December 15, 2004

Khomeinists and Platonists

Another good part from Pollack's book—he notes that Khomeini's doctrine of the velayat-e faqih (rule of the jurisprudence) actually comes from Plato's Republic, and can't at all be justified by the Quran. Interestingly, back in the 1970s, Iran's seniormost ayatollahs all predicted that the mixing of Islam with politics would turn people off to religion. And so it did.

But was this Khomeini's mistake or was it a flaw in Plato's original theory? I wonder if folks enamored of the whole "philosopher-king" concept have ever thought that mixing politics and philosophy might turn people off from intellectualism. After all, that seems to have happened right here in the United States, where eight years of technocratic rule in the 1990s produced the backlash known as George W. Bush. Damn you, Plato! Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, but politicking—ooh does that ever fuck things up.
-- Brad Plumer 3:39 AM || ||