May 1, 2006

"Unfortunately, whenever there is talk of social corruption, fingers are pointed at women."

Said Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
"Certain prejudices against women have nothing to do with Islam," he said Friday, several days after lifting the ban [on women's attending sporting events]. The speech seemed to present him for the first time as a supporter of expanded rights for women. "Unfortunately, whenever there is talk of social corruption, fingers are pointed at women. Shouldn't men be blamed for the problems, too?"
That's quite a concession, that men might actually share some of the blame for social problems.

Why the feminist turn for Ahmadinejad? According to the article, it's a play for votes, albeit a risky one.

108 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Why the feminist turn for Ahmadinejad? According to the article, it's a play for votes, albeit a risky one.

His wife made him do it.

Bissage said...

Ann Althouse asked: "Why the feminist turn for Ahmadinejad?"

Perhaps it's his subtle way of reminding the world that he has hostages. Lots and lots of hostages.

SteveR said...

"Please overlook our development of nuclear weapons and the talk of wiping all those countries off the map, I think you should be able to go to sporting events." I know that's on the top of the wish list.

quietnorth said...

What do you all think: Is Ahmadinejad a "true believer" or an opportunist? (Not that they are mutually exclusive, of course!) What is the best backgrounder you have read on him?

Finn Kristiansen said...

I am still trying to decide if the Iranian president is in league with evil, a clever rhetoritician, or both.

I mean if you are busy telling people that you will knock Israel off the map and eat all their children, and that you will topple America (and take all their hot chicks, and eat their obese little children), well, you end up sounding really hardcore, like "YEA! YOU ROCK Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ,ALLAH BE PRAISED". Meanwhile, while looking all hard and down with Allah, and being on all the top Mullah party lists, you then have the flexibility to do just pure crazy stuff, like expanding women's rights.

I like this Iranian president, what with his casual jackets and over the top pronouncements. He seems too smart to actually believe what comes out of his own mouth.

Dawn said...

Wasn't this guy one of the leaders of the US embassey takeover in '79? I swore I read that he was.

Yeah, "we'll destroy you America, but we'll let our women attend soccer games, see how civilized we are?"

Yeesh.

Jacques Cuze said...

I am still trying to decide if the American president is in league with evil, a clever rhetoritician, or just an incompetent, corrupt, dolt.

I mean if you are busy telling people that you will knock Iraq and Iran and North Korea off the map and eat all their children, and that you will topple Iraq (and take all their oil, and give them a United States leaning democracy), well, you end up sounding really hardcore, like "YEA! YOU ROCK Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ,JEBUS BE PRAISED". Meanwhile, while looking all hard and down with JEBUS, and being on all the top Mullah party lists, you then have the flexibility to do just pure crazy stuff, like gutting civil rights, and giving the social security surplus that the 40somethings have paid for to your rich buddies.

I like this Iranian president, what with his casual jackets and over the top pronouncements. He seems too smart to actually believe what comes out of his own mouth.

But the American President? That's one crazy f*cking idiot. Dangerous and criminal. A Gangsta President.

Jennifer said...

Not only does this seem like a diversion (Eyes over here everybody! Please pay no attention to the nuclear development and murderous threats!) but it seems so silly.

Can you think of any right that the average woman would want less than the right to attend sporting events? How about the right not to die at your family's whim? How about the right to a simple education? And on and on.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacques Cuze said...

This is Iran Jennifer and not Iraq, please check your hatred of brown people, and get the right memes.

It also helps everyone if you read the article before commenting:

Women had been demanding the right to attend games for more than a decade...

and http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Asia-and-Oceania/Iran-EDUCATION.html

Literacy training has been a prime concern in Iran. For the year 2000, adult illiteracy rates were estimated at 23.1% (males, 16.3%; females, 30.0%). A literacy corps was established in 1963 to send educated conscripts to villages. During its first 10 years, the corps helped 2.2 million urban children and 600,000 adults become literate. In 1997, there were 9,238,393 pupils enrolled in 63,101 primary schools, with 298,755 teachers. The student-toteacher ratio stood at 31 to 1. In that same year, secondary schools had 8,776,792 students and 280,309 teachers. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 26 to 1 in 1999. In the same year, 83% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4.6% of GDP.

Education is virtually free in Iran at all levels, from elementary school through university. At university level, however, every student is required to commit to serve the government for a number of years equivalent to those spent at the university. During the early 1970s, efforts were made to improve the educational system by updating school curricula, introducing modern textbooks, and training more efficient teachers.


and from the liberally biased CIA:

Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.4%
male: 85.6%
female: 73% (2003 est.)

I will in no way try to defend "honor killing" which of course is completely indefensible and a crime against humanity. I will only note that "Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran has condemned the practice as "un-Islamic", though punishment under Iranian law remains lenient.

It like Darfur needs to be stopped and needs the attention of our President and our foreign policy.

Jacques Cuze said...

I so love SlipperyCheese's ad hominems. It's like an overstuffed executive chair sitting in my craftsman home with its mission furniture.

37383938393839383938383 said...

How about the right not to die at your family's whim? How about the right to a simple education?

Iranian women are highly educated, and while they are barred from careers in sanitation, for example, many are professors, lawyers, and doctors. What's more, many Islamic women gladly endure paternalism because its flipside is honor. Men who seek to protect you and in exchange demand adherence to strict social noams may be better than enlightened men who seek to exploit you simply because you have a vagina. Honor killings may be unjustifiable; but the same may be true of adultery.

dick said...

Gee, Qxxxooo, now you want our president to go in where we have no dog in the hunt at all and take action? How does that match where we do have a dog in the hunt - like Afghanistan and Iraq? If you want no action on the one hand and lots of action on the other, just what is your justification for any action at all?

Personally I think that if we are going to have a UN this is where it should be doing something to stop this with all the UN troops they have from the other 189 countries that promist freedom and the rights of man. Where are the other EU countries and the other African countries and the other members who complain about the big bad USA. Our lovely liberal LLL dems aren't saying much on this for the most part, Powell is the one who has done the most with Rice close behind and the president suggesting to NATO and the UN that this is their ball game to show they can do something. What do we hear from our liberals? The US should be doing something. Decide what you want our country to be. One minute you want us to pull back from everything and the next you want us to solve all the world's problems without regard to what others will think. But then I forgot that these are the people who talk a lot and do little.

