We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Augusto Pinochet

Other people will debate whether Augusto Pinochet, who died yesterday, was a wicked man who led a regime that killed three thousand people, or whether he should have killed rather more than three thousand as his communists foes have never had much of a moral problem with killing their enemies. My own opinion is that one should never kill an unarmed enemy – no matter what he or she might have been planning to do.

In the interests of honesty I should note that was not my opinion at the time. Many other communists regarded the independent Marxist President Allende as too rash and it is worth noting he was never a member of the official Communist party of Chile. Indeed when I heard the story about a group of communists mostly from outside Chile had been building forces from all over Latin America and beyond, had been told that President was about to deliver a speech and that they should come (leaving their firearms behind) and, when they got to the place the speech was supposed to take place, they were greeted with 50 calibre machine guns – well I laughed. But I was a child when I heard that story and children tend to be cruel.

Everyone has different levels of being shocked. For example, Pinochet either did not care (or did not want to know) about torture and summary execution. But when he got to hear of a rape of a prisoner he went through the roof (I heard this story from the prisoner via a BBC radio interview years ago) – the ‘holy army’ of Chile, based on the army of pre World War I Prussia – with joining up to the officer corps at the age of 15 and a monk like existence to one’s early 20’s, must not behave like ‘Argentines’, the prisoner must be released – and whoever was responsible must be…

On the democracy issue: It is true that Allende got more votes than any other candidate for President in the 1970 election (he got about a third of the vote), but he had violated the Constitution so much since then that the Congress had voted to outlaw him. Of course Pinochet did not turn over power to the Congress – he dissolved it (whatever it thought of Allende, the Congress with its majority of socialists and Christian Democrats would not have favoured someone who had just killed a lot of people – that it a problem with picking up a gun and doing some killing, how do you put it down again and not get punished?). By the way it was not, as is often claimed, the “first military coup in the history of Chile” as there was the coup of 1924 (but perhaps that does not count, as it was a leftist coup). But then what do you do? I suppose one could rule as a military dictator for life – without any constitutional settlement, but (for better or worse) that is not what Pinochet wanted to do. Yes there was repression and yes there was terrorism (not all the violence was one way – even though Pinochet had used the element of surprise to kill or arrest a lot of the communists before they had a chance to organize their war effort).

After the economy recovered from the mass takeover of private property, both the official nationalizations, and the unofficial takeovers by armed mobs that Allende had organized, and from the hyper inflation, which was neither ’caused by the CIA’ nor caused by ‘Marxism’ – Allende and his people just liked printing money like crazy, there is not a word anywhere in the writings of Karl Marx that urges such a policy,. Pinochet got a Constitution passed by the voters in (if my memory serves) 1981 so that he could point to popular support, but then the economy fell off a cliff again.

The reason for this is interesting. For a man who is supposed to have been close to Milton Friedman (in fact they only met once, and Friedman often openly said that he opposed military government) Pinochet ignored a central teaching of his – one must not rig exchange rates.

The truth is that Pinochet did not know much about economics. And the advisers that he had (‘Chicago boys’ or not) did not agree with Milton Friedman on this – they thought ‘rigging’ the exchange rate to the Dollar was a good way of getting rid of high inflation.

Actually the supply of fiat (government command) money is the only thing they should have been looking at. But they wanted to be clever and run an exchange rate scam.

I do not know why people do this. Nigel Lawson (to give one example) actually wrote against this practice when he was editor of the Spectator, but as Chancellor he himself rigged the exchange rate of the Pound (with the D-Mark) which led to the expansion of the money supply and a classic boom-bust cycle (which the economically illiterate blamed on tax cuts).

True the Chilean economy recovered (when the rigging was stopped), but Pinochet never really had majority support again. As he found out in the 1989 vote. The economy had recovered, he thought he was going win – but he lost.

Various Christian Democrats (really social democrat) have held office since 1990, these days an official social democrat holds office which (no doubt) means there will be an ever bigger rise in government health, education and welfare spending. No conservative has won a contested election for President of Chile in my life time – although they might have won in 1964 (if the Americans had not backed the Christian Democrats so much).

So was it all for nothing?

No, the compulsory pension system still has some real investments (rather than being entirely a government Ponzi scheme like the British and American systems). And the government does not have a monopoly of health or education (although there is pressure for more statism in both).

Most importantly there is still private property in the means of production in Chile. True, the copper industry in mostly state owned. The American backed Christian Democrat government of 1964-1970 started the nationalization of that – and the military got too much money out of the copper mines to really want to turn most of them over to private enterprise – actually they may happen under the civilians as selling the mines is a good way of getting money to spend on their welfare schemes, but most other things are private.

Chile still has some of the highest living standards in Latin America (and it would not have without Pinochet’s time in power). And as for killings – those people opposed to Marxism who did not leave Chile would have been killed if the Marxists had remained in power, and that would have been a few million dead rather than a few thousand. Although, as I said at the start, that does not make killing a few thousand people right.

108 comments to Augusto Pinochet

  • As I have commented elsewhere, Pinochet was not even in the premier league of dictators. He was a pussy compared to many of the tyrants that his biggest detractors lionise. Mao was responsible for at least 10.000 times as many deaths.

    Not that any of this excuses ex judicial executions.

  • Kim du Toit

    The best thing that can be said about Pinochet is that without him, things would have been much, MUCH worse.

    That is the considered opinion of many educated Chileans, not mine.

    What I found fascinating when I went to Chile was that Pinochet is reviled by Lefties (unsurprising), but worshipped by just about everyone else. His old house in Montevideo is not just a museum, but a shrine. People cross themselves when they pass by the place, and every night the street-sweepers are kept busy removing the dozens of bouquets that have been left there during the day.

    Because so much of the media has a Leftist slant, of course, we only ever read or hear about how evil a man Pinochet was.

    But that’s not how he’s regarded in Chile, at least, not by a considerable number of people one meets. There, his “atrocities” are met with a shrug — because whether we like it or not, sometimes evil is necessary to prevent a far greater evil.

    That’s how it’s seen over there.

    By the way, I loved Chile. I would go back there, especially to Vina Del Mar, in a heartbeat.

  • Gabriel

    This sums up how I feel. The opprobrium poured upon Pinochet by those who excuse Stalin and Mao, equivocate for Lenin and Castro and cream ther pants over Guevara and Trotsky is so repulsive that I want to scream

    Pinochet was a great man, his victims deserved their fate and worse. May he rest in peace.

    Indeed I have said things like this, but I know it’s wrong. It doesn’t do the Right any favours to laud men like him.

    On the other hand it doesn’t do us any favours to meekly acquiesce with the media version of South American history that paints him as the pinnacle of an aberrant clutch of CIA installed dictators murderously resisting the South American people’s will (sometimes painted in racial terms, as if Allende and Eva Peron ever even fraternised with Indians, let alone shared their blood).

    Somewhere recently I read that the difference between Castro and Pinochet is that they both set about breaking eggs with gusto, but only the latter bothered to make an ommelette. That about sums it up for me.
    The problem was not, of course, that he suspended Democracy, a new and innovative form of choosing a government that did not exist anywhere significant for any length of time until 1893 and did not even receive its first intimations until the 1820s, but that he rode roughshod over the rule of law and individual liberty, the cornerstones of all civilization worthy of the name and parliamentary governance, the imperfect guarantor of both. He didn’t do it as much as Allende had, so he was perhaps an improvement, but he still did it.

    Oh yeah, and

    there was the coup of 1924 (but perhaps that does not count, as it was a leftist coup.

    Bingo.

  • “In the interests of honesty I should note that was not my opinion at the time.”

    In the interests of honesty why dont you outline your opinion?

    Anyone remember the Caravan of Death? What a shameful apologia for a brutal thuggish regime.

    Samizdat = Disgrace

  • Bernard

    It will be interesting to see and contrast the reception given to the death of Castro to that of Pinochet. They might both be categorised as small league dictators but I forecast endless fawning BBC documentaries for the former.

  • The fact that Thatcher admired him should be enough for anyone -she is the template on all moral/political issues…

    Hillarious to hear Gallwoay fulminating against this ‘fascist dictator Pinochet’ on Talksport. Is there a psychopathic totalitarian he hasn’t licked the boots of?

  • RAB

    Gus, as you have dear old cuddly ever hip (and thankfully very dead) Che, on your header, you appear to endorse those who kill innocent citizens in the name of ideology, I.E. left wing killers, but appear to have a problem with those who kill to save their country from those who would actively do it harm.
    No I have never heard of the caravan of death, or indeed the camper van of inconvienience.
    You are a hypocrite son!

  • Nick M

    niconoclast,

    Are you serious in your Thatcher comment? You seem to be almost suggesting worshipping the woman – despite your moniker.

    Obviously the People’s Comissar for Bethnal Green & Bow went off on one over Pinochet. He did it for the same reason he practically felated Saddam, he is enthralled by power above all things. The people he most reviles and the people he most admires actually have/had real power. Perhaps, at some level, Gorgeous George knows that he’s nothing but a jumped up demagogue whose had his 15 miutes.

  • Of course its worth remembering that Allende was the elected head of state. Oh and Nick M – Galloway was lected too! Pesky thing this democracy isnt it?

  • RAB

    Now what the hell was wrong with my comment earlier that has not appeared?

  • Simon Jester

    On the democracy issue: It is true that Allende got more votes than any other candidate for President in the 1970 election (he got about a third of the vote), but he had violated the Constitution so much since then that the Congress had voted to outlaw him.

    GA’s reading comprehension appears to be about the usual level expected of Che’s analinguists.

  • Jacob

    “By the way, I loved Chile. I would go back there, especially to Vina Del Mar, in a heartbeat.”

