ACCUMULATING PERIPHERALS


Why the absurd vote totals? by mattsteinglass
June 20, 2009, 1:57 am
Filed under: democracy, Iran

Daniel Larison has a good discussion of how the implausibility of the Moussavi camp’s vote count mirrors the implausibility of the Ahmadinejad camp’s vote count. And why the implausible victory margin for Ahmadinejad in the first place? Larison cites Clive Davis citing Hooman Majd in the FT: “Shock and awe? You bet.”

I’d just add one thing: bullies often find it more effective to force people to acquiesce in an obvious lie than in a plausible fiction. Check out the ludicrous charges in the Stalin show trials: children’s book writers in Leningrad confessing to being Japanese spies, and so forth. When you make people accept a plausible fiction, you’re just winning that one issue. But when you make them accept a lie which everyone knows is a lie, you’re destroying their integrity, destroying their will to describe the world as they see it, rather than as you tell them it is. It’s the bully on the playground holding the weaker kid’s arm and slapping his cheek with it, saying “Why are you hitting yourself?” Like Vaclav Havel’s grocer hanging “Workers of the world, unite!” in his shop window, once a person has acquiesced to something they do not believe, and which everyone knows they do not believe, they become complicit in their own oppression.

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8 Comments so far
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A change of government is too much to hope for. What is possible to hope for is that the Iranian society will not explore into violence, the kind of violence that kills a lot more people than have already been killed.

Comment by pittsburghflashfictiongazette

“Like Vaclav Havel’s grocer hanging “Workers of the world, unite!” in his shop window…”

I don’t understand that one. Havel spent years in prison under the communist tyrants before the Velvet Revolution. He led the first democracy in the Czech Republic after the fall of the Iron Curtain and is considered a national hero. He stood up to the communists and spent years in prison for it.

It seems like you are calling him a tyrant. I’m confused.

Comment by Puffy

Never mind. I am an idiot. I suddenly remembered the Havel’s grocer metaphor…

I totally apologize for being stupid.

Comment by Puffy

[…] Here’s a piece with an interesting perspective. I’ve seen bullies do this, sometimes “jokingly.” As more and more people stand to gain something from the Red Plan more of them are repeating the joke. […]

Pingback by lincolndemocrat.com » Blog Archive » Why are you hitting yourself?

More to the point, the vote totals no longer matter. Suppose 100% proof evidence were to emerge tomorrow that Ahmedenejad had won, do you think this would alter the situation now? Hundreds of thousands have marched, blood has been spilt, and grave threats have been made. At the moment it seems to be more of a game of chicken, one in which neither side seems inclined to blink.

Comment by FOARP

That’s certainly true. But people have spent the last week wondering why the initial attempt at fraud seemed so clumsy.

Comment by mattsteinglass

[…] Steinglass, the current European editor for the Economist Magazine, captured this dynamic well in a 2009 piece on why Iran’s Ahmadinejad insisted on showing an implausibly large vote margin for his election […]

Pingback by Trump’s Wiretapping Claims & Other Lies Lead to Autocracy | Polite On Society

[…] Matt Steinglass, the current European editor for the Economist, captured this dynamic well in a 2009 piece on why Iran’s Ahmadinejad insisted on showing an implausibly large vote margin for his election […]

Pingback by Trump's Constant Lying Is What Autocrats Do




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