Bloody Consequences

Time now to record philosophy at the time it actually happened, for later posterity, and for a rerun of the American "revolution" and the Iraq war too.

Here we have the Iranians doing their best to stage a revolution.

Where's their mandate?

The people have not been polled to find out how many support a forceful change of government. Hell, they haven't even been polled to find out if they support a PEACEFUL change of government. It is technically possible that 90% of the Iranian people support the Ayatollah. The evidence (ie Ayatollah unwilling to hold free and fair elections) is against it. That's evidence, but not proof. There's actually no way of getting this important piece of information. That information can only be obtained from a secret ballot in an environment of freedom. Where people can give it in secret, with confidence that there will be no repercussions, because last time the question was asked, x%, with say x > 10, voiced that same opinion, and there was no repercussions for that x%, so it's apparently safe to give that opinion in a secret ballot. Only then can you possibly tease that information out of the people with some confidence.

Next - even if that information was available - which it isn't - and in the (unlikely in my opinion) event that it shows that 60% of Iranians support (perhaps because they've been indoctrinated since birth, but doesn't really matter how it happened) their Islamic theocracy and don't want it replaced - so damn what? I don't care if Hitler had (slight) majority support (in Germany or Austria for that matter) at some point in his reign either. The 40% who want the normal (ie western) concept of "freedom" are the ones we should be supporting in this ideological war. Not the indoctrinated and/or nasty majority (who like the idea of killing Jews or whatever).

Onto the next question. We don't yet know if the Iranians, via a revolution, will usher in an EVEN WORSE government than the current one. E.g. Saddam's regime was worse than the Ayatollah's. For all the evil of the Ayatollah, the Ayatollah (like Mugabe for that matter), does in fact allow SOME level of dissent. People aren't getting their tongues cut out just because they said they opposed the Ayatollah, or preferred different policies. There is SOME diversity of opinion allowed. This could, theoretically, all be wiped out to be replaced by a sadistic git like Saddam. That's another reason why Iraq was the obvious first choice. It's pretty hard to imagine a worse dictator than him. But it is possible to imagine a worse dictator than the Ayatollah. How do we resolve this issue?

Well, now we get into probability and statistics. The most likely outcome is that we'll get a democracy out of any successful revolution. There will be too many people on the streets with too much media attention and too many people involved that there won't be one thug allowed to seize power. We'll instead see some sort of diverse interim government, with open debate on TV, security forces saying they are committed to the democratic process, before the people on the street will stand down. Actually, technically they never really do stand down in a democracy. It's more-or-less a constant revolution against dictatorship with constant "referendums" on whether to change the current ruler, and no-one is ever given the slightest opportunity to become a dictator. That's what I expect in Iran too. A complete paradigm shift. So the general philosophy here is that we should be doing the determination based on most-likely scenario rather than worst-case. Can I prove that this philosophy is the correct one to be choosing? No. It's based on the a priori assumption that achieving human freedom (by Taiwanese/South Korean/western/etc definitions) is the long term goal. If you happen to be hankering for an worldwide Islamic dictatorship, your whole thought process will be and should (in order to achieve that very different aim) be very different.

And one more factor - even in the worst case scenario, ie that the Iranians happen to usher in a worse government, if you have a backup plan, ie full US invasion, to change that even worse government into something like more like Chian Kai-shek, ie the ex-dictator of Taiwan (and China), ie someone who has as reasonable policies as is possible while still maintaining a minority-supported dictatorship, then you won't even have the worst case scenario anyway, you'll actually end up with the best (from the point of view of a secular humanist who has to live in that country) damn outcome possible under the circumstances.

Now the next thing to deliberate. What if this revolution actually ends up as a civil war (we know without doubt that there is diversity of opinion in Iran, after all), perhaps even to the level of DR Congo. Does that mean that these revolutionaries are bad people, triggering off a civil war? Should they instead have done the "right thing" by keeping their mouths shut, and just put up with their dictator for the term of their natural lives? Once again, we need some assumptions about values. I personally value a life as a slave under a dictator as something of actual NEGATIVE worth. ie it is permanent suffering. Whereas life as a free man is a wonderful thing. So, we have negative 70 million versus a probability of say 65 million free souls (assuming 5 million are lost in a civil war, same as DR Congo). A no-brainer for my calculator to crunch through.

Now what about looking at it from some selfish western benefits point of view? Will Iran stop exporting oil because of a civil war? Sure, possibly. So? The price of oil is a relatively small part of the average person's expenses. The slack in oil production can be taken up by other countries. We had something similar when Iraq stopped exporting oil (due to western sanctions in fact). The world can easily cope without Iran's oil, even if the price goes up in the short term. And regardless, the freedom of the Iranians should not be held hostage to someone's imagination of what might happen to short term oil prices. It would be immoral to keep people in slavery for that reason.

