Economics

Klein on "Neocon Disaster Capitalism"

|

In the Times of London, the usually acerbic critic Rod Liddle produces a softball interview with anti-globalization activist and No Logo author Naomi Klein, in England promoting her latest anti-market screed, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. After a few soft jibes at her "prêt-à-porter radicalism," Liddle nods along as Klein defines—and swiftly denounces—the so-called Friedmanite "disaster capitalist." He recapitulates:

Disaster capitalism is what happens when fundamentalist neocon economists, of the kind running the United States right now, descend upon a country that has found itself suddenly traumatised by war or the collapse of its economic system or a natural disaster such as a tsunami.

As H&R readers are surely aware, this administration is suffering no shortage of fundamentalists, and Washington can provide neocons by the bushel. But Klein's beef, it seems, is with both the "Chicago Boys," on whom which she blames the Pinochet dictatorship, and the "neoliberalism" of the 80s and 90s, overseen by a diverse group of IMF-boosters, Thatcherites and Clinton administration officials. (And if you still believe that old Pinochet-Friedman chestnut, Brian Doherty has a story to tell you.) According to Klein, libertarianism and neoconservatism are one and the same: "Before 9/11, demands for privatization and attacks on social spending fuelled the neocon movement-Friedmanite to its core-at think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage and Cato."

Such confusion is understandable because, as Liddle points out, Klein "describes herself as merely a 'cultural commentator' which is why, this time, she gave herself a crash course in economics, being untrained in the discipline herself."

What the world needs, she says, is more self-trained economists like, well, Naomi Klein. As she told the New York Times from the celeb-packed screening of her new film at the Venice Film Festival, "Fixing the world's problems has become an increasingly elite affair—a matter between C.E.O.'s and celebrities." Celebrities unlike Tim Robbins and John Cusack, presumably; both of whom provide jacket blurbs for The Shock Doctrine.

Klein's short film, co-written with celebrity director Alfonso Cuarón, can be viewed here.

NEXT: Do Anti-Smoking Activists Know the Restaurant Business Better Than Restaurateurs Do?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. What we have here, is a failure to communicate. Some folks you just can’t reach. So you get books like The Shock Doctrine. I don’t like it anymore than you folks do.

  2. So, neoconservatives and libertarians do NOT agree about imposing privatization “shock therapy” on countries suffering from economic problems? Thanks, Michael, I did not realize that.

    I must have fogotten about all the libertarians (or was it neoconservatives?) who argued against radical privatization in Eastern Europe.

  3. Ick. Being unfamiliar with Klein’s writing, and watching that last link, I can probably say, I’ll remain unfamiliar.

  4. BTW, the term “shock therapy” as a description of the policy of abrupt privatization in the former Eastern Bloc was coined by its supporters, not its opponents.

  5. It seems like she doesn’t even really understand what a “neocon” is.

  6. As I recall (and perhaps Brian discusses in the link) Friedman did advocate a “shock” to the Chilean economic system after Pinochet took power. He advocated this because he believed they would bring prosperity to the Chilean people. And he was right.
    However, to link any of this to what Bush and Co. are doing in Iraq is insane and really undermines any valid points she may have.

  7. As I recall (and perhaps Brian discusses in the link) Friedman did advocate a “shock” to the Chilean economic system after Pinochet took power. He advocated this because he believed they would bring prosperity to the Chilean people. And he was right.

    Seem like its also worked pretty well in Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, et al.

  8. Joe –

    Offering advice via Western influenced institutions (IMF, World Bank) to fledgling democracies in the former Easter Bloc during the 90s is not what Naomi is talking about here – I believe she is trying to push the anti-Globalization meme of economic Western Imperialism “imposed” by military might, i.e. Iraq maybe.
    I don’t think Friedman et all were all about that.

  9. What the world needs, she says, is more self-trained economists like, well, Naomi Klein.

    Reading a few Krugman articles doesn’t make you a self-trained economist any more than watching the history channel makes you a self-trained historian. Her book argues that she has a lot more self-training to undergo. Perhaps she should actually READ Friedman before commenting on his economics.