    I lived two years in Chile (under Pinochet), and loved it too. Lovely and friendly country.

    Most of all I was amazed by all the free-market reforms (no, free-market revolution!) they implemented. I was reading official comuniques and could not beleive my eyes; it’s like the Cato institute took over Chile.

    I also didn’t find his regime too oppressive. I have lived in the past under really oppresive regimes (communist ones) so I knew how oppresive regimes look. In Chile there was relative freedom and security. If you weren’t actively involved in violent attempts to overthrow the regime – you were free and safe.
    Incidentally – his victims were indeed those trying to change the regime by force. Mostly he didn’t kill his opponents, he just exiled them.
    And, you should judge things according to the culture and norms prevailing in South America, not in the US or England. Leftists killed adversaries too, in South America. Red terrorism and subversion were big problems back in the 1970s.

    Of course, errors were made, as they always are. Too much brutality, economic errors too. But the fact remains: Chile is the most democratic, and most prosperous country in South America today, and they owe much to Augusto Pinochet. RIP.

  • “Pesky thing this democracy isnt it?”

    What’s so great about democracy? If 51% of the people vote to enslave the other 49%, how is this in any way a good result.

  • hardatwork

    Gus,

    “Of course its worth remembering that Allende was the elected head of state.”

    Then quickly forgetting it. Allende was about as democratic as Hitler.

  • Alfred E. Neuman

    What’s so great about democracy? If 51% of the people vote to enslave the other 49%, how is this in any way a good result.

    Bingo. Ever notice how leftists love democracy when it votes their way, but when it doesn’t, the people are idiots, sheeple, etc? How the Electoral College should have been abolished when Gore won the popular vote but lost the election? Of course, had the situation been reversed, there would have been editorials all over the world praising the Electoral College.

    I never cease to be amazed at how rapidly, and without any embarrasment, leftists will do a full 180 on any issue when it changes their power prospects.

  • guy herbert

    I don’t share Paul’s ambivalence about Pinochet’s methods. It was not a surgical coup.

    The bombing of the presidential palace and the decapitation of the Allende regime might conceivably have been and end of it. There are plenty of examples of coups with relatively limited violence.

    But widespread torture and disappearances could have only been deliberate and intended as state terror. The reason torture is never secret when systematically practiced is because that is its real function: to create terror and abject compliance. Free market reforms do not excuse that; and they could not excuse it unless you think that they could not have been instituted without the reign of terror, and that by a quasi-utilitarian magic human sacrifice is permissible.

    The interesting thing about the Pinochet régime (as I think I have mentioned before here) is not its repugnant methods for establishing uncontested power, which is far from unique even in Latin America. Nor is it the contingent adoption of Chicagoan advice. It is the way in which it – almost immediately – became the prime focus of lefty hatred, to the exclusion of subsequent and contemporary examples of brutal dictatorships as bad or worse.

  • guy herbert,

    It is the way in which it – almost immediately – became the prime focus of lefty hatred, to the exclusion of subsequent and contemporary examples of brutal dictatorships as bad or worse.

    Pinochet is hated not because of the number of people he killed but because of the class of people he killed. He didn’t massacre peasants, he massacred the Leftist elite including hundreds of foreigners from the developed world. Really for the first and only time since WWII, Leftist elites in Europe saw people just-like-them getting killed. That was unforgivable.

    Its as in medieval times when the heralds meticulously documented every noble killed, wounded or captured during a battle but recorded only the rough numbers of commoners who died. Battles like Agincourt stunned contemporaries because of the number of nobles slain, not the overall death count.

    Leftist see the world in the same way as medieval nobles. Pinochet committed the sin of killing our modern nobility and for that he must be forever reviled.

  • Millie Woods

    I wonder if Pinochet’s estate will be one billion plus like Fidel’s miraculous money supply.

  • Jeremy Sapienza

    And as for killings – those people opposed to Marxism who did not leave Chile would have been killed if the Marxists had remained in power, and that would have been a few million dead rather than a few thousand. Although, as I said at the start, that does not make killing a few thousand people right.

    Yes, it absolutely does.

  • Nick M

    Gus,

    I don’t care if Galloway was elected or won it on a scratchcard. I never made any point about how he came to the position he now occupies. He is though, a very unpleasant, unscrupulous demagogue. You’re not gonna intimidate my Billy Goat’s Gruff with facile, tangential arguments like that.

    Alfred E. Neuman,
    I was going to say something similar to what you said about The Left and democracy and now I don’t have to.

  • guy herbert

    Shannon,

    That’s plausible. My speculation was concentrated on trades unionists, but you may well be right that it is both broader and narrower than that.

    There’s also the possibility that Allende’s government had already had a lot of hopes of the international left invested in it: as a rare example of an elected far left government that had already sucked in a lot of overseas advisers into the project. (Such as my particular bête noir, Stafford Beer.) So when that was destroyed, it wasn’t just a load of quaint foreigners being tortured and murdered – it was the end of personal projects in utopian management.

    One sees a similar emotional investment (relatively less warranted) in Chavez now.

  • J

    Bah. Why would the death of Pinochet cause a sudden outbreak of utilitarianism in Samizdata? It’s a mystery to me.

    The guy was an evil dictator. The other guy might have been a more evil dictator, and might have been worse at economics to boot (the real horror, apparently) – but the other guy didn’t get the chance, so we’ll never know.

    Net result, one less dictator. Good. Hope he’s in the warm place.

    Also a nasty rash of relativism has accompanied the utilitiarianism – comments about ‘having to understand the nature of South America at the time’. Bah again.

  • Sting wrote and sung a beautiful, haunting song about Pinochet’s disappeared, so therefore, Pinochet is bad.

    (please note the tongue firmly implanted in cheek; but please also recognize that’s how the young’uns form their informed opinions.)

  • Durante sus 17 años de dictadura, Augusto Pinochet llevó a cabo la única lucha anti-marxista de la década de los años 70 en Latinoamérica y por causa de esto y la Operación Cóndor miles de chilenos pasaron por las armas.

    Fue también durante su dictadora que los Chicago Boys, quienes recibieron este nombre por utilizar algunas y no todas de las políticas económicas de aquel académico de la Universidad de Chicago que falleció hace algunos días, iniciaron un programa de privatización y liberalización del mercado chileno.

    Hago notar, que he escrito sobre su dictadura y las políticas económicas que se realizaron durante su gobierno en párrafos anteriores. Algo que ha sido desastrosamente obviado por la izquierda latinoamericana que sabiamente junto las políticas económicas y la política.

    Durante años desde la caída del régimen pinochetista en 1990, la izquierda latinoamericana utilizó inteligentemente como una bandera de protesta el gobierno dictatorial de Augusto Pinochet para elucubrar una historia sangrienta sobre los supuestos efectos del capitalismo. Ellos, los izquierdistas, acusaron al capitalismo y a aquellos que defendemos el libre comercio y el capitalismo de ser los artífices creadores de las miles de muertes y desaparecidos durante el sangriento régimen de Pinochet.

    Augusto Pinochet no fue más que un déspota que creó una terrible opresión y supresión de opositores a su régimen con lo cual se mantuvo en el poder por más de 17 años. Gobernó desde el año 1973 como Jefe de la Junta Militar de Gobierno y fungió como Jefe Supremo de la Nación desde 1974 hasta el año 1990. Aunque en realidad, mantuvo su título de Comandante en Jefe del Ejército hasta el 10 de marzo de 1998.

    Durante 25 años Augusto Pinochet fue una de las más influyentes y poderosas figuras políticas del país Andino. Durante muchos años, Chile vivió en la obscuridad de la opresión de uno de los más valiosos derechos del individuo que es la Libertad de Expresión.

    Desde entonces, la izquierda fue sagaz y lo sigue siendo. Pues han logrado utilizar el caso de Chile bajo la dictadura pinochetista como aquella “manzana envenenada” para supuestamente demostrar que los aparentes éxitos económicos chilenos tuvieron como fuente de vida una atroz dictadura.

    Pinochet y cualesquiera otros dictadores como lo fueron Jean-Bédel Bocaza en la República Central Africana, Ferdinand Marcos en Filipinas y Baby Doc Duvalier en Haití están unidos porque la muerte de muchos opositores llevaron su firma. Sin embargo, ninguno de ellos incluyendo a Augusto Pinochet eran amigos de libre mercado y del capitalismo.

    Es un deber de todo aquel librepensador que defiende la libertad individual y los derechos del hombre enfatizar que las políticas económicas tomadas durante el gobierno de Pinochet y su tiránico gobierno son ambas grandes enemigas filosóficas. El libre mercado nunca vivió durante el régimen pinochetista, sino tan sólo fueron algunas reformas económicas de libre mercado. En ningún momento fue el libre mercado el artífice de su dictadura, ni la dictadura fue el artífice de las políticas de mercado de la economía chilena.

    Augusto Pinochet ha muerto, como han muerto muchos más importantes asesinos y enemigos de la Libertad. Su nombre recordará una historia de censura y opresión en la historia Latinoamericana pero nunca deberá recordar las reformas de mercado que se realizaron en Chile.

    La amenaza de la izquierda latinoamericana y los éxitos que estos han tenido para supuestamente comprobar la bestialidad del capitalismo deben parar con una lucha de las ideas que aún no ha sido ganada por la Academia del Libre Mercado.

    Es nuestra labor diaria demostrar y exclamar que el gobierno de Pinochet fue el claro ejemplo del Homo Homini Lupus en acción. Pero nunca, nunca fue el ejemplo de las políticas económicas de Libre Mercado.

