Take a look at the rise in the blogosphere and the reasons for its success. Much has been written about it including an extensive book by Hugh Hewitt (I must admit I haven’t read it yet- please don’t shun me) but when you get right down to it, the blogosphere rose because it filled a void.
Prior to discovering the blogosphere, we would watch the Sunday morning news shows in search of real political news and debate where both sides were truly represented. Too often the two sides of the debate were the far left and the moderate left, with the right excluded. Our views were not being covered. Personally, I would spend Sunday mornings arguing with the T.V., expressing my opinions to an inanimate object, while my sweet wife would pat me on the back saying “that’s O.K. dear.” Then came the blogosphere, and in an instant all that changed. Suddenly there was this forum which provided a nearly seamless exchange of unfiltered news and ideas, and unlike the T.V., it allowed us to participate. Notwithstanding the fact that we are living in a Western democracy and we are supposed to be “free”, it was liberating.
Now consider the young Iranian. I say young, because most of them are. Unlike North America’s aging population, Iran’s “boom” generation is under 30 – a technically savvy, computer driven group. Consider how the feelings of emancipation described above must pale in comparison to a young Iranian living in a mullahcracy discovering the blogosphere for the first time. Of course, I may be suffering from a bit of ethnocentrism – judging other peoples cultures by the standards of my own. I’m sure most liberals would make the condescending argument that the Iranians are not “us” and “we” can’t presume that the blogosphere would have any sort of liberating influence on the Arab world. But we’ve heard that before haven’t we.
Here’s a quote by Afshin Molavi, a writer who’s extensively covered Iranian political developments over the years from within Iran:
It?s increasingly apparent that Iran?s young are tuning out a preachy government for an alternative world of personal Web logs (Persian is the third most commonly used language on the Internet, after English and Chinese), private parties, movies, study, and dreams of emigrating to the West. These disenchanted ?children of the revolution? make up the bulk of Iran?s population, 70 percent of which is under 30. Too young to remember the anti-American sentiment of the ?70s, they share little of their parents? ideology. While young Iranians of an earlier generation once revered Che Guevara and romanticized guerrilla movements, students on today?s college campuses tend to shun politics and embrace practical goals such as getting a job or admission into a foreign graduate school.
And then there’s this nugget:
Meanwhile, Iranian intellectuals are quietly rediscovering American authors and embracing values familiar to any American civics student?separation of church and state, an independent judiciary and a strong presidency.
With the rise of the blogosphere amidst the pent up, unexpressed appreciation of American values, its only a matter of time before Iranian bloggers take down their own Dan Rather or Eason Jordan. But I suspect that they will have their sights set a little higher than an anchorman or news executive.