Thursday, December 29, 2005

More Freedom in Iran than France?

Hugh Hewitt interviewed Glenn Reynolds yesterday afternoon on his radio talk show. These comments by the Instapundit particularly caught my attention:

“You see a lot of blogging in India. And somebody from the BBC asked me recently why you don't see more blogging in Europe. And the answer is I don't really know. I mean, there's some. The French bloggers were actually fairly instrumental in seeing that the EU constitution wasn't ratified by France. But overall, the European scene seems comparatively lifeless, given how many smart, literate people there are with computers.”

I think I now the reason why there is so little blogging going on in Europe: censorship is the norm. We Americans enjoy First Amendment protections. This is definitely not the case in France and the other EU countries. Alain Finkielkraut is apparently not a blogger, but only recently he was threatened with a a law suit and even possible imprisonment for candidly discussing the threat of Islamic nihilism in France. Does Reynolds believe this incident is exceptional? Moreover, he also mentions the incredibly high numbers of bloggers in Iran. Could it be that a blogger is more free to express their views in that dictatorial society than in some of the western European nations?


Charlie Martin said...

Or do people in that dictatorial environment think it's more important to express their views?

David Thomson said...

Nope, I am persuaded that Iran is less of a dictatorship than France. Its authoritarian rulers will often look the other way and cut some slack. The leftist French establishment, on the other hand, tends towards totalitarianism and demands complete assent of mind and will to its doctrines. Dissent is severely punished. One is probably better off living in Iran.

truepeers said...

The French no doubt deserve contempt for their present behavior. But Iran is a place where they first bury women in the ground up to their chests, so they can't escape when they are being stoned to death for adultery. And recently they have murdered at least one journalist for doing her job.

Perhaps the difference is that in Iran, those who are blogging gain some benefit and protection from being among the relatively educated and wealthy in a society where such distinctions still mean a lot. The middle class can't be entirely put down by the Mullahs with their control of the masses. On the other hand, the middle class can only talk to each other, the relatively few, and can't effectively challenge the Mullahs control of the masses. SO there is some kind of stalemate - hence the desire of politicians like the PResident to channel internal tensions by focussing on an external scapegoat, Israel, the US, and all the nuclear naysayers.

Charlie Martin said...

David, have you ever been in either France or Iran?

I think your hyperbole has escaped and is living a life of its own.

David Thomson said...

“I think your hyperbole has escaped and is living a life of its own.”

I have visited neither France nor Iran. My opinions are based almost solely on a fair amount of reading. Iran appears to be a half way decent place to live if one is a member of the educated elite. And yes, God help those who are poor and less able to escape the wrath of the religious police. But Iran is essentially an authoritarian society. France’s politically correct culture tends towards totalitarianism. In a nonviolent manner, I suspect that it more effectively punishes its dissidents. Why do you think there are more blogs in Iran than in the EU countries? What explains the difference?