    Digamos adiós y hasta nunca a un dictador férreo latinoamericano más. Digamos hola a la lucha que aún no hemos ganado por comprar a las masas que Pinochet y el Libre Mercado nunca fueron amigos.

  • And here is the translation (sort of) via Bablefish:

    “During its 17 years of dictatorship, Augusto Pinochet carried out the only fight anti-Marxist of the decade of years 70 in Latin America and because of this and the Chilean Operation Cóndor thousands shot. Dictator was also during his that Chicago Boys, who received this name to use some and all of the economic policies of that academic one of the University of Chicago that passed away some days ago, did not initiate a program of privatization and liberalization of the Chilean market.

    I make notice, that I have written on its dictatorship and the economic policies that were made during their government in previous paragraphs. Something that disastrously has been avoided by the Latin American left that wisely together the economic policies and the policy. During years from the fall of the pinochetista regime in 1990, the Latin American left intelligently used like a protest flag the dictatorial government of Augusto Pinochet to lucubrate a bloody history on the supposed effects of Capitalism. They, the leftists, accused the Capitalism and to which we defend the free commerce and the Capitalism of being the creative of the thousands of deaths and disappeared creators during the bloody regime of Pinochet.

    Augusto Pinochet was not more than a tyrant one than created a terrible oppression and suppression of opponents to its regime with which it stayed in the power by more than 17 years. It governed from the year 1973 like Head of the Military junta of Government and fungió like Supreme Head of the Nation from 1974 to year 1990. Although in fact, it maintained his title of Army Commander-in-Chief until the 10 of March of 1998. During 25 years Augusto Pinochet she was one of the most influential and powerful political figures of the Andean country. During many years, Chile lived in the darkness of the one oppression on the most valuable rights of the individual that is the Freedom of Expression. Since then, the left was sagacious and it continues it being. Then they have managed to use the case of Chile under the pinochetista dictatorship like that “poisoned apple” supposedly to demonstrate that the apparent Chilean economic successes had like life source an atrocious dictatorship. Pinochet and any other dictators as they were it Jean-Bédel Fizzle in the African Central Republic, Ferdinand Marks in the Philippines and Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti are united because the death of many opponents took their company/signature. Nevertheless, no of them including a Augusto Pinochet was friends of free market and Capitalism. It is to have of all that librepensador that defends the individual freedom and the rights of the man to emphasize that the economic policies taken during the government from Pinochet and his tiránico government are both great philosophical enemies. The free market never lived during the pinochetista regime, but they were only some economic reforms of free market. At no moment it was the free market the creator of its dictatorship, nor the dictatorship was the creator of the policies of market of the Chilean economy.

    Augusto Pinochet is dead, since more important assassins and enemies of the Freedom have died many. Its name will remember a censorship history and oppression in Latin American history but never will have to remember the market reforms that were made in Chile. The threat of the Latin American left and the successes that these have had supposedly to verify the bestiality of Capitalism must stop with a fight of the ideas that not yet has been gained by the Academy of the Free Market. It is our daily work to demonstrate and to exclaim that the government of Pinochet was the clear example of the Homo Homini Lupus in action. But never, never it was the example of the economic policies of Free Market. Let us say good bye and until never to a Latin American iron dictator more. Let us say hello to the fight that not yet we have won to buy to the masses that Pinochet and the Free Market never was friends.”

    Interesting comment, I think.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I agree with J and Guy. The ends do not justify the means. Yes, Chile is arguably a better place in many ways but that does not excuse what happened.

  • Bah. Why would the death of Pinochet cause a sudden outbreak of utilitarianism in Samizdata? It’s a mystery to me.

    I do not think it has.

    The guy was an evil dictator. The other guy might have been a more evil dictator, and might have been worse at economics to boot (the real horror, apparently)

    The article was not praising him, just pointing out that you have just said really.

    - but the other guy didn’t get the chance, so we’ll never know.

    Yes he did get the chance, just not for very long, so the evidence of where Chile was heading under Allende was not just guesswork.

  • Lysias

    For anyone who hasn’t read it yet I can recommend the late blogger val-e-diction’s essay “The Allende Myth”, it’s still available if you google for it and click on the cached page link.

  • Kit

    J, quite.

    The “it’s said the regime is bad, but I did not personally feel oppressed” line has been spouted by every idiot lefty visiting every idiot lefty dictatorship. As has “we need a little oppression to stop a lot of oppression,” and “we only oppressed the enemies of the people.” Not forgetting “we must not compare moral absolutes, only relativities,” and dismissing contrary arguments out of hand on the basis of their motivation.

    Pinochet’s security forces carried out a fatal car bombing in Washington DC. An anti-American terrorist is no freind of Kim du Toit’s surely?

    Paul Marks is right about Chile’s ropey economic performance.In this paper on the origins of Chile’s recent very high growth(Link) , GDP growth per capita is 0% between 1970 and 1987. I don’t believe that’s possible in a free market, so serious cronyism was afoot. According to the IMF, total growth under Pinochet was half what it was in the 60s, and a mere third of what it became in the 90s. Unemployment figures were pretty shabby apparently (averaging around 15%), but it’s hard to find data outside the usual “freemarkets= teh evil” rants, eg (Link), which describes a pretty statist regime to me but blames free markets for pollution where no environmental property rights exist. D’oh.

    More reliably, here’s an IMF report with stats on poverty (which has halved since the end of the Pinochet era), historic economic growth and social spending growth in the 1990s, which is >100%. (Link).

    According to The Times (Link), the Soviets regarded Allende as a weak and timid leader afraid to use violence, with little ability to mobilise popular support. I’m inclined to doubt there was no pro-freedom alternative to Pinochet’s coup.

    Did Pinochet actually do anything that New Zealand’s democratically elected Labour Party didn’t during the same era, other than the police state shenanigans?

    Basically, I don’t think the man was on “our” side, so there’s no need to make theoretical cost:benefit excuses for him anyway.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    good article by Danny Finkelstein here.(Link)

  • I never had much time for Pinochet either and Finkelstein’s comments, as linked above, sum things up quite neatly. There are, however two facts libertarians should care to highlight:
    There now seems to be a tendency to portray Allende as a kind of Latin American version of a Swedish social democrat. We should remember that he was nothing of the kind. He was clearly aiming for a fully developed socialist planned economy and –by implication- for the totalitarian state that goes with it. One can speculate how close he would ever have come in achieving this aim, but it was pretty clear how far he and the Unidad Popular wanted to take things.
    As the Spanish comment above mentioned, there are also those who claim that a Pinochet style dictatorship is the natural counterpart of free market economics. Again, it needs to be pointed out that this is not so. One could highlight, for example, that José Piñera, one of the Chicago Boys, was quite outspoken in criticising Pinochet’s human rights violations.
    For links on this se (here(Link) and here(Link))

  • Kit

    rk

    Don’t forget the potential mismatch between Allende’s apirations for a utopian planned economy, and his ability to actual bring any of them about. I think the harshest Allende critics are wrong in that they overstate his ability to reshape the world in his own image. In the end, the man strikes me as too feeble and unpopular to marshall the forces of radical change.

    His Project Cybersyn proto-internet thingy sounds pretty intriguing. (Link) Surprised it was scrapped, rather than privatized as a supply chain management tool.

  • Democracy is fine:

    As long as they vote for me.

  • Little bit embarassed to admit it, but I think Pinochet was a good man.

    His regime killed communists, he failed to prevent the torture of communists.

    Chile was a lberated country. It would have been far worse but for his actions.

    We know it. It is just unacceptable to say it in these easy times.

    In your heart you know that Pinochet is a hero.

    Better dead than red, is not as true as better a dead red.

  • Eric

    Kim, from what I understand, Pinochet isn’t as adored as he used to be, especially in light of the recent information that’s come out regarding foreign bank accounts totalling somewhere in nine figures. I didn’t realize it, but apparently this kind of thing isn’t as normal/expected in Chile as it is in other South and Latin American countries.

    We’ll probably never know whether Pinochet was a net positive for his country. On the one hand, he created a police state with a police state’s methodologies. On the other, he prevented… something. The coup may have prevented the deaths of millions, or it may have hastened the fall of a government soon to be bloodlessly voted out of office anyway, and in doing so damaged the institution of the Chilean republic. Hard to know.

  • For RAB take a look at the 1820 header of Che again (you fool).

    …and for all those right wing economists who swallow the degenerate bile of this article its worth remembering that in 1973, the year General Pinochet brutally seized the government, Chile’s unemployment rate was 4.3%. In 1983, after ten years of free-market modernization, unemployment reached 22%. Real wages declined by 40% under military rule.

    In 1970, 20% of Chile’s population lived in poverty. By 1990, the year “President” Pinochet left office, the number of destitute had doubled to 40%. Quite a miracle.

    You dont remember the Caravan of Death?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravan_of_Death

  • I’m sorry. I thought this was a “blog for people with a critically rational perspective.

  • I’m sorry. I thought this was “a blog for people with a critically rational perspective”.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Mike, it is. What is your actual point?

  • steves

    I agree with what appears to be the general thrust of the comments, that if forced to choose a brutal tyrant, then Chile got the better of the deal with Pinochet over Allende.

    He left Chile a better place (ok not if you or a family member were the opposition) and while he made many economic mistakes such as currency pegging, the economic outlook is better than Allende would have created.

    Also Pinochet used a dictatorship to eventually and extremely grudgingly to get back to some kind of democratic setup, Wheras Allende would have at least tried to use democracy to set up a marxist paradise.

