Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anthony Daniels (no free link) in the 2/8 National Review:
My experiences of Latin American revolutionary movements also led me to conclude that people rarely take to violence for the sake of freedom. Power is much more attractive to them than freedom, which necessitates the difficult discipline of toleration; liberation movements, so called, fight for the freedom to boss other people about because they know what is right for them. They are about the replacement of one elite by another, not infrequently worse because even more self-righteous.
All in all, I am skeptical of the prospects before Iran. The Iranian revolution of 1979 enjoyed support not because it promised freedom, at least in any form that we know it. And even if the current government committed electoral fraud, it was not on such a massive scale as to imply a population near-unanimously in favor of the government’s overthrow, let alone its violent overthrow, or a regime that commands absolutely no popular support. It is far from certain that a regime of the kind that the opposition would like to install would enjoy majority support, being based as it would be on an unrepresentative educated elite, in which case the possibilities for extremely violent conflict would be strong. It is very rare in history that freedom has emerged from such violence, and rarer still in countries like Iran; those who claim to fight for freedom have often been all too ready to resort to extreme force to defend their own power. I hope that I am wrong.