When, oh, when will the United States catch up with Iran? Those bearded, bomb-building, Koran-quoting clerics — we underestimate them at our peril. They know enough, the ayatollahs, to get rid of their morality police who have for decades subverted Iranian civic life, as they've reportedly done this week after protests in that country continued.

The morality police in Iran were known for harassing Iranians — women especially — who were deemed insufficiently devoted to Islamic purity. Yet when the morality cops apparently killed a young women for her gall in showing too much hair, public...

When, oh, when will the United States catch up with Iran? Those bearded, bomb-building, Koran-quoting clerics — we underestimate them at our peril. They know enough, the ayatollahs, to get rid of their morality police who have for decades subverted Iranian civic life, as they’ve reportedly done this week after protests in that country continued.

The morality police in Iran were known for harassing Iranians — women especially — who were deemed insufficiently devoted to Islamic purity. Yet when the morality cops apparently killed a young women for her gall in showing too much hair, public protests erupted.

Morality is one thing, persecution is another, as the ayatollahs appear to have figured out. Morality requiring visible and painful enforcement can’t be sustained. That applies here just as much as it does to Iran.

America’s own morality police is a volunteer outfit, less violent than Iran’s was, but hardly less dedicated to the enforcement of ideological purity. It roams the country — college campuses in particular — seeking out dissenters from the doctrine of diversity, which they conventionally, if a bit inaccurately, call social justice. Upon varmints who think for themselves come torrents of righteous fury — never mind constitutional guarantees of diversity in, among other things, speech.

Iran’s morality cops were accustomed to seizing the morally lax on the street and persuading them — you know, “nice little family you have here, it’d be a shame to (fill in the blank in Farsi).” America’s woke enforcement machine, informal but supported by the media and virtue-signaling establishment types, has slightly different mechanisms at the ready. One is the suppression, primarily in classrooms, of narratives that affirm America’s useful contributions to civilized life. The morality cops’ favorite reproaches are “racist” and “sexist.” If they call you one or both, you’ve had it, in their books.

So it was that the dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s law school recently worked over a tenured professor, Amy Wax, with a verbal blackjack. Her ideas on social policy were “racist, sexist, xenophobic, and homophobic.” Wow! Put her on a leaky boat to Antarctica with a package of cheese crackers for sustenance. The dean demanded, in essence, that Wax be punished for daring to look at life and public affairs in a way that was different from his own way.

Other speakers, such as Charles Murray, Heather MacDonald, and Ann Coulter, have been harassed on prestigious campuses by local morality cops for entertaining viewpoints with a family resemblance to Wax’s. There’s one! Get her! Don’t let her get away!

In 2019, eight of 10 University of California campuses required job applicants to document their good deeds on behalf of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The morality cops over here may not disarrange your teeth, but they don’t like hearing that you have a viewpoint of your own – the product, possibly, of thought and research, not to mention good will. Over here, the morality squad can’t be dispersed by the regime, inasmuch as we don’t yet have a regime like Iran’s. But it concentrates the mind wonderfully to note that repression, which travels across national boundaries, is only useful up to a certain point, after which it can, and will, strangle the most generous of societies and nations.