Goesh said...

All this equal rights business in Iran means is more women in the audience when they hang people for being gay.

Steve Donohue said...

I like this Iranian president

May those words haunt you for the rest of your time commenting on this blog.

Jacques Cuze said...

What was our dog in Iraq that a $1B per year no fly zone, and UN Weapons Inspections weren't taking care of?

I agree with you, now that we are bogged down in an Iraqi quagmire that is costing us $10B per week, and have alienated the entire world, and demonstrated our incompetence, it does make it difficult to consider how we could form a coalition to go into Darfur.

But I thought doing something about Darfur was the Decider's demand? " The United States is appalled by the violence in Darfur, Sudan.... The world cannot ignore the suffering of more than one million people. The U.S. will continue to help relieve suffering, as we demand that the Jinjaweed disarm, and that the Government, Jinjaweed, and Darfur rebels end the violence."

Jacques Cuze said...

dick, this link by actual moderate Matthew Yglesias is for you.

Jacques Cuze said...

Meantime, I have to go to work.

SlipperyCheese will now resume his duties as the overstuffed chair.

MadisonMan said...

Wasn't this guy one of the leaders of the US embassey takeover in '79? I swore I read that he was.

I recall reading that also, but I thought it referred to the last President, the one who was more moderate.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

Google first, then post.

Yes, the current Iranian president was one of those who took over the US Embassy. Apparently, he also advocated taking over the Soviet Embassy as well.

I wonder how the world today would be different if both Embassies had been siezed. That would make a good alternative universe novel.

Henry said...

There's no historical law that says extreme nationalism can't be combined with social reform, of a sort. Ahmadinejad could be taking a page from Napoleon. Or Ataturk. Or Castro.

There's long been speculation that Iran could be subject to internal revolution, brought on by the resentment of its educated populace for the capricious tyranny of the Mullahs.

So perhaps Ahmadinejad's progressivism is sincere, or perhaps it's a calculated sop to the educated classes. Perhaps, Castro-like, he hopes to co-opt Western elites -- you know, the kind who might be inclined to consider Ahmadinejad a useful foil for their caricature of George Bush.

Elizabeth said...

It's hard to say whether this is an act of progressivism, and if so, what it signififies about Ahmadinejad. Yes, he was a student leader of the 1979 revolution. That doesn't tell me if he's a hard-line Islamist, or a Marxist. The revolution began as a Marxist one, and was quickly taken over by the Islamist faction. What's clear to me is that he, and his compatriots, very much enjoyed the power they had over people's daily lives. Marxist or Islamist, either is intrusive, commanding and micro-oriented in exerting control.

I find this guy capricious, and the more dangerous because of it.

Jacques Cuze said...

My dearest fellow liberal Elizabeth, of whom my mere existence is an offense to thy fair and pallid manner,

Yes, he was a student leader of the 1979 revolution

Link please.

To SlipperyCheese, where were you this morning? I tumbled out of the mini-cooper, along with 18 other of my fellow moonbats, and there was some idiot throwing footstools and table legs at us. It was quite fun, good thing I had a big red horn with me to alert the fire department.

Jennifer said...

Ok, well I've done some googling and apparently my memories of even the simplest education withheld from Iranian women are correct but ten years out of date. I'm glad to see that they've moved beyond declaring female education against sharia.

The UN Commission on Human Rights has indicated as recently as a few years ago that the penal codes in Iran still allow for defense of honor killings. And CriticalObserver, you may believe Islamic women gladly endure honor killings for the honor but I find that a little doubtful.

Quxxo, direct your inanity elsewhere. If I hated brown people, why would I care if brown women were killed or treated badly?

Women have been demanding all sorts of rights in Iran for the last decade and more. I continue to believe that entrance to sporting events is not a particularly large concession on the part of the president. Yes its a concession. But if Bush were to do the same thing you would pounce on it as an insignificant gesture that was politically motivated.

I do find myself agreeing with you for the first time ever. The thugs in Darfur need to be stopped. Absolutely.

37383938393839383938383 said...

CriticalObserver, you may believe Islamic women gladly endure honor killings for the honor but I find that a little doubtful.

Did I even come close to saying that? Not even! Talk about gross distortion. And from someone who, in the same breath, admits she makes blatantly false comments. Maybe you should attend a university class in Iran, so you'll learn to read with care and acquaint yourself with some up-to-date facts.

37383938393839383938383 said...

While this has nothing to do with Iran, it is directly related to my comment about Muslim women whose values, including their conceptions of gender and honor, differ from those of Western feminists.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7374-1548015,00.html

dave said...

there's actually some controvery over whether he was one of the hostage-takers. It seems that the final analysis was that he was NOT a hostage taker, but did advocate the storming of both embassies (US + USSR) - as he had previously proudly declared.

he's hard-line but, as far as I can tell, a deep believer in the principles of Islam. which don't actually support all of the prejudices against women that most Islamist countries codify. the 'conservatives' who oppose him are cultural conservatives, which we should be careful to separate from religious textualists. [nowadays, there's a difference between fundamentalists and fundamentals - see: Matthew 19:21-24 vs Bush tax policies)

true belief and opportunism are hard to pin down in the business of politics

Jennifer said...

For crying out loud, CriticalObserver. You likened honor killings to adultery and then claim I distort facts?

From your own article, it is acknowledged that the women fighting against women's rights were handpicked by men who are vociferously opposed to women's rights. Great source there, big guy.

You cannot possibly believe that the only options are the two extremes you offer - protective paternalism or exploitation of vaginas? Ridiculous!

MadisonMan said...

Link please.

Well jeeze, you link a bazillion times daily, and you can't do a simple googlification of the head honcho of Iran?

Here is one. You can find more here

Jacques Cuze said...

