AP reports this morning that Iranian "president" Mahmoud "Mad Jad" Ahmadinejad wants to purge liberal and secular teachers from Iran's universities. Mad Jad denounced the secularism of the last 150 years, and he wants the students to march back to God, calling on them to return to, as AP put it, "1980's style radicalism."
Educationally this seems rather stupid: Mad Jad says he wants nuclear energy and Israel wiped off the map; privately he has wet dreams about building nukes. I wonder just how it is Mad Jad plans to pursue such policies while persecuting the eggheads who make such an agenda possible ?
Sounds like Mad Jad is listening to his advisors from VEVAK (the secret police) and the Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guard), which makes a good deal of sense given his own background. The Universities have always been a source of trouble for Iranian regimes: they caused trouble in the Constitutional Revolution of 1906; student protests were important in throwing out Mohammad Reza Shah in 1979; they aided in radicalizing the Islamic Revolution in the early 1980's. . .students and universities are generally an honest secret policeman's nightmare.
From the perspective of somebody who wishes the Islamic regime ill, this sounds like good news. Surely Mad Jad would not tamper with the universities, risking unrest, and interfering with the development of national assets -- educated students -- absent cruel necessity. The possibililty of trouble for Mad Jad's return to the radical Khomeiniist path from the students must worry the Mullah leaders more than they let on.
Finally, from another perspective, El Jefe, who sometimes finds nutjob wackos very tedious (think Ward Churchill or Noam Chomsky). . .confesses that he, in his weaker moments, finds a certain amount of. . .sympathy. . .with Mad Jad's desire to rid himself of "liberal" professors, (although Mad Jad's particular bête noires are different than El Jefe's). But only a certain amount: such persons have their place. A country without education or good universities (including wackos) is poor indeed.