    What the world needs is more economic understanding. I think basic microeconomics should be taught in highschool. But whatever she is doing to self-train, it ain’t promoting economic understanding.

    Here’s a hint, Naomi: put less Marx and more Mises in your syllabus.

  10. …but not so well in Russia.

    And where is the evidence that the shock therapy worked better than a more gradual set of reforms?

  11. Joe –

    Post Gorb, the Russian Federation never really pursued serious “free market” reforms. If you remember correctly, all of the major state controlled industrial assets were “auctioned off” in rigged elections to political cronies (who becaome collectively known as the Oligarchs).
    The country is pretty fucked up BECAUSE it didn’t go through with the necessary reforms to make it more of a western type economy.
    What’s keeping Russia afloat now is the high price of Oil…

  12. The fact that such a thankless authoritarian would take the advice of someone who fundamentally believed that governments should have a short reach is a miracle unto itself, aside from the other good news that Chile’s economy consistently outperforms the rest of Latin America.

    I agree that it’s perverse to pray for catastrophe so your own ideology can prevail, that’s pure Marxist cynicism that no decent human being should embrace. But characterizing Friedman as a scheming opportunist is laughably inconsistent with reality.

  13. Is her thesis that Bush and Cheney wanted to invade Iraq because they are such free market fanatics? I hope that’s what she is arguing because that would make for some good comedy.

  14. Ugh, she was the editor of the University of Toronto paper The Varsity in the early ’90s when I was going to school there, and she was a bottomless pit of left-wing claptrap. I just had no idea her ideas would find a market out there (but then I started meeting the people who buy her books, LOL).

    Klein’s also married to Avi Lewis, a media personality in Canada and son of leftist establishment figure (and former UN ambassador) Stephen Lewis. You may have seen his widely derided interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in which he spouts anti-American cliches, only to be pwned by Ali with multiple smackdowns. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08EYqwyns-k)

    Both of them are hugely annoying.

  15. Between Mark Steyn and Naomi Klein, Canada seems to have the lowest common denominator talking heads.

  16. Mark Steyn + Naomi Klein > Micheal Moore + Ann Coulter?

  17. Mark Steyn + Naomi Klein > Micheal Moore + Ann Coulter?

    Yes, I’m afraid so.

  18. Between Mark Steyn and Naomi Klein, Canada seems to have the lowest common denominator talking heads.

    As if John K. Galbraith and David Frum were not enough to live down.

    *sigh*

  19. Wow.
    I’m only a little familiar with Naomi and Mark – I’ll take your word for it and save myself the torture of reading/viewing more of their “work”.

    My question is this: How does one as dopey as any of the four above mentioned talking heads get a gig as a commentator/pundit?
    Seriously, sign me up…

  20. DON’T FORGET ABOUT ALAN THICKE.

  21. no logo is worth reading so you can say “yes, i read no logo.”

    (this is glib but its basically adbusters: the book)

  22. Ali definitely did eat Lewis’ lunch in that clip.

  23. It seems like she doesn’t even really understand what a “neocon” is.

    The word is becoming a meaningless epithet, like “liberal” circa 1996.

  24. Between Mark Steyn and Naomi Klein, Canada seems to have the lowest common denominator talking heads.

    As if John K. Galbraith and David Frum were not enough to live down.

    But Don Cherry is still cool, isn’t he, Aresen?

  25. Naomi’s “No Logo” is just such horse shit. She goes on and on about “Brand terrorism” and how brands somehow rule our lives and are so powerful.

    Yeah Naomi, ask General Motors how powerful they are and how much money they have been making. They have more brands than anyone.

    A brand is only as good as the product behind it.

  26. The only country that “shocked” into a market economy is Estonia. It is also the most successful of the Eastern European economies and was so from the very outset.

    It is the perfect living counterexample to Klein’s and joe’s arguments.

