A reader writes:

There is nothing here to vindicate the neocons.  Their dreams of democracy flourishing around the world are shared by most Americans and many more people generally.  This is not what distinguishes neocons from the rest of us--it is one of the things we have in common.  What distinguishes neocons is their authoritarianism, their belief that the common good is something that can and should forcefully be imposed by a strong ruler, ruling class, or government--a point you rightly acknowledge in your post.  I therefore don't see how there is any irony here at all. Democracy and freedom are not neoconservative ideas--they do not get to own those concepts.  The neoconservative idea is about how to get there, and in this singular distinguishing aspect they have been proven wrong over and over again, leaving disaster upon disaster in their wake.    

Once again, this comes back to an issue of respect for the dignity of others.

One thing that keeps coming up in the commentaries on Iran is the observation that, in demanding that the Iranian people accept an election result that is so obviously false, Khamenei is insulting the intelligence, and thus the integrity, of his people.  Or as Rami Khoury puts it in the piece you linked to, "human beings...do not like being treated like idiots by their own government, and resist the process when it takes place."  

This is precisely what was so infuriating about the last 8 years, starting with the disputed election, right on to the very bitter end.  Time and again, the neocons who led our country asked the American people, and the world, to accept things that were obviously false (Saddam was an imminent threat to the U.S., WMD or no WMD), obviously illegal (neither Geneva Conventions nor FISA applied to GWoT), or obviously evil (torture), thereby insulting the intelligence and the integrity of the American people.  

This is not coincidence--the two are related.  The top-down approach, which is at the core of both neoconservatism and tyranny, is fundamentally, or at least invariably, at odds with human dignity.  In this important sense, the neocons' hearts are not in the right place at all, even if their dreams about freedom are dreams we all share.  But freedom itself is not enough--justice and equality are essential, and tend to be disregarded by neocons, who routinely attack efforts to further justice and equality as threats to (their own) freedom.  
I know you get this, Andrew, which is why I read your blog. 

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.