Any monarchist today should be as appalled as I am at the number of people today who have any sympathy or, worse yet, support for the Islamic Republic of Iran. One can see this on both ends of the political spectrum and even among groups claiming to be neither left or right. You hear, in the west, people on the left saying that Iran is the poor, put upon victim of western bullying and that the countries of the west are somehow making the Iranian regime violent and belligerent by refusing to treat them the same as other countries that do not do things like stone people to death or sponsor terrorism around the world. On the other hand, there are those on the far right who have adopted the Iranian regime as some sort of hero for doing things like defying the liberal west, calling for violence against Israel and executing homosexuals. Then, there are also those few in the libertarian camp who argue that if we would only adopt a free trade treaty with Iran, they would eventually be converted to western liberalism through the benefits of capitalism. It makes for quite a witch’s supper with religious radicals being on the same side as socialist and capitalist atheists. However, as a monarchist, it astounds and disgusts me even more that anyone describing themselves as a monarchist or any sort of believer in traditional authority could be in any way sympathetic or supportive of the current Islamic Republic of Iran.
The current Islamic regime came to power by means of a violent revolution that was co-opted (as so many revolutions are) by an exiled fanatic who was a traitor to his country, his sovereign and, I dare say, even his religion. It shocks me that anyone considering themselves a monarchist could be in support of this. Iran was a strong constitutional monarchy in which the monarch had a powerful and central position, who was revered as a father figure to his people and he was brought down by a riotous and seditious mob, forced into exile and threatened and persecuted for the rest of his life. Yet, somehow, though the logic of it escapes me, some have truly adopted the mentality that any sort of progress is a sign of evil (though evidently not computers and the internet based on how often I hear from them) and that the Imperial State of Iran was worthy of death for such ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ as allowing western cinema into the country or allowing women to wear short skirts. Some people, claiming to be monarchists (and I say “claiming” because in this case they support the revolutionary republicans) somehow think that in the case of Iran it was the revolutionaries who were the true “conservatives” and that the last Shah and his monarchy were some sort of European social democracy with rampant immorality, secularism and perhaps even atheism (after all, they made peace with Israel and what sort of “good Muslim” doesn’t want to kill every Jew on earth?).
That anyone claiming to be a monarchist or a lover of tradition could have any sympathy at all for the Islamic Republic of Iran, frankly, leaves me nearly speechless. Like the proverbial mosquito in the nudist colony, I know what to do, I just don’t know where to start. If you are a monarchist, if you are a traditionalist, if you believe that not everything in life should be subject to change on the whim of the temporary majority, there is absolutely, positively no reason, at all, for you to support the Islamic Republic. Anyone should be able to see, that is, anyone with any measurable intelligence, should be able to see that, beyond the superficial things like (gasp) women being educated, wearing short skirts or people going to see Hollywood movies, the Imperial State of Iran was far more traditional at heart than anything that has succeeded it. It looked with pride back on the entirety of Persian history and not merely that most recent Islamic era and it maintained the existing, traditional views of religion (yes, religion) and politics that had far deeper roots than anything the Islamic revolutionaries later came up with. Iran, under its last dynasty, was going through something of a mini-Renaissance, in some ways similar to the Renaissance experienced by Catholic Europe.
In both cases, ancient civilizations were being rediscovered that had flowered before the adoption of the dominant religion (Christianity in Europe, Islam in Iran). In both cases there was also an opening up, to a degree, to different styles and ideas and in both cases there were some religious fanatics who preached fundamentalism and condemned everything around them. In Europe, the Pope had such figures hauled before the inquisition and handed over to the secular authorities for execution. In Iran the answer was exile to France (not exactly a harsh punishment). Those who claim that a few movies and mini-skirts made the Iran of the Shah some sort of modern, progressive, radical state purposely ignore the fact that one of the things the religious dissident fanatics were most upset about was the rediscovery and celebration of the ancient, pre-Islamic Persian Empire and the styles of that glorious past when Persia was the dominant power in the known world. If you believe in honoring and celebrating history and tradition, your sympathies should be entirely with the Shah and not the traitors who drove him from power. In some ways, his regime was more traditional than any had been in that land for centuries. From the exalted nature of the monarch to his personal guard known as “The Immortals” the Imperial State of Iran stood on a foundation of history and tradition far more ancient than that even claimed by those who tore it all down.