  27. Incidentally, there is no entry for “Estonia” in the index of Klein’s new book.

  28. Dan – thanks for the video. What a great deflation of a gasbag.

  29. tk,

    The privatizing shock therapy in Russia – such as the distribution and trading of shares in state-owned companies – most certainly was a free market reform.

    No, it didn’t lead to a functioning market system as its proponents proclaimed it would. That’s sort of the point.

  30. Rimfax,

    Are you imagining arguments for me again?

    Please…don’t do that.

    I made actual arguments, you know. You could write something about those.

  31. Wow, Lewis gets owned on every one of his talking points, and the best he can do is sputter like O’Reilly. What a fucking tool.

  32. Joe,

    I have to disagree – The State passing collectivized assets to specific, State-connected individuals is not exactly a “free market” type reform.

  33. joe, law and order is a key element to implementing free market reforms. Russia fell woefully short of the mark in this regard.

  34. Hmm, on this, Anne Williamson, in her book “How America Built the New Russian Oligarchy”, says:

    What GKI [Russian investments’ committee] did was to value all state property at 150 billion rubles at 1991 prices and to divide that figure by a population of 150 million, leaving a share worth 10,000 rubles to each individual, the voucher’s face value. Two thirds of the 150 billion whole was immediately excluded from privatization entirely [a private perch reserved for the Yeltsin aparachiks’ personal gains. TiM Ed.]. The remaining third was then divided again. Again, one half of that third was excluded. The remaining half of the third was the property privatized in 1992-94, but it too was divided.

    Small property – mostly municipal holdings – was auctioned for cash. Only what remained of the last division was subject to voucher privatization as it had been defined. However, of any single property privatized by voucher, 46% went to workers, 5% to management, 29% was sold at cash auctions and the remaining 20% – at a minimum – was left in the state’s hands, meaning that at the end of the privatization process the state’s largest shareholding dwarfed others’ claims and therefore was the controlling shareholder of any “privatized” Russian asset.

    The program had indeed put in place an expensive, time-consuming, distracting and destructive paper chase at the conclusion of which the government stood still mighty as the largest shareholder in any single allegedly privatized enterprise.

    That doesn’t sound very good.

  35. “But, but, they shoot abortion doctors!”

    What a massive tool.

  36. But Don Cherry is still cool, isn’t he, Aresen?

  37. By the way, the reference to TiM in brackets is an editorial comment made by the author of the article, from truthinmedia.org, but the rest of the quote is from the book.

  38. Let try it again:

    But Don Cherry is still cool, isn’t he, Aresen?

    Don Cherry fucking rules!!

    I love his hits videos

  39. “Did they send you to a school to learn these Americanisms?”

    I love how her saying that America is a pretty good place after all got him mad enough that he forgot his talking points. Dumbass.

  40. The only thing in the entire world that can make me feel sympathetic towards evangelical Christians and Republicans is the hysterical bashing of them from Europeans and Canadians.

  41. But Don Cherry is still cool, isn’t he, Aresen?

    Is there nothing to which you will not stoop? Must you drag up everything?

    [Grovels in humiliation. Hopes desperately that T*****u and M******y will not be mentioned.]

  42. Cesar – yeah, that video makes me want to drape myself in Old Glory, round up some idiot rednecks, and beat me up some Canucks.

  43. “The only thing in the entire world that can make me feel sympathetic towards evangelical Christians and Republicans is the hysterical bashing of them from Europeans and Canadians.”

    I am in full agreement, buddy.
    Still feel weird about it though

  44. Cesar – yeah, that video makes me want to drape myself in Old Glory, round up some idiot rednecks, and beat me up some Canucks.

    I just try to remind myself the folks in the western Provinces probably find his asshattery just as annoying as I do.

  45. Aresen! Do not despair. All lesser Canadians are outweighed by the glory that is the Shat. Here’s more Shat.

    Oh, Canada!

  46. huh – i never saw that hirsi ali interview before.

    wow.

    that’s pretty uh yeah.

  47. I have never seen the interview before, either.

    Avi was certainlly pwned.