    The real down side of the pinochet regime seems to be that the left will forever link free market, free trade etc with “right wing dictatorships”. The results of one of teh many wher do you stand tests on the net actually told me I was a free trader and that the only people who used this kind of thing were fascist dictatorships. I think the Wikepedia entry for free trade included at least a paragraph to this effect

  • Steves – when you are making the argument for the benefits of Pinochet (whilst admitting the small drawbacks of murder and torture) can you respond to the FACT that in 1973, the year General Pinochet brutally seized the government, Chile’s unemployment rate was 4.3%. In 1983, after ten years of free-market modernization, unemployment reached 22%. Real wages declined by 40% under military rule?

  • Gus,

    Do you have any sources for your data? Why do you pick the year 1983 –which happens to be the year following the onset of the 1982 Latin American debt crisis- rather than 1990 –the year in which Pinochet’s rule ended?
    I don’t think I have the time to go into this in detail, but I do tend to get suspicious when people base their argument on randomly selected data from no particular source.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    For some, Pinochet went a bit too far. Maybe like Lee Kuan Yew, he should have just imprisoned them for life rather than kill them and make them martyrs for the cause.

    Would that have made him more palatable for the moral absolutists?

    In the end, however, I think Machiavelli would have agreed with Pinochet.

  • Jacob

    “I agree with J and Guy. The ends do not justify the means. Yes, Chile is arguably a better place in many ways but that does not excuse what happened. ”

    In a perfect world you have perfect scenarios, and good thinks happen without being mixed or tainted by bad things.
    In this world you get what is, not what you wish it were.

    Chile is a better place (not arguably), and that is very important. Other countries (Argentina, Brazil) also had their dictatorships, and ….

    That is not, as J claimed, relativism. That is realism as opposed to utopianism.

  • steves

    Gus

    The only arguement I am making for Pinochet is as the lesser of two evils, not as a preferred option away from that choice.

    My main point was meant to be the linking of right wing dictatorships with free trade policies in the mind of the left especially the media.

    Unlike the left I do not want to llionose a tyrant, as far as I am concerned the smaller and less powerfull a goverment the better.

    While I am not a chilean expert like yourself, I believe that the following is a brief overview.

    When he seized control inflation was rampant, and he brought that under control, he pegged the curency to teh dollar which undid most of his good work. He repealed this and the economy continued to improve until he felt confident enough to put himself to the vote.

    He repealed the bans on marxist parties, invited all disidents back to teh country to vote, even allendes widow, and promptly lost. He then grudgingly gave up power (not many leftist murderers do that)

    He left chile as one of the richest countries in S America, with 95% literacy rates (better than us), reduced child mortality. The demonised free market economics left a personally owned pension scheme that Frank Field wanted to copy.

    So if you can unlink mass murderer from economics it seems that free markets do work, even under oppresion, how good would they be in a freer society?

  • Jacob

    The spanish comment of Guillermo Pineda says in essence, that Pinochet and free markets were not friends, and should not be mentined in the same breath.

    Well, maybe… in principle, Pinochet’s regime was indeed illiberal. But he did implement profound free market reforms. The two things are contradictory in nature, but they were done by the same person. A bizzare coincidence…

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Economically liberal, politically and socially illiberal.

    Where have we heard that before? :P

    And personally, I would choose economic freedom as more important before the other two(to a certain point, of course). Only after economic success is achieved do you start thinking about the other two.

  • Novus

    Gus,

    (whilst admitting the small drawbacks of murder and torture)

    …which is more than, say, your exemplar of pesky democracy, George Galloway, ever did with respect to, for example, that courageous, strong and indefatigable dictator he fawned over so much.

    in 1973, the year General Pinochet brutally seized the government, Chile’s unemployment rate was 4.3%. In 1983, after ten years of free-market modernization, unemployment reached 22%.

    Gosh. Could it possibly be that 4.3% employment was economically unsustainable and possible only within the strictures of a planned economy valuing politically favourable high employment over productivity and efficiency?

    What was the unemployment rate in 1990, the year General Pinochet brutally surrendered the government following the 1988 referendum?

  • Kit

    Steves, at best, per head of population Pinochet left Chile’s economy exactly the same size as when he found it. See page 4 of the Central Bank of Chile’s analysis of the country’s high post 1990 growth (Link) Average annual growth may be slightly negative.

  • Steves: “free markets do work, even under oppresion” Haw haw, brilliant. Your irony deficiency leaves me speechless.

    Novus – you use my pointing to the election as an MP of George Galloway (a defence of British parliamentary democracy) to compare Iraqi rule with Pinochets dictatorship. Quite the weirdest arguemnt Ive heard in a long time.

    If you lot want to defend atrocities on the grounds of dubious free market practice (tho even some of you don’t seem to agree if this was the case) fine.

    It’s a morally indefensible position put about by some weird tiny tribe onthe internet. Luckily in my country your are a political irrelevance, and soon we will be unshackled from your obnoxious political culture too.

  • Kit

    Novus,

    What was the unemployment rate in 1990, the year General Pinochet brutally surrendered the government following the 1988 referendum?

    The Brookings Institute has it that unemployment was 10% in 1974 and 5% in 1990, with the peak being 27% in 1983. (Link)

    I don’t believe that’s possible in a free market, so I judge Pinochet not to be a free marketeer, despite the insistence of some of his boosters and detractors.

    As Paul Marks hints in his original post, perhaps the lesson of Chile is that the first thing the government should privatise is the supply of money. This could be done by abolishing legal tender, and letting people spend whatever currency (gold, dollars, pelts, etc) the market prefers. People might even invent their own currency.

    Some posters in this thread might consider that “utopian” and not “realistic,” but it sounds pretty libertarian to me.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    If you lot want to defend atrocities on the grounds of dubious free market practice (tho even some of you don’t seem to agree if this was the case) fine.

    One of the things that the libertarian “movement” – if I can use such a word about such a varied bunch – has managed to do quite well in recent years is to differentiate itself sharply from the old tired categories of left and right. It used to suit the purposes of collectivists of all hues to dub anyone who supported capitalism, open markets and the like as a right-winger. On the other hand, people who supported pro-liberty things like trial by jury, opposed censorship, torture and Big Brother government were often though of as “left wing”. But the categories actually said nothing coherent about the views at issue.

    Those folk who imagine that Pinochet was a friend of classical liberalism or someone to be thanked are playing straight into collectivists’ hands.

  • I think the Finkelstein piece is pretty much spot on. Pinochet was a murderer, torturer, and thief, and as such is worthy of nothing but contempt.

    However, there are two issues with respect to the legacy of his regime in Chile that rather trouble me. The first is that this regime in particular became something of a cause celebre amoungst certain parts of the left. While I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of most of the people who disliked and condemned Pinochet because of the murder and torture, I occasionally met and/or heard from people whose main beef with Pinochet was not so much the torture and murder as the fact that he prevented Allende from creating the proposed socialist paradise in Chile. The fact that the successor to Allende was in many ways so unpleasant was seen as support for their argument that socialism was better than capitalism rather than as being an evil in itself. It is certainly the case that Chile became much more of a cause on the left than did some of the other Latin American countries that were being run by even more unpleasant regimes, most notably Argentina, and I can’t help but think that the proposed Allende socialist paradise is part of the reason. (It is a shame that Margaret Thatcher feels the need to cosy up to Pinochet, because few people actually did more for the ultimate removal of the awful military juntas that ran most of South America than did she. She probably wasn’t thinking of this at the time when she launched the Falklands campaign, but it is something she would hopefully take pride in none the less).

    The other issue that troubles me about Pinochet is that I have heard the argument “<such and such a country> needs a General Pinochet” from time to time since he left office in Chile. (I have heard this said about China and Indonesia, amongst other places). It usually comes from a member or supporter of an authoritarian regime that is repressive but relative free market, or at least relatively business friendly. The implied argument is that political repression is somehow necessary to get the country’s economy in shape, and that this therefore justifies the repressive politics.

    It is an argument used by truly awful people to justify their awfulness, and is an argument that those of us who believe in both political and economic freedom should stay very clear of. Economic growth does not require political repression. On the contrary, you get a lot more of it when you have political freedom.

  • Novus

    Gus,

    Yep, the first part was a throwaway remark (although I do find it extremely hard to take seriously anyone who uses Galloway as a positive example of anything. His election was not so much a vindication or “defence” of British Parliamentary democracy as it was a vindication of demagoguery, rabble-rousing, nudge-wink racism and extremely underhand politics). What about the second part?

    Kit, thanks for the link. Why don’t you believe it’s possible in a free market? If growth is rapid enough, it is surely possible.

  • Jacob

    “I don’t believe that’s possible in a free market, so I judge Pinochet not to be a free marketeer, despite the insistence of some of his boosters and detractors.”

    I’m sorry to say, you have no idea what you are talking about. My knowledge is based on personal experience, beside all those “statistics”

    In 1973 there was maybe only “4.3%” unemployement (according to Allende’s government statistics), as everybody was on the government’s payroll, and were paid wages with freshly printed banknotes, Allende printed plenty of those. Inflation was arround 1000% and the banknotes were wothless. There was nothing to buy, the shops were empty, in the streets the masses staged the famous “empty pots” parades, where people would bang on empty pots to protest the lack of food.
    Statistics cannot correctly depict the total destruction, the abismal state of the Chilean economy under Allende. He managed to destroy a relatively functioning Chilean economy by the total chaos that reigned under his rule, with gangs of thugs (well, of “workers”) taking control of everything and looting it. It is true that chaos and total disrespect of property (private or public) were the outstanding characteristics of the Allende regime rather than sinister, Cuba style, repression.

    Every comparison of the gains of Chilean economy under Pinochet must be based of the state he inherited in 1973, not on the state say, in 1960 or 1970 (i.e. before Allende).

