Protests in Iran: Who’s speaking out and who’s silent?

Anti-theocratic-authoritarian protests in Iran are good news for real liberals everywhere. So it’s important that we encourage the spread of human freedom and dignity — and shame those whose silence reveals either hypocrisy or cowardice.

I’m happy that two of my books have been translated into Persian/Farsi and published in Iran: Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault in 2013 and Nietzsche and the Nazis in 2015.

Books are only a part of the cultural battle, but the ideas in those books are essential, as the alternative to premodern theocracy is not postmodern leftism. As one relevant indicator, it’s worth remembering that Michel Foucault praised the theocratic revolution in Iran in the 1970s. That was after his membership in the Communist Party in the 1950s, and after his effusive Maoism in the 1960s. (Here’s a Foucault apologist with a half-hearted acknowledgement combined with a distancing.)

On the left, especially the far left, support for anti-liberal regimes of many stripes has been a constant theme. Genuine liberalism’s core commitments are to reason and freedom, and since both postmodern leftists and premodern theocrats are philosophically anti-reason and anti-freedom, they are naturally strategic allies with any enemy of political liberalism. Hence the silence of many so-called progressives and left-liberals in response to a threat to a theocratic regime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *