The Angry Silence

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Over at Alternet, former New York Press editor Alexander Zaitchik complains that reason hasn't afforded Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine—a "devastating critique of the idea that libertarian economics are synonymous with, or even compatible with, free societies"—the review it richly deserves. He explains:

The only mentions of Klein's book on the Reason site are a couple of easy dismissals by blogger Michael C. Moynihan. The first of these, posted September 19, calls Klein's intensively researched and tightly argued book a "screed," and says that anyone who still believes the old Friedman-Pinochet "chestnut" should read a year-old article by Reason's Brian Doherty on the subject of Friedman's "hardly-knew-the-guy" relationship with Pinochet and his brutal dictatorship.

But Klein has the goods on this old "chestnut." As she shows, Friedman and his Chicago Boys were not all that bothered by Pinochet's bloody rule. Quite the opposite, they recognized that their free market wet dream could never be realized in a functioning democracy and welcomed the opportunities opened up by the Chicago Boys-tutored dictatorships in Latin America's southern cone in the 1970s. In some cases Friedmantes (sic) worked with the coup plotters before they even came to power.

So Klein "has the goods" on the Friedman-Pinochet collaboration? Hitherto undisclosed demo tapes of Augusto and Milton at Big Pink? Photos of the two scoundrels playing racquetball in the torture chambers of Santiago stadium? Seeing as Zaitchik doesn't reference any of Klein's "goods" on Friedman, I consulted the book and—surprise—she pretty much agrees with Doherty's chronology and explication of the Friedman-Pinochet "relationship," though she's coy about it, eliding some of the important details (like the subject of Friedman's speech at the Catholic University of Chile). Nor does Zaitchik raise any specific objections to Doherty's piece, though he does grumble that it's a "year old."

So here are the "goods" on Friedman, regarding Chile, as presented in The Shock Doctrine: Klein says that proposals in the newly installed regime's economic plan "bore a striking resemblance to those found in Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom." Klein acknowledges that, throughout Pinochet's reign, Friedman spent only a few days in the country as a guest of a private organization, not the government, though he met once with Pinochet. Klein refers generically to the "Chicago Boys" and Friedman's "former students," from whom he accepted the burden of collusion with dicatorships (I should note that, as the former student of an editor at Nation Books, I assure him that he won't be held accountable for my positive view of Milton Friedman.)

Zaitchik too has such a hard time with this phantom connection that he performs a rather obvious slight of hand, effortlessly switching between Friedman and the more generic "Friedmantes" (sic); those associated with the regime from the coup's beginnings. Zaitchik—again effortlessly switching between the man and his disciples— concludes by citing approvingly a reason commenter who calls Milton Friedman, the three-foot tall Nobel Prize-winner, a "bloodthirsty scoundrel" (seriously). Amusingly, Zaitchik's previous contribution to Alternet begins with this sentence: "Admire him or despise him, it's tempting to think Fidel Castro…" Apparently there still exists a compelling debate on whether Castro is a good guy or a bad guy, but that Milton Friedman burns in the fires of hell. It's worth noting that Ms. Klein's moral outrage too is one-sided: a check of the index of The Shock Doctrine, Fences and Windows, and No Logo, and a quick search of Nexis and Google, find nary a word denouncing the almost 50 year dictatorship that has suffocated the people of Cuba.

Anyhow, if it is a critical review of Klein that he is after, I am happy to point Mr. Zaitchik in the right direction. For instance, George Mason economist Tyler Cowen says that Klein's methodology makes the book "a true economics disaster," branding her rhetoric "ridiculous." When interviewed by the New York Times, Anders Aslund, a Russia expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, called The Shock Doctrine's section on Russia "complete nonsense." Jeffrey Sachs, who says he broadly agrees with Klein, nevertheless told the Times that "she didn't really understand" what he was up to in the 1990s. This is a common theme with reviewers. The Financial Times Martin Wolf, reviewing one of her previous broadsides against globalization complained that "Klein's concept of democracy is as immature as her view of the economy." These, I suspect, are enough to keep the crew at Alternet occupied for a bit.

One final point: From our supposed lack of attentiveness to The Shock Doctrine, Zaitchik deduces that reason is "afraid" of Klein's book. If this was a question, rather than an accusation, I would assure him that this is not the case. On the other hand, after a quick perusal of the Alternet archives, I see no review of Bryan Caplan's hugely successful and widely reviewed book The Myth of the Rational Voter, excerpted in reason here. That Caplan so deftly and convincingly argues that voter's anti-market biases are, well, bad for democracy, and seeing as Alternet has yet to debunk Caplan's book, I suspect that Alex won't mind if I interpret his employers deafening silence as a damning concession.

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  1. You haven’t commented on the merits of Mein Kampf, either, you know. Why, scared?

  2. Zaitchik too has such a hard time with this phantom connection that he performs a rather obvious slight of hand, effortlessly switching between Friedman and the more generic “Friedmantes” (sic)

    We should be surprised that leftist/statist has no problem with collective responsibility?

  3. Or on Das Kapital, for that matter. Reason is obviously silent on all sorts of criticisms of free markets. How disappointing.

  4. You haven’t commented on the merits of Mein Kampf, either, you know. Why, scared?

    Godwin’d out of the gate!

  5. Cesar,

    I haven’t seen your commentary on it, either, Cesar ?

  6. I’ve often thought that free-market economics and dictatorship go hand in hand.
    Like in that ultra-individualist wonderland, the USSR. And Germany in the 1930s. And Cuba. And …
    Wait a minute.
    If you read this, Zaitchik, please take note that I think you’re an ignorant slit.

  7. I haven’t seen your commentary on it, either, Cesar ?

    I’ve never known anyone who has managed to get past 120 pages of that book. It is truly an awful read.

  8. Anyone who doubts the contributions of Ayn Rand to the ethical, moral and political defense of capitalism, please keep this fucking turd Zaitchik in mind the next time you feel like flaming her.

  9. Cesar,

    I didn’t get that far. Some books are better read indirectly. I’ll take my chances on the secondary source’s bias or misunderstanding of the primary source in such cases.

  10. Having heard her interviewed about the book twice and having viewed the short film on her site I can conclude that one does not have to read her book to know that it is a screed and that her grasp of economics is very limited.

  11. Typical ploy of Marxists is to make use of fallacies like, in this case, Poisoning of the Well, by associating Friedman’s visit to Chile with his stance on free markets, basically saying that, if Friedman somehow “advised” Pinochet and, being Friedman a free-market advocate, then free-markets must be a bad thing.

  12. Her little film is incredibly stupid. It says nothing. MURDER! WAR! CHAOS! TORTURE!!!!!!! CAPITALISM IS BAD MMMKAY?

    If thats anything like her book, don’t expect me to bother reading it.

  13. Well, “of course” libertarianism is incompatible with “a functioning democracy”, because “everybody knows” that in true democracy, the people would vote to take away the surplus of anyone who had more property than anyone else. Therefore, any time this doesn’t happen, you do not have a “functioning” democracy.

  14. Is it really necessary to fire up the keyboards and do battle every time somebody says something about Friedman and Chile? Do we need a hero that badly, and does the case for a less regulated economy really rise or fall on that incident?

    Mind you, I’m not suggesting that all of the criticisms leveled on that incident are fair, but to have a Pavlovian response to mentions of that event seems ill-advised. It puts free marketeers in a position of being easily manipulated into debates where they can be cast (by skilled debaters) as dictator apologists.

  15. Reason hasn’t reviewed the latest Harry Potter book, either. Why is Reason silent? Does it fear the book?

    thoreau,

    Because it’s a throughly debunked and inaccurate statement? Why allow something like that to be said without a challenge? It’s akin to Edward’s constant droning about Ron Paul’s Nazi contributors. Use an argumentative fallacy? Then expect to get called out on it. Remarks with a few facts and with lots of innuendo and bald lies thrown in aren’t something I care to accept. Especially when there are those who want the false conclusions to take on meme status.