    I loved it when she rolled her eyes.

  48. Aresen! Do not despair. All lesser Canadians are outweighed by the glory that is the Shat. Here’s more Shat.

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGHHH!

    {Goes looking for sword to fall on.]

  49. Of course, he always play Americans. Ever notice that? What’s he ashamed of? Nevertheless, you do have Kirk, the most potent of all starship commanders, in your stable of great Canadians.

  50. ALAN THICKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  51. Alan Thicke? He was never on Star Trek.

    This posting is dedicated to highnumber, avid Trekkie. Or is that Trekker?

  52. Did anyone else notice that she was expressing her ideas with “shock therapy”. She used highly emotional and graphic images so people would be more susceptible to her ideas (just like she was accusing). If you just transcribed the video and read the words of it on a blank sheet of paper, it makes no sense. WAR. VIOLENCE. MURDER.

  53. *thinks frantically of a way to distract ProGLib…*

    LOOK!!!!! TWO NATIONAL TITLES!!!!!

  54. Did anyone else notice that she was expressing her ideas with “shock therapy”. She used highly emotional and graphic images so people would be more susceptible to her ideas (just like she was accusing). If you just transcribed the video and read the words of it on a blank sheet of paper, it makes no sense. WAR. VIOLENCE. MURDER.

    Not only that, she uses very capitalist marketing to get her ideas across.

  55. Three, foolish Moose.

    Okay, okay, I’ll relent. Everyone, highnumber hates Trek and science fiction. I’m sure that has nothing to do with him being a tequila-guzzling replicant. And a secret Canadian.

  56. Did Pro Liberate just recieve THE SHOCK DOCTRINE?

  57. I don’t know, but I’m feeling all free-markety and liberal all of the sudden. Thoughts of absolute rule seem to no longer rule my mind.

  58. …but… but… but….

    what about your duties as THE CENSOR???

    (heh. I said “duty”)

  59. I don’t know, but I’m feeling all free-markety and liberal all of the sudden. Thoughts of absolute rule seem to no longer rule my mind.

    But but….thats what your CORPORATE MASTERS want you to think! No Logo! No Brand Terrorism! Or something.

    Anyway if anyone wants to a read a good, stinging critique of Naomi’s non-ideas, heres a good one.

    She (Klein) measures the growing-pains of capitalist development not against real-world alternatives but against a Disneyesque utopia in which no poor person ever loses his job or chooses to work in a multinational factory at low wages (by rich-world standards). As the world’s poor move from farm to factory to office, jobs are inevitably lost and people uprooted. The countries that change the least, where the costs of growth are closest to zero, are those where poverty and disease are worst. This basic trade-off is never addressed.

  60. I just try to remind myself the folks in the western Provinces probably find his asshattery just as annoying as I do.

    Actually three of the western Provinces have elected Lewis’ party as provincial governments.

    Saskatchewan was ruled by them for twenty years (1944-64) and was the birthplace of Canadian Medicare. And the party in those days was a genuine “nationalize the means of production” socialist party not the namby-pamby welfare/labor party it is now.

  61. Isaac Bartram-

    Thanks for the info, I always assumed most of Western Canada was like Alberta.

  62. VM,

    The absolute authority and godlike wisdom of the Censor are consistent with a free society. The Censor only oppresses and massacres people in government.

  63. Cesar

    Canadian politics is dominated by the big cities, in particular Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

    Get outside the big cities and things look quite different.

    And you’re right, Alberta is different. Even its cities do not have the leftish lean of the rest of the country.

  64. I’ve always wondered what the Senate and Electoral College would look like if the Canadian provinces were made states.

  65. I agree with Warty – “neocon” has an actual meaning. Maybe not the most unambiguous and precise one, but no worse than any other politial term. Now, it’s being used to mean “militant conservative” or just “bad guy.”

    tk, JasonC,

    Your lips to God’s ears! The shock therapists had this incredibly naive belief that the best transition from the centrally-planned economy to a free market was to put private property in the hands of the most “entrepreneurial” people in society, while modeling the legal system on the Wild West.

