December 19, 2005

Liberal Iran?

My good friend Karol of Alarming News had a post the other day that bothered me a bit. It concerned the lunatic president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has lately been calling for the destruction of the state of Israel, as well as espousing Holocaust denial.

Karol, in her post, rightly mocked an Iranian regime spokesman for stating that the West should show "tolerance" of the view that there was no Holocaust. But then she made an argument that gave me pause: "do they have the liberal playbook, or what?"

My first reaction was that Iran isn't so keen on allowing books, so even if there were such a thing as the "liberal playbook," they probably wouldn't even let it in their country.

In other words: Iran is a repressive, fascist, theocracy. If it's not the least liberal nation on Earth, it's at least in the bottom five. And there's nothing the slightest bit "liberal" about Holocaust denial, either. Just because a conservative such as Karol doesn't like Iran, and doesn't like liberals, it doesn't mean liberals and Iran are the same. In fact, they're polar opposites. This reminds me of those people who blamed John Walker Lindh's upbringing in Marin County for his joining the Taliban, as though membership in a fascist religious militia were a natural extension of teenage hippiedom.

Liberalism is a rich, Western political tradition that is responsible for the freedom that each of us in America enjoys. Iran has none of that, although it certainly could use a hell of a lot more. As for Holocaust denial or defense of it, if someone's a liberal, that's not their position, and if someone has that position, they're not a liberal.

I know that what Karol is saying is that some on the hard left overuse moral equivalence on the subject of the war on terrorism, and I certainly don't deny that. But I have, absolutely, never heard a leftist- no matter how crazy- stoop to advocating for "tolerance" of Holocaust denial. If that's an example of liberal moral equivalence, than it's the most extreme I can possibly imagine- as well as, as far as I can tell, fictional.

Sorry to pick on you Karol- and I feel bad that I had to miss the recent NYC holiday blogger bash.

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 19, 2005 04:56 PM
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