The Corner

Something You Need to Know about Iran

President Reagan used to talk all the time about how Lenin refused to listen to music — the Soviet leader thought that listening to music would soften him, intolerably. Make him too humane. Reagan thought that this told you a lot about Lenin, and about Marxism-Leninism. But Reagan was a dunce, remember? “Amiable” or not.

Here is a report from Bloomberg News: 

Iran has barred private schools from teaching music, saying it clashes with the establishment’s Islamic values, following a push to enforce moral standards that may lead to a national dress code for university students.

“The use of musical instruments is against the principles of our value system,” Ali Bagherzadeh, head of the private-schools office in the Education Ministry, said in a phone interview from Tehran today. . . .

Teaching music in state schools has always been prohibited, Bagherzadeh said. A school that teaches music may be permanently closed and its director barred from opening another school, he said. The ban applies to the use of all instruments, including those played in traditional Iranian music, Bagherzadeh said.

Incidentally, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck got the idea for his movie The Lives of Others from this fact about Lenin and music. He wondered, “What if you could have put headphones over Lenin and made him listen to music?”

P.S. I know that Nazis and other monsters have been great lovers of, and creators of, and performers of, music. I know, I know — possibly better than you! Thanks in advance.

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