Iran: “Conservatives” and Liberals

Comment by David Yeagley below. I add some further notes at the foot of his post

In the great American liberal media, the word “conservative” represents the bad guys, the meanies. Any liberal media report on Iran’s current crisis will use the world “conservative” in reference to the mullahs, Ahmadinejad, and the present regime. By contrast, anyone who respects human rights (sometimes called “freedom”) is to be called “liberal.”

The truth is exactly the opposite. This is not something that should be ignored, unnoticed, or not condemned.

Liberals think the conservatives are those clinging to tradition, or to “their guns or religion,” as Barry Soetoro, acting US president, declared. This is a highly relative, subjective call. When applied to the country of Iran, liberal media shows the classic example of partiality, selective history, and gigantic ignorance.

The tradition of Iran is Persia. The foundational identity of Persia is the reign of the Achamenid emperors, from Cyrus the Great (560-530 BC) through Darius III (336-330 BC). This is the era known for general humanitarian sentiments, internationalism, and advanced civilization. This is Iran. Islam is an Arab religion, brought to Iran by the invading slaughters from Arabia in the 8th century AD. There is nothing Persian about this religion, language, or culture. Iran’s Persian culture has survived today because of patriots like Ferdowsi, Persian patriots, who resisted the Arab Islamicist’s attempt to obliterate Persian glory.

The Iranians who want to honor and preserve their Persian identity are the true conservatives of Iran. The mullahs are coercivists, just like American liberals, like Barry Soetoro in the White House, who want to coerce their ideas on the American people. Coercion is the liberal way.

It is a grave error to equate American conservatism with the Islamic regime in Iran. This is simply grossly mistaken, and should not be ignored. The AP wire by “ALI AKBAR DAREINI and BRIAN MURPHY” demonstrates the typical error:
a state-run television channel reported that a suicide bombing at the shrine of the Islamic Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini killed at least two people and wounded eight. The report could be not independently evaluated due to government restrictions on journalists. If proven true, the reports could enrage conservatives and bring strains among backers of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Note that the “conservatives” are those who support the Islamic regime. Therefore, the “liberals” must be anyone who opposes them.

I say it is time to correct this error. Liberals in America will of course try to take credit for anything good that comes out of the opposition movement in Iran. It’s time the lying deceivers were exposed.


This same problem arose in the dying days of the old Soviet union. Hardliners there too were often called "conservatives" in the Western media. Journalists saw nothing strange in calling Communists "conservatives"! That is the sort of blindness that could only come out of Left-dominated journalism schools.

The mistake arises from the very simple-minded nature of Leftism. Leftists define the political spectrum purely in terms of attitude to the status quo. They are against it so conservatives must be for it. But conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were great changers of the status quo so does that make them Leftists? Clearly not. So defining politics solely in terms of attitude to the status quo is brain-dead. While it is true that rejection of the status quo defines Leftists pretty well, what defines conservatives is something quite different: A desire for individual liberty. But Leftists know that to change the status quo significantly you need coercive power: the power of government in particular. And conservatives don't want to be coerced. They want individuals to be able to make their own decisions as freely as possible. So that is why the Left and the Right clash.

The Soviets, the Ayatollahs and American "liberals" are the ones who are three peas in a pod: They all depend on the coercive power of the State in order to get their way. Conservatives don't want to get their way. They just want to be left alone to do their own thing. Sadly, however, we have to fight the left in order to be left alone. I say much more about the nature of conservatism here -- with particular reference to the history and psychology of conservatism

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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