    It must also be noted that economic gains is a cumulative process that takes place over time. The gains of the 1990s were a continuation of the very sound foundations laid during Pinochet’s regime. All subsequent “sicial democrat” regimes had the good sense to leave all reforms in place, and while they might have boosted welfare spending, they did not reverse the privatizations and free market frame fo the economy.

  • Jacob

    Michael Jennings:
    “Pinochet was a murderer, torturer, and thief, and as such is worthy of nothing but contempt.”

    Well, ok, he was kind of “a murderer, torturer, and thief”, and as such – par for the course for all Latin America, and much of the rest of the world. Lamentably we do not live in a libertarian (utopian) world.

    Unlike all those other murderes, torturers and thielfs (rulers), he also brought prosperity and, ultimately, sound democracy to Chile. In that he was unique among all those “murderes, torturers and thiefs”.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The idea that the only way to avert a socialist nightmare is by torturing “enemies” by the thousand, hunting them down in neighbouring countries or whatever, is absurd, Jacob.

    Great article by Christopher Hitchens, scourge of all manner of thugs, here:(Link)

    With hindsight, I guess one can make the case that Chile is in some ways better off due to the failure of the Allende govt, but we do not know for sure. (I don’t know enough about that remarkable country to make a judgement one way or the other). Such retroactive justification for thuggery is the sort of nonsense one expects from the hard left and far right, not those who champion the rights to life, liberty and property, as you claim no doubt sincerely, to do.

  • Jacob

    “Pinochet was a murderer, torturer, and thief, and as such is worthy of nothing but contempt.”

    You could also say: Julius Caesar was “a murderer, torturer, and thief, and as such is worthy of nothing but contempt.”. He surely was. But he was much more too. Summing up Julius Caesar with these words isn’t a very useful or learned comment.

    Pinochet was no Julius Caesar, but this summary isn’t serious or useful in any way.

  • Nick M

    Jacob,

    …he was kind of “a murderer, torturer, and thief”

    Sort of like the way the Pope is kinda Catholic?

    What an odd semi-justification.

  • Jacob

    “The idea that the only way to avert a socialist nightmare is by torturing “enemies” by the thousand, hunting them down in neighbouring countries or whatever, is absurd, Jacob. ”

    In theory it is. I could imagine better ways. But we are talking about what actually happened, not about what we wish had happened.

    And compare to the current war against Islamic terrorists: some of them have to be hunted down and killed in foreign countries. Sometimes there are things that need to be done… such is our imperfect world.

  • Gus Abraham,

    … can you respond to the FACT that in 1973, the year General Pinochet brutally seized the government, Chile’s unemployment rate was 4.3%. In 1983, after ten years of free-market modernization, unemployment reached 22%. Real wages declined by 40% under military rule?

    Maintaining full employment under high inflation is trivial but unsustainable. Indeed, it was the ability of inflation to reduce unemployment that seduced most central banks in the world into inflating their currencies during the 60’s and 70’s. Bragging about low unemployment under hyper-inflation (IIRC, 1500%, the highest ever recorded) is like bragging about the airspeed of aircraft in a power dive towards the ground. You can go very, very fast for a very, very short time. Ending the inflation always causes recession and unemployment. The worse the inflation the more painful the correction. The US and other developed countries experienced the same pattern over roughly the same time frame. The recession of 82-83 is largely blamed on Volker’s ending of inflation.

    Allende’s inflation, however, had a more sinister purpose. He was using it to nationalize industries on the cheap and to destroy the Chilean middle-class. He wanted everybody under the thumb of the state and he was willing to wreck the economy to accomplish that goal.

    What is of interest with Pinochet is not the traits he shared in common with other dictators of the post-WWII era, the murder and torture but rather the ways in which he differed. Saying Pinochet was a dictator who tortured and murdered is about as revealing as saying he breathed oxygen. Pinochet ended inflation and stabilized the economy using ideas that would not gain acceptance in the Developed world for nearly another decade. That, along with the relatively limited and focused nature of his killings are the attributes worthy of study.

    To many who vilify Pinochet are simply hypocrites. Compare the hatred heaped on Pinochet with the fawning adoration of Castro or Arafat. Castro killed 13,000-14,000 Cubans and 10 times or more Africans. He drove his country into the ground economically and played a key role in nearly causing a nuclear war. Yet, no one threatens to arrest him if he goes to Europe for medical care. He routinely receives standing ovation in international forums. Arrafats crimes were legendary and very public yet he kept his family in Paris and ultimately died there.

    If Pinochet’s critics were really upset about the NUMBER of people he killed, then he wouldn’t even be blip on the world’s radar. Clearly, its WHO he killed that really angers people.

  • John_R

    apologies if someone’s already linked to this, but a surprising editorial in the Washington Post A Dictator’s Double Standard(Link)

  • Jacob,

    You could also say: Julius Caesar was “a murderer, torturer, and thief, and as such is worthy of nothing but contempt.”. He surely was. But he was much more too.

    You should maybe try to separate the discussion of the effects free market reforms had in Chile from the question of how Pinochet should be judged as a person. In my opinion, there are some things that put anyone beyond the pale. Torturing and murdering people falls into that category. Pinochet was leading a state which tortured and murdered people as a matter of policy, so when it comes to judging his moral qualities that’s all I need to know. (On a smaller scale: Fred West may have been more than a serial killer, he may have been an outstanding bricklayer –I don’t know. I don’t care either. When it comes to judging him on moral grounds, being a serial killer makes anything else irrelevant.)
    Discussing the effect of the economic reforms during Pinochet’s reign is interesting in its own right, but however great the economic benefits, they can not make up for the atrocities committed and will therefore not improve my opinion of Pinochet.

    And compare to the current war against Islamic terrorists: some of them have to be hunted down and killed in foreign countries.

    That’s an interesting analogy. Chile’s 1970s equivalent to Islamist terrorists would be armed activists of the MIR I guess. Confronting them would be fair enough. That’s not all that Pinochet did though. Rather, he had the likes of Victor Jara murdered after the coup and that would be like shooting Cat Stevens as part of the ‘war on terror’.

  • SK Peterson

    Gus,

    I believe the large increase in unemployment had far mroe to do with the overdependence on copper in the Chilean economy in the 1960-1990 period. Copper prices experienced a significant collapse during the period (they also caused a collapse in the copper-dependent Zambian economy, with similar increases in unemployment, wage declines, etc) and the Pinochet regime didn’t try to maintain full employment/high wages in the copper sector. This may have been due to the free market positions of the Chicago Boys, or as a handy means to punish trade unionists in the mining sector. It was probably this free market response that forced the Chilean economy to diversify and setting the stage for Chile to be the best performing economy in South America.

  • SK Peterson

    RK – “I’m being followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow” should be enough to justify at least a severe beating or banishment.

  • Another one in the long list of dictators around the World supported by the Western powers and got kicked int he end when they no longer served any purpose or proved to be a pain the ar*e. It doesn’t matter how many they killed.

    Another is Saddam Hussain.

  • Kit

    Shannon Love

    If Pinochet’s critics were really upset about the NUMBER of people he killed, then he wouldn’t even be blip on the world’s radar. Clearly, its WHO he killed that really angers people.

    There is also a third option, that any amount government torture and murder is wrong.

    A stopped clock is right at least twice a day. Opprobrium for Pinochet is welcome regardless of source.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Obviously the leftists would have to be dealt with. Given that Pinochet was a soldier, the first methods that came to his mind would be military style executions and torture.

    My opinion is that in his mind, there were only allies and enemies. Nevermind his enemies did not wear uniforms. They opposed him, sought the ruin of his country(however unwitting), and did ruin a huge chunk of it. So he did what soldiers are supposed to do to enemies: capture them, torture them for information, then kill them. Clearly not obeying the Geneva Conventions even ith regards to captured enemy troops, but then again the Geneva Conventions are usually for suckers anyway.

    It was a military response to a non-military threat. I think the difference between his methods and Lee Kuan Yew’s in Singapore was the result of their backgrounds. LKY was a lawyer, and sought lawyer-ish methods, hence the imprisonment and banishments. Pinochet was a soldier; he would seek the direct force method, so the executions and tortures.

    And perhaps Pinochet’s biggest flaw was not outgrowing that military mindset. From all accounts, he was obsessed with his role as a military leader.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Kit-If that was true, where’s the derision for Castro? Mao? Little Mad Kimmie?

    Oh yeah, I can hear a pin drop in a classroom full of leftoids. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    TWG

  • Kit,

    Opprobrium for Pinochet is welcome regardless of source.

    Yes and no. Any criminal deserves opprobrium but if you see people widely and loudly denouncing a black petty thief while ignoring a white blood soaked serial killer, you begin to think that outrage at the crime itself is not the true motive. The same dynamic applies to Pinochet.

    Regrettably, it is no exaggeration to say that one throw a dart at list of 3rd world countries and always be confident of striking one who had a leader since WWII responsible for more than 3,000 extra-judical killings. Leftist, especially in Europe routinely fete, individuals with much higher body counts so their outrage at Pinochet rings false.

    Pinochet killed European Leftist and for that and that alone he stands uniquely damned in their eyes. They consider themselves this eras natural nobility whose persons should be invoilate. Had he murdered nameless peasants, his crimes would have long been forgotten.

    Arguments about Pinochet are really arguments about who is and who is not an important person. The disproportionate anger directed at Pinochet reveals the nasty elitist streak that runs through the thoughts of many.

    He is by no means an admirable figure but he serves as a mirror in which we see our own dark hearts.

  • Simon Jester

    I can’t help wondering whether Pinochet’s real crime, in the eyes of leftists, was his association with Reagan, Thatcher and free-market economics. You rarely hear the same outrage from leftists at Argentina’s dirty war, for example. despite it having killed many more people (and having been conducted by a right-wing military junta) – does anyone know whether Euro leftists were killed by Galtieri and co?

