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Corruption
Corruption
Amir Arsalan


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.

By corruption 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.

Controlled chaos is chaos nonetheless.

The virtues 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?

The average 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 society.

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.

The narcotics trade was also a big factor in the decay of Afghanistan. That, along with warfare and Islam shredded that nation.

Finally, there 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.

Whatever the 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 so.

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.

Moral Revolution - The Alternative Tactic

Why Moral Revolution is our salvation? (Discussion Thread)

Obviously, nothing less will do.

 
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