Crime of the Mind
By: Fariborz Mofidian


I was channel surfing the magical tube the other night when a debate on C-Span caught my attention. It was an annual invitation by a university back East and the honorary guests were the famous liberal attorney Alan Derschwitz and preacher and arch conservative talk show host Rev. Alan Keyes. The motion of the debate, I believe, was "Role of religion in society and separation of church and state." The debate was intense, fiery, exciting and educational in a way. The two men were articulate and eloquent and their oratory skills and passionate delivery left me initially spellbound. I was fascinated by the flawless delivery of their viewpoints and power of their intellect.

But as the debate went on, I sadly realized that I did not agree with any of the two respective positions entirely. More unfortunate was the uncompromising and extreme position they had both locked themselves in. Neither one of them would give in an inch.  Then I realized that beyond the black and white picture and through the facade of colorful intellectual magic, I saw what I would have failed to see in my naive, idealist younger years: That in fact, as in case of all extremists, they were so much alike, both in substance and form. It reminded me of the famous French proverb  "Les extremes se touches." and the famous Iranian line that:


Every time that I accidentally fall on these events, a dark cloud hangs over me for a couple of days. When I remember how I spent my youth idolizing and believing, makes me laugh. I am not angry or bitter. It's good to be idealist and a believer when you are young. But I know a few people who play the game till the last breath. Not as a passion or belief but rather a way of life! It 's a commodity, a social statement and societal standing. Just like the clothes they wear and the cars they drive.

Unfortunately, I can also detect that in many of my fellow Iranians. Not for a second would they fathom that they may be half-right, or others who differ from their point of view, may actually  have something to offer. They honestly believe because they can cock their eye-brows higher and inflate their nostrils larger and raise their voices higher, they have a moral monopoly on truth and all that is right. They will, of course, mix that physical intellect with fancy terminologies and their undeniable "gathered knowledge" and send you a barrage of intellectual garbage to tell you simply: " I am right, you are wrong and by golly I do know a lot and I am good"!!

I will end this note with this caveat for all my pseudo-intellectual friends out there:

I don't know who has failed more: Those who have none of the above and KNOW it, or those who have taken their degree, education or knowledge mistaken for wisdom!!