Yes, he was a student leader of the 1979 revolution

Okay, to clarify for the slow that come from Madison:

please.find.a.link.that.says.he.was.a.student.leader.of.the.1979.revolution.

a.student.leader.of.the.revolution.

a.leader.

a leader.

None of the respectable and recent sources can apparently claim he was a leader, though many suggest that he was either in planning sessions, or visited the embassy, or joined afterwards.

There is some really horrendously ugly claims that he was responsible for the children martyrs that led the fight into the Iraqi. A completely disgusting crime if true.

Jacques Cuze said...

The timing seems to place him in the right place at the right time. But I couldn't find any links that come close to showing he was a student leader of the revolution in 1979.

So please do supply a link.

knoxgirl said...

critical,

Oh please.

You blithely say "many Islamic women gladly endure paternalism because its flipside is honor," and then suggest that it "may be better than enlightened men who seek to exploit you simply because you have a vagina." --I'm not sure what sort of bizarro alternative this is that you're referring to.

Whether or not honor killings are legal this year(pathetic in itself) is beside the point... if their version of "honor" is one that tells me if behave myself I can go to a soccer game next week, I'm not interested.

37383938393839383938383 said...

From your own article, it is acknowledged that the women fighting against women's rights were handpicked by men who are vociferously opposed to women's rights.

1. No. The article is a profile of a female member of the Iraqi Parliament. She notes that some of the women are handpicked and some (like herself) are not. She has a Western education and her husband stays at home to tend to the kids while she is in parliament. You apparently did not read the article with care. You are also falling in the basic trap of assuming that your conception of "women's rights" is the universal "women's rights". Simply put, there are Harvard-educated female members of Iraqi Parliament who flat out disagree with you. Their disagreement with you does not invalidate their viewpoint or their legitimacy. I linked to a balanced article so that one could get a coherent picture of the situation. Unlike you, I did not cherry-pick my information.

2. I never said that honor killings are materially equivalent to adultery. They are, however, both wrong, and, in certain cultures, one wrong causes the other. The easiest way to eliminate the effect is to eliminate the cause. I am sure I could find quotes of educated Muslim saying very much the same thing. In fact, I linked to an article that you apparently did not read. Again, that a woman disagrees with you does not mean she lacks brains or a legitimate point of view. It just means she disagrees with you.

You blithely say "many Islamic women gladly endure paternalism because its flipside is honor," and then suggest that it "may be better than enlightened men who seek to exploit you simply because you have a vagina." --I'm not sure what sort of bizarro alternative this is that you're referring to.

I'm not sure where the blithe-ness comes in. Perhaps it came after me standing up for the many well-educated Iranian women who are lawyers, doctors, and professors and defending their right to have an independent mind, including the right to disagree with Western feminists. I think you are sadly misinformed if you think women must "behave" in order to go to soccer games. You are falling prey to the same trap of caricaturing Iranian culture and Muslim beliefs. There are many Muslim women who value Islam precisely for what you hate about it. All that really says is that you are not a Muslim woman. A woman isn't any less a woman just because she is religious. I'm not sure how freedom of speech and imposing Western-style feminism onto others is consistent. Apparently, you think the only women who should have rights are those who agree with you.

You cannot possibly believe that the only options are the two extremes you offer - protective paternalism or exploitation of vaginas? Ridiculous!

Apparently, you do not live in post-feminist America, or read any (up-to-date) feminist literature, because there is what we used to call pornography on free television nowadays. That is but one example of how the sexual revolution has led to women being objectified more, not less. Again, acquaint yourself with some facts, instead of simply spouting your opinion.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with honor killings, as opposed to adultery is that the later requires some sort of intent on the part of the woman. The former though in some cases only requires that the woman be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

One of the weirnesses of Islamic law (practiced, I believe, in Iran) is that the testimony of a woman only counts as half that of a man. This is backed by multiple references in the Koran. The effect is that in a he-says / she-says court case, she always loses, unless she has other corroborating witnesses, preferably male.

So, a guy rapes a woman. She says rape, he says consensual. If it goes to court, he walks, absent more. And then, she is identified as an adulteress (and is sometimes killed as a result to maintain the honor of her family).

Jennifer said...

CriticalObserver, read your own article. It neither claims this woman was educated in the West nor at Harvard. That appears to be your own addition.

Yes, she claims to have been picked for her brilliance not her towing the line. Of course, she tows the line. But that has nothing, NOTHING to do with her selection as a parliament member. Clearly.

In your own article, other Iraqi women are quoted thus: “It’s weakening our position,” Nada al-Bayiati, of the Women’s Organisation for Freedom in Iraq, said. “How can you argue for women’s rights when the women are undermining you?”

I'm not sure how you've decided that Ms. Bayiati is less qualified than Dr. Ubaedey to determine what "women's rights" are as they apply to Iraqi women.

For myself, someone like Dr. Ubaedey who says “If you say to a man he cannot use force against a woman, you are asking the impossible,” is not a credible source on women's rights. And she was a former pediatrician - let's just hope she didn't spend her time advising parents to beat their children.

37383938393839383938383 said...

CriticalObserver, read your own article. It neither claims this woman was educated in the West nor at Harvard. That appears to be your own addition.

1. No. I was referring to a different article in the New York Times that is behind the link-wall and one must pay for (that I also can't find right now). That article had more details about the specific pro-polygamy proposal and its subject's resume. You're welcome to search for it. It exists. I certainly didn't make up any facts, though; I just read more than one newspaper!

2. I never said there wasn't disagreement amongst Iraqi women; I think both points of view are valid -- again, that is why I linked to the article. My criticism of you was in your insistence on taking sides, and your pretense of having moral authority because of your supposed objective view of the situation. How can you puport to eb objective when you barely even seem to recognize that, according to the most recent polls, most Iraqi women agree with the non-secularists? Are most Iraqi women simply "towing the line" as you put it, or will you admit that it is possible that Iraqi women who disagree with you have valid points of view? I favor democracy, even if that means Iraqi women deciding to be ruled by sharia law. You simply oppose sharia law because you're secular. But you seem to ignore that you're also neither Muslim nor Iraqi (or Iranian). What you are is a Western feminist arguing that Islamic women are incapable of sincere belief in their faith.