  16. It’s not like everyone necessarily agrees Pinochet was the worst thing since Hitler, anyway. Paul Weyrich points out that had Pinochet not staged his coup, Chile would have likely come under Communist control, which would have been even worse. He has a point. Realistically, Pinochet may well have been the best of a choice of bad options.

  17. Anyone who doubts the contributions of Ayn Rand to the ethical, moral and political defense of capitalism…

    …probably has not read her.

  18. I’m confused as to why anybody gives a shit about this dude’s complaint. Anybody who is dumb enough to take an airhead like Klein remotely seriously, and doesn’t realize how that makes them look, is not worth responding to.

  19. Go to the original article at AlterNet and look at the comments section. That should give you some idea of the intelligence level of the little brownshirts who post there.

  20. Every time I hear her talking I get the feeling that she, like so many other people are confusing free markets with corruption. If you prizatize something and it becomes more expensive, something is wrong. For example, is it really cheaper to pay blackwater guys $25,000 a month then to recruit more people?

  21. Now and then Alternet gets something worth reading but far too often they border on the hysteria and conspiracy mongering that is popular on the Left and which inspires Klein. They are transparently dishonest in their approach to smear Friedman.

    Between about 1957 and 1970 some 100 students from Chile studied at the University of Chicago and these individuals were called “the Chicago Boys” but apparently few of them actually studied under Friedman. They were not friends of Friedman or mentored by him. They were part of a program run by Prof. Arnold Harberger.

    As best I can tell they argue that Friedman is tied to Pinochet because Pinochet implemented some policies on economics espoused by some individuals who had attended the University of Chicago and who might have taken some classes from Prof. Friedman. Therefore Friedman bears responsibility for policies that Pinochet implemented which had nothing to do with economics or were not tied to suggestions by any of the so-called Chicago Boys.This responsibility exists even though the policies in question that were repressive went contrary to any policies Friedman himself has suggested. This is incredibly tenuous and I think just pure dishonesty.

  22. From the comments at alternet, regarding reason
    I’ve been checking out thier website for about a year now and it always struck me as … how should I put it… bourgeois.

    Har har, welcome to the club fellas, we’re movin up in the world.

  23. I’ve been checking out thier website for about a year now and it always struck me as … how should I put it… bourgeois.

    And Alternet is the bastion of the lumpen proletariat? Give me a break.

  24. It always strikes me that most of the people who favor free markets have actually studied economics, whereas those that condemn them as the ill of a free society more often than not have no working knowledge of it.

  25. I saw Ms. Klein on C-SPAN’s Book TV not long ago. She is as, um, stable and rational as Noam Chomsky. Her facts are about as ‘accurate’ as Jeremy Scahill’s when speaking of his novel book “Blackwater” too.

    Actually, if you like watching train wrecks in slow motion, she is a great interview.

  26. It always strikes me that most of the people who favor free markets have actually studied economics, whereas those that condemn them as the ill of a free society more often than not have no working knowledge of it.

    Even Marx had a lot of praise for capitalism, even though he obviously thought it could be replaced with something better. Today’s left won’t even go that far.

  27. Bourgeois? Who says that anymore?

    Middle class values seem pretty good to me, compared with others. And the insane heights to which liberal, free market societies have reached are undeniable. Egad.

  28. I’ve been checking out thier website for about a year now and it always struck me as … how should I put it… bourgeois.

    HAHAHAHAHA (wipes tears from eyes)

    It’s funny when some keyboard jockey Marxist insults the vast majority of their neighbors and probably the class where they themselves originated. Because they’re above that now, you see?

  29. I really hate the “you must be scared, that’s why you won’t pay attention to me” line. It’s among the most juvenile styles of argument, fit only for the playground, which is why it is so popular on a certain type of lefty blog.

    Note I say a “certain type.” Not all types, of course.

    Obligatory righty blog bash – their favorite juvenile style of debate tends to the ad hominem.

  30. Guy,

    I think you are doing Noam a disservice — most libertarians could at least agree with 20% of his positions and that he is an actual intellectual and not a shrill shill.

  31. Seems I need to add bourgeois to this list.

  32. And Alternet is the bastion of the lumpen proletariat?

    You have to understand: To a certain segment of the population, “bourgeois” doesn’t actually mean “upper/middle class”. It’s just a generic epithet for anyone they don’t like.

    My personal favorite example of this is this Amazon.com list I found, “Films for the bourgeoisie to walk out on“, which includes such popular working-class titles as “Un Chien Andalou” and “Maya Deren: Experimental Films”. Lord knows the proletariat just line up around the block for the latest Lars von Trier and Guy Maddin films, don’t they?tag=associatizer-20

  33. Can we address what’s really important?

    Zaitchik too has such a hard time with this phantom connection that he performs a rather obvious slight of hand

    Michael, it’s sleight of hand.

  34. I really hate the “you must be scared, that’s why you won’t pay attention to me” line. It’s among the most juvenile styles of argument, fit only for the playground, which is why it is so popular on a certain type of lefty blog.

    One of the folks here, that I ignore 99.999% of the time, tries that one on me on occasion. Doesn’t work to well though.

  35. and that he is an actual intellectual and not a shrill shill.

    WHAT? Which libertarians would agree with that!

  36. WHAT? Which libertarians would agree with that!

    In the area hes actually an expert on (namely, linguistics) he is intelligent. In the area which he pretends to be an expert on (economics and politics) hes a shill.

  37. I remember active Communists on campus, and they demonstrated why the whole “proletariat” concept in Communism is a fraud. Communists want to speak for the masses, but they don’t really want the masses to have any say in anything. Which is one reason why Communism always seems to result in totalitarian rule.

    Using the proletariat to get to power has an excellent history, from Caesar to the French Revolution to joe (just kidding). With similar results each time for the lower classes.

  38. Noam Chomsky is an actual intellectual … in the field of linguistics.
    As a historian, he’s grossly dishonest and a leftist propagandist.

  39. Ah, hail Cesar, you beat me to it.

  40. Communism/Socialism is the only method yet divised that can pull power and wealth from the producers and place it into the hands of career poets.

  41. I remember active Communists on campus, and they demonstrated why the whole “proletariat” concept in Communism is a fraud. Communists want to speak for the masses, but they don’t really want the masses to have any say in anything. Which is one reason why Communism always seems to result in totalitarian rule.

    You can blame Lenin for that little innovation in Marxism. He thought giving the vote to the masses was a waste of time, because the masses were too stupid and always chose–according to him–the wrong people to rule. Therefore, there had to be a crisis where a “vanguard party” could seize power and implement the Communist program in the name of the Proletariat, because Communist ideas weren’t popular otherwise.

    Hmmmm….maybe Naomi Klein is the pot calling the kettle black here.

  42. I know this makes me sound irrationally reactionary, and that I’m above it, but sometimes the id just gets the better of oneself …

    I want to fight Noam Chomsky. I mean an actual physical fight. He angers me on that kind of primal, visceral level.

    He’s just such a total douche.

  43. Friedman and his Chicago Boys were not all that bothered by Pinochet’s bloody rule.

    If it is permissible to equate Milton Friedman with anybody who ever studied at the University of Chicago, one cannot help but wonder why the faculty of Yale have not been lynched en masse by the alternetters for the depredations of their intellectual spawn, a certain George W Bush.

  44. I think Chomsky’s political and economic theories are highly suspect, but I think he did a fine job of documenting U.S. hypocrisy during the Cold War in “Deterring Democracy” and “Manufacturing Consent.” If anyone knows of any factual inaccuracies in those books, I’d appreciate hearing about them.

  45. To see Chomsky’s “intellectualism”, I suggest viewing the Ali G interview with him.

    Admittedly, Noam is kind of old, but man is it funny.

  46. Ha! My first taste of blogger notoriety.

    I was a bit bummed that no one at Reason took on the case, simply because of its higher profile, but completely acknowledge there are plenty of capable defenders willing to do so.

    Or maybe this is my Field Of Dreams moment…?!

