White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Little bit of self critisism

Two related thoughts that came to my mind in recent weeks.

1. One of the evening in Edinburgh, I had short discussion with an Israeli friend of mine who thinks progressively on many political matters (including the Palestine issue). He told me that we, who are trying to stick to a progressive/leftist model of thought, suffer from the a similar arrogance of judgment that we claim the right wingers of our time have. He worked hard to challenge me (and probably himself) on many ideas. His point was that similar to the right wingers, we try to push our mindset and ideology in a way that it is the plain truth and there is no what so ever alternative method. Whenever we fail (usually in elections), we do not challenge our thoughts. We jump to the conclusion that people are misinformed, naive, etc. Regardless of our discussions, in most minutes of this talk, I felt how shaky our believes are and how much far I'm from having a concrete moral and intellectual foundations. I suddenly felt how much politics and daily events that constantly fill the air, can make my judgements shallow.

2. My brother in law is a knowledgeable guy and we usually spend quite a bit of time discussing about politics. The course of events after September 11th, combined with the political frustrations that he felt in Iran in these past few years, have made him totally disappointed about progressive voices. He's now gone as far as being pro Bush's policies in the middle east (including full support for Sharon, invasion of Iraq, pressuring Iran, etc.). Of course our discussions gets really hot, as we disagree in most of these cases. He admits that he believe the neo-conservatism as the right model to resolve very complicated issues like the middle east, Africa and globalization. I should admit that discussing with him on these matters is quite fascinating and helpful for me to see how solid I can defend my judgments. For example last night, at the middle of a discussion about Iraq, I felt for a second, how little do I know about the neo-conservatism. How much do I want to sit and reject these guys with same old fashioned rhetoric of the left. This is the same mistake that my father and his fellow leftist activist made 30 years ago and rejected the western block and accepted the eastern block with no reservation. And the results were a mess: Iranian chaotic revolution, a religious government in Iran (who later cleaned up the whole leftists) and finally a uni-polar world. Unfortunately I feel this problem is quite wide in the left. The rhetoric of the neo-conservatives is something totally novel and their foreign policy doctrine is different from what Kissinger was talking 30 years ago. But unfortunately the voice of the left and progressive people has not changed much. Instead of blind rejection of what's coming from the other side, shouldn't we first strenghen our understanding of the other side to be able to develop an alternative voice and solution for our world?
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