Jennifer said...

CriticalObserver, I am not a feminist. Far from it. Nor am I secular. I'm just not Muslim.

I don't disagree that she fully believes men should beat women. (I, by the way, have no problem with polygamy.)

I also fully assume that people who beat their children feel they have a right to. I assume that people who murder other people for their money or their shoes or what have you feel that they have such a right. Even though darn near every civilized society tells them differently.

It doesn't mean they are right.

37383938393839383938383 said...

I don't disagree that she fully believes men should beat women.

That is clearly a misrepresentation of her view. She believes that it is impossible to prevent wife-beating from happening, so that it must be regulated in a way that avoids criminalizing basic human behavior. Her proposal is to allocate resources to criminalizing acts of wife-beating that actually leave marks. There is little difference between that view and legalizing possession of small amounts of drugs.

You insist on claiming that she is uncivilized simply because she disagrees with you. That kind of cultural condescension is precisely why Iran and North Korea sought nukes in the first place.

37383938393839383938383 said...

It is certainly a bizarre view to believe Muslim women do not have the right to be governed by Muslim law. That cannot be right.

Jennifer said...

You are misrepresenting her view. She did not say "If you say to all men they cannot use force against a woman, you are asking the impossible because some of them will do it anyway."

She said "If you say to a man he cannot use force against a woman, you are asking the impossible" Clearly she is stating that no man could refrain from beating his wife. And the way she states it implies that she believes this is because women deserve it.

Your insistence that she can say no wrong because she is different than us is the true cultural condescension.

Your claim that our "ugly Americanness" is why other countries develop nuclear weaponry is equally idiotic.

I do not subscribe to moral relativism. I can discern right from wrong even when the perpetrator is from another culture.

37383938393839383938383 said...

Clearly she is stating that no man could refrain from beating his wife. And the way she states it implies that she believes this is because women deserve it.

I do not see any implication that women deserve to be beat. The reason for her particular phrasing is that she is explicitly referring to the Koran, not because she hates women. The reason for the reference is obvious; she is saying that the Koran should be the basis of social policy. Perhaps you fail to spot this reference because you are ignorant or perhaps you fail to cede its significance because you do not think the Koran is a valid source of social policy. Again, you are not a Musliam woman, so why does your view matter?

Your insistence that she can say no wrong because she is different than us is the true cultural condescension.

There is no condescension here: unlike you, I believe in free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and democracy across-the-board. She is a member of Parliament advocating a social policy based on the Koran. The women in Iraq can vote. If Iraq's women want such policy, let them have it. What is morally suspect about self-governance? Why are you so afraid to let women voice their preferences? Are you sure you are a woman?

"Your claim that our 'ugly Americanness' is why other countries develop nuclear weaponry is equally idiotic."

I never used the term ugly Americanness. But it is common sense that countries with little power over foreign affairs and grand histories of great influence over foreign affairs have inferiority complexes. North Kores thinks of itself as a great dynasty, as does Iran. Having nukes is a source of national pride, and it changes the way that the world's only superpower treats you. Nukes equal respect. Poll after poll reflects that understanding amongst the Pakistani, the Indian, and the Iranian people. I guess they are all idiots because you say so.

Aspasia M. said...

Clearly, Iranian women do not enjoy full civil or political rights.

I suppose if one believed in theocratic rule and was ok and so was segregation, and unequal rule of law, and what not, one could be ok with that.

That's not my political philosophy. I believe that states have the obligation to fully endow citizenship upon adult members of said country.
----

I very much enjoyed reading Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran. I reccomend it to anyone looking for a good book.

37383938393839383938383 said...

I suppose if one believed in theocratic rule and was ok and so was segregation

Do you have any proof that racial segregation exists in Iran? I am sure you aware that the strict gender roles in Islam are, at least according to the Koran, for the mutual benefit and full equality of both genders. It seems that your argument comes down to believing that Muslims cannot have sincere belief in their faith or that Islam is incompatible with civilization or democracy. And simply because one does not live in a European-style secularist welfare state does not mean that one lives in a theocracy. We are talking about voluntary Muslims.

Jennifer said...

CriticalObserver, apparently you justify anything and everything as long as it is backed up with sincere belief. I disagree with you too.

We are talking about voluntary Muslims.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiight, like Abdul Rahman.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ahmadinejad is reputed to be a follower of a fundamentalist sect of Shia Islam where they are waiting for the imminent reappearance of the 12th Iman, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who disappeared (went into occlusion) a millenium or so ago. The theory is that he will only reappear at the end of the world (their version of Armageddon), as their Messiah (Mahdi). There is also a question as to whether this sect may also believe that they should hasten Armageddon in order to hasten the return of this 12th Imam.

There is a rumor that when Ahmadinejad was mayor of Tehron, he renamed and refurbished a street for the imminent coming of the Mahdi.

Think of it this way. Most Shia believe in the 12th Iman and his ultimate coming. But this guy belongs to a sect that believes that the recoming is imminent, and that he should hasten it through Armageddon. This is like the difference between Christians who believe in the 2nd Coming of Christ, and those who are making plans for it happening in the next year or so.

37383938393839383938383 said...

No. I think that one has to have tolerance for sincerely held religious beliefs if one believes free exercise of religion is an essential part of a functional democratic state. I also think that pretending all Muslim women are conscripts into their own religious faith and pretending that all Muslim women who support using the Koran as a basis for social policy are equivalent to slaves is beyond unreasonable.

Jennifer said...

I think if the countries we are talking about were truly "functional democratic states" where freedom of religion was fully accorded, you might have a point.

I also think pretending that all women living under theocratic Muslim governments are operating with a full range of options is beyond reasonable.

37383938393839383938383 said...

I think if the countries we are talking about were truly "functional democratic states" where freedom of religion was fully accorded, you might have a point. I also think pretending that all women living under theocratic Muslim governments are operating with a full range of options is beyond reasonable.