    But as for your fussiness, what could possibly be more “free market” than an auction, in which the property is sold to the highest bidder? This is my point – when you have a system with powers so entrenched, an immediate shift to “one dollar one vote” in the economic system isn’t going to produce anything that looks like a market. Even though that’s exactly how goods are sold in an actual free market.

  66. I thank our People’s Republic of Canuckistan neighbors for over-taxing the wages of the maple tree-tappers, lumberjacks and seal clubbers and funding those excellent David Cronenberg movies.

    Anybody notice the play money Canadian Dollar is now worth as much or more as our debased greenback?

  67. Wow, I just watched that Avi Lewis clip. What a completely ignorant jackass.

  68. That was a first for me. I have never seen an effeminate Canadian before. He was angry? It looked more like a hissy fit.

    Canadians better watch out, you may have beat the United States the last four time we tried to invade you, but if Canadians are beginning to look and sound more like this guy, Avi Lewis, I think we’ll be able to take you on in about another generation or two.

  69. I actually just got the book today by UPS (pre-ordered it a few months ago). I read an article she wrote on The Nation (yes I do read The Nation, how else would I know how bad the GOP is — and I do read the right wing stuff just to know how the left is screwing around). She was talking about how defense, security and counter-terrorism companies utilize terrorism for promoting their products. That includes the marketing/propaganda of terrorism a la the right wing’s 9/11 scare, etc.

    I can’t find the article, but it was in print version of The Nation.

  70. I actually can’t recall every meeting a Canadian that I didn’t like. Avi Lewis must have been imported from somewhere else.

  71. iih-

    I don’t think anyone on here is a fan of the military-industrial complex. But for her to call Milton Friedman a “neocon” or to say Bush and Cheney are free-market fanatics is just ridiculous.

  72. Cesar — Sure. I was not defending her either. I was just pointing out that she did have some interesting things to say about the economy of the military/defense/security complex and how they view/use terrorism as the tool to promote their industry. She also had some interesting things to say about the middle east. But she is obviously totally ignorant when it comes to characterizing the Friedman as a neocon or that Bush/Cheney are free-market fanatics.

    I did find the article:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070702/klein

    (I wish edna would be here to give a critique of the article — I sincerely mean it.)

  73. It seems odd to me how insistent she is on equating the concepts of an unregulated (gasp!) market and government force/terror tactics. This connection seems especially dubious considering that she failed to use any actual Friedman quotes to back up her interpretation. And somehow I doubt that CIA torture manual she was reading from had any entries on economic choice theory.

    Is this move designed to make her seem more relevant by hitching her personal crusade to something more recognizably undesirable?

  74. Pinochet sucessfully fought Communism and with Milton Friedman’s help restored Chile from a basket case to a country with a good economy.

    Pinochet also engineered an election which removed him from power. It’s quite admirable and so was Milton Friedman’s part in the economy and speaking against the brutal excesses.

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

  75. what was his contact with pinochet again?

  76. I don’t care what you all say, Mark Steyn is fucking hillarious.

    In the multicultural West, our values are that we have no values: we accord all values equal value-the wittering English feminist concerned that her tolerance is implicitly intolerant or the Sudanese wife-beater and compulsory clitorectomy scheduler.”

    On John Edwards:

    The stump speech of pretty-boy Senator John Edwards, which I’ve heard often enough to be able to mouth along with him, has room for everything, including vivid, wrenching portraits of despair: ‘Tonight somewhere in America a ten-year-old little girl will go to bed hungry, hoping and praying that tomorrow will not be as cold as today because she doesn’t have the coat to keep her warm.’ You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be doubled up in laughter at that line.

    On US Politics…

    Diversity” doesn’t extend to, say, some dirtpoor piece of fundamentalist white trash. Her presence wouldn’t “enrich” anyone. “Diversity” means “more blacks”. That’s why traditional African-American colleges are exempt from its strictures: as 100% black schools, they’re already as diverse as you can get.

