November 8, 2007
The Mullahs are not 'Conservatives'By James Lewis
Google shows more than 2 million hits for the words "Iran conservative," in reference to the mullah regime. That's a slander against conservatives. The mullahs of Iran are emphatically not conservatives. They are reactionaries.
The media call the Iranian mullahs "conservative" because they want to go back to the 7th century. But the mullahs don't admire George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, William F. Buckley or Rush Limbaugh. They hate conservatives, because they know that Ronald Reagan was a much harder nut to crack than Jimmy Carter.
Look at these Khomeini words:
Does that sound conservative? Or how about this Khomeini fatwa of 1988:
Thomas Jefferson could not have said that. Nor Abraham Lincoln, Edmund Burke, or John Stuart Mill.
Iran has millions of modern-minded people who do extremely well when they emigrate. They value education, hard work, family solidarity. They often make excellent business people, engineers and scholars. They should not have to go into exile to succeed.
The Shah of Iran, for all his flaws, was a determined modernizer. The Khomeini cult is bound and determined to go back to premodern times. That is why they are hated by the people they oppress.
When the Soviet Union crumbled, the hardline Communists who tried to overthrow Boris Yeltsin were also called "conservatives" by the liberal media. So you're called "conservative" if you're a Stalinist, and you're also a "conservative" if you're a throwback to the tribal desert. I'd wager the Burmese fascists who killed Buddhist monks several weeks ago someday will be called "conservatives" by the New York Times.
Guess who the "liberals" are, according to the Times? In Iran, it's the democratic voices, who are much more in need of liberty than socialism. In the Soviet Union the label was awarded to dissidents like Natan Sharansky. Incoveniently, Sharansky now is a big personal fan of George W. Bush. He sounds like a conservative in dealing with tyrannical regimes.
Liberal writers need to re-discover an important English word: reactionary. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it:
Since free markets are the primary instrument of human material progress --- witness Hong Kong, South Korea, and America --- it can't be true that an American conservative "vehemently, often fanatically opposes progress and favors return to a previous condition:" In fact, our nostalgic environmentalists fanatically oppose nuclear power, or any other kind of power generation, "in favor of returning to a previous condition."
So it is high time to resurrect the real meaning of that word, reactionary.
Just like the Nazis, the mullahs have a reactionary ideology. The Nazis wanted to turn the clock back to the blood-lust of the Nordic gods, before the advent of Christianity in Europe. They hated Christianity, Judaism, and any civilized morality. Their favorite prophet was the composer Richard Wagner, perhaps the most influential antisemitic propagandist of the 19th century. The Nazis were revolutionaries, as was one of their favorite slogans, "Alles muss anders sein." --- "Everything must change." That is the definition of revolution. There's nothing conservative about it.
Proto-Nazi Richard Wagner loved the Romantic fantasy of going back to the Nordic gods. His operas were about Siegfried and Tristan. What do you suppose all those hefty Wagnerian ladies in winged helmets are singing about? Christmas and Passover? No, they are celebrating the Viking heroics of bloodletting in battle. That is why Hitler is alleged to have said, ""Whoever wants to understand National Socialist Germany must know Wagner."
So the media's use of the word "conservative" is just another slander. It is high time for them to correct that smear. If the New York Times doesn't have a dictionary in the building, I will be happy to send them one.
James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/