Ok, what about terrorists getting their hands on Iranian nukes during the commotion? Well, that's why Iran should have been invaded long ago. Well, a year ago, anyway. Whatever damage Iranian nukes are capable of causing, it's best to get that once-off cost paid for here and now, rather than letting our children have to deal with an even higher price, possibly a total price, 50 years from now. A once-off cost of war, even if it means the destruction of Israel tomorrow, is better to be had now, so that the ideology of freedom (which the Israelis share) can continue to survive, even after Israel's untimely death. Once again, we only have bad choices to choose between. Blame for not toppling Iran earlier so that Israel could have survived nuclear annihilation can be spread around after the event. Communism has a lot to do with it. If we hadn't had to deal with ideological conflict with Russia, we could have knocked over these dictators decades ago. Hell, nukes should never have fallen into the hands of ideological enemies like the USSR and PR China in the first place. It's too late to do anything about that now, but now we are into "damage limitation" mode. That is the philosophical choice that faces the west at the moment. Crunch the probability and statistics, adding in the one percent doctrine - worst case scenario that our children may have to face is too damn high - and take action. Right here, right now. Bombs away. Even if it ends up being Sydney that gets wiped off the map.

Anyway, I can't see the demonstrators going away. They will demonstrate every day until the security forces open fire. So once again, it's all down to them. In the absence of Obama offering security guarantees to the Iranian people, it all comes down to men with automatic weapons, who will easily win any stand-up fight. The pro-freedom Iranians, even if they attempt to mount some Iraqi-like "insurgency", will ultimately be as spectacularly unsuccessful as the Iraqi insurgents were too. Random murder is no substitute for setting government policy and execution of that via security forces. No way, no how.

The Ayatollah has already banned demonstrations, and that didn't work. The Iranians are in with a very reasonable chance of pulling this off. Probability and statistics says that this will be a phenomenally good move. And man oh man am I looking forward to finding out what the Iranians really think in a secret ballot. The only data that will be lost by this revolution is how many Iranian security forces would switch sides in the case of a US invasion. But instead, we get the data for how many Iranian security forces would switch sides in the face of an internal revolution. The data for a US invasion is only important for the feasibility of mounting further low-cost, low-force-usage invasions anyway. We can generally get that data by simply liberating other countries (like Burma and Vietnam). There's nothing particularly special about Iran, and also, the data for Iran will change as they are exposed to a more reasonable education system and contact with the rest of the world via the internet anyway.

So, just like the 2003 invasion of Iraq - the calculation, given various assumptions (which I agree not everyone will accept, but they (ie freedom, human rights) are hardly radical assumptions, and I'm hardly alone in holding them), is identical. Replacing the current Iranian dictatorship with some replacement - any replacement the Iranians manage to come up with - is the correct choice to make at this point in world history. Yes, we can't predict the future. Yes, we don't have all the data we would need to make a perfect decision. Some of that data is simply unavailable. Yes, something unexpected and undesirable may happen as a consequence. But equally yes, we must forge ahead if we want to end up with a free world as the end goal. It's achievable. It's even achievable in our lifetime. There's very little standing between right now, and the free world (not a radical concept) that many people aspire to. It won't be Utopia, but it'll be the best thing possible given the material (ie dogmatic, often non-humanist humans) we have available to work with. Murder, rape, theft will continue, but there will be security forces clamping down on that in every corner of the globe, and no money will be squandered on ridiculous things like Hizbullah or palaces or Iranian nukes or Iranian thugs.

So close but yet so far.

Iraq was definitely the most important. But Iran is bloody damn important too. Then some of the other misfits of the world (North Korea and Pakistan, by virtue of them holding weapons they shouldn't be), and then China, which I consider to be a reasonably minor, and manageable, threat.

Let's do it people. I wish the Persians didn't have to battle this out without external military support, but it's certainly ideal if they do pull that off.

Will those automatic weapons, especially air-borne ones like Saddam used, fire or not? Given the reality of US impotence, the fate of the free world literally hangs in the balance of those few thousand armed men and which direction they point their weapon. Because the free world may lose the ideological war otherwise. The ideological war may in fact end in one gigantic cinder 100 years from now. We simply don't know.

Automatic weapons.


They're the things that count.

They're what will decide what rights Iranians get to have enforced in the long term, regardless of what inherent rights they should have.

Watch the weapons. And pray they point the right way. If I could literally think of something more I could do, I would. Visiting Iran as some sort of vigilante tourist won't make a damned bit of difference. It will come down to automatic weapons. Even if I could smuggle one of those in, it won't be enough to defeat the bad automatic weapons. Although a general showering of Tehran with automatic weapons may well do the trick. There's plenty of Iranians who know how to use them. But that's still useless if the Ayatollah can bring helicopters to bear. So it depends on which way the air force chooses to go. Etc etc. War is unpredictable unless it's completely lop-sided such as if the US were to be involved.

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