1. You are begging the question. What you think is the right "range of options" is not what most Muslim women think the right "range of options" is. They have a right to choose a different "range of options" than you would choose if the choice were yours to make.

2. You, apparently, do not think Iraqi or Afghanistani women have the right to vote...?

Eli Blake said...

Iranian women do have the right to go to school, vote, drive a car and have some civil rights in matters like divorce, inheritance, etc. This puts them way ahead of their sisters in places like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, etc.

As far as the nuclear ambitions, all I have to say about that is if the President of a country that could wipe you off the map called you a member of the 'axis of evil,' and then conquered the country next door to you that he described the same way, then you'd be working as hard as you could on developing a nuke too.

Point of fact: no nuclear armed country has ever been invaded by another country. That even include Israel, which fought four wars against foreign countries in it's first 25 years, but since developing nukes in the late 1970's, has not even fought one.

Iran is developing nukes. Because they do work-- as a deterrent.

Henry said...

Critcal-O, do you realize that, at best, you're arguing for the tyranny of the majority? At worst, you might consider this:

"The government required exit permits for foreign travel for draft-age men and citizens who were politically suspect....Women must obtain the permission of their husband, father, or another male relative to obtain a passport. Married women must receive written permission from their husbands before leaving the country."

Steve Donohue said...

no nuclear armed country has ever been invaded by another country.

Falkland Islands

37383938393839383938383 said...

It isn't tyranny if it is consented to.

37383938393839383938383 said...

Henry,

In the interest of fairness and objectivity, I wonder why you didn't link to this:

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61745.htm

Aspasia M. said...

Do you have any proof that racial segregation exists in Iran?

I'm talking about gender segregation and the lack of civil rights, such as the inability of women to attend sports events.

That's one small example of how adult Iranian women have been prohibited from participating in the public sphere. This is an abridgement of their civil rights.

(Civil rights= being seated in restaurants, ect.)

It seems that your argument comes down to believing that Muslims cannot have sincere belief in their faith or that Islam is incompatible with civilization or democracy.

1) I wonder what you think of Turkey?

2) I believe in a political philosophy that endows adult citizens with certain inalienable rights that the state cannot take away. One of these rights is a concept of "liberty."

(Voting is only one of these liberties. And the majority cannot vote to take away these citizenship rights. This political philosphy can be found in the writing of T. Jefferson or T. Paine.)

This concept of liberty demands that full citizenship rights be provided and protected by the state to adult citizens.

And simply because one does not live in a European-style secularist welfare state does not mean that one lives in a theocracy.

I believe that Iran is a theocracy. Apparently our definitions of theocracy differ.

knoxgirl said...

Jennifer,

forget it. Critical Observer is basically arguing that you are disrespecting these women by wanting better lives and more rights for them than the ones she insists they willingly settle for. whatever.

37383938393839383938383 said...

Critical Observer is basically arguing that you are disrespecting these women by wanting better lives and more rights for them than the ones she insists they willingly settle for.

"Better" to you and "more" rights from your point of view. Many of them, on the other hand, think you live in a porn-staturated culture, in a country where men disgrace women daily, and where families are easily ripped apart because they are not valued as social institutions. They think your existence is so dreary and dry and empty and mechanistic and joyless that they call your country "the Great Satan." (Yes, it is my country too, and I love it. But at least I recognize that my love of country is an emotion that isn't necessarily rational; and that not everyone wants to live exactly how Americans do.)

37383938393839383938383 said...

That's one small example of how adult Iranian women have been prohibited from participating in the public sphere. This is an abridgement of their civil rights.

It would be in the US. It would not be in a nation where the Koran is the measuring stick for valid social policy.

37383938393839383938383 said...

I believe in a political philosophy that endows adult citizens with certain inalienable rights that the state cannot take away. One of these rights is a concept of "liberty."

1. Why limit it to adults? Once you accept there can be limits based on paternalism, you have a hard time squaring that with a rejection of paternalism based on the Koran in a country where the Koran is a valid basis for social policy.
2. Liberty is a concept, but people have different conceptions of it. Even if everyone agreed that liberty is an inalienable right, we still migth disagree about what liberty meant. You're begging the question again.

I believe that Iran is a theocracy. Apparently our definitions of theocracy differ.

I don't remember setting out a definition. But I think you're just calling it a theocracy because to you "theocracy = bad." My whole criticism of your position is that you're negating the value of the choices that other women make just because they are others. I call that "ethnocentrism".

Aspasia M. said...

Critial Observer,

I agree with T. Jefferson and others who carefully defined a concept of a democratic republic in the late 18th century.

If you believe in something else, that's your buisness.

37383938393839383938383 said...

I agree with T. Jefferson and others who carefully defined a concept of a democratic republic in the late 18th century.

I think that France had a viable conception of liberty at around the same time. America is not the only country with a conception of or tradition of liberty. Sorry, but I do not believe that every country and every culture must be identical to America's to have valid existence: that is where we disagree.

Jennifer said...

Knoxgirl: Yes, I'm beginning to understand the earlier poster's comment on another thread about the dangers of wrestling in the mud with a pig.

The porcine kind, not the chauvinist kind, mind you.

37383938393839383938383 said...

It is tragic when one must resort to ad hominems. I will note that, generally speaking, female members of Parliament in Iraq do not use ad hominems: they are civilized.

Aspasia M. said...

Here's a link that lists some of the Iranian laws that discriminate against women.

http://www.wfafi.org/laws.pdf

A taste:

A woman cannot leave her home without her husband's permission, not even to attend her father's funeral.

and

Unequal inheritance rights. A woman's inheritance may only be half that of a man's.

and

Married women must have their husband's permission to apply for a passport.
-----
I haven't even gone into the physical punishments for women if they leave the house without the proper hejab.


Like I said again: Certain liberties are unalienable rights of which citizens cannot be dispossessed by the state. It's the difference between freedom and tyranny.

Jacques Cuze said...

The porcine kind, not the chauvinist kind, mind you.