  47. I want to fight Noam Chomsky. I mean an actual physical fight. He angers me on that kind of primal, visceral level.

    I understand that anger, but I try to save it for people who have actually done harm to others, like Kissinger, Castro, and countless local D.A.’s and other assorted law enforcement officials.

  48. Reminds of a line from one of my favorite space opera series, the Miles Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold; Miles’ mother is from a world governed as a republic, and his dad from a world ruled by an Emperor. Miles’ mother says that most democrats can adapt to living in under a monarcy, so long as they get to be aristocrats. Most people who think of themselves as socialists or communists would never entertain the idea that they might be one of the proletariat in their workers’ paradise.

  49. who’d want to fight noam chomsky?

    outside of montblog, i mean. but like, real honest americans?

  50. The fact that the left continues to harp on the non-issue of Friedman’s trip to Chile is all the proof we need that leftists cannot refute his actual ideas. You’ll notice the left doesn’t bother to bring of Hayek much at all anymore (except to try to incorporate his thought into their own), probably because Hayek doesn’t have a straw man in his closet. But I do think it’s funny that Friedman is the American left’s new bete noir, replacing Reagan. Hey, at least the left is picking more substantive targets.

  51. What exactly is her definition of a free society??? pure democracy??

    “Mankind will in time discover that unbridled majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots.” John Adams

    Fuck. Does anybody else just have a feeling of despair about the years to come?

  52. If Noam’s premise that dissent is so stifled as to be effectively muted, why is his flapping God damned jaw so relentlessly omnipresent in the so-called big bad corporate media? I have been aware of his ponderous complaints since I’ve been tuning into TV media outlets and print as well. He debated William Buckley on Firing Line in the sixties. I refuse to take a man seriously who claims the media silences dissent, when he frequently gains access to a soap box time and time again on national and international television, as well as through major publishing houses and news journals. Maybe he just needs a good smack in the face and a Coke.

  53. Jeez, I went over to the Alternet site, and man are they a self-satisfied lot. I mean, all blogs are full of self-satisfied bozos… but someone there described Reason as “bourgeois”… I mean, that got a good chuckle out of me. The irony is too much. I can’t believe ardent leftists still use that term without going…”uhhh. Wait. No, thats us, actually”.

    I think they tend to mean “elitist” when they say that because we dont gush about “WE NEED TEH GOVMENT TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN AND MAKE MY CAR RUN ON SOY”.

    anyone who has any basic grasp of economics is basically suspicious in their eyes. If it’s not armchair-revolutionary rhetoric and stroking their conscience…. it’s EVIL CAPITALISTS!!!

  54. I know a former commie who, now that he has a higher paying job frequently complains about how much he pays in taxes, soc security, etc, and how little he gets paid in relation to people with much lower-skilled jobs.

    predictable.

  55. Right, because it is so bouregois to stand up for hookers, gamblers, heroin users, and guys who computer animate fake child pornography. Bourgeois causes all.

  56. well observed Fluffy. And this was from a person who claimed to be observing Reason for over a year…
    Obviously didn’t observe too hard, eh?

  57. You know, he’s right. Reason still hasn’t mounted a serious consideration of the book.

    I can understand the author’s disappointment. Two years ago, Julian Sanchez would have put together a long, thoughtful piece, taking into account the strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities of the book.

    But now Julian’s gone, and there are people like Michael Moynihan taking his place. More’s the pity.

  58. Between this and the Rand hit piece on HuffPo where the guy thought Roland Kirk was an important conservative and tried to argue that fascism was an invidualist ideology in order to tag Rand as a fascist, it’s a good day for laughably bad critiques of libertarian icons.

  59. Oh man, an intellectual bitch slapping is enough for me to come out of lurker mode. Get em, Moynihan.

  60. I’m no language Nazi, believe you me, but I believe that it’s “Sleight of hand”, not “slight of hand”

    Otherwise, excellent post.

  61. Joe, methinks you’re right, if one were to do a long piece. This was a blog post, so I’m not sure I’d be overly critical about the lack of balance.

  62. It’s a choice to only write the snarky blog posts, Paul.

    Julian Sanchez would have been all over this, and would have had the stones to acknowledge when Klein had a point.

    This place has gone downhill since Virginia Postrel was editor.

    I’m going to get a subscription, then cancel it.

    For a…

  63. If the other reviews are any indication, the reason this book hasn’t been seriously considered is probably because it doesn’t deserve to.

  64. Joe, if I were to guess, I’d say a review of Klein’s book is probably in the offing for the print edition. So, you might want to get a subscription and then wait a few months before canceling it.

    In any case, I doubt anyone will top Tyler Cowen’s review. Reviewing Klein is like beating a dead cliche at this point.

  65. Franklin Harris, all,

    You’ll have to forgive if I don’t take the words of Yankees fans when they assure me that the Yankee-bashing book is very poorly reasoned and written.

    I come here to see ideas battle it out, and the witchy snark, such as the b.s. “point” about a decontextualized dependent clause about Fidel Castro, isn’t the battle of ideas. It’s just jeering and hooting.

    All I’ve found out about Klein’s book I learned from Reason Online, and never before the link to this Alternet post did I find out that the book contained anything about the role of natural disasters and wars in Washington Consensus economic reforms.

    It’s the central thesis of her book.

  66. Which is to say, I hope so, Mr. Harris.

  67. MattXIV,

    Just read the Huffety-Puffety post piece on Rand. It never ceases to amaze me how liberals consistently throw their skirts over their heads over Ayn Rand. She incites more hatred than George W. in some circles. And what I think is most telling is that he does not simply dismiss her as a crackpot, but that she is dangerous. The only reason she might be dangerous to a man like this is if the very notion of access to her work is dangerous to him. Perhaps he might feel better if any material anathema to his utopian world vision was inaccessible, thus far less dangerous. Who’s a fascist now?

    And speaking of fascist, he claims that he does not use the term colloquially … no, he does so in the most egregious misapplication. Nazi ideology, as anyone who’s read Mein Kampf or any of Hitler’s numerous speeches will know, is centered around a national collectivism. The notions of the Ubermensch that were being referenced were held up as an ideals for society; a model for the German soul to accomplish after the fact of the country’s deep national insecurities following WWI. In fact Hitler himself said that he was putting into practice what Marx and Engels only wrote and hypothesized about. National Socialism was precisely that … he objected to Communism purely on the basis that it was internationalist in its philosophy.

  68. BTW … I’m in no way a Rand worshiper. But that guy was just off base.

  69. Anyone who claims that Ayn Rand was a proponent of Nazi ideology has immediately struck out, and I refuse to read on/listen.
    A woman who spent her entire defending the idea and ideals of individual liberty against the whims of the state and state-sponsored majorities is the exact opposite of a Nazi.
    So many goddamn liberals think Nazi = “hyper-capitalist.” And that just goes to show the absolute myopism of intellectually lazy thinking.

  70. Not to mention intellectual dishonesty.

  71. I agree with Alger Hiss: the whiff of the gas chamber surrounds Rand’s books – not because of the details of her ideology, but her misanthropic approach to politics in general.

    No good will come out of political ideologies that divide humanity into Productive and Parasite classes, and fantase about the former’s revenge on the latter.

    It isn’t Randism that makes my skin crawl, as much as I disagree with much of it; it’s Rand.

    And save your breath about the tenets of objectivism making such things impossible; Marxism started out as an anti-govenrment ideology, too. When you start talking about Enemies of the ____________ – not just opponents, but enemies, you’re walking down a path, and Rand was all about the enemies.

  72. D’oh! Not Alger Hiss, Whittaker Chambers.

    Whittaker Chambers wrote that “the whiff of the gas chamber” surrounds Atlas Shrugs in National Review magazine, back in the 50s.

  73. You know, he’s right. Reason still hasn’t mounted a serious consideration of the book.

    I can understand the author’s disappointment. Two years ago, Julian Sanchez would have put together a long, thoughtful piece, taking into account the strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities of the book.

    But now Julian’s gone, and there are people like Michael Moynihan taking his place. More’s the pity.

    I was going to write a post, but then I saw that joe wrote exactly the words in my head. I miss the Sanch (but I hear he is at TechDirt now).

  74. I don’t know. I mean, there are lots of books written about the negative aspects of free market capitalism. What makes this book so special that it’s worthy of comment that they haven’t reviewed it?
    Besides, based on summaries I’ve read, it seems to conflate Bush and Co. with free markets, which is insane. Yes, I know I should the read the whole book before dismissing it but I ain’t got that kind of time.

  75. No good will come out of political ideologies that divide humanity into Productive and Parasite classes, and fantase about the former’s revenge on the latter.

    That reminds me of an interview I read with one of the authors of “Left Behind.” The guy referred to a passage in which Jesus smites people who had lived good lives but weren’t believers. The author considered this a sad passage of the book. Yes, he believes that Jesus will do that, but he finds it sad.

    He was dismayed when some of his readers wrote to say that they like that scene.

    I think there are some parallels here.

  76. Yeah, it’s lost a lot. I still can’t get over their adoption of that Wired style layout, just as I entered the bifocals age. The only thing that improved was the table of contents. Everything else — typeface, colors, general layout, graphic design, placement of page numbers — looks like it was cooked up by some wise guy who thought “form follows function” was to be mocked wherever possible. What possible reason could there be to put one article over several pages in a thin column on the right on a deeply colored background, other than to be a headache?

    And delivery has gotten to the point where even a replacement Nov. issue sent 1st class got delayed weeks (FedEx still gets thru), but I don’t know whether to blame the P.O., the guys in Mt. Morris, or the head office for that. Dec. ’07 hasn’t arrived yet, and they tell me it’s not officially late until Dec. 8 or something like that.

    Also, the general “attitude” of the magazine has shifted in a way that reminds me of Mad‘s piece on non-conformists. You start with a crowd (“In Unity There Is Strength”), then some people migrate away from the crowd (“We’re Different”). But then the latter grows into a crowd too (“We’re Different?”), so some have to break away from that (“We’re Mad!”). Reason too apparently thought being non-conformist wasn’t good enough.

    OTOH we now have Bagge, and he makes up for a lot of losses.

  77. Joe…

    …magazine called…

    Am I close?

  78. R totale:

    Besides, based on summaries I’ve read, it seems to conflate Bush and Co. with free markets

    Bingo. Which is why libertarians are conflated with “right wing extremists”. When you know your enemy is capitalism, all your enemies become capitalists.

  79. Just to be fair, I suspect the reason Castro isn’t burning in Hell now is that the son of a bitch ain’t dead yet.

  80. Yeah, Joe, Whittaker Chambers was such a credible personality.

    Sometimes you’re a huge cocksucker. But then I suppose you know that.

    There are certainly ways in which Objectivism could lead to political violence. I for one think that John Brown would have made a decent Objectivist, and he would happily have slaughtered millions of slaveowning southerners in their beds. Then again, so would I.

    The question becomes whether the target of the political violence is morally appropriate.

  81. Yes – JOE

    But Marx did vehemently protest private ownership of property as a fomenter of class tyranny.

    This is NOT hate mongering by any means, no.

    I, for one, welcome our property-confiscating bureaucrat overlords.

  82. Klein makes errors with regard to Friedman himself, but the fact remains (as she documents) that people claiming to be proponents of Chicago school economics consistently endorse and promote policies that result in massive corruption, massive concentration of wealth in the hands of the most unscrupulous, widespread poverty, and all too often, death squads. That isn’t a refutation of Friedman’s theories, but it’s a damn big warning sign to anyone who either wants to put them into practice or who is being lobbied to put them into practice.

    Marx didn’t recommend Gulags, but just about every attempt to put his theories into practice has ended up with some form of reeducation camps. Similarly, the kind of economic shock therapy beloved of Chicago School economic advisers has a disturbing correlation with corruption and death squads.

    The theory may be fine, but if every attempt to put it fully into practice causes widespread suffering, perhaps it is a little… incomplete?

  83. Take the meds, Fluffy.

  84. Peter,

    For future reference, when I compare somebody – like, say, Karl Marx – to Ayn Rand, it’s neither a compliment, nor a statement about the decency and harmlessness of their politics.

  85. Which is why libertarians are conflated with “right wing extremists”

    Libertarians ARE right wing extremists.

  86. The question becomes whether the target of the political violence is morally appropriate.

    Fluffy: Just so we’re clear on this, are you claiming that one can be a libertarian and endorse political violence?

    If so, then I’m gonna have to beg to differ.

  87. Let’s see….

    massive corruption

    Chile is the most honest country in South America (and I think Latin America) by far.

    massive concentration of wealth in the hands of the most unscrupulous

    You got me on income concentration, however it is a feature (or should I say bug) of the whole continent. Check out that Chicago Economics paradise, Brazil. And I am not in a position to judge the scruples of the guys who get the blunt of the wealth, but then again, I wouldn’t trust Klein’s assessment.

    widespread poverty

    Chile is reducing poverty at a faster pace, and from a lower baseline, than the rest of LatAm.

    and all too often, death squads.

    Which were already there when the Chicago Boys started to influence policy, left a few year later, and Chile is the LatAm country where they are least likely to return (except perhaps Costa Rica).

  88. The theory may be fine, but if every attempt to put it fully into practice causes widespread suffering, perhaps it is a little… incomplete?

    I agree that the assumption that you can slap a standard template of political/economic ideas on any J. Random Population, without any regard for their distinct peculiarities, and expect a predictable result is overly simplistic (see Bringing Democracy to Iraq).

    OTOH, it’s hard to ignore that while Pinochet is no hero, Chile today is a relatively free and prosperous nation. How likely is it that they would have gotten to that point without him?

  89. Thoreau –

    Not to go all Godwin on you here, but if you woke up one morning and found yourself living as a libertarian in a Nazi state, are you seriously asserting that you would not be entitled to employ political violence?

    Maybe the problem here is definitional. I’m using the phrase “political violence” to mean armed insurrection against agents of the state. The American Revolution was political violence.

    The definition of “agents of the state” can be somewhat elastic under some circumstances – I would say that it would include party officials of a one-party state, even if those persons held no official state or military position [it’s open season on Gauleiters if you find yourself in the Nazi state, as far as I am concerned] and in the case of slave states the master / owner and his employees are for all practical purposes conspiring in the use of state violence against slaves, so slaveholders are legitimate targets also.

    There’s really absolutely nothing here that’s medication-worthy, Joe, unless it’s your position that the victims of state oppression have no right to strike back against the state using violence. It’s my position that they do, and that in instances where the state is very large, that could lead to a lot of violence. Is that the same as gas chambers? I don’t think it is, for any number of reasons.

    And you really shouldn’t talk about meds when you’re the one offering up the insights of Whittaker Chambers as if they were valuable. Hey, give us some David Horowitz next. That would be fun.

  90. Pig Mannix-

    It may very well be that Chile’s current condition is better than it otherwise would have been had different events transpired. That is not, however, a reason to forgive violent dictatorship. There’s generally more than one way to reach an outcome, and so if the path is a bloody one the outcome is insufficient to justify the blood spilled.

    That’s a longer way of saying that the ends don’t justify the means.

    I get the people who want to correct misstatements about Friedman. I’m not sure it’s worth firing up the keyboards every time we’re baited into that discussion, but I see the point. I do not, however, get the people who want to soft-pedal Pinochet. The least bad things that can be said about him are that other dictators in history have been worse, and that Chile ultimately fared better than it might have in some alternative scenario. His own very real crimes cannot be excused by the crimes of others, or the crimes committed in alternative timelines.

  91. Just so I’ve got this straight: it is a disgusting slander to suggest that the conservative economists who supported Pinochet were at all supportive of his politics – which, by the way, were necessary at the time, protected Chilean freedom and prosperity, and should not be denounced.

