Response to Article1
Here is ghandchi’s response to DDD:
Below, what I have previously written is marked with "S", and
DDD's response is marked with "D"
S) I am presenting a new angle in my whole posting and my
S) angle is to view our history from the viewpoint of someone who
S) thinks everyone has had choices; and has made right and wrong
S) choices; rather than seeing things as inevitable.
D) Mr. Ghandchi wrote an interesting posting on the sensationalist
D) trend of Iranian intellectuals. I should add that I have a
D) deterministic view on this free will theory. We should realize how
D) a dictatorship brutalizes and radicalizes its opposition. A
D) dictatorship doesn't give room for liberal personalities to grow.
I agree with you that dictatorship doesn't give room for liberal
personalities to grow and thus radicalizes the opposition. It is like a
cult that does not let a liberal approach to counter the brainwash of
its members to succeed; and helps the growth of extremism among
the cult's opposition. And we both agree that the latter, after
success, will in turn become something similar to the former.
Now my alternative is to forgo rapid success. Yes, just accept that
your efforts may not even make a difference. But know that if even
partially successful, the result will be of a more lasting kind in the
conscience of the society. True if the social conditions internally and
externally are more favorable to moderation, you have more chances
Also true, that if extreme dictatorship prevails, the majority of the
people may go for the radical alternative anyway; and afterwards no
one will even remember people like you ever existed. But if more
people be carefree about all this disdain; and just follow liberalism
for believing in it, one day, their society may actually become a
Renaissance, Reformation, and a long period of liberal action. Still,
the French Revolution brought tyranny.
ask me that in the
problems of colonialism and slavery; and still the country did not fall
into a dictatorial rule afterwards. I would say that the European
immigrants had their liberalism exercised and foundation layed
out long before coming to the States.
the immigrants had mostly escaped
persecution. Also in the American colonies, they worked for a
moderate solution for a long time, e.g. House of Burgess. Actually
efforts of the founding fathers, before resorting to a radical solution.
justify the Revolution. The preceding liberalist work was actually so
strong that it restrained the post-revolutionary states in every
sphere. I think if otherwise, their radical solution would have given
the same result as the revolution of many other colonies where
dictatorship resulted from independence.
we look at Bolsheviks in
D) only people with organizatory capabilities under its dictatorship
D) to rise among the social democrats. It was Stalin who sat
D) with the organisatory responsibilities and power and not
D) people like Pelkhanov. It was because only brutal personalities
D) like Stalin could organize under that brutal circumstances.
D) This gave Stalin after the revolution the leverage to
D) wipe out any moderate personality. So Tsarism carries a lot
D) of responsibility for how the opposition came to develop.
You are right. I couldn't have put it any better. Definitely Plekhanov
would never have had the slightest chance of a success that his
like Amir Kabir or Torgot (French intellectual of Amir Kabir’s Caliber
before 1789 Revolution); and couldn’t he have stood up for liberalism,
although without fully succeeding.
True he did stand up to Lenin and he did say that Lenin's Bolshevik
path would end up in tyranny. But his own ideology (Marxism) also
from Liberalism (please refer to Kolakowski's
OF MARXISM, Daniel
Kenneth Galbraith's THE ANATOMY OF POWER, and Alvin Toffler's
PREVIEWS AND PREMISES for detailed analysis).
to say, in a place like
of Marxism were dropped and its social justice aspects were
highlighted. Whereas in places like
aspects were highlighted as pre-requisites for any justice. For
example, Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program, not a major work,
but its admiration for theory of dictatorship of the proletariat was
highlighted by Lenin, Stalin, and many other Russian and Chinese
Communists. Whereas many of the European Marxists such as
Kautsky tried to hide it [Marx’s Critique of Gotha Program], and
many other European Marxists openly opposed the theory of the dictatorship
of the proletariat.
D) The same is true during the Shah time and among many
D) liberal personalities are inherently more difficult to
D) organize and less adventurist and courageous than extremists.
Again I agree. But I still think that even in the worst conditions one
has a choice to follow the road of Amir Kabir or the road of Mirza
us see what is happening in
D) for radicalizing and brutalizing Palestinian opposition.
D) When even the liberal literature was forbidden under Shah's
D) regime we could not expect more of our illiterate and uninformed
D) intellectuals! of Course the transitory nature of our economy
D) had also created a lot of social classes in movement which
D) itself made extremism a more natural choice.
Again I agree with you that extremism has a much much better
chance to succeed than liberalism in highly polarized societies such
between the two ears and find the third, fourth, ... alternatives. The
choices do not have to be collaboration versus extremism.
I actually, as you have perceived, strongly believe in free will. My
belief is not just philosophical, although it has been brought up even
centuries ago by our own intellectuals Avicenna and Farabi.
I also have reviewed some recent biological research, which argues
that the more a species is advanced in its nervous system, the more
distance exists between what evolution is genetically expected, and
what the organismic evolution is in real life. They say the difference
is due to the impact of the brain and its ability to make choices that
are not genetically pre-determined [Please see a good report on this
in the Scientific American See THE MOLECULAR BASIS OF
EVOLUTION in Scientific American, 10/95, Vol253, No4.]
The above is why I always stress what we all have between our two
ears, and what a difference it would make to us and to our world, if
we also believed that to think about more choices in response to any
situation and not caving in to the paths that we have invisibly
always accepted, and this can a make a whole world of difference in
D) I believe those who have lead a people towards victory against
D) a dictatorship aren't always qualified to run the country after
D) the overtaking of the power.
Again I agree. That if a revolutionary path is chosen and a new state
is formed, one should not sit down and regret. One can again try for
the growth of liberalism. It has taken at least four centuries for
long will it take for
I just would like to add another point. Many times the significance
of Renaissance, Reformation, and Industrial Revolution are
understood very well when examining the growth of liberalism in
the start of rationalism in the Catholic Church itself and specifically
the role of St. Thomas Aquinas in it.
St. Thomas Aquinas was one of the highly respected fathers of the
Church. Jesuits pay a lot of tribute to his works [see the superb
work of History of Philosophy (9 volumes) by Jesuit Father
FREDERICK COPLESTON for morv edetails.]
St. Thomas Aquinas highlighted the rational dialogue in the Catholic
Church. What I see some of our supporters of IRI are doing
nowadays, which I welcome. Why? If you see in the European
history, Luther who was the leader of Protestantism, was more
hardheaded in his approach to rationalism and science than the Pope.
For example, Luther strongly opposed the Copernican Theory, on
biblical basis, and was always against rational discussions about
religion. In his theories, the religious beliefs were accepted as truths
of heart and not because of rational discussions . What centuries
later, one even sees in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's path of heart, yet in
secular form. In contrast Voltaire, although again a secular writer,
for the same issues, similar to the St. Thomas Aquinas, but centuries
later, appealed to reason and mind rather than appealing to the
path of heart.
But the rationalists of the Catholic Church, such as early father St.
Augustine (very much like our Imam Mohammad Ghazali), and later
on the St. Thomas Aquinas, pioneered discussions of religious issues
in a rationalist fashion. These people, in contrast to the Protestant
Revolutionaries, contributed the most to the growth of rationalism
and liberalism in the future Europe. Their impact on the scholarly
works of Jesuits is undeniable to this day. Pay a visit to the
University of Santa Clara in the South of the SF Bay Area to see it for
I place a very high value in rationalist discussions of many of our
theologians in Ghom. Am I asking for a flame? :).