Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sic semper evello mortem tyrannus

Pinochet died today at 91. My only regret is that he died of natural causes, instead of being strung up and gutted as he fully deserved. May he rot in hell next to the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Khomeini and Arafat. (I didn't mention a lot of others, but you catch my drift.) May he be speedily joined by Castro and Saddam Hussein, God willing, and the whole lot couldn't be joined fast enough by Madman Mahmoud and Hugo Chavez.

Chavez, by the way, proved that his rhetoric truly knows no limits. He's enough to drive his own people to drink, and now he's blasphemed by invoking Christ's name as justification for his tyranny:
"The Kingdom of Christ is the kingdom of love, of peace; the kingdom of justice, of solidarity, brotherhood, the kingdom of socialism," he told the raucous crowd celebrating below. "This is the kingdom of the future of Venezuela."
Early Christians attempted a form of communism, holding everything in common and dividing everything according to need. The community failed after two people kept part of what they received from selling their land. Note that God did not strike them down for keeping part of the money, but for lying: they conspired to defraud the community, with which they had made a voluntary agreement to share property equally. Also, I don't believe for one second that God intended Christians to live that way, rather that God allowed the community to make the attempt and fail, proving humanity cannot continue under common ownership.

We know from Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians that idolaters are among those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God. I submit to you that idolaters include "those worshippers of government," as Bastiat termed them in The Law. Remember that there are those who will call Jesus "Lord," claim to perform "wonderful works" in His name, yet will be unknown to God in the true kingdom to come.

Do I judge Chavez? Yes, and my judgment is righteous in that I acknowledge my own shortcomings before God, and that most importantly, I seek no power over others. Unlike Chavez, I have no desire to coerce others to my beliefs, to forcibly structure their lives around my visions, or to worship the same forces of purely human construction that put my own Savior to death. My best friend at work recently asked what my "plan" for society is if I could eliminate the welfare state. How can a Keynesian like him, whose very philosophy revolves around government planning, ever comprehend that I don't and refuse to have a "plan" for others, that my only "goal" is their freedom to live according to their own consciences, until they harm others?


Blogger septagon said...

SIX months before Salvador Allende was overthrown on September 11, 1973, Volodia Teitelboim told an interviewer for the Communist Party daily newspaper in Santiago that if civil war were to come, then 500,000 to one million Chileans would die.
Teitelboim knew whereof he spoke. He was then the No.2 man in the Chilean Communist Party, the third largest in the Western world (after France and Italy), and a senior partner in Allende's Marxist-Leninist government.

The Communists were then planning to seize total power in the country, though they were not in as much a hurry to do so as the Socialists, the principal party in the Allende coalition and one passionately committed to revolutionary violence. So the Communists and the Socialists shared the same goal - ending once and for all the bourgeois democratic state - but differed on methods. Allende, a Socialist, was somewhere in between, wavering between his own bourgeois tastes and the totalitarian temptation.

Allende had come to power in September 1970 with not enough votes to win outright election - only 40,000 more than the conservative runner-up - and so had to be voted in by Congress in exchange for a statute of guarantees drawn up by the Christian Democrat majority. A few months later, Allende told fellow leftist Regis Debray that he never actually intended to abide by those commitments but signed just to finally become president, having failed in three previous runs for the office.

In those first 2 1/2 years, Allende had plunged Chile into hell-on-earth chaos. Former president Eduardo Frei Montalva - the man more responsible than any other for Allende's ascent to the presidency - called it "this carnival of madness". Violence, strikes, shortages and lawlessness stalked the land.

The Supreme Court declared Allende outside the law. So, too, did the Chamber of Deputies in August 1973 in a resolution that all but demanded the armed forces seize power to rescue Chile from the inferno.

So, when the armed forces finally did act on September 3, they did so in response to the clamour of an overwhelming majority of Chileans and not as the jackboot power bandits of typical Latin American revolts. News stories about what happened on that Tuesday in September routinely speak of the bloody coup. It was no such thing. About 200 people died in the shooting on September 13 and a little more than 1000 in the first three months of virtual civil war.

But not the civil war the Communists were perfectly prepared to accept as their price for power: 500,000 to one million. Indeed, in all 17 years of military rule, the total of dead and missing - according to the only serious study - was 2279. The Chilean Revolution thus was, by far, the least bloody of any significant Latin American revolution of the 20thcentury, though you would never guess that from reading or watching news reports.

The Chilean revolution was different from other Latin American revolutions in another respect: it left the country far better off than the one it found. Indeed, Chile is the envy of the entire region for its spectacular economic progress and for the solidity of the institutions the military government created. Consider: Inflation was slashed from 600per cent to 6per cent; infant mortality rates came down from 66per 1000 to 13 per 1000; urban access to drinking water increased from 67 per cent to 98per cent; and living standards more than doubled.

Pinochet et al realised, from the start, that the country they had agreed to rescue was in an institutional shambles. More than half a century of cheap politicking had - in the phrase of Chile's leading historian - so rotted the country's institutions as to bring about their death. A brand new beginning was needed.

Crafting the new constitution and other institutions was complicated by the presence in the country of thousands of foreign and local terrorists. Indeed, as late as 1986, Fidel Castro shipped 25 tonnes of arms to Chile: the largest clandestine arms shipment in history, sufficient to arm 5000 terrorists. (News reports routinely refer to these people as political opponents. The overwhelming majority of the dead and missing were, in fact, either outright terrorists or those who were sheltering, financing and supporting them.)

News reports speak also of about 26,000 victims of torture, basing the number on the 2005 report of a commission on torture. The kindest thing that can be said of that commission is that it was frivolous. It not only encouraged Chileans across the world to report their suffering, without documentation of any kind, knowing they would then become eligible for some of the $US200 million ($254million) a year the Government pays in reparations to victims of the military regime, but also met only one afternoon a week over a period of llmonths. But even if it had worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week, it would not have been able to devote more than five minutes to each of the 37,000 cases it "examined".

Were there abuses? Were there real victims? Without the slightest doubt. A war on terror tends to be a dirty war. Still, in the case of Chile, and contrary to news reports, the number of actual victims was small.

In more recent years, Pinochet had been subjected to an unrelenting legal siege. News reports routinely speak of his efforts to avoid prosecution, as though it is not normal and usual to seek to avoid prosecution, and especially when it is so pernicious and tendentious as the one mounted against him by the Socialist Government. The fact is that, despite thousands of legal man-hours and who knows what gargantuan expense over the past five years, the Government has not been able to convict Pinochet of anything. Nothing.

What it has done is attempt tosmear his good name and reputation with allegations of illegal riches. Figures ranging as high as $US29million are flung recklessly about. The fact is that after 17 years in power, his estate had grown by a mere $US500,000. And the fact is they have proven nothing. Nothing.
James Whelan

Friday, December 15, 2006 12:28:00 PM  

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