Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some thoughts on the possibility of a just revolution in Iran.

On Locke’s view, any government that systematically disregards or violates the unalienable rights of the People can be justly overthrown. The Iranian Revolutionary [sic] Republic [sic] can easily be construed as a state that does violate the rights of its People. Firstly, it is fundamentally undemocratic (not something bad per se, but opens the possibility of unrepresented and hence illegitimate laws), women do not have suffrage, there is hardly any freedom of the press and/or political dissent, and there is little room for freedom of conscience (religion).

But things aren’t so simple. Despite the widespread protests as of late, the vast majority of Iranians don’t think any of the rights I just mentioned are, in fact, inalienable rights. Perhaps there is a strong minority who wish to see such rights protected and acknowledged by their government, but I doubt that the majority of people in Iran think women have the right to vote, or that people should be free to express their political views, or to practice whichever religion they wish. Thus, if there were to be a revolution, it would be an undemocratic one. And further, if the minority were to carry out a successful revolution, they would end up enforcing the protection of rights that the majority of Iranians either don’t want or don’t think they should have.

So we have a situation where the majority of the People’s will is not frustrated, but a strong minority who probably think their rights are being violated. Is there room for any sort of compromise?

Labels: ,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.