A while ago I brought up the issue of corruption in society within
the context of communism's failure. The matter of corruption is
a very important one in and of itself, and so I wish to convey its
implications in more detail. Most of its effects are obvious to
all, but some others may not be as clearly palpable.
I mean of course the deviation of human practice from honesty and
ethics. One may go further and say that corruption is the act of
deviation from the accepted norm. This second definition applies
usually, but not always. It depends on how deep corruption has infiltrated
a society. For in certain cases, corruption may be so widespread
that it has become a part of that society's accepted norm.
Why has corruption
taken residence in certain humans' lives? Because most people are
lazy and wish to withdraw a reward that is out of proportion to
what they invested. Most people want short cuts, and this desire
for reward and tendency toward laziness overpowers their ethical
restraint. This explanation also applies in regard to most criminals,
though not all of the time. In the case of corrupt practices, the
perpetrators are usually white collared and almost always they commit
the acts not guided by survival but by laziness and greed.
One could condemn
corruption purely on a moral and ethical basis. However, its implications
go beyond just morality. Corruption has a very real practical consequence
on society. It has been known for millennia that in order for a
society to flourish, law and order must be established. Without
that order, chaos will rip that culture apart. Without order, there
is the element of insecurity and uncertainty. With uncertainty comes
dwindling desire by members to invest in that society. Whether that
investment be in the form of economic or personal and emotional,
all forms of investment are curtailed by uncertainty and insecurity.
Laws are therefore
paramount in establishing an investment in society, by providing
for security and a certain degree of certainty. However, when laws
that exist are circumvented by corrupt practitioners that seek a
short cut, a different message is sent to the citizens. When laws
do not apply to all equally, the strength of those laws dissipate.
That is what
corruption does in essence. It allows certain people to receive
undeserved special treatment by enhancing their ability to bypass
the set checks and balances. Corruption is in a sense controlled
chaos. It is not complete chaos, because some laws are there that
apply some of the time to some of the people. It is controlled,
because there are certain individuals in power that enjoy the privilege
of being the gate keepers of wealth and advancement.
chaos is chaos nonetheless.
of law are predictability and fairness. Of course, a law needs to
be fair to instill confidence, but that is the topic of another
discussion. Predictability is the other factor that instills confidence
in members. Knowing that by taking a certain path one will reap
a certain reward is a wonderful motivator for the general population.
However, if one observes that others may march in and snatch away
that reward at the last minute through corruption, that person's
confidence in the system is shattered. That person's motivation
is demolished. The system becomes unpredictable. Why work hard only
to be undermined by another's corruption?
person will lose confidence in the system and thereby lose motivation
to excel, to work, to invest himself or his capital. When that happens,
such a society is doomed to stagnation, decay, and ultimate collapse.
No nation can
be expected to be completely free of corruption. However, the accepted
attitude towards ill practices is what distinguishes one from the
next. In western countries, there will always be instances of corruption
as well, but the difference is that such practices are less common
and when they do occur the authorities usually crash down on the
perpetrators. Corruption is the exception, not the rule. That's
one of the factors that has allowed for economic prosperity in the
west, which is followed by technologic prosperity, military strength,
and political power.
An example of
a society in the grip of corruption was the former Soviet Union,
and its allied communist block. Part of what empowered the corruption
was communism itself. In a system, which offers little reward for
hard work and ingenuity, those that seek a reward must find a way
outside of the set system. Communism, and any other system that
imposes excessive controls becomes a nursery for a black market
Of course, communism
is not the only mother to the underworld. It is only one of many
such potential parents. If the main commodity of a nation happens
to be objectionable, then that nation will eventually find itself
in the arms of corruption. The best example is the world of narcotics.
The Latin American nations - notably Columbia - became infested
with corruption because their biggest export is narcotics. Since
the narcotics industry is not legal and not regulated by laws, the
thugs move in and take control while bringing the baggage of corruption
with them. That initial small circle of darkness grows out cyclically,
until almost the entire society is covered with it. From the simplest
mule (drug runner) all the way up the ladder to government officials,
military, and law enforcement all get sucked in.
trade was also a big factor in the decay of Afghanistan. That, along
with warfare and Islam shredded that nation.
is the example of Iran. Iran and corruption have gone hand in hand
for a very long time. My friend Ahreeman says it is in the blood
of Iranians. I know what he means, but I certainly don't believe
that literally. As with many other factors, it is cultural, and
explained by Iranians' cultural circumstance. An entire dissertation
could be given on the cultural causes of corruption in Iran, but
that is beyond the limited scope of this discussion.
causes, it comes as no news to anyone that Iran has been engulfed
in corruption for a long time. Even before the Mullahs, corruption
was common in Iran. All who know me know how much I love both Pahlavis
and the respect I have for both of them. However, I don't believe
that our Shah is beyond criticism. I have some criticisms of the
Shah, even though I believe that overall he was a good king, a patriot,
and had Iran's best intentions in mind. My criticisms are few, and
can be counted on only one hand.
One of my criticisms
is that he did not (or could not) crack down on the corruption that
existed. It is unfortunate, because had he done so he would have
silenced many of his critics. The father had a better track record
in this matter than the son, and at least made an attempt to clean
house. The son became a bit lax with his housekeeping duties. He
himself was not corrupt, though others in power unfortunately were
Of course, corruption
rose exponentially once Allah came to town. This should come as
no surprise to anyone that knows anything about religion. Mixing
religion with political authority is the most perfect and potent
recipe for corruption. It has always been the case, and it has been
repeatedly demonstrated by history. Whether one looks at Pagan,
Christian, or Islamic history, the vast corruption that ensues when
religion assumes political power is unmistakable. Now factor in
the fact that Iranian Mullahs are the most depraved creatures and
the fact that in Iran exists an absolute theocracy which gives absolute
power to the clergy and no-one else with the fact that Iran sits
on one of the world's largest oil reserves. Suddenly, the astronomical
extent of corruption in present Iran becomes more obvious. Corruption
has become an art form in post-revolutionary Iran.
Iran has for
too long suffered the ills of nepotism, bribery, fraud, favoritism,
intimidation, and discrimination. These vices pre-date the revolution,
though the revolution put them all on steroids and plunged Iran
into a deep ethical abyss.
If Iran is to
ever emerge from that abyss, many things will need to change. Its
regime will need to change, first and foremost. Its religion will
need to change. Its form of government will need to change. Its
constitution will need to change. Its education will need to change.
Its whole identity and sense of self will need to change. And yes,
its ethics and moral fiber will need to change.
My friend Ahreeman
speaks of a moral revolution.
Revolution - The Alternative Tactic
Moral Revolution is our salvation? (Discussion Thread)
less will do.