Ha ha! Something I love about non-gendered pseudonyms is that no one can tell for sure what your gender, color, religion, species is.

It helps buttress the claim that arguments should be based on their content, and anonymity helps in that endeavor.

Who are you referring to as a chauvinist?

37383938393839383938383 said...

Like I said again: Certain liberties are unalienable rights of which citizens cannot be dispossessed by the state. It's the difference between freedom and tyranny.

I agree with the sentiment and would note that reasonable persons can differ over what is included in the set of inalienable rights that the state cannot take away, e.g., if you believe that a certain set of rights are inalienable because Allah grants them, then that set of inalienable rights does not include liberties that contradict the Koran.

Jacques Cuze said...

Or like slavery, universal suffrage, right to privacy....

37383938393839383938383 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jennifer said...

Who are you referring to as a chauvinist?

Nobody at all. That's why I clarified.

The saying, I believe, refers to getting down to the same level as someone who prefers slinging mud.

Not referring to your opponent as a pig.

Jennifer said...

It is tragic when one must resort to ad hominems.

How on earth is that an ad hominem attack?

You have consistently resorted to twisting my words around rather than responding to the substance of my argument.

Seems rather like wallowing around in the muck than debating.

Aspasia M. said...

To clarify:
I believe there are certain liberties that are unalienable, and no state has the right to violate them.

I agree with the sentiment and would note that reasonable persons can differ over what is included in the set of inalienable rights that the state cannot take away,

The comments section has listed a variety of laws that I believe violate inalienable liberties.

Do you believe that current Iranian laws violate those inalienable rights?

Is your concept of liberty offended?

37383938393839383938383 said...

You have consistently resorted to twisting my words around rather than responding to the substance of my argument.

That is just sad. Everyone here has treated your arguments with dignity, even when you had to admit that what you had said was demonstrably false and a decade out-of-date. More than one poster on here has had to correct your assertions. No "twisting" was necessary. Have some grace.

37383938393839383938383 said...

The comments section has listed a variety of laws that I believe violate inalienable liberties.

You have truncated my quote. Let me reprint the whole thing, just in case you missed it, because it fully answers your question:

I agree with the sentiment and would note that reasonable persons can differ over what is included in the set of inalienable rights that the state cannot take away, e.g., if you believe that a certain set of rights are inalienable because Allah grants them, then that set of inalienable rights does not include liberties that contradict the Koran.

I would note that in a state where the Koran is the measuring stick of valid social policy, social policy is unlikely to correspond to the opinion of someone who hates Islam.

Jennifer said...

For crying out loud, CriticalObserver. My comment reflected solely on your "debating".

You know, insisting I claimed this woman "hates women" and is "uncivilized" and that my disagreement with her point of view amounts to "cultural condescension".

Regardless. You say ad hominem, I say calling it like it is.

37383938393839383938383 said...

You know, insisting I claimed this woman "hates women"

You twisted a good faith reference by a Iraqi female politician to the Koran into her implying that women deserved to be beaten. Anyone can scroll up to see it.

Aspasia M. said...

I agree with the sentiment and would note that reasonable persons can differ over what is included in the set of inalienable rights that the state cannot take away, e.g., if you believe that a certain set of rights are inalienable because Allah grants them, then that set of inalienable rights does not include liberties that contradict the Koran.

I have re-printed your quote.

I still do not understand if you believe that the Iranian laws discussed in this comment section violate your own sense of liberty?

Are you, personally, willing to accept those laws? Or do they violate your sense of liberty?

And I have a question about your sense of what an unalienable right is:

Do you believe that unalienable rights differ between countries?

In other words, do you believe an American women is entitled to unalienable rights that an Iranian woman is not entitled to?

37383938393839383938383 said...

In other words, do you believe an American women is entitled to unalienable rights that an Iranian woman is not entitled to?

"The destiny of the woman must be shaped to a large extent on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society." This is from Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I agree with this passage. I cannot agree with you that all women are identical and all share the same interests. I believe that women are individuals.

37383938393839383938383 said...

I still do not understand if you believe that the Iranian laws discussed in this comment section violate your own sense of liberty?

I am not Iranian. I do not believe I have a right to impose my beliefs on Iranians.

Jacques Cuze said...

CriticalObserver, I was referring to what we regard as rights now in our culture that were not regarded as rights in 1776.

I absolutely have no idea what the Koran states, and I have found your comments very interesting.

37383938393839383938383 said...

Quxxo,
Ah! I gotcha. Ok, that was a good comment then. Thanks for clarifying.

Aspasia M. said...

Minority Religions in Iran:

I wonder if Critical Observer believes that the liberty of Jews and other minority religions are infringed upon in Iran?


Under the Phalevi Dynasty, established in 1925, the country was secularized and oriented toward the West. This greatly benefited the Jews, who were emancipated and played an important role in the economy and in cultural life. On the eve of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, 80,000 Jews lived in Iran. In the wake of the upheaval, tens of thousands of Jews, especially the wealthy, left the country, leaving behind vast amounts of property.

The Islamization of the country has brought about strict control over Jewish educational institutions. Before the revolution, there were some 20 Jewish schools functioning throughout the country. In recent years, most of these have been closed down. In the remaining schools, Jewish principals have been replaced by Muslims. In Teheran there are still three schools in which Jewish pupils constitute a majority. The curriculum is Islamic, and Persian is forbidden as the language of instruction for Jewish studies. Special Hebrew lessons are conducted on Fridays by the Orthodox Otzar ha-Torah organization, which is responsible for Jewish religious education. Saturday is no longer officially recognized as the Jewish sabbath, and Jewish pupils are compelled to attend school on that day. There are three synagogues in Teheran, but since 1994, there has been no rabbi in Iran, and the bet din does not function. 4

excerpted from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/iranjews.html

Aspasia M. said...

I still do not understand if you believe that the Iranian laws discussed in this comment section violate your own sense of liberty?

I am not Iranian. I do not believe I have a right to impose my beliefs on Iranians.


Do Iranians have the right to impose their beliefs on other Iranians?

