This is an extended reply to Amir Parviz (for a Secular Monarchy) recently posted thesis, arguing that western-style democracy wont bring any benefit to the people of Iran. I have a my doubts that the people in Iran will accept a future where a gouvernment tries to compensate unfreedom with material wealth. Since my reply goes beyond the question of democracy and economic numbers, I started a new blog.
Amir, I dont care about the impressiv economical figures that you present here. Whatever you wrote about national income and debts and loans, thats not the problem of the people of Iran. I guess in this matter, they are doing much better than a lot of other countries in the middle east, even now under the islamic dictatorship.
What the people of Iran deserve, and what is all the political unrest about at the moment is freedom in the first instance. The green movement is mainly based on the young generation, and their concern is not material wellfare. If this would be the main issue, You would rather see the older generation on the streets.
What frustrates the young and innovative generation in Iran is the political and ideological oppression, that is absolutely toxic to creativity. It destroys their dreams. Don”t compare Iran (under Shah or under the ajatollahs) with debt-loaden european countries. Compare it with Israel, for instance. Israel is not really rich, and the material living standard might be much lower than for instance in Saudi Arabia or some european countries. But the gouvernment in Israel knows exactly that the best thing you can give to your people and to make them loyal is freedom of thoughts and ideas. People in Israel dont think their country is heaven on earth, but it allows them to work on their dreams, some of them are gorgious, other might be funny, others might be silly. But Israel can beat every other nation in the world by its creativity output (scientific, technological, cultural). But you can get this only if you give freedom to the people. This is why totalitarian regimes fall behind sooner or later in science and technology. Ask why all our new technologies, GSM, GPS, internet, satellites, biotech, modern transportation, chemistry, pharmceuticals were invited in “free countries” like the europeans, US, Japan ? I tell you there is nothing genetically, the people from arab countries or china or russia are not less intelligent or innovative. But to rise this creative potential, they had to leave their country and try it in US or europe. There is also no link between a high living standard and creativity, otherwise we would see most of high tech coming from countries like SA, Emirates, Singapoor, Lichtenstein or Monacco.
Creativity, which on the long term is the only thing bringing happiness and satisfaction to man, needs free spirits in an open world.
And this is why (thanks god) totalitarian regimes only seem to be made for eternity, but never survive for very long. If you keep your people in mental custody, their loyality will erode quickly.
And therefor what I wish to the Iranian people after the IRI went to the scrap-yard of History is not the type of material wealth and intellectual degradation like in SA or Emirates, but I wish them a liberation of ideas and creativity. Material wealth will come automatically with it.
And whether a “secular monarchy” is better to guarantee this (like in UK or skandinavia) or a grassroot democracy is more appropriate (like in switzerland) is hard to tell from the outside. I agree with you that western-style democracy can not be taken as a “conditio sine qua non” for a new Iran. I also agree with you that the global power-players should stop trying to exploit Iran for their purposes. They did this for too long time, and what the english and russians and americans considered THEIR Great Game , this is what in a historical context prepared the ground for the unjustice under which the iranian people have to suffer now for too long time.