    Fluffy,

    your position that the victims of state oppression have no right to strike back against the state using violence

    Wow, hallucinations now. I take it back – stop taking the medication and call your doctor immediately.

  92. “Libertarians ARE right wing extremists.”
    We’ve gone through this road before…
    Which wing of the right-wing extremists are libertarians members of?
    The wing that reveres religious authority and hates religious dissent and diversity (as Burke, de Maistre and other conservative founding fathers did and as modern GOP leaders such as James Dobson do)?
    The wing that revered aristocracy and monarchy (as again Burke and the Tories did, as well as the more modern Richard Weaver and the patrician WFB)?
    The jingoistic militaristic wing (how many GOP candidates are against the war again)?

  93. I have never come anywhere near the defenses of political brutality I see in this thread on any of the Chavez threads.

    Nice double standards, “freedom-lovers.”

  94. MNG,

    You’re members of the plutocratic wing of the right-wing extremists.

    Which is why you see so many defenses of people like Pinochet, who utilize state violence on behalf of his country’s plutocracy, and why you have to waterboard 95% of the regulars to get them to admit that forming a union isn’t a crime against humanity.

  95. So you admit that you are, in fact, Chavez?

  96. MNG

    European examples don’t fit America.

    Yes we have been through this before.
    Collectivist__________________________Individualist

    Libertarians fall on the far right of that continuum.

    To pre-empt or answer:
    Hitler=leftist
    Bush= moderate center-right
    Ron Paul= most right-wing candidate in GOP race

  97. You’re members of the plutocratic wing of the right-wing extremists.

    I’m not!

  98. Hitler was a leftist huh? Could of fooled all those communist party members he killed, and his nearly pathological hatred of the USSR.

    It’s nuts to say “European examples don’t fit” when leaders of conservatism revere European conservatives. Russell Kirk, America’s pre-eminent conservative wrote more on Burke for example than any other figure. And oh, de Maistre figured quite prominently as well in his work.

    Do you ever READ conservatives, influential ones, from history rather than the latest conservative blog? You really find a lot of common cause with Richard Weaver and Russell Kirk with libertarianism? I just don’t see it…

    America was capitalist from the start, so naturally our “conservative” types have at times paid homage to capitalism. But the second they don’t like something capitalist (the selling of pornography or political dissent) they shut it down quickly. That is because capitalism is simply not that important in the conservative mindset, tradition and authority are. Liberals and libertarians agree on liberty as fundamental, one just thinks government can get you there and the other really, really disagrees.

    joe-you’re so in the heat of the argument that I guess you forget, I’m not a libertarian. I spend just a little less time than you do on this site arguing against libertarians.

  99. Also, let’s not lay the entire blame of Pinochet’s tyranny on the doorstep of the capitalist free market system. There was a lot more at work in that regime that enabled the atrocities that occurred there, and they were due as much if not more to the nature of the nascent political system as they were to supply and demand. I’m saying no one should have trusted such a fledgling system to embrace civil liberty from the get-go, and it is too convenient and lazy for so-called intellectuals to lay the blame with an economic theory alone when the ruling elite was a bunch of military thugs who would have run amok either way.

  100. I used to flirt with conservatism. I read all the biggies, Burke, Kirk, Weaver, National Review, Modern Age…When you get past the blog type stuff there is an amazing subculture there. Did you know that Walter Scott’s works are revered there? It’s all this romanticization of times that were more orthodox religiously, agrarian, aristocratic (“the age of chivalry is gone, the age of sophists and calculators has taken its place” Burke moaned), unchanging, timeless…All the things that most libertarians are not in my experience. Hard core conservatives do not watch South Park, they partake in the Latin Mass…

  101. I skimmed it at Borders. The best parts are where Klein laments the collapse of the Soviet Union, because Gorbachev had succeeded in turning it into a democratic socialist paradise.

  102. Now, SIV, if you want to talk about collectivism within liberalism and conservatism, now that is more interesting…Collectivism has become important in liberalism, especially since the Progressive era. For a long time liberals thought getting government out of the way or to be neutral was the key (note Jefferson’s and Paine’s liberalism [he was thought of as a radical by his opponents, in fact a crazy athiest one], the early free speech and religious dissent movements or even the early labor movement which just tried to fight the labor injunctions of the government), but they often now look towards government to secure more “liberty” (I actually agree with them a lot on this). Conservatives though have long been concerned with “order” and historically have enjoyed collectivsim from non-government institutions (the Church, and I mean that with a big C since they traditionally supported government support for an established church) and government ones (the military). Collectivism and individualism transcend liberal/conservative…

  103. How likely is it that they would have gotten to that point without him (Pinochet)?

    Thoreau said it best, but I’ll just add, who knows and who cares? He was a scumbag of the highest order and his methods were unacceptable to any thinking, feeling individual (especially anyone who leans libertarian). Ditto for his pal, Kissinger (whose death I will celebrate even more than Castro’s).

  104. Thought exercise time. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Friedman offered economic advice to Pinochet (either directly or through his students), and that he did so in full knowledge of the regime’s brutality. Is that really a bad thing?

    IIRC, Friedman was a believer on economic freedoms and prosperity begetting political freedoms, and as far as I’m aware academic research backs up this view (tells you something about the West’s recent attempts to “export” democracy, doesn’t it?). And, if your goal is to promote democracy and stifle dictatorships, shouldn’t the results of the strategies towards Pinochet versus those used on Castro, Kim et al make you reflect on this a little? Even if you’re not actually advising the bad guy, not isolating him can have a positive (but probably smaller) effect by taking away the excuses.

    It is kinda funny that the end of the North American political spectrum that blasts Friedman for his attitude towards Pinochet tends to be the same that wants more openness towards Cuba (for good reason). I’d like to believe that there is more behind this than the ideological persuasions of each dictator.

  105. MNG

    American Conservatives “shut down political dissent”? Got some examples? There are plenty for the American Left.

    European definitions of Conservative don’t fit because their tradition is one of Royalty and class. The “good old days” in American History is radical minarchist revolution.

    I states that libertarians are right wing extremists, not that they are Conservatives.
    Libertarians see Conservatives as “too statist”
    whereas Conservatives tend to see libertarians
    (as does the Left) as…..extremists. I haven’t read Doherty’s book but I recall modern libertarianism having some roots in Goldwater supporters,YAFers, and even Birchers (aka The Far Right).

    The hostility of Nazis to Communists was one of rivals to power, not opposites.Stalin is not “Right-Wing” because he killed the “Left-Wing” Trotsky.

  106. I’m not!

    What do you think of the latest taser vid, t.?

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=IMaMYL_shxc

  107. MNG,

    You are conflating Classical Liberalism with
    Left/Liberalism.

    As for Pinochet we should apply the Roy Bean inquest model.Before you can file murder charges you have to determine if the deceased needed killin’.

  108. As for Pinochet we should apply the Roy Bean inquest model.Before you can file murder charges you have to determine if the deceased needed killin’.

    I’m just assuming you’re joking. Hoping, really.

  109. Juan,

    That was one of the more astute observations about political selectiveness I’ve heard. I’ve long agreed that regimes identical in their abuses and tyranny tend to draw unequal heat based on their ideologies.

  110. SIV
    In Mein Kampf Hitler goes on and on about the “Red Evil.” He might have been too collectivist for your tastes, but he hated collectivists of his day. Ditto Franco for example. All of his glory of the past and family values talk marks him as a conservative easy. Again, liberals have their collectivist and so does the right.
    Political dissent? Heck, I can give you an easy example SIV, right from the start: the Alien and Sedition Acts. If you read the campaign literature of the day, or heck just reference Kirk again, it’s evident that the Adams administration of the Federalists was the “conservative” one. And at the Omega end, look at today: who wants to enforce the Espionage Act against reporters, liberals or conservatives?

  111. To steal a phrase from the esteemed dhex, Pinochet apologists are the right wing version of the college kid in a Che t-shirt.