  • Jacob

    “You should maybe try to separate the discussion of the effects free market reforms had in Chile from the question of how Pinochet should be judged as a person.”

    Impossible.
    Pinochet did both things. He used (maybe) excessive brutality (not by prevailing South American practice) in putting down the leftist armed rebelion, and he also implemented far reaching free market reforms.
    The two matters aren’t logically connected, but they are connected by the fact that this one person did both. You have to judge him by all his acts, not by the ones you chose.

  • Paul Marks

    I must apologize for writing from memory. Of course the vote on the Constitution was in 1980 (not 1981) and the vote that led to Pinochet giving up the office of President was in 1988 (not 1989 – although this was the date of the election).

    In case no one has mentioned the work (I must admit I have not carefully read all the comments above) I should mention “Chile’s Marxist Experiment” by Robert Moss. I do not have a copy to hand, but I remember it as a fine book on the time when Allende was President.

    There is a Daily Telegraph writer who (as a child) lived through a time when armed mobs went about taking private property (the mobs also did other things) – this time in Peru (in the time after the 1968 coup) and they were backed by a military rather than a civilian government.

    Sadly I can not remember the newspaper man’s name – oh memory, memory what the years rob us of.

  • Jacob

    Johnathan Pierce:
    “Great article by Christopher Hitchens, scourge of all manner of thugs”

    Nonesense.
    This is the usual propagandist hatchet job of a typical leftie, replete with adjective and curses, but short on truth and perspective. Don’t be taken in by this rubbish.

    The WashPost piece linked above was short, but balanced and interesting.

  • Jacob,

    You have to judge him by all his acts, not by the ones you chose.

    That’s an order I am not willing to take. Fulfilment of a given necessary but not sufficient condition may be needed for others to arrive at a particular kind of value judgement about your actions. If the necessary condition is not fulfilled, fulfilment of the otherwise sufficient condition will not have the desired effect, simply because the relevance of the sufficient condition is itself dependent on prior satisfaction of the necessary condition. To refrain from torturing prisoners is one necessary but not sufficient condition for being considered an acceptable ruler in my opinion.
    By the way, you may care to follow your own argument to its logical conclusion. When put in general terms, your argument implies that a positive contribution or a certain level of excellence in some field should serve to outweigh the most hideous of crimes committed by the person making the relevant contribution. Now consider the example of Fred West given above. How good a bricklayer do you have to be before you should be allowed to murder with impunity?

  • Kit

    Simon, alas, how often do you here outrage from anyone over Argentina’s dirty war?

    Shannon
    Any criminal deserves opprobrium but if you see people widely and loudly denouncing a black petty thief while ignoring a white blood soaked serial killer, you begin to think that outrage at the crime itself is not the true motive. The same dynamic applies to Pinochet.

    In that analogy, compared to America or Britain’s domestic government, Pinochet absolutely was the blood soaked serial killer. Should we not “disproportionately” attack the Nazi’s Holocaust because Mao killed 10 times as many? No. Individuals are the sole bearers of rights, and the moral seriousness of their violation is determined by what is done to the individual, not the number of individuals done to.

    With all due respect, what is it to me whether or not a leftist or rightist is a good person? How is discussion enriched by PC tut-tuting over hypocrisy and unfairness? Why does it exercise the commentariat so, when it’s just petty politics? A libertarian trope is that intentions don’t matter, only what people actually do.

    Jacob
    You have to judge him by all his acts, not by the ones you chose.

    To judge the man, yes. Pinochet’s policies can each be judged on an individual basis, though most critiques I’ve read of the Chicago Boy-era insist otherwise. Cutting tarriffs to 10 percent (good) has no relation to the terrorist car bombing of Orlando Letelier on American soil (bad).

  • Kim du Toit

    “With hindsight, I guess one can make the case that Chile is in some ways better off due to the failure of the Allende govt, but we do not know for sure.”

    We don’t have to be sure. All we have to do is look at the South American/Caribbean experience under Marxism, to see what the likely outcome would have been. (Hint: closer to Castro’s Cuba than to where Chile is today.)

    It makes me uncomfortable to even try to put the old bastard in a decent light — and I’m repulsed that my mild attempts to present a different side of the prism could be seen as such.

    (The car bomb episode in D.C. is an interesting point. It was a targeted assassination of a Marxist opponent, not an indiscriminate explosion in a Georgetown mall. Was it a disgusting act? Yes. But it was not a terrorist act.)

    And that’s the damn conundrum of Pinochet — his methods were horrible, but the outcomes have been positive for Chile — and I find it interesting that the majority of people who still show respect for the old dictator are not elderly Army officers, but ordinary common people, whom one would think would revere the People’s President Allende more.

    I guess my summary would be: “He was an evil, horrible dictator; but thank God he happened when he did, or else Chile would have disappeared down the sinkhole already.”

    Such a summation may not resonate with people whose weltanschauung is limned in blacks and whites. I suspect, however, that such a worldview has never been exposed to a truly repressive regime like that of Castro or other Marxist regimes.

  • Kim du Toit

    Well, I left a long, and (I thought) quite insightful comment on this topic earlier — but it got eaten up by the samizdata decency prefect.

    Fuck it — I’ll just blog it instead.

  • Kim – I’m sure it will appear in due course.

  • Kit

    Jacob
    Every comparison of the gains of Chilean economy under Pinochet must be based of the state he inherited in 1973, not on the state say, in 1960 or 1970 (i.e. before Allende).

    In the early 80s the economy contracted by 20% per capita. Prior to this Pinochet had had a decade to implement economic reforms, with the benefit of autocracy, and Chile had already experienced a severe recession in the mid 70s.

    Is that a critique of economic liberalism? By libertarian standards Chile’s always been at least a mixed economy, so I doubt it. At the end of the 80s income tax was lower and the government was smaller as a percentage of GDP (IIRC 18% vs 30%, according to this book – Link) than at the start of the 80s.

    Pinochet went begging to the IMF for loans, rather than letting the market sort things out, and dumped the bill onto the productive members of society. Not very free market.

  • Jacob

    “In the early 80s the economy contracted by 20% per capita. Prior to this Pinochet had had a decade to implement economic reforms, with the benefit of autocracy, and Chile had already experienced a severe recession in the mid 70s. ”

    “A severe recession in the mid 70s” ? No ! A catastrophic recession, caused by the Allende chaos. It takes time to recover from chaos.

    As to the 82 recession: it was mainly caused by the world recession of that time. Copper, which accounted for 50% of Chilean exports, dropped to very low prices in international markets. Some mistakes were done also by Chileans, notably the pegging of the peso to the dollar and sticking with it for far too long.

    Chile has always been a mixed economy ? Of course. All economies are mixed. The question is: what mix, how much free markets vs. state intervention.
    Under Pinochet (and ever since) it went from little free market and much state – to the other side – a little state management and much free market.

  • Kit

    Jacob

    Some mistakes were done also by Chileans, notably the pegging of the peso to the dollar and sticking with it for far too long.

    Agreed. My objection would be that policies like this are underplayed by proponents of Pinonomics, and the policy package is judged by its intention rather that its actual sometimes bungled implementation, when it’s what is actually done, rather than intended, that matters.

    As someone who seeks to proselytize free markets, I think this harmful to the cause.

    Post the Chilean experiment, perhaps we are more aware now of the importance of sequencing reforms to avoid internal contradictions.

  • Jacob

    “sometimes bungled implementation”…

    Implementation is always bungled. The in Chilean case, the market reforms were more profound and extensive than anywhere else, though, of course, short of perfect.

    For example: the Chilean chicagoboys (i.e. finance minister) wanted to privatize everything, but Pinochet personally vetoed the privatization of key industries like copper mining, utilities (electricity production) and railroads. Nobody’s perfect.

    A good article on Pinochet at NRO

  • Alex

    At the same time as Pinochet violently took over Chile the UK had far more state intervention into the economy – for all those supporting Pinochet on this board would you have been so supportive if a military junta had taken over the UK and started killing opposition members?

    I hope not – there are those on this board who rant and rave about every little bit of govt regulation as statist evil. Well I can’t think of anything more evil than suspending freedom of speech etc and the state murdering people they disagree with.

    It reminds me of the British communists who supported Stalin and Mao because ‘the ends justify the means’.

    A sad day for samizdata

  • The Wobbly Guy

    It’s not really ‘the ends justify the means’. It’s a matter of choosing a lesser evil to avoid an even greater one. An important distinction that many never understand.

    TWG

  • kit,

    With all due respect, what is it to me whether or not a leftist or rightist is a good person?

    For me personally, it is less a matter of hypocrisy than it is an example of how our egos and prejudices distort our analysis.

    I don’t think anyone in this forum would argue that Pinochet was an admirable individual who should be emulated. He was a criminal. He did not have to kill the people he killed. He had other options. He had enough popular support in Chile that he could have just imprisoned or exiled people he really thought a threat.

    What myself and I think the parent post claim is that Pinochet was not the uniquely bad monster so many portray him as. The Argentine Junta of the same error murdered 20,000 or more. The Brazilian Junta 2 to 3 times that. Do you know any of their names off the top of your head? Why do you know about Pinochet? What is so significant about him that we are even having this discussion? Why do ex-leaders who killed far more of their citizens pass without comment?

    Individuals are the sole bearers of rights, and the moral seriousness of their violation is determined by what is done to the individual, not the number of individuals done to.

