Donate

The Left Can’t Shake Its Farrakhan Problem

March 13 2018

When Tamika Mallory, a chairwoman of the 2017 Women’s March, praised the Nation of Islam’s leader Louis Farrakhan, two of her fellow chairwomen—and many of their followers—rallied to defend her from critics. This controversy came hard on the heels of recent revelations about Farrakhan’s continued relationship with mainstream African-American politicians. The editors of the Weekly Standard comment:

How strange that these self-proclaimed “intersectional” feminists would support an openly misogynistic and racist demagogue like Farrakhan. Among his more recent offerings: “When a woman does not know how to cook and the right foods to cook, she’s preparing death for herself, her husband, and her children.” He’s also observed that “man is supposed to have rule, especially in his own house . . . and when she rules you, you become her child.” Directly to women he cried: “You are a failure if you can’t keep a man, no profession can keep you happy!” We wonder just what it is about him that these feminists find so alluring.

More troubling is the photo that recently surfaced of a 2005 Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) meeting with Farrakhan. It featured Illinois’s rookie senator, Barack Obama, smiling broadly at Farrakhan’s side. The photographer, Askia Muhammad, says the CBC asked him to suppress the image because it might have derailed Obama’s presidential aspirations. Nor is that the only time CBC members hobnobbed with Farrakhan: as Jeryl Bier pointed out in the Wall Street Journal in January, several of them can be seen shaking hands with Farrakhan or hugging him in a 2009 YouTube video.

We doubt the photo with Farrakhan would have hurt Obama, who easily weathered revelations of his long association with the anti-Semitic and anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright. What’s troubling is that the preponderance of mainstream journalists are happy to look the other way. We suspect that if a photo emerges some day of George W. Bush grinning with Richard Spencer or David Duke, the New York Times will have room for it on page A1.

On March 4, the CBC member Danny K. Davis defended his relationship with Farrakhan by remarking that “the world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth.” That phrase, “the Jewish question,” rings a bell. Where have we heard that before?

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Barack Obama, Democrats, Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam, Politics & Current Affairs

The Future of a Free Iran May Lie with a Restoration of the Shah

June 25 2018

Examining the recent waves of protest and political unrest in the Islamic Republic—from women shunning the hijab to truckers going out on strike—Sohrab Ahmari considers what would happen in the event of an actual collapse of the regime. Through an analysis of Iranian history, he concludes that the country would best be served by placing Reza Pahlavi, the son and heir of its last shah, at the head of a constitutional monarchy:

The end of Islamist rule in Iran would be a world-historical event and an unalloyed good for the country and its neighbors, marking a return to normalcy four decades after the Ayatollah Khomeini founded his regime. . . . But what exactly is that normalcy? . . .

First, Iranian political culture demands a living source of authority to embody the will of the nation and stand above a fractious and ethnically heterogenous society. Put another way, Iranians need a “shah” of some sort. They have never lived collectively without one, and their political imagination has always been directed toward a throne. The constitutionalist experiment of the early 20th century coexisted (badly) with monarchic authority, and the current Islamic Republic has a supreme leader—which is to say, a shah by another name. It is the height of utopianism to imagine that a 2,500-year-old tradition can be wiped away. The presence of a shah, [however], needn’t mean the absence of rule of law, deliberative politics, or any of the other elements of ordered liberty that the West cherishes in its own systems. . . .

Second, Iranian political culture demands a source of continuity with Persian history. The anxieties associated with modernity and centuries of historical discontinuity drove Iranians into the arms of Khomeini and his bearded minions, who promised a connection to Shiite tradition. Khomeinism turned out to be a bloody failure, but there is scant reason to imagine the thirst for continuity has been quenched. . . . Iranian nationalism . . . could be the answer, and, to judge by the nationalist tone of the current upheaval, it is the one the people have already hit upon.

When protestors chant “We Will Die to Get Iran Back,” “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran,” and “Let Syria Be, Do Something for Me,” they are expressing a positive vision of Iranian nationhood: no longer do they wish to pay the price for the regime’s Shiite hegemonic ambitions. Iranian blood should be spilled for Iran, not Gaza, which for most Iranians is little more than a geographical abstraction. It is precisely its nationalist dimension that makes the current revolt the most potent the mullahs have yet faced. Nationalism, after all, is a much stronger force and in Iran the longing for historical continuity runs much deeper than liberal-democratic aspiration. Westerners who wish to see a replay of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 in today’s Iran will find the lessons of Iranian history hard and distasteful, but Iranians and their friends who wish to see past the Islamic Republic must pay heed.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Iran, Nationalism, Politics & Current Affairs, Shah