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Monday, December 5, 2022

America’s Morality Police–Iran, The Qur'an, And Progressive Righteousness

Iran in a surprising move has disbanded the infamous morality police – a service established by law to assure conformity to Islamic teaching, especially with regards to women. Any deviance from the strict Qur’anic interpretation of modesty, purity, propriety, and obedience would not be tolerated.  

However the death of a young woman who had been arrested for public indecency – not wearing a headscarf – provoked outrage and a surprising show of anger and resentment against the regime, the mullahs, and the enforcement of what was considered by increasing thousands as Medieval and barbaric; and the government relented.

It was about time.  Young Iranians disobeyed Islamic law and Qur'anic teaching in private with increasing chutzpah; and it was only a matter of time before the punitive policies of the State and its invasion of personal and civil rights would be challenged.

Iranian Mullahs have turned the entire society rogue – IFMAT

Progressives in the United States were dismayed at the Iranian government’s retraction of what they thought was a reasonable policy.  The state had a right and responsibility to promote, assure, impose moral principles on its citizens, and police their observance.  Whether or not one agreed with Iran’s particular socio-religious stance was irrelevant (no one could publicly claim solidarity with a government which oppressed women), it was the principle that mattered.  

The United States under Donald Trump, say progressives, had devolved into a radical, seditious, and immoral nation which rejected transformative notions of sexual equality, racial justice, and economic fairness.  Not only were these deep state, MAGA, reactionary sentiments politically dangerous, but morally wrong.  The progressive agenda of transgenderism, black supremacy, the dismissal of religious fundamentalism, and the dismantling of capitalism were anointed, absolutely right, and morally above debate. 

Anyone who disagreed with this agenda was ipso facto an apostate, a heretical denier, an immoral, self-serving reprobate.  Nothing but a casting out, a torturous death, a purifying boiling in oil, flogging, and burning at the stake would suffice.

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American progressives were clear and unequivocal about their agenda and their means of enforcement.  They intended to secure their agenda by intimidation, threat, and public censure.  Any university president who did not subscribe to MeToo campus injustice in the name of women’s rights would be exposed for his backward, hateful, and ignorant ideas, and calls for his summary dismissal would be incessant and determined.

Anyone who suggested that the black man was anything other than naturally superior, enslaved only because of barbarous collusion of European and American capitalists, and denied his right and his dignity because of the innate inhumanity of the white man would be labelled racist and marginalized to the far periphery of orderly society.  

Those who suggested that a woman’s right to choose abortion was not an absolute, undeniable right were dunned and called out for misogyny; and anyone who challenged the idea of gender fluidity and the right of every child to choose his or her own sexuality was pilloried and expelled.

Every young person recruited into the ranks of progressive liberalism was not only schooled in the catechism of right behavior, but armed with the materiel to engage the enemy.  They were taught the correct lexicon, the language of inclusivity and diversity.  Language was the first and most obvious offense of the morally idle.  Instances of retrograde English usage were to be called out and censured and correct forms and terms indicated.  

Homeless people were to be outdoor urban dwellers; prostitutes, sex workers; an insult was emotional rape; and shoplifting was irregular shopping.  Recruits were taught revisionist history – those American icons irreducibly tied to racism which were to be discredited and their names and likenesses removed from public view.  They memorized the doctrinal catalogue and the automatic responses to denial – climate change, racism, misogyny, homophobia, predatory capitalism, environmental sanctity, etc. They were taught to recognize moral escapism and self-serving dissembly.

Image result for images toppling jefferson statues

Once ordained, these new recruits were sent out like militant, door-to-door Jehovah’s Witnesses. Armed with an indoctrinated sense of righteousness, they were unafraid to speak out, to be heard, to criticize and reveal moral depravity when they saw it.

In the early days of the pandemic, COVID evangelists formed vigilante groups, neighborhood enforcers of masks and six-foot spacing.  In a reprise of Eastern European secret services, they recruited, trained, and encouraged children to call out those who did not comply. It was a j’accuse moment,  the howl of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers the cry, and Stay At Home! was the injunction.  

Children were the avant-garde of the movement, Stasi-like informers of the East German state.  They were ideal recruits because they were too little and too uninformed to question the bald intrusiveness and anti-social behavior of their parents.  They were taught only to discover, point, and report pandemic deniers. It was a fearless, righteous time of humiliating public censure.

It was not so much that these street preaching vigilantes were worried about getting sick themselves; it was the shameless disregard for others that posed the greatest threat to the body politic. If we are all to reach a better, more perfect world, progressives say, one with a mild, pollution-free climate, complete tolerance and inclusivity, and a gender-neutral society, naysayers, doubters, and stubborn individualists must be gelded.  The brave, new world can never be realized while the noxious gasses of hyper-conservative radicalism are in the air.

Image result for images donald sutherland pointing in movie invastionof the body snathers

The environmental movement is no different.  It believes in the sanctity of Mother Earth which was at the center of many ancient pagan religions.  Mother Earth is Gaya, a sensate organism with a life of its own.  She reacts to pain, to rape and mutilation and sheds the tears of Jesus Christ who asked in disbelief at the evil of Mankind,  “My God, my God.  Why have You forsaken me?”.  

Environmentalism is not a secular movement, dealing only with atmospheric computer models, the delicate measurement of ultra-violet light penetrating the ever-thinning ozone layer, the build-up of toxic and nuclear waste, fracking, and clear-cutting.  It is a religious movement with a profoundly spiritual core.  It is no more fractured by the various issues confronting it or by its multiple enemies than religious fundamentalism.  Whether one joins the fight for clean water, clean air, toxic waste clean-up, alternative energy, or forest preservation, the fight is for Mother Earth, the preservation of her sanctity.

It is as though environmentalists actually want the planet to heat up.  This is understandable enough given the time, effort, and money they have invested in the cause. Environmentalism has become a secular religion no different than the Bible Belt evangelism Southerners had witnessed as children.  In fact when they heard speeches given at the National Conference on Climate Change and replayed at length by NPR, churchgoers were reminded of the sermons given every day in the hot, airless churches in the Mississippi Delta. In those days the pastors were was speaking of carnal lust, abandonment of God, and the fiery breath of the Devil, but they sounded very much like the wild-eyed evangelical Climate Changers of today.

Religions, whether secular or spiritual, have a field day with existential uncertainty. Church coffers are replenished every Sunday, and the cash registers of Climate Change International ring like music on a merry-go-round with every fiery sermon about the end of the world.

So the demise of the Iranian morality police was a sad event in the corridors of American progressive activism.  One has a moral right – an obligation, a duty – to call out, censure, punish, and remove those who flaunt the truth.  While today’s American secular evangelists have no insignia or official identity cards, they are no different from their Iranian religious counterparts.  They march to the same drummer of conformity, true belief, righteousness, and absolute authority.

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