    Theoretically yes, practically no. In the real world, every government kills unjustly. The great gears of government always enmesh some innocents and destroy them. We cannot eliminate this problem but merely minimize it. In this regard, the scale in which unjust killings occur becomes very important.

    On the level of individuals, the number killed matters because fewer killings means fewer dead individuals. It may not matter to you on a conceptual level but if Pinochet killed “only” 3,000 people when another in his position would have killed 20,000, then you can bet it is a matter of great significance to each and everyone of the 17,000 who didn’t die.

    Your economic arguments also lack an important context. The decade of ’73-’83 was the “energy crises” when the cost of oil soared. In 1982, the price of oil was $90 a barrel (in 2005 dollars). Every country that did not have significant oil of its own suffered during that time. Chilie’s main export copper also collapsed in price during the same period. They lost their major source of foreign exchange at the same time they were hemorrhaging cash to pay for oil.

    Pinochet’s economic management must be assessed not in absolute terms but in context of the times and in comparison to other countries in the same conditions. By those standards, Pinochet did very well.

  • Jacob

    A long article on the Allende regime in Chile.

    If and when (God forbid) Britain reaches such a state, a military coup would be welcome !

  • Kit

    Shannon

    Pinochet’s economic management must be assessed not in absolute terms but in context of the times and in comparison to other countries in the same conditions. By those standards, Pinochet did very well.

    Do you have figures for these similar countries? The lack of data has been a consistent frustration about the Pinochet obits so far. If you can’t express it in figures it’s an opinion not a fact, as Robert Heinlein wrote, I suppose is why these discussion can be rather circular.

    According to the IMF (Link), Latin America on average contracted by about 10% in the early 80s, rather less than Chile. I would suggest that flawed management had put Chile in a more vulnerable position than better market reform might have. YMMV.

    The economy has outperformed the Latin American average since the 1990s. The government has become more interventionist in doubling spending and business tax (Link), though tariffs have been cut IIRC from a brief high of 35% in the early 80s to 6% now. Analyze cause and effect as you will.

    The government has never actually been laissez-faire. So going from what Jacob said, perhaps privatising the copper mines (either by selling it or transferring the income directly to citizens as opposed to the government) and infrastructure (road tolls, etc) instead of some of the other privatisations would have better insulated the country against shock?

    Regards infrastructure etc, given that not everyone uses public goods equally, per use charges might have helped diffuse class conflict generated by perceived unfairness. The old “privatisation as democratisation” argument. Of course, not everyone who wants less government wants to pay for what they use. Property rights for pollution is an example.

    I understand your points about body counts. As a analogy, my view would be that if I support the death penalty, the punishment is as just for one murder as for 10,000.

  • Russ

    I recall reading Robert Kaplan, talking about Pinochet a few years ago, and describing P’s iron-clad conviction that political freedom could not survive and would not function in the absence of a large middle class. (My library is a mess right now, so i can’t dig into his bibliography for the material, sorry.)

    In that context, much of Pinochet falls into perfect clarity, *particularly* his (grudging) willingness to abdicate power. His regime killed, exiled, and tortured thousands of those who would have set themselves up as the new gangsters, socialist style.

    I can’t say with any ideological coherence that I would laud Pinochet (I like cops individually while disdaining “Johnny Law” on the best of days) — but the part of me that does historical research screeches that when time passes, his legacy will be more appreciated than damned.

  • towcestarian

    Pinochet – evil bastard in the Coca Cola league of dictators.

    Castro – evil bastard also in the Coca Cola league of dictators.

    Saddam Hussain – evil bastard n the Champions league
    of dictators.

    Stalin and Hitler – Premiership evil bastard dictators.

    Democracy – 2 wolves and a sheep voting anout what to eat for lunch.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    towcestarian: who won the World Cup?

  • Thank you so much to whoever linked to the Val Dorta article and the WP oped above. The former is a detailed and very enlightening (although a quite long) account of the subject, while the latter sums up the moral aspect of the issue quite nicely.

  • Simon Jester

    Johnathan: for democide above and beyond the call of callous, doctrinaire stupidity, the Leopold II trophy surely belongs to Mao Tse Tung (Zedong).

  • Paul Marks

    I notice that the evil West is getting the blame (again) for Saddam Hussain.

    S. H. was a life long socialist (although not a Marxist), whose “western weapons” tended to be Mig aircraft, T72 tanks, Ak47 rifles (and so on and so on).

    The blunder boys at the C.I.A. may have supported the Baath party in 1968 (in the quite genuine, if demented, hope that it would hold free elections and be more pro Western than the other socialist factions in Iraq at the time – by the way the C.I.A. actually supported Castro just before he came to power), but the United States was never a military supporter of the regime (that was left to the Eastern Bloc – plus some stuff from France and chemical advice from Germany).

    Even during the Iraq – Iran war the American position is best summed up by the old form of words (first used by some in the United States after a certain event of 1941) “it is a pity they can not both lose”.

    Photographs of Iranian positions were sent to Iraq (when it looked like theIranians were going to win – and take over the whole of the area, not just Iraq), but the education system and media of Iraq (both under the control of Saddam) never had any love for the United States of for “capitalism” in general.

    British help (the “super gun” being a scam that was not sent, and was never going to be sent to Iraq) amounted to one hunting rifle (I doubt this rifle kept Saddam in power for so many years).

    As for Pinochet – rigging (why this word “pegging”?) the exchange rate was not a mistake in the application of policy – it was a mistake in policy (and a terrible one). True Pinochet was acting under advice (and not that of Milton Friedman who, contrary to the myth, had zero direct influence in Chile), but the buck must stop somewhere.

    On “political freedom” – we must be careful not to confuse it with democracy. Pinochet’s people sometimes murdered people because of their political opinions – a clear violation of political freedom. However, democracies can restrict political freedom also – these days democracies do not tend to kill people because of their opinions (although they have been known to in the past), but even today censorship of opinion is practiced in many democracies (rather MORE than it was some decades ago).

    Do I have to list all the things one is not allowed to say (for example on racial and religous matters) in many democracies?

    Democracy means rule of the majority. Either directly (by people voting on issues of policy) or indirectly (by people voting for M.P.s or whatever – “representative democracy”).

    There is nothing “undemocratic” about the majority voting to ban expression of certain opinions, or to plunder a minority (and kill them if they resist) or even for 51% of the population voting to kill the other 49% (simply because they do not like them).

    It is nice if the majority is liberal (in the old sense), but it does not have to be so. Look at the mass support for Chevez in Venezuela – even taking account of rigging and media bias, he gets the sort of support that Allende could only dream of.

    The confusion of political freedom with democracy is one of the big mistakes in the political thought of Prime Minister Blair and President Bush.

  • Jacob

    “As for Pinochet – rigging (why this word “pegging”?) the exchange rate was not a mistake in the application of policy – it was a mistake in policy (and a terrible one). ”

    Well, not so terrible.
    When faced with 1000% inflation, rigging or pegging the currency to the dollar is a kind of shock therapy that works. Long range success depends on two factors: first – fiscal discipline (not running budget deficits too big), second – flexibility – knowing when to desist.
    Pinochet’s boys did succeed in stopping inflation, but they adhered to the rigging for far too long, well into the next, globally induced, recession.

  • steves

    Not sure if doing this falls within Blog policy, but was directed to this link from Dissecting Leftism

    Worth a read

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20928842-7583,00.html

    If I am not supposed to do this apologies and please delete the comment

  • Kit

    I can add no more to the economics, but Pinochet’s security policies still nag.

    The Strong Man defence of Pinochet rings false to me because he replaced lawlessness with…lawlessness. Omelette making is no license for the free breaking of eggs.

    The disorderly acts of the early 70s, the theft, assault and trespass etc, were illegal. There were rules by which a transparent, limited government (ie the opposite of Allende) could restore order through court and police action, without abrogating individual rights. Conservatism. Instead Pinochet’s autocracy chose unlimited government and the damage that entails. Radicalism.

    The Pinochet government increased spending on the bottom 20% and cut spending further up. One fruit of this was infant mortality halving every 10 years since 1965 (Link), substantially better than the Latin American average. Today it’s about 7.5 per 1000 live births according to the World Bank, 63 rd in the world as Wikipedia has it (Link)

    Loosely, the apparent success of this intervention, in the context of building on past policy and a smaller welfare state overall, supports that a smaller state will intervene more effectively, which is the conservative argument against brutality.

  • Kit

    Steves, where articles like the one you link to in The Australian lose me is quotes like this:

    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.

    Note the “if.” Why treat this idiot Teitelbom seriously? At the risk of sounding like a column on Sp!ked, what is this other than the the ravings of an adolescent political extremist, indulging in that personality type’s fetish for apocalyptic fantasy?

    And I’m baffled by the way a coup and 17 years of dictatorship is being justified by Allende being highly unpopular.

    And I would have thought this:

    Were there abuses? Were there real victims? Without the slightest doubt.

    …made this a rather bad thing:

    the Government has not been able to convict Pinochet of anything. Nothing.

    Two people can look at the same thing and see something very different. YMMV

    Regards the increased access to drinking water, this seems in line with the finding of a 26% drop in infant mortality after water privatisation in Argentina (Link).

  • Jacob

    “The disorderly acts of the early 70s, the theft, assault and trespass etc, were illegal. There were rules by which a transparent, limited government (ie the opposite of Allende) could restore order through court and police action, without abrogating individual rights.”

    When order breaks down, and a military coup occurs, because it was the only possible way out of a terrible situation – then some eggs are going to get broken. It was a kind of war, the leftist opposition was armed and violent, not democratic and peaceful. The normal institutions of a functioning state – the police, the courts – were not available, they had to be reestablished. So, a violent period of transition was inevitable – that’s the nature of a coup.