  112. The very term Right and Left wing come from where factions sat in the legislature following the French Revolution. They were differentiated not by the amount of relative collectivism, but by their deference to change and on the other hand tradition.

    SIV’s categorization of libertarians as Right does not fit. Here is an easy example, where would one put a person or movement dedicated to an orthodox theocracy or orthodox religion in general? It would defy common sense and usage to call that person a “left winger.”

  113. I guess what I am trying to say is that defining “left and right” along collectivism lines is contrary to the common and historical use of these terms. More appropriate is to define them along the lines of deference to tradition/authority (right) and deference to change/liberty (left). In this sense most libertarians, with their low deference to authority and tradition would be extreme left wingers (though individualist ones), while there would be a handful of libertarian right wingers (Rockwell I should think).

  114. To steal a phrase from the esteemed dhex, Pinochet apologists are the right wing version of the college kid in a Che t-shirt.

    I wasn’t aware that pointing out that, bad as he was, under the circumstances, he wasn’t the worst possible alternative amounted to apologizing for him.

    But at least it would fit on a bumper-sticker.

  115. Joe, the way you just selectively quoted my post is a new low in dishonesty and bad faith, even for you. Starting after the word “unless” completely changes the meaning of my post. I guess Jennifer was right about you.

  116. I think one has to draw a distinction between removing Allende and installing Pinochet.

    I think that Chileans had the moral right to remove Allende, and that foreigners had the right to help them do that [although it may not have been particularly wise to do so]. But that’s different from saying that those who removed Allende had the right to install Pinochet, and to support him in his many crimes. They are discrete acts morally and have to be judged separately, even though they are related in time.

  117. Milton Friedman, the three-foot tall Nobel Prize-winner

    A little help here? Was Mr. Friedman a half of fathom in height? Are Nobel prizes one yard long when laid on the ground? (I would have thought it would be 1 meter being that Scandinavia’s on the metric system and all that.)

    Darn it man, there were link-thrus to a least three obvious Simpson’s references this week, but nothing explaining this?

  118. If the other reviews are any indication, the reason this book hasn’t been seriously considered is probably because it doesn’t deserve to.

    “The Fatal Conceit”

  119. The coup against Allende was justifiable. The crimes of Pinochet came afterward.There is no moral equivalence between Castro and Pinochet.
    Castro has been far worse for the people.

  120. “Hitler=leftist
    Bush= moderate center-right
    Ron Paul= most right-wing candidate in GOP race”

    the issue is not whether one is left or right, but whether one is statist or not.

    bush is a statist right-moderate. he is clearly not very conservative, but he is clearly quite statist.

    clinton as a left moderate was also statist.

    ron paul is very much NOT a statist.

    that’s where the distinction lies. hitler was clearly a statist (to put it mildly)

    i spend a lot of time at dem underground (it’s funny and kind of like watching a train wrekc) and if their is one relative consistency among the lefties there, it is their statism.

    personally, i prefer repubs to dems but like neither because i am more libertarian than any candidates they ever present.

  121. I’m kind of surprised at how many people consider a formal refutation of Klein to be pointless and of a low priority, as if this cozy libertarian circle was just a vacuum of back-patters.

    Isn’t the whole point to be flagged in a Google search, or caught by a wandering eye in the bookstore?

    Have some of you forgotten there are people who need convincing?

  122. The coup against Allende was justifiable. The crimes of Pinochet came afterward. There is no moral equivalence between Castro and Pinochet.

    And the Che t-shirt wearers say the overthrow of Batista (who, unlike Allende, was never elected) was justifiable. The crimes of Castro came afterward.

    Castro and Pinochet arrested, tortured, and murdered dissidents. What’s the fucking difference?

  123. BTW, in line with going on the record yesterday as supporting private ownership of tanks and other direct fire weapons, I will here go on the record as saying that the Pinochet “horrors” are quite overblown. Much more overblown than that waterboarding hysteria sweeping the LeftUSA right now.

    The only reason he gets the crap is because he was NOT a Leftist. The praisers of Castro and others really need to put up some real numbers on how Pinochet compares with Fidel, Che, Stalin and their abandoned hero, Hitler. Yes, to include Les as an evidence presenter.

  124. joe | November 21, 2007, 4:31pm | #
    You know, he’s right. Reason still hasn’t mounted a serious consideration of the book

    And why should he? Ive read other stuff by her, seen her do her schtick in ‘the corporation’… and it’s boilerplate anti-market bullshit, tossing out weak conspiracy theories and pseudoeconomic jargon.

    If there’s some pony in there somewhere, im not sure free market libertarians are going to find it.

  125. (when i say ‘he’ i meant moynihan)

  126. Castro and Pinochet arrested, tortured, and murdered dissidents. What’s the fucking difference?

    Pinochet offered a better deal for those willing to tolerate him. Granted, that only puts him in a higher circle of hell.

  127. it’s boilerplate anti-market bullshit, tossing out weak conspiracy theories and pseudoeconomic jargon.

    All of which is very appetizing to the undecided layman.

  128. If there’s some pony in there somewhere, im not sure free market libertarians are going to find it.

    As if free-market libertarians need the reassurance?

    Seriously: what the fuck is going on here?

  129. One of the folks here, that I ignore 99.999% of the time, tries that one on me on occasion. Doesn’t work to well though.

    You ignore me, but you can’t mentioning me.

    Keep right on kissing up to statist mainstream Republicans who will never accept you. The same goes for a certain Mr. Dondero.


  130. the issue is not whether one is left or right, but whether one is statist or not.

    Other than a minority of the self professed left-anarchists, is their any kind of leftist that isn’t statist?

    The collectivist/individualist; left/right dichotomy is reflected in views on private property.

  131. Have some of you forgotten there are people who need convincing?

    Well, the best I can do is stuff like my 6:36 post.

  132. BTW, in line with going on the record yesterday as supporting private ownership of tanks and other direct fire weapons, I will here go on the record as saying that the Pinochet “horrors” are quite overblown. Much more overblown than that waterboarding hysteria sweeping the LeftUSA right now.

    The only reason he gets the crap is because he was NOT a Leftist. The praisers of Castro and others really need to put up some real numbers on how Pinochet compares with Fidel, Che, Stalin and their abandoned hero, Hitler. Yes, to include Les as an evidence presenter.

    As if there were any further proof of what a vile, crypto-fascist thug/fraud you are. It’s disgusting that you even have the right to consider yourself a libertarian (or a Christian, for that matter).

    And for the record, I didn’t agree with what Naomi Klein said either, but scum like you give her plenty of ammunition. You are also more like Fidel, Che, Stalin, Hitler and Pinochet than anything.

    Oh, and the fact that you’re on Slashdot also pretty much says it all.

  133. Oh, and the fact that you’re on Slashdot also pretty much says it all.

    Is that the internet equivalent of wearing an 8 ball jacket? Please explain.


  134. Oh, and the fact that you’re on Slashdot also pretty much says it all.

    non sequitur par excellence

  135. No good will come out of political ideologies that divide humanity into Productive and Parasite classes, and fantase about the former’s revenge on the latter.

    “Revenge”, joe? Care to point out a single passage in any of Rand’s novels where she depicts the productive classes getting revenge on the parasites? As I recall, the closest she got to revenge was the productive folks withdrawing their goods and labor from society, and letting the parasites suffer the consequences of having no one left to loot — or fighting back when the parasites initiated a conflict. In fact, the productive people tended to be insanely long-suffering of the abuses heaped upon them by the parasites in Rand’s novels.

    And as a good union supporter, surely you can’t argue against a group of people banding together to withhold their labor from others who they feel are treating them unfairly, no?

  136. Pinochet offered a better deal for those willing to tolerate him. Granted, that only puts him in a higher circle of hell.

    Exactly. It’s like debating whether a shit sandwich is better for you if there are no transfats in it. Who the fuck cares?

  137. …her misanthropic approach to politics in general.

    Does this by any chance mean she thinks professional career politicians are a bunch of soulless, duplicitous crooks, whose every utterence has been carefully calculated to elicit a specific response on the part of the boobousie?

