Ayatollah Canute commands the internet tide to recede

Posted on by Mike Evans

Iran is severing connections with the meddlesome internet. In future an Islamic intranet will provide for the inquisitiveness of its citizens.

This folly reminds me of the legend of King Knud the Great, known to generations of British schoolchildren as King Canute. He was seemingly a wiser man than the leaders of Iran.

Canute had been flattered by his courtiers who said that he was so great that he could command the tides of the sea to go back. Writing in The Viking Network, Barrie Markham Rhodes explains:

Canute was not only a religious man, but also a clever politician. He knew his limitations - even if his courtiers did not - so he had his throne carried to the seashore and sat on it as the tide came in, commanding the waves to advance no further. When they didn’t, he had made his point that, though the deeds of kings might appear ‘great’ in the minds of men, they were as nothing in the face of God’s power.

Grand Ayatollah Knud thinks differently. So did the leaders of the old Soviet Union who, despite their best efforts, were eventually ruined by the rising tide of communication. It has been said that the humble fax machine was the weapon that provided the fatal blow to Reagan’s “evil empire”.

So I wish Iran’s leaders good luck. They’ll need it.

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