition.
O.K. Certain people (call them a tendency) chose the "rationalist or
liberal" path. Others, didn't. The circumstances (dictatorial) certainly
didn't help the first, but supplied a lot of ammunition for the second.
The arguments of the second (because of the circumstances - social,
political, economic) won the masses more often - and affected the
course of history more than the other.
Change the circumstances, and you'd have had different effect. No
use arguing about the "choice". You cant reverse the time...
[some stuff deleted..]
S) I am just trying to view the history not as "COULD NOT" and
S) "WOULD NOT". I am trying to say that we are not pawns in a big
S) movement of a historical machine. I am tired of Hegelian models
S) of looking at history as inevitable spirals. I do not believe in any
S) historicism. I actually like philosophies like Karl PopperÕs
S) philospohy, which opposes historicism.
Historicism may have many defects in it but at least it gives an
explanation of "why" things do turn up as they do. Popper, on the
other hand provides no alternative explanations. Ideas dont come out
of the thin air, and you are not always at liberty to choose amongst
alternatives. Liberal tradition, capitalist development and democratic
institutions have more or less gone hand by hand. You cant imagine
one without the others. Almost all of the the poineering Iranian
liberals/democrats were directly affected by the West and at a time
when people in Iran looked up to the West thes" were valued.
Indeed, one of the motives of de-westernisation by IRI was exactly
to de-value liberal thinkings and democratism. It wasn't political
dependency to the West which the mollahs were against, it was
liberal thoughts and ideas (iow: "cultural dependency").
Kill the respect for the free-thinking world and the pioneers of
liberalism, and then in an atmosphere of ignorance, dictatorship,
religious fanaticism, poverty and iiliteracy you've got a winner in
sensationalism, adventurism, violence and terror. Those advocating
the latter of course had the "choice" not to do so. But then they had to
give up not only power but even the right to speak up or even to live
in a harsh and dictatorial climate. Whatever their reasons, they had
to discredit liberalism by killing the respect for the liberal
democracies (the West). And they did it in various guises from anti-
imperialism (of the Tudeh and radiclas/armed movements of
60s/70s) to the direct anti-westernism of the present rulers. Labels
for convenience rather than the substance
S) BTW, I know intellectuals are not one pack, but I cannot
S) understand why you think my analysis of their general tendency
S) towards sensationalism; and their role in the defeat of liberalism
S) in Iran, is bordering on naivete.
Because, I think you put too much emphasis on individual freedoms
and not enough on the socio-economic conditions and the constraints
people operate within.
S) I could use Alvin Gouldner's analysis and differentiate the
S) intelligensia, etc. and give a more detailed anlysis of different
S) groupings of intellectuals and their role. But all I wanted to note
S) here was that the majority of Iranian intellectuals overwhelmingly
S) sided with the sensationalist tendecy rather than the rationalism
S) and liberalism, and I did not need a breakdown.
S) IMHO the intellectuals of Iran in the last century have had many
S) choices to make. A few like Amir Kabir worked for reason and
S) liberalism (I know reason and liberalsim are not equal); and they
S) still lost their life; and many like Koochek Khan, Heydar Amoghli,
S) and Mirza Reza Kermani did not have the time for liberalism. I
S) wish more of our intellectuals had taken the former path than the
S) latter. I think, if they had, Iranian society would have benefited
You wouldn't expect someone to choose liberalism if it is going to
lead the death - if the alternative gives you the possibility of
survival, and musch quicker result, would you?!
>I know about the world situation and historical facts, etc. But I still
>believe, the more educated you are, the more responsible you are
>for the decisions you make; and one cannot just blame everything
>on historical trends.
Indeed, both sides of the argument would emphasis on being
"responsible". It is just they end in different conclusion.
C) ....The Bazargan government was liberal only in name: it could not
C) and would not defend and safeguard the most basic human rights
S) Why do you say COULD NOT and WOULD NOT as if things are pre-
S) determined. We have choices even under the worst conditions.
Bazargan governmnet COULD NOT do it because the forces of violence
were so strong that it had no choice but to be submissive to them.
Indeed, he had the power by virtue of them. It WOULD NOT because
for him power was so important that he wouldn't stand against the
forces of voilence to the point of relinquishing power. He would
always withdraw rather than resign. No will and no power.
C) against the onslaught of the reactionary mollahs. It was ready to
C) compromise anything for power (unlike Mossaddegh who would
C) stand against the Shah whenever matters of principle were at
C) stake. And true, the radical left (both Islamic and Marxist) had no
C) time and place for such "luxuries" as human rights in their agenda,
C) It looks as if the Iranian people have had no choice but to go
C) through "trial and error".
S) I appreciate your agreement that Islamic and Left radicals did not
S) have time for "human rights".
S) But why do you say, we had no choice but trial and error. I
S) understand that you mean it in a historical perspective, but let's
S) just drop this way of looking at history for a moment. Don't you
S) think one, who has brain, can think and is responsible for making
S) good and bad choices.
Yes, one has a brain. But one also has a belly to feed and a life to
guard. And one dosn't always have the luxury of looking at different
oprions in tranquility in order to decide the best. The instinct to stay
alive (even at the expense of causing somebosy else's death) is very
S) Actually Mossadegh also made many wrong
S) choices as well. I am sorry I just do not see history as Hegelian
S) spirals, and I feel the Iranian people had other choices than just
S) going thru this pendulum of trial and errors that you sketch
S) below. I just do not believe in historical necessities.
C) They tried liberalism (in the shape of Mossaddegh government)
C) and failed by the coup. They tried violence in the
C) sixties/seventies. That failed too as all these movements were
C) crushed by the might of SAVAK torture machines. They then
C) turned to religious salvation - and got the IRI with all its
C) barbarism, devastation and regressive records. The signs are that
C) this latest experience is leading many back to liberalism again -
C)with a difference. The political changes both inside and outside
C) Iran have created a more favorable conditions for the growth of
C) liberalism. One can easily witness that the argument for violence
C) and extremism is losing ground in the Iranian politics, and the
C) forces of reason and secularism/liberalism are gaining grounds.
C) What it lacks is a political leadership to turn this new
C) sentimentality into a political force and affect changes for the
C) betterment of the society.
[some stuff deleted...]
S) I once went to a firewalking seminar with Tony Robins in San
S) Francisco vicinity. I was able to walk on fire after learning to
S) control my mind and the choices I had made. He had one good
S) advice in his 6-hour presentation. He said that early on he
S) learned to read the books that successful people read, do the
S) things they did, etc. He tried to teach how to always be aware of
S) making choices. His book is called UNLIMITED POWER. BTW,
S) many people think he is a charlatan. I do not know. But his
S) lecture program was useful for me.
Dont I see some "adventurism" here?! Do you think what you did
correspond with "reason", "rationalism" and liberalism? No one can
deny the almost umlimited power of humans. But then adventurist
use the same argument to advance voluntarism: you and even a tiny
minority of you can change the world by your action no matter what
the rest of society thinks/does. It does ring a bell, doesnt it?!
With my best regards and appreciation for your valuable