Do you believe in the tyranny of the majority?

I do not. I believe in liberty that cannot be infinged upon by the state.

If a state decides to oppress Judiasm, I believe that state has infringed upon the inalienable liberty of people who wish to practice that religion.

Iran has oppressed Judiasm, Zorastrianism, and the Baha'i religion, all of which are historic to Persia.

Aspasia M. said...

Is this an example of liberty?


At least 13 Jews have been executed in Iran since the Islamic revolution 19 years ago, most of them for either religious reasons or their connection to Israel. For example, in May 1998, Jewish businessman Ruhollah Kakhodah-Zadeh was hanged in prison without a public charge or legal proceeding, apparently for assisting Jews to emigrate.7

me said...

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Dear ladies and gentlemen: I know it is hard, but I recommend not engaging in agrument with CriticalObserver, it is not worth your time and energy. Of course, everyone is free to do as they like.

Aspasia M. said...

me,

Yeah, you're right.

I knew a family of Jews who had to immigrate from Persia.

altoids1306 said...

It's really easy - he knows that the easiest way to enlist the sympathies of the media and the Left is to pay lip services to these issues.

And from reading a random sampling of these comments, it seems to be working.

Eli Blake said...

Steve Donohue:

no nuclear armed country has ever been invaded by another country.

Falkland Islands

3:08 PM, May 01, 2006


True, I'd forgotten about that one. Although the Argentines could be reasonably confident that the British weren't going respond by lobbing a couple of nukes into Buenos Aires. Had they actually invaded the British mainland that would be a different scenario.

It still makes a lot of sense from the Iranian point of view to develop a nuclear deterrent because then they can feel reasonably confident that the U.S. or anyone else won't be able to conquer them simply because of the threat that when faced with imminent defeat they could use nukes to blow up entire armies of invaders (and there would not even have to be a delivery mechanism, just leave on a countdown in some abandoned basement in a town or building that the army is heading towards and let it blow up on its own).

So I still believe nukes are a pretty good deterrent against an invasion. Also keep in mind that North Korea was a member of the 'axis of evil' but has nukes, so the U.S. won't touch them, but Iraq did not and was conquered. That distinction has not been lost on Iran.

Bruce Hayden said...

An interesting conumdrum. We believe in TJ's philosophy that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". And to us, in a Judeo-Christian society, their defintion is self evident, and by our current understanding, violated in strickly Islamic society, esp. when it comes to women.

But then, if the "Creator" is Allah, and his will has been written down in the Koran, etc., you might come to a different conclusion about fundamental rights. If the Koran calls for women having half the worth of men, then so be it, that is His divine will.

This is going to keep coming up and coming up in the coming years. We are already seeing it in Europe, where Moslems are insisting that Europeans put aside their long held concepts of liberty and human rights for their Muslim citizens, and, instead allow them to govern themselves under Sharia law.

But many of the differences are such that Sharia is not acceptable in western liberal societies. For example, we just aren't going to let citizens in our country (or Europeans in theirs) be treated as half citizens just because they happen to have twice the X chromosones. And we aren't about to allow stoning of homosexual males, even if one of them is Moslem.

At one time, I don't think that it would have been all that bad to trust Moslems to treat their Christian and Jewish citizens as almost equal. But today, many Moslem countries have lost whatever tolerance they once had for other religions, which leaves Moslems living in Judeao-Christian countries.

For us, the solution is not all that hard though. If you accept that not all cultures are equivalent, and believe that our definition of liberty is superior, then you are fairly immune to the call to allow Moslems to practice Sharia law here. It is only if you accept the notion that all cultures are equivalent, that you get into this problem.

p.s. What is that wheelchair by the word verification? The link is invalid, and I can't see that sitting in a wheelchair would keep someone from blogging.

Mary said...

OPPOSING PSA:

Thanks for defending/explaining yourself, Critical Observer. I think you contributed to the discussion.

I agree with the general concept of autonomy. All cultures are not equal, but we have to accept that and use persuasion to work through our differences. Good intentions don't always mean good results.

Doesn't mean we bury our heads, just that we acknowledge it won't be possible to militarily intervene across the globe.

A good craftsman has many tools in the toolbox, and knows how and when to use them. Same with a good police officer.

Eli Blake said...

Bruce Hayden:

It is supposed to be a link by which you can listen rather than read the word (I guess if you are a legally blind blogger.) But frankly that would be insulting in itself, thinking that the wheelchair has anything to do with visual impairment.

Jennifer said...

Eli: That was my first thought, too. I'm assuming the link is for people who've complained about the difficulty of reading the verification word. But why would they be associated with a wheelchair? Odd.

Johnny Nucleo said...

"As far as the nuclear ambitions, all I have to say about that is if the President of a country that could wipe you off the map called you a member of the 'axis of evil,' and then conquered the country next door to you that he described the same way, then you'd be working as hard as you could on developing a nuke too."

This is true. But if the United States, the most powerful nation in history, a nation so powerful compared to any other power in history that it's pretty goddamn scary, acted in a milquetoast manner to a spectacular attack on it's home soil - which is what the invasion of Afghanistan and only the invasion of Afghanistan without dealing with our most famous enemy, Saddam, would have been - you would work as hard as you could to develop a nuke too, but not for defense. For freedom of action.

Geopolitics is very street. This is disturbing, but it is so.

Johnny Nucleo said...

Jennifer and CriticalObserver:

Great debate. I'm hesistant to write this because I too like to fight hard on this site, but I don't think you should be using quxxo-level artillery on each other. I'm a hypocrite, I know. I don't care!

CriticalObserver is right that ultimately, as long as they don't act dangerously, a people can choose the society they want. But Jennifer is right that Sharia Law is evil and if we fancy ourselves a moral people we should be against it.

bearbee said...

"We are already seeing it in Europe, where Moslems are insisting that Europeans put aside their long held concepts of liberty and human rights for their Muslim citizens, and, instead allow them to govern themselves under Sharia law."

In 1991 the province of Ontario had authorized the use of sharia law in civil arbitrations, if both parties consented. Just recently, Sept 2005, Ontario
rejected Sharia law.