    This was meant to try to put things in the context of the circumstances at the time. It is possible that some of the murders and other acts of brutality committed by the military junta were well beyond what was strictly necessary or justified.

  • Paul Marks

    First Kit. If the Marxists (both official communist party wanted) did not feel like starting the killing they could have always ordered things in such a way that the first violence came from “capitalists”.

    Take Bolivia today. The President has said repeatedly that all land may be stolen if it is not being used to its “economic and social potential”. Say you are farmer in eastern Bolivia – the big estates were all stolen in Bolivia after 1952, but some workable farms have been built up since then (the only thing that can be profitably grown on the tiny peasant plots that the President favours is coca for cocaine – but that would lead us into the story of how he got elected in the first place).

    Your farm is to be judged (every two years) to see whether it is to be stolen or not.

    Of course some people will resist – thus giving the President the excuse for general Red Terror (killing those who resisted and those who did not). By the way the President does not favour giving the land to individual peasants (as the radicals did after 1952) he favours collective ownership. Of course if the nonReds in Bolivia had not followed American advise to crack down on coca farming he would never have been elected (he used the mountain peasant vote) – but what is done is done. By the way the President of Bolivia is not the first President to nationalize oil and gas (that was done back in the 1930’s – tin was done after 1952).

    As for Chile. Mobs were already taking property (not just land, but factories and other such to) – someone was bound to resist at some point, thus giving the Marxists all the excuse they needed for a general mass extermination (which would not just have included property owners – but also any poor person felt to be in sympathy with them).

    One does not need to read Robert Moss’ book “Chile’s Marxist Experiment” to know how Marxists work – indeed in some cases there does not have to be any resistance at all.

    On Jacob’s point:

    I have great respect for of the things you say, but you are just wrong on this one.

    Say I balance the budget and I try and fix the exchange rate of the currency of my country to the currency of some other country.

    This does NOT mean low inflation. I can have a massive budget surplus and still have hyper inflation (and I can have a big budget deficit and still have no inflation – as long as I am borrowing from real savings, rather than phony bank deposits and other such that I have created via the manipulations of the authorities). I can have a fixed exchange rate with a currency that has no inflation at all – and still have hyper inflation.

    One does not have to be an evil Austrian school man (like me) to know this. A mainstream economist (like Milton Friedman) understands as well.

    If a lot of extra money is printed (or, these days, is issued via the computers of the banking system), there will be inflation. Ture for a while it may not be “prices in the shops going up” – (as the money may go into asset prices in the stock market or real estate), but it is still inflation and there will still be a boom-bust.

    What fixing the exchange rate to a country that has a lower inflation rate does is to take the official exchange rate further and further from the real one (with all the bad effects this has) till eventually the policy is discontinued – as it was in Chile (rather too late, but late is better than never).

    By the way I noticed that in this week’s “Economist” there were two letter published on Milton Friedman (I did not bother to read their Pinochet was a bad man article – it will just say things that are familar to me). The first letter was from an ignorant “economist” attacking Milton Friedman for not supporting government “antimonoply” policy (actually Milton Friedman did not support the elimination of all the “anti trust laws” and he should have done, as they whole concept is based on a total misunderstanding of basic economic principles, – so the letter writer was wrong on both counts).

    However, the other letter was yet another attack on Pinochet’s visit to Chile in 1975. First the letter claimed that everyone agreed that Chile should be isolated in 1975 (because of Pinochet) – which is quite untrue (there was even some American government aid to Chile till 1976). But, more importantly, the leter YET AGAIN ignored Friedman’s visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1975.

    So a visit to Chile (as a guest of a private foundation) is a terrible sin, yet a visit to the P.R.C. as an offical guest of the government of Mao (the greatest mass murderer of human history) is considered totally O.K. (not even worthy of comment).

    By the way Milton Friedman delivered the same lecture in both Chile and China – the lecture was about how inflation is nothing to do with such things as balanced budgets (unless the reason why is issuing more money is to cover a deficit) or exchange rates – but is a matter of the money supply.

  • Paul Marks

    Of course I should have written “Friedman’s visit” to Chile in 1975.

    As for the antitrust supporting academic from an economics department – well he may be ignorant of the basic principles of economics in this area, but I bet he can type better than I can.

  • Jacob

    Paul,
    You are right, that in principle, what curbs inflation is the tightening of fiat money supply.
    Pegging you currency to a strong currency is a rather symbolic step, meant to convince people in a hurry that you are really serious in maintaining a tight money supply, comparable to that of the strong currency. It is basically a pledge not to inflate your currency, not to “print” money. It has worked well for limited periods of time in many countries, notably Argentina and Brazil.

    All pegging has ultimately failed, because governments have been unable to keep their pledge, and have reverted to inflating their currency, mostly to cope with budget deficits.

    Some countries (Panama, and also the EU) have given up totally their national currency and adopted the dollar or the Euro – a “strong” international currency. This strikes me as a good idea, as I don’t believe in the sanctity of national fiat money, that can be, and is manipulated by national governments. This is the ultimate “pegging”.

  • Paul Marks

    I dislike trying to fix exchange rates partly because I dislike “gesture politics” and partly (as you correctly point out) that it misses the point that inflation is not about exchange rates, it is about the money supply (and different money supply rates of growth are going mean that the real exchange rates and the offical one is going to diverge – with all sorts of nasty results).

    On a country giving up its fiat currency and using the fiat currency of another country – well yes some countries do this (El Salvador using the U.S. Dollar as legal tender for the payment of taxes is an example that springs to mind).

    However, this is the ultimate in “my government is terrible, your government is better” – which may be true but….. also it does leave a country open to whatever antics to the other governement gets up to in the future.

    It was different in the past (where, for example, coins from Venice were used as money in many nations for many centuries) – one could always check the weight (and by comparing it with the volume of the coin) the fineness of the coin – thus (if the distant government started to play debasement games) people could take action at once (by discounting the coin from its face value).

    Well into the 20th century Chinese merchants used to weigh coins (they were so experienced they could tell if a coin was the right size-volume just by looking at it [without any need for liquid displacement] – indeed many could weigh a coin just by holding it in their hand) – to check if the real value (in gold or silver) matched the face value (not just a matter of debasement – they did not even like the idea of premium for it being a coin as opposed to just being a lump of metal).

    Of course there were also sorts of games in the early 1900’s – with (for example) the United States government trying to get various nations to accept a “gold standard” that was actually nothing of the kind (in that it gave the Dollar and the financal insitutions linked to it, certain advantages). Cuba was one of the countries that refused to play ball (so much for the post 1898 governments being “American puppets”). Certain Americans also undermined the Chinese silver standard – although in the chaos after 1911 it is likely that the various Chinese rulers would have resorted to fiat money anyway. How much the Chinese hyperinflation of the 1930’s and 1940’s was due to the pressues of war and how much it was due to bad advise (from Western people) is a hotly debated topic. Although if one really wants to know “who lost China” the truth is simple enough – it was good General Marshall who demanded that Chang stop his successful offensive in Manchuria in 1946 (General Marshall wanted “talks” with the communists). So, not evil fiat money linked bankers at all.

    With notes the whole thing (as you know) is based on trust, and sadly few governments are very trust worthy. The government that has been least liberal in its production of fiat money in my lifetime has been that of Switzerland.

    Even today (even though the last links with gold were broken years ago) the money supply growth rate seems to be lower in Switzerland than in most places – so the Swiss Franc would seem to be a better bet than the Euro.

  • Thomass

    Posted by steves at December 12, 2006 09:34 AM

    “The real down side of the pinochet regime seems to be that the left will forever link free market, free trade etc with “right wing dictatorships”.”

    No, Stalinists started that meme back before WWII. When they created the idea of small f fascism and claimed a link between the Euro far right and capitalism… something a Marxist, before this period, would not recognize as true… let alone the Euro anti capitalist right….

  • pinochet did keep people out of proverty!

  • Sweet Parrot

    Augusto Pinochet, according to me .. is a bad person. Even though he has done many good things to the society, economics, the way he killed the people for supporting communists…is totally undescribeable….
    So I would always say that Pinochet was not a great person after all..

  • Sunil

    This is written in a letter format to the editor in tat time period..
    There are three letters…
    1.) I would say that Augusto Pinochet was a dictator of our country. Yet, he did good things to the country in many ways. The best thing, I would say about Pinochet is that without him, things would be much worse. I can’t say much, since he was just rejected from a term as a president. There are many “atrocities” which are met with a shrug – – because whether we like it or not, sometimes evil is necessary to prevent a far greater evil. “Pinochet is a great man, his victims deserved their fate and even worse.”

    2.) I would like to enlighten you that Augusto Pinochet was not a great person. First of all, he was not elected as a president. Since the Chileans, were given a chance, they had a say, or else they were said to do things, the way the government wanted it to be. He has done many things to the civilians, like torturing, killing them. Even by sending to the concentration camps. They were said, what to do and what they have to follow. Because of this, everyone had to live in the fear of government. It is good thing that he was voted out of power. We could live in peace. In fact, he should be given life sentence for all the things he did to the people of the country. He was an evil dictator.

    3.) People appear to approve, those who kill innocent citizens in the name of ideology, but appear to have a problem with those who kill to, save their country from those who would actively do harm. Of course, errors were made, as they always are. “Nobody can be perfect in this world, at one point in their life time they will make at least a mistake”. He kept people, out of poverty.

    These points may have been said by some people in this site.. thnak to u alll for the help u have provided me with for my assignment..

    Thank u very much.
    I would very well appreciate it… if anyone was able to see through these and post their comments on them…
    TYVM again..

  • I can’t believe you’re not planiyg with me–that was so helpful.