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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