Saturday, 1 August 2009

Show Trials of Gilded Youth

So now the Tehran show trials begin with the usual 'confessions', the usual smears and the usual lack of a defence. The people charged here are representatives of those referred to by people like Seumas Milne in The Guardian, as 'gilded youth'. You know, people like Neda Ahgha-Soltan. Far too gilded.

That is also reflected in the western media, whose cameras focus so lovingly on Tehran's gilded youth and for whom Ahmadinejad is nothing but a Holocaust-denying fanatic. The other Ahmadinejad, who is seen to stand up for the country's independence, expose elite corruption on TV and use Iran's oil wealth to boost the incomes of the poor majority, is largely invisible abroad.

That's what the man said.

There have always been apologists for show trials. Stalin had his apologists here. But then people like Milne would have approved of the trials, or lack of trials, of people like Mandelstam and Isaac Babel. There isn't much difference. The people and causes you don't like are represented by those charged; the people and causes you do like are represented by.... well, it doesn't matter who, as long as you can go on believing that those charged represent what you think they represent.

It's a kind of spiritual toadyism. By his logic so far Milne should defend these trials. He must do if he is to be at all consistent. We shall see whether he does. (Mandelstam and Babel mutter in the background.)


kt said...

His mate George Galloway is another one, he regularly has a proud stalinist on his show and they giggle away like it was such a hoot.

The problem is their analysis of what is rotten with our government I agree with. I don't think however this makes the other side right, like the anti Nazis becoming communists because they felt they were its most vigorous opponents.

George S said...

Thanks KT. I generally agree. I would only say the following.

There are degrees of rottenness. I am not sure the pure government exists though we should certainly try to get the best we can. That best will depend on what being best consists of- what a good government should attempt to achieve.

The current government - and its alternative - have, I think, a high rottenness count. But I can't quite believe that the qualities exhibited by a government, or any properly elected body of representatives, including the opposition, is entirely detached from the qualities of the electorate. The question is not whether that is so or not (a degree of scepticism and, possibly even misanthropy, is occasionally useful) but whether we have hope of improvement. I think we should. It is, after all, not too difficult to analyse a state of rottenness and to resolve (however successfully) to do otherwise.

Purity is a different matter. There is a high price to be paid for purity, the top being the cost of the regular purge: by whom, of whom? Plenty of precedents for that, and they quickly lead to rottenness at the very top. I don't go for ideological purity either.

But now I am beginning to sound faintly worthy - not a good sound - and besides the argument here sounds like another post, a different one. This one was just a form of vomiting by other means.

The second part of the post on assisted suicide (below) touches on that possible other argument.