  138. Oh, and joe, do you think it is wrong to divide humanity into people who are objectively and completely parasitic, in the sense of taking by force and giving back nothing of value — certain politicians spring to mind — and everyone else? Is this part of the PC mindset, where we’re not supposed to openly state unpleasant truths because someone who is behaving badly might be offended?

  139. Pinochet offered a better deal for those willing to tolerate him. Granted, that only puts him in a higher circle of hell.

    Exactly. It’s like debating whether a shit sandwich is better for you if there are no transfats in it. Who the fuck cares?

    Castro controls a lot more aspects of the Cubans’ lives than Pinochet did the Chileans.
    There is a world of difference. Which society would you rather live in?

    Kinda like the difference between Chi-coms now and how they were back in the Mao days. Only China is more oppressive now than Pinochet’s Chile ever was.

  140. SERIOUSLY?

    SERIOUSLY?!

    [once more for emphasis]
    SERIOUSLY?!!

  141. Which society would you rather live in?

    I have a little bracelet on my wrist that says “WWKD?” I take my spiritual and ethical guidance from Captain James Tiberius Kirk, who when faced with 2 shitty options reprogrammed the simulator.

    Me, if I had to choose between those two dictators I’d look at them and say “You suck, and you suck even more. I’m getting the fuck out and immigrating to America.” I wouldn’t spend any time patting one of them on the back for sucking less.

    FWIW, the kids in Che t-shirts pull the same shit, pointing to their favorite dictator and explain why he sucks less than Pinochet. Whether they’re right or wrong on that question is irrelevant to the bigger issue: They can’t see the forest because the trees are decorated with hanging corpses.

    I’m prepared to stipulate that Pinochet was not the worst dictator of his era. Who the fuck cares?

  142. OK, THEM FIZIKS SORTS AIN’T JUST EVIL. THEM’S DORKY, TOO. WWKD? HE’D GO F*CK A NATIVE. THAT’S WHAT HE’D DO, YA GEEK!

  143. I believe that fucking a native was not on the original list of options. He had to show some ingenuity and reprogram the simulation before he could get that sweet alien ass.

  144. Asharak,

    It’s strange about Mr. Guy Montag. Sometimes, when the subject has nothing to do with politics, he might say something actually funny and even clever. But his mind completely closes down whenever anything comes up that might remotely have anything to do with ideology.

    He’ll call you a terrorist lover if you disagree with him about waterboarding and here he is saying Hitler is my hero because I pointed out that Pinochet treated his dissidents like Castro did/does. Then he whines like a little girl if anyone suggests he’s said something he didn’t, happy to dish it out, but not enough of a man to take it, like most bullies (and especially the weakest kind, the internet-bully).

    I’ve actually tried to reason with him, asking clarifying questions in a most diplomatic manner, but he’s such a sad, quivering little pussy of a man, he never follows up on his attacks other than to cover his ears and hum to himself.

    I think I’m done trying to reason with him as it’s perfectly clear why everyone here (even those who might agree with him) hold him in such low regard. It’s sad really and I can’t help but feeling sorry for him.

  145. Perhaps I’m wrong but you could probably talk all day in Pinochet’s Chile about how bad things sucked and that the Junta were a bunch of dickheads. Otherwise you were generally free to live as you saw fit.Politically organizing was what could get you imprisoned or killed.

    Communist “societies” brook no criticism of the system, even absent political organization.

    Did pinochet require everyone listen to his speeches and memorize his books?

    Did Chile pick your occupation?
    Forcefully discourage your practice of religon?
    Censor the not-overtly political literature you could read?
    The nature and degree of State control is of a profound difference.

  146. IT’S NOT LIKE WE’RE CUTTING OFF YOUR PENIS. WE’RE JUST CUTTING OFF YOUR TESTICLES.

  147. Eunuchs in the harem of the Caliphate got the most pussy.

  148. SIV-

    I’m quite willing to believe that Pinochet sucked to a lesser degree than other dictators.

    Big fucking deal.

    Go ahead, and give me more reasons to agree that Pinochet sucked to a lesser degree than other dictators. I’ll continue to say you’re right. But what the fuck does it matter?

  149. And you know, if you weren’t Jewish, Nazi Germany was a much better place than Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge!

  150. thoreau,

    THIS DAMNATION BY FAINT PRAISE ISN’T GETTING US VERY FAR.
    HOW ABOUT SOME TAINT PRAISE?
    PINOCHET’S TAINT WAS HUGE…

  151. joe wrote: “Nice double standards, “freedom-lovers.”

    I think I’m getting a whiff of the gas chambers as I read that quote.

  152. P.S. That quote from Chambers about the gas chambers is no more honest today than when it was written deceitfully back in the 50s. If you read the book, you would see that she didn’t advocate anything more than civil disobedience – a strike. She was strident about it. So what? Gandhi also advised passive disobedience and was strident about it. He just had nicer things to say about his opponents.

  153. “Julian Sanchez would have been all over this, and would have had the stones to acknowledge when Klein had a point.”

    So, you’d prefer a “one the one-hand….. but on the other, third-webbed hand….” type of review?

    Waiting for your even-handed review of Pinochet’s memoirs, mr. allegedly fair-minded.

    (by the way, saying something is a better choice than other possible choices does not equate to “the better choice among all choices – especially all bad choices – is a good choice.” But nice rhetorical sleight of hand, asshole).

  154. Nobody who thinks “bullying” is possible on the internet, especially in a forum like this, needs to be calling anybody a “pussy” unless there is a handy mirror over their monitor in their mother’s basement.

    Some actual worthwile comments on Pinochet can be found here. This one is especially good:

    Ion Mihai Pacepa
    In my other life, as a Communist general, I lived under two tyrants who killed and jailed over one million people. Pinnochet saved Chile from becoming another Communist hell. God bless him for that, and may he be forgiven for his later aberrations. Not only in Chile does power corrupt.

    – Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc. His book Red Horizons has been republished in 27 countries.

  155. > The very term Right and Left wing come from where factions sat in the legislature following the French Revolution. They were differentiated not by the amount of relative collectivism, but by their deference to change and on the other hand tradition.

    Correct. And in those days what were the right wingers (conservatives) trying to conserve? The status quo, ie. mercantilistic policies, monarchy etc. The left wingers were for free markets and individual freedom. What are the conservatives in US trying to conserve now? The status quo, again. It’s simply a case of those in power wanting to hold on to it, just like the politbyro in USSR did, just like almost anybody with power tends to do. Ideology doesn’t have much to do with it, but it’s always quite easy to be dishonest with oneself.

    But here’s one thing I don’t understand:
    How will studying economics ever change an opinion that is build on an ethical basis? Let’s compare two systems, for example: US & Finland, the latter being a good deal more collectivist country.

    Ethically, what’s wrong with the Finnish system:

    1) That those who make a lot of money (either through good luck or their hard work and talent or all combined) have to pay a lot of taxes.

    2) Some individuals missuse the welfare system.

    Ethically, what’s wrong with the system in US, which though far from the libertarian ideal is a good deal closer:

    1) Corruption. In the right it’s often claimed that corruption and socialism go hand in hand. Check the statistics, Finland is on the very top of non-corrupted countries. The situation in the US well known to all.

    But much more importantly:

    2) Poor people are —cked. Is that because the markets aren’t free enough? Were the poor less —cked before New Deal?
    I’m not raising these questions to provoke, I honestly want to understand. Especially I’d like to know is this even a relevant consern from the libertarian stand point?

  156. “Other than a minority of the self professed left-anarchists, is their any kind of leftist that isn’t statist?”
    Other than a minority of self professed right-libertarians, is their any kind of rightist that isn’t either a statist (militaristic) or a theocrat?

    SIV makes a neat move, anyone for the state is therefore left wing (a collectivist) allowing him of course, by definition, to define any totalitarian government as “left wing” and making it impossible to have a “right wing” one.

