Western view on Iranian elections

Disclaimer: I don't know squat about Iranian politics. However my point isn't about Iran but about Western politics, which I know about.

I am under the impression that the Western support for Iranian protesters has nothing to do with defending democracy. It looks like the favorite was slightly more liberal than Ahmadinejad, and therefore he has more support in Occident, a good thing in my opinion.

However, if the more fundamentalist candidate had been defeated and the more liberal candidate had won, and if people had taken the street to contest the election, then no matter what the evidence for ballot fraud, I am sure that the press would be all over the violent anti-democratic protesters for being sore losers clinging to a past order. Similarly, if violent protests arose outside of the context of an election to oust the fundamentalist leader, the press would support them.

(This is only my intuition, but that doesn't mean it's not backed up, I just can't easily summon what backs it up)

What we're seeing now is that most people express outrage over voting fraud, but deep down, they're really outraged that a less liberal candidate is holding power. In a way this is very healthy, it's good that people care about Liberty and not Democracy. However, it'd be even healthier if they recognized democracy has nothing to do with it and left it out of the debate.

Share this

What people believe

What people in the west - specifically the western press, since you are talking about coverage - believe in, in place of democracy, is not necessarily anything for libertarians to uncork the champagne bottles over.

I may have sounded a bit

I may have sounded a bit enthusiastic in this post, it wasn't my intention. The fact that a struggle for liberty is being perceived through the lense of democracy is distressing. This is also true in Iran where the protest seem to be focused on electoral fraud.

Why go in the street when an election is rigged and not when your rights are being infringed upon ?

Worst case, people really care that much about democracy. Best case, an election is a Schelling point for protesters. It requires less coordination to create successful protest in the face of election fraud, a well define event than in the face of eroding individual rights.

It seems to me that when

It seems to me that when push comes to shove public support for democracy is quite low; people would much rather have "their guy" in control than have a democratic outcome (which is partly because that result would force them to admit that their views are a minority one.) This is true even when we are not directly affected by the election's outcome, as in Iran.

However, this is not necessarily good news for libertarians. For one thing, the fact remains that the majority of people are not for libertarian policies, and this only means that they will tolerate nondemocratic means to enforce nonlibertarian governance. Also, for the most part libertarian debate is very low-stakes, for the very reason that a libertarian government is unlikely to happen. Thus, people will be willing to signal their democratic bona fides with respect to nondemocratic libertarianism; it doesn't cost them anything.