I am surprised how little discussion there is about its possibility in the US.

37383938393839383938383 said...

I do not think one can call sharia law evil without listening in good faith to and reflecting upon, e.g., sincere arguments made by Muslim women who find it liberating.

I also never made the claim that all cultures are equivalent. But calling a culture evil simply because you believe it is evil ... what ever happened to falsifiable or verifiable statements? What are your criteria for calling it evil? What are your criteria for rejecting someone else's conception of liberty? You can't just call other people evil and attack them. That's what Osama bin Laden does.

You have to make a case on the basis of facts; not belief.

37383938393839383938383 said...

Just to illustrate, I would never support attacking Iran because sharia law upsets Christian housewives in New Hampshire. But I would support attacking Iran because it is likely to get nukes and make the world a much more dangerous place.

37383938393839383938383 said...

If you accept that not all cultures are equivalent, and believe that our definition of liberty is superior, then you are fairly immune to the call to allow Moslems to practice Sharia law here.

Sure, but one can recognize that our conception of liberty is superior here and their conception of liberty is superior there. They are called territorial boundaries.

Henry said...

It all depends what your definition of "superior" is. C-O, I know you were picking up the word "superior" from Bruce's post, but I'm not sure how equivalence of superiority has anything to do with with territorial boundaries. Did you mean to use the word "inviolate"?

I personally wouldn't use the word "superior" since it lacks clarity. I would be inclined to use the word "broader".

I prefer a broader definition of liberty. At its core, my doubts about the Islamist state derive not from its narrower definition of liberty, but its broader definition of the power of the state. Because of the latter, those people living within the Islamist state that might want broader liberties have no recourse. Often, they can't even leave.

37383938393839383938383 said...

No, I meant that Iran is not governed by the American constitution. It is outside of our territory.

Thorley Winston said...

I am surprised how little discussion there is about its possibility in the US.

I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the thought of Shari law becoming established in the United States. Republicans (rightfully) are already skeptical of allowing foreign law (aside from treaties cases and limited cases of English common law for early constitutional interpretation) and Democrats realize that it would be suicidal.

Johnny Nucleo said...

CritcalObserver,

Morality is not based on fact. Try as you may, it is impossible for you to prove to me factually that murder is "evil". You can prove to me that murder is destructive, that it is bad for your health, that societies that allow murder will die out, but that's it. You might say, "Well that's evil, isn't it?" but you would be basing that on the idea that healthy is "good", which again cannot be proven factually. Healthy is "good" in your opinion because life is "good" in your opinion, but you cannot factually prove that life is "good" because concepts of good and evil, unlike concepts of healthy and unhealthly, are not rational concepts. They are metaphysical or spiritual or religious concepts. Reason tells us what is. Reason is silent on what should be.

I think Osama Bin Laden is evil. I suspect you do too. Does that make us the same as Osama? Of course not. That one believes something or other is evil is irrelevent. What's relevent is what one thinks is evil.

Just because I think Sharia Law is evil doesn't give me the right to say Iranians, if they want to, can't live under Sharia Law. For me to impose my will on them would be an even greater evil. Though it is my opinion that if one truly understands freedom, one will never choose slavery.

Mark said...

I do not think one can call sharia law evil without listening in good faith to and reflecting upon, e.g., sincere arguments made by Muslim women who find it liberating.

What about the women who live in Iran who don't find sharia law "liberating?"

I imagine that if you looked hard enough back in 1850, you could have found an African-American slave in the American South who said that he liked being owned by his white master.

I imagine that if you looked hard enough in 1943, you could have found a Jew in a concentration camp who said that he enjoys living in the concentration camp.

Even if we were naive enough to believe that the slave and the Jew were speaking freely, instead of simply saying what their captors wanted them to say, isn't is plausible that there would be other slaves and Jews who would think, even if they couldn't safely express, that they hated living under slavery or in a concentration camp?

That's why the question should be posed directly: Do the human rights available to Iranian women offend one's sense of liberty and justice.

It is evasion to say, "Well, yes. If that's what they want?"

If women are voluntarily killed in honor killings then I suppose Iran has its own bizarre version of assisted suicide. But that's not what we are talking about, is it?

bearbee said...

"Morality is not based on fact."

If morality is defined as conforming to a standard of what is right and good then must it not be based on fact when that standard is violated?

Johnny Nucleo said...

"If morality is defined as conforming to a standard of what is right and good then must it not be based on fact when that standard is violated?"

Whether or not the standard is violated is of course a fact. But the standard itself is not. It is an opinion, a theory of ought, which cannot be proven or disproven.

Actions are observable phenomena. If the standard is: It is right and good to sacrifice virgins to appease the gods, you can prove or disprove that I have sacrificed virgins to appease the gods, because you can watch me and see what I do. But you cannot prove or disprove that it is right and good to sacrifice virgins to appease the gods.

You may think it is wrong and evil to sacrifice virgins to appease the gods, but that's just your opinion. Many societies throughout history have had a different opinion.

As thinking people we must accept that if morality is something other than opinion its Source must be something other than Man.

The Source of Science is not Man. The Source of Mathematics is not Man. The Source of Beauty is not Man. The Source of Truth is not Man. Man did not invent these things. He just discovered them. Or rather, He was made to recognize them.

In my opinion.

bearbee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bearbee said...

So there is no good or bad, right or wrong, there just is.....

Standards of good, bad, right, wrong evolved through emotionalism, need to survive and cooperate, the position of the stars, pain, etc.

37383938393839383938383 said...

The recent flare up has, again, misconstrued my point. Moral standards can be put into constitutions. Even so, the American constitution does not govern Iran.

Johnny Nucleo said...

"So there is no good or bad, right or wrong, there just is.....Standards of good, bad, right, wrong evolved through emotionalism, need to survive and cooperate, the position of the stars, pain, etc."

No. Good and Evil are real. You know they are.

Logic is based on Reason. Reason tells us what is. If Good and Evil are real, that means...

Holy shit.