    On Quebec…

    The dumbest secession movement in the world… the world’s most pointless secession movement: They want to leave Canada in order to set up a country that looks exactly the same – confiscatory taxation, moribund health service, no mail service on weekends

  77. Mark Steyn never came across to me as hilarious to me. He is a scare-monger. To show you that he has no idea what he’s talking about, every Quebecer (pro or against independence) knows that without Canada, they can do none of the things that “make” Canada Canada. Joke or no joke — he’s an idiot.

  78. He may be a jackass (I dunno, I never read him), but “clitorectomy scheduler” is a fan-fucking-tastic phrase.

  79. Pulling out my copy of America Alone, here’s page 61..

    …the biggest globalization success story of recent years is not McDonald’s or Microsoft but Islamisim: the Saudis took what was not long ago a severe but peripheral strain of Islam practiced by Bedouins in the middle of the desert miles away from anywhere and successfully exported it to Jakarta and Singapore…In 2006 Danes reeling from the Muslim world’s cartoon-provoked commercial boycott could only dream of boycotting Islam’s products half so effectively…How did we come to breed suicide bombers not just in Gaza but in Yorkshire?

    And after telling the story of a Muslim imam who was investigated by the British police for hate speech against homosexuality, and then a gay magazine in response being investigated for “Islamphobia” goes on to say (page 84-85)…

    Got that? If a Muslim says Islam is opposed to homosexuality, he can be investigated for homophobia; but if a gay says that Islam is opposed to homosexuality, he can be investigated for Islamophobia.

    As someone who’s called Islamophobic and homophobic every day of the week, I can’t help marveling at the speed and skill with which Muslim lobby groups have mastered the language of victimhood so adroitly used by the gay lobby. If I were the latter, I’d be a little miffed at these Ahmed-come-latelys. “Homophobia” was always absurd: people who were antipathetic to gays are not afraid of them in any real sense…On the other hand, “Islamohopbia” is not phony or even psychological but very literal-if you’re a Dutch member of parliment or British novelist or Danish cartoonist in hiding under the threat of death or a French schoolgirl in certain suburbs getting jeered at as an infidel whore, your Islamophobia is highly justified. But Islam’s appropriation of the gay lobby’s framing is very artful…It was a fine exaple of how the progressive mind’s invented psychoses leave it without any words to describe real danger.

    Steyn is a pleasure to read.

  80. Pinochet was a great man.

    In his later years he was talking to a journalist. He gave the journalist a book called The Little Black Book of Communism that detailed the horrors of the past century and said “This is what I was saving my country from.”

    And his government, like all governments, did commit some evil acts but had China or Russia had a Pinochet to step in at the right time hundreds of millions would’ve been saved.

    He was one of the greatest men of the last century and fuck liberals who say otherwise. Double fuck the ones who say it while making excuses for Castro.

  81. And his government, like all governments, did commit some evil acts but had China or Russia had a Pinochet to step in at the right time hundreds of millions would’ve been saved.

    Solid argument.

    He tortured and killed thousands of people, but if you imagine him doing it in a completely different place and time, it could have turned out great!

    Pinochet was exposed for what he was in his old age: a pathetic tinpot dictator who used an ideological mantle as cover for torture, murder, enrichment of friends and the occasional laundered foreign bank account. The feigned illness to avoid prosecution was an especially nice touch.

  82. So “less evil than some” = ” great”? Got it.

  83. Klein is the Noam Chomsky of the Lifetime channel. Seriously, how the hell did she come to be taken seriously in the first place? Was 2000 a particularly dry year for the left or something?

  84. hey chalupa how’s it feel to be the right wing version of the kid with the che shirt?

    does it feel good? is it comfy?

    i bet its comfy.

    also steyn is a fucking retard. no one on earth – NO ONE – genuinely believes i moral relativism. i don’t think anyone’s ever actually met anyone like that. are some people douchebags? yes. people who equivocate horrors and crimes due to political affilations? well yeah, we just saw that a few posts up. pretty common stuff. total douche chills from outer space type operations.

    but a lot of what people say about academia is inflated; there’s so much actual redonkulous crap that the right wing talking point stuff is completely unnecessary. (then again the issue here is not one of engagement or even combat so much as MY DADDY CAN BEAT UP YOUR DADDY)

  85. dhex,

    Have you ever been to a University of Colorado or a Berkley?

