Thursday, July 30, 2009

Iran is a tyranny, so stop dancing with dictators

My letter to the Wall Street Journal (below) was printed today in response to a column stating that Iran was not technically a tyranny, which, of course, it is.

Francis Fukuyama misunderstands “kind” and “degree” in considering whether Iran is a tyranny (“Iran, Islam and the Rule of Law,” op-ed, July 28).

A free country is determined by two things: a constitution that honors individual rights, and an electoral process that honors citizens’ rights to choose who will govern strictly by that constitution. Iran has neither. It has a constitution that does not define and/or outline individual rights, and its elections have nothing to do with who actually enacts power—and are not subject to critical review by a free press or free courts. As a result, Iranian citizens are subjected to imprisonment and outright murder without habeas corpus or objective judicial review, and they “vote” in farcical elections whose results are simply ignored or fabricated by fanatics.

Mr. Fukuyama’s mincing on the kind of government in Iran is shared by the current occupant of the Oval Office, and that kind of moral cowardice is responsible for the current dancing with dictators. Iran may not be a tyranny to the degree that North Korea is, but it kills its own and exports its death squads across its borders just like all tyrannies of history have done and must do.


Daniel said...

Congrats David! That said, shouldn't the "determined" in the first sentence be something like "impossible without"?

For example, the US now has both of the things that you mentioned but its individuals are sadly unfree in many or most areas (and growing).

On a relative basis with Iran it is thankfully still easy to see a huge difference in freedom between the two, but it's hard for Iran to get worse and the US isn't exactly heading in the right direction.

I think the crucial thing that needs to be added--and that many of the better conservatives (such as exist) have to learn--is that political freedom is dependent upon a particular kind of structure...

...A structure that the US once had but was dismantled when senators became directly elected.

David Elmore said...

Hey Daniel. Thanks.
I used "determined" because the original opinion writer was directing his thoughts towards constitutions and electoral processes, so the point revolved around what must be determined in those documents to set the groundwork for subsequent freedom. I felt like it was implied with my audience that the citizens then must abide by that constitution to ensure that they remain free. After all, written documents are meaningless if they are dismissed by the masses and their representatives, as they are now in America to a large degree.
Also, the U.S. never completely honored individual rights in the Constitution, and THAT is one of the main reasons we're heading down the slipper slope. We need a new Constitution that defines "rights" and "liberty" and "the nature of humans" and "property" and "rationality" etc.

Daniel said...

Fair enough. Thanks for the additional context--and it makes sense now. :-)

David Elmore said...

Great, thanks! :)