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Liberal Iranian
Liberal as in Liberty and Freedom. Iranian as in Cyrus and Ferdowsi.
Friday, June 15, 2007
The Blame of the Crime, Again
Khamenei's regime is muddying the waters, but they could catch the big fish only if we lose our sense of justice and reality.
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A horrible blast in Samarra, Iraq has shattered the shrine of two Shiite imams on Wednesday. On this, the Supreme Leader of the the Islamic Republic said the following:
"The disgraceful and blind-hearted agents behind this big crime, whether they are remaining stooges of Saddam's Baathist regime or the beguiled Wahhabi and Salafi fanatics, it cannot be doubted that the intelligence services of the occupiers and Zionist's are the main masterminds of these heinous schemes."
But what causes this incredible certainty? This, he says:
"The occupiers have left the scene open to terrorists and panic-mongers to weaken the bases of the popular government of Iraq and justify their illegitimate presence in that country and are causing discord among Muslim brethren."
Apart from the nonsensical equality claimed between "leaving the scene open" and "masterminding" the crime, His Supreme Excellency sees of course no need to further explain why the occupying forces would even need such desperate justification for their presence. Are they benefitting from it? Even a cursory look at the facts shows this not to be the case. The US is spending hundreds of billions of dollars on its presence in Iraq. That would equal the entire Iraqi oil production in a decade. They have lost in excess of 3000 of their soldiers in Iraq. Even on a personal and political level, G. W. Bush is greatly unpopular because of the mishandling of the aftermath of deposing Saddam's regime. So what is there to gain in causing even further unrest? The simple answer is none.

But there is a lot to gain for Mr. Khamenei and his regime in spreading such lies and distorting the truth. In opposing the US, however irrationally, they buy legitimacy for their illegitimate hold on power in Iran and the region. By wrongly putting the blame of the crime on the US presence in Iraq they muddy the waters. But whether or not they can catch the big fish they are after depends just as much on our, the ordinary citizens' sense of justice, reality and truth.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007
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Human Rights First reports that since the time between January 26, 2006 and March 18, 2006
Seven young activists have been detained for more than one year by the Syrian authorities for being part of an independent pro-democracy discussion group and publishing articles on the Internet criticizing the lack of democracy and freedom in Syria. Some of them were also involved in the creation of an online youth forum. [...] They could face up to 15 years in prison.
You can send a letter to Syrian officials protesting their conditions. I am not sure how effective this is, but it's something.

This sounds very much like the situation in Iran. Given the similarities, I wonder if they also have their apologists, (pseudo-)intellectuals and apeasers in the West who would procliam all this inhumanity is either necessary for a greater good or plain non-existent?

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Monday, June 11, 2007
Capitalism from Epistemology
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The theory of knowledge (or epistemology) is arguably a foundational theory for our understanding of the world. Intuitively, however, it would seem quite detached from our everyday lives. What could the philosophical question of whether an objective framework of knowledge could be established, or whether I am just dreaming the world have to do with, say, what economic system I would prefer to live in? But the reason for this common-sense intuition is that, for the most part, it presupposes a particular, objectivist theory of knowledge à la Popper. It would seem that we could argue about the best economic system independent of how knowledge is attained, whereas in reality the former arguments rest on a particular way of attaining the knowledge contained in them.

In this objectivist theory we can never be certain, in its logical sense, of the truth of our theories (knowledge). The best that we can do is to criticise them and discard the ones we find to be false. This asymmetric situation between truth and falsehood is the basis of the method of trial and elimination of error and of scientific discoveries (growth of knowledge). Once we accept this, it follows more or less directly that the best economic system is the one that allows such trials-and-errors to be performed at the minimum cost to allow the maximum growth of knowledge. This is possible, so far as we know, only in a free-market system, that is, capitalism.

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