    I’ve had professors and I’ve asked them, tried to pin them down and get them to admit that they believe scientific truth is relative based on culture or that they feel guilty saying its wrong for Saudi Arabians to stone women to death. I had a professor tell me that no philosopher today seriously argues that all cultures are equal.

    I don’t think my campus is unique. Diversity and multiculturalism are the opiates of the elite. Nobody believes in moral relativism anymore? We have websites, festivals, entire departments devoted to it. Girls say they want careers in sociology because the problem with the world is we don’t have more “diversity, tolerance and all that stuff”. In a college town, the church is the oasis of sanity.

  86. I had a professor tell me that no philosopher today seriously argues that all cultures are equal.

    Place a “not” before “equal”.

  87. i go to a cuny school, the most ethnically diverse in the city by far, and if anything my experience has been the reverse. outside of international business communications, which focuses on operational differences rather than moral weight, the topic has never been treated in such an insignificant matter.

  88. your cause, btw, is poorly served by somehow treating pinochet as the little dutch boy rather than another murdering thug.

  89. Perhaps Pinochet should’ve been like the Christopher Hitchenses of the world, letting the commies come to power and then denouncing them after thousands or millions dead.

    Imagine had the Czar taken back power after the Russian Revolution. The people involved would have a terrible reputation today. They’ve would’ve got blamed for the people the Czar killed, but no credit for the millions who would’ve avoided the gulags.

    Same with Pinochet. There were people killed but no where near the amount of even the least evil communist regimes. And how many wealthy democracies did Che leave behind?

  90. No-one _genuinely believes_ in moral relativism, but it’s useful as a dog whistle for “I believe the west is engaged in an ongoing imperialistic project and as such needs to be destroyed before it can cause any more harm”.

  91. Perhaps Pinochet should’ve been like the Christopher Hitchenses of the world, letting the commies come to power and then denouncing them after thousands or millions dead.

    hey man whatever floats your boat.

    tossing pregnant women out of helicopters is definitely one way to defeat evil. or maybe it’s a way to become evil. i get so confused.

    moral relativism, you know. it’s rough this time of year, what with the seasonal changes and all.

  92. According to Wikipedia, 2,279 people were killed by the Pinochet regime. That’s what, a slow week for Castro? And the enemies were constrained to political opponents, not like entire classes or races like any run of the mill communist regime.

    His crimes are exagarrated because he was a capitalist and supported by the US. Academics have the luxury of being apologists for communism and then renouncing it and regarding all dictators as bad. People in the real world though, have to make tough moral choices.

  93. Funny thing. I was just thinking to myself the other day, “You know, Blues mysteriously jumping to defend left-wing dictators when Reds and others condemn them can’t be all that unique a phenomenon. The principle of partisan goonery implies that the Reds do something similar.

    …Oh yeah, all the love for thugs like Pinochet.”

  94. Of course, [Shatner] always play Americans. Ever notice that? What’s he ashamed of? Nevertheless, you do have Kirk, the most potent of all starship commanders, in your stable of great Canadians.

    It is well known that the character of James Tiberius Kirk was born in Iowa. Not Canadian.

    The closest we have to a Canadian starship captain is the French-yet-somehow-British Jean Luc Picard.

    Not to insult Canadians — you all are nice folks. But certain facts must be faced.

    BTW, I often think Mark Steyn is funny, aside from his belief that Europe is converting to Islam by way of birthrates.

  95. The closest we have to a Canadian starship captain is the French-yet-somehow-British Jean Luc Picard.

    Apparently, the French government fails its anti-English efforts and they just give up on French at some point in the future. 😉

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.