However, the claim is often made that traditionalists or conservatives should have been opposed to the Imperial State of Iran because there were very un-Islamic things like nightclubs, cinemas and, again, those vile skirts that caused innocent men to be driven into frenzies of lust by the sight of a calf or perhaps even a bit of thigh. Obviously, I am making somewhat light of this because I do not consider it a damnable offense for a woman to allow her ankles to be seen in public but then, I am not a Muslim. However, back in my university days I did study Islam and the history of the Middle East (from Egypt to Iran was our definition) and so, while not an expert, I am not totally ignorant of the subject and will make my thoughts known (it is your choice to read them or not). From my understanding, if we are to assume that one is a Shiite Muslim as the majority of Iranians are, there is still absolutely no justification for anyone supporting the Islamic revolutionary regime. As I recall, Shiite Islam was based on the idea that no one can speak for God until the Mahdi, the expected one, comes from heaven to lead the faithful to their ultimate triumph. The Ayatollah broke, radically, with this long-established, traditional view of Shiia Islam by claiming unprecedented powers for the Shiite clerics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In doing this, the Ayatollah showed himself to be a revolutionary in religion as well as politics. The basis of Shiite Islam is that only God can appoint the religious leader and guardian on earth and so there was an emphasis on the original family line of the Prophet Mohammed. As a result, the Shiite branch of Islam has always had a more prominent part for clerics than in Sunni Islam, however, under the Ayatollah this was radically expanded to ridiculous proportions so that imams became infallible, sinless and were treated with such subservient devotion that one could be forgiven for thinking they had been exalted above Mohammed himself. Powers and privileges which were traditionally exclusive to the hidden, Twelfth Imam were massively usurped by the Ayatollah and his clerical-republican regime. So, on the one hand, you have the Shah, who was a religious man and a staunch Muslim from the day he was born until the day he died, exercising political authority based on centuries of traditions (or even millennia if we go back to ancient Persia) and on the other hand we have an Ayatollah whose entire theory regarding the justification of his own authority dated back no farther than 1970. Surely, anyone can see which is the more traditional.
Today, although we have touched on this in the past, it bears repeating, we also have those who at least sympathize with the forces of the Islamic Revolution in Iran because they claim to oppose the decadence and immorality of the modern west. That mentality, is not only stupid, it is stupid to the point of being suicidal. It is suicidal because these types seem not to grasp the fact that these fanatics consider the west at its most religious and conservative to be just as immoral as in our own liberal, permissive, present day. These are people who would hold the Christians of the Middle Ages as perverse because they danced touching each other, who would condemn the Popes as immoral for having nudes painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, people who were calling America the “Great Satan” back in the days of Bishop Sheen and “Leave It to Beaver”. Anyone who thinks that these fanatics would show any kindness to someone just because they consider a few of the same things to be immoral is soundly mistaken. They hate the Christian west no matter how truly Christian it actually is. Besides that, however, is the fact that what they hate about the west is more often based on the power and influence held by western nations and has nothing to do with religion or morality at all. Otherwise, how would one explain their cozy relationship with Communist China, an officially atheist, anti-religious regime that persecutes Christians, Buddhists and Muslims and carries out such things as forced abortions and sterilizations? Any tradition-minded person in the west who thinks they can make common cause with the Iranian regime is sorely mistaken.
Finally, we have the actions of the Iranian regime on the pan-monarchist front. It violently opposes and is opposed by virtually every monarchy in the region. In the past, the Emirates of Kuwait, Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman found it necessary to be at least somewhat friendly with Iran for the sake of their own safety. In the case of Kuwait they also shared a common threat from the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq (which also reveals how Iran is not being principled in its choice of friends and enemies for it simultaneously supports the Baathist regime in Syria). Iran has said openly that there is ‘no room’ for monarchies in Islam as they pose a fundamental ideological threat to the power of the Iranian clerics who must justify their own position based on usurping authority from a monarch. Iran is staunchly opposed to and is opposed by the Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the Gulf monarchies aligning with Saudi Arabia as that kingdom has been more helpful to them recently. This is a far cry from the Imperial State of Iran when there were friendly relations between the Shah and the Saudi King as there were between Iran and the other monarchies of the region and even family ties with the late Kingdom of Egypt.
Other monarchists made the mistake of thinking they could make common cause with Iran and were shown how wrong they were. For instance, in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, King Khalid of Saudi Arabia sent a friendly message to Iran calling for Islamic solidarity. He was met only with anti-monarchy bigotry with the Ayatollah responding by saying that Mecca was under the control of “heretics”. Needless to say, relations between the two countries have never been friendly. In several other countries, monarchist and republican alike, Iran has worked consistently to support subversive elements and oppose any with monarchist sympathies. Those who would sympathize with the Iranian regime as some sort of traditional fortress set against the “evils” of modernity might also remember that the former President of Iran took the exact opposite point of view and boasted of how much more progressive, democratic and liberal his country was when compared to a country like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As recently as Friday, January 24, 2014 an article appeared in Britain’s “The Telegraph” proposing that the west should reach out to the Islamic Republic of Iran because it is “now” a more liberal and democratic country than Saudi Arabia.
I hope I have made the case crystal clear. The Islamic Republic of Iran is an illegitimate regime of political and religious traitors and usurpers, it is an enemy to both the traditional systems of the west and of the Islamic Middle East as well as Iran itself. They are a treasonous, illegitimate regime supported by treasonous regimes and supporting treasonous, revolutionary forces far beyond their borders. There should be no justification for anyone who supports monarchy or traditional authority having any support or sympathy for the current Iranian regime whatsoever and the idea that any, no matter how small their numbers might be, actually do makes me a very … Mad Monarchist
Well said! Iran is a litmus test for monarchists.ReplyDelete
Isn't "monarchism" a means, not an end? Is "monarchism" an end in itself? If you think it is then you have no comprehension of the actual organizing principle of traditionalist societies.ReplyDelete
And if you expect a monarchist to support a revolutionary republic rather than a monarchy you have no comprehension of basic language skills.Delete