    SIV also brings up the canard of defense of private property being the thing that unifies the right and libertarianism. The right wing in the US has a professed love of private property only in so much as capitalism has been a tradition here and the vested interests that bring the “order” and “authority” they love so much has to be based on wealth rather than a system of monarchy, established church and aristocracy (which is how the right expresses itself in Europe historically). Of course the right in the US was usually quick to use government (“statism”) to protect its “artistocracy of wealth” and promote “order” and “authority” (note the Federalists policy of the National Bank, granting rent-seeking charters to wealthy interests to build railroads, canals, bridges etc., the protectionism trumpeted by the right until free trade became beneficial to wealthy interests [pretty late in the game btw]), and the heavy government involvement in early labor struggles [government by injunction]). Of course the right could and always be counted on to back theocratic measures as well with the coercive power of the state, including restrictions and coercions on private property (like Blue Laws or restrictions on the sale of reproductive services, including contraception).

    I’m not expert on Pinochet (I imagine few here know much more than what a few wiki or blog sites have told them). But common sense tells me that a man that made himself total ruler of a nation for over a decade would not have allowed you to, as SIV puts it “talk all day in Pinochet’s Chile about how bad things sucked and that the Junta were a bunch of dickheads.” The man put his cronies in as mayors of many of the towns and also put his cronies in charge of the universities and schools to ferret out the “wrong headed.” My common sense also tells me that a man who died a multi-millionaire probably allowed or encouraged a fair amount of government induced and backed corruption that surely trickled down making life miserable for many. Perhaps he, like his much admired Franco, allowed churches to open (though not any “uppity” priests) and markets to trade (though of course not voluntary exchanges of, say, tracts critical of Pinochet) and thus there was more freedom than in Castro’s Cuba, but I agree with Thoreau, dictators are never justified.

  157. linna,

    Corruption requires some power to misuse. A society with little to no government with the vast majority of its transactions carried out on the market has little corruption by definition, since the free market is a matrix of “voluntary exchanges between consenting adults”.

    Unless, of course you have a different definition of corruption than I.

    Furthermore, poor people were more fucked by the new deal and aftermath than they would have been under the pre World War I U.S. political regime.


    The riches of the rich are not the cause of the poverty of anybody; the process that makes some people rich is, on the contrary, the corollary of the process that improves many peoples want satisfaction. The entrepreneurs, the capitalists and the technologists prosper as far as they succeed in best supplying the consumers.

    The riches of successful entrepreneurs is not the cause of anybodys poverty; it is the consequence of the fact that the consumers are better supplied than they would have been in the absence of the entrepreneurs effort. -Ludwig von Mises

    The standard of living for the poor rises as new products are invented and brought into production. This happens most rapidly in a system of free markets, where people are allowed to keep the fruits of their labor, and can only acquire wealth by producing it, or something to trade for it.

    All socialists systems can do is redistribute wealth -> spread the misery more evenly.

    Even worse, when the redistribution is done by the state, it has the effect of harming the charitable impulses of people. Individuals become less giving since a) they expect the state to step in, b) they view other needy people as threatening state charity that would otherwise go to them.

    In the end, libertarianism is a belief that a society should be organized on non-violent lines. The person who believes in forced redistribution of wealth is essentially willing to sacrifice everything, even peace, to make the redistribution happen.

    [Government] is the opposite of liberty. It is beating, imprisoning, hanging. Whatever a government does it is ultimately supported by the actions of armed constables.

    The state is a human institution, not a superhuman being. He who says state means coercion and compulsion. He who says: There should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like. He who says: This law should be better enforced, means: the police should force people to obey this law. He who says: The state is God, deifies arms and prisons.

    There is no reason to idolize the police power and ascribe to its omnipotence and omniscience. There are things which it can certainly not accomplish. It cannot conjure away the scarcity of the factors of production, it cannot make people more prosperous, it cannot raise the productivity of labor. All it can achieve is to prevent gangsters from frustrating the efforts of those people who are intent upon promoting material well-being. -Ludwig von Mises

  158. You have to understand: To a certain segment of the population, “bourgeois” doesn’t actually mean “upper/middle class”. It’s just a generic epithet for anyone they don’t like.

    There’s a great part in Ruth Riechl’s memoir Tender at the Bone, when she is living in a small commune in San Francisco. One of the house’s residents keeps pushing weirder and weirder trends on everyone — putting bee pollen and nutritional yeast in the food, taking up the entire kitchen making their own sprouts and yogurt, making a whole Thanksgiving dinner out of food salvaged from dumpsters. Nobody can ever resist him, because they crumble at his accusations that they are “bourgeois.”

  159. Didn’t Pinochet VOLUNTARILY leave office? Speaks volumes of his dictatorship tendencies.

    In the dictatorship awards, I’d say Pinochet and Chavez are running neck and neck. Unless the December 2 referendum passes, and then Chavez pulls ahead.

  160. Guy, you’re right, “bully” was the wrong word. “Shrill, knee-jerk, loyalist, hypocrite asshole,” is what I should have said. And now I can add “apologist for a mass-murdering dictator.”

    Thanks for the heads-up.

  161. Didn’t Pinochet VOLUNTARILY leave office? Speaks volumes of his dictatorship tendencies.

    No, I think being ruling unelected for 15 years and torturing and killing thousands of political opponents speaks volumes of his dictatorship tendencies.

    In the dictatorship awards, I’d say Pinochet and Chavez are running neck and neck.

    When Chavez (whom I loathe) starts rounding up and torturing and murdering the people who oppose him, that comment won’t be grossly inaccurate (not to mention willfully ignorant).

  162. scum like you give her plenty of ammunition.

    Whoa!

    I still can’t understand the resentment Libertaraians get from all directions =

    – conservatiods think we’re “scum” because we’re cool with immigration and gays and drugs and people making choices for themselves without some Externalized Pappa telling us whats good for everyone, etc. Oh, and Jeebus is not our savior and the earth is millions of years old.

    – Liberals think we’re “scum” because we dont have the same distorted view of markets and “TEH CORPORSHUNS!”, think Chomsky is an idiot, and have a dim view of government trying to impose ‘economic & social equality’ at the expense of liberty. oh, and The Children.

    So, fucked if you do, fucked if you dont!

    I need a drink

  163. Les,

    Are you from Boston?

    I won’t waste time asking if you are done with your cry yet.

  164. tarran,

    >Corruption requires some power to misuse. A society with little to no government with the vast majority of its transactions carried out on the market has little corruption by definition, since the free market is a matrix of “voluntary exchanges between consenting adults”.

    Thus logically there should be relatively more corruption in Finland and Scandinavia, since these countries are a good deal further from the libertarian ideals of voluntarily organized welfare, small government etc. There isn’t, on the contrary.

    Another interesting point is the fact, that in mere 40 years Finland has transformed from a poor agrarian culture into a leading high tech importer. Ever heard of Nokia for example? All this happened under governments which all would be considered extreamely leftish in the US.

    An averige middle class worker is definately wealthier in the US than in Finland, but if you noticed I was talking about the poor? If you concentrate on the quite large mass of people in the US who are truly screwed right now, all this rhetoric will remain mere rhetoric, all statistics will speak against it. Illiteracy, the highest number of infant mortality in the western world etc.

    > The standard of living for the poor rises as new products are invented and brought into production. This happens most rapidly in a system of free markets, where people are allowed to keep the fruits of their labor, and can only acquire wealth by producing it, or something to trade for it.

    WEALTH can only be acquired by producing wealth in countries like Finland, too. I’m not talking about wealth, I’m talking about the situation of those, who are in the very bottom. In Finland, every child, regardless of their parents wealth, is guaranteed free health care and education. Ofcourse there is the private sector, too, which offers even higher quality to those who can afford it, but the gap is a good lot smaller than between US public and private schools (ie. live in a crappy neighborhood and get crappy education), or people under insurance versus people dying of easily treatable infections. Voluntary charity is a beautiful idea, but doesn’t work in practise any more than communism does. And the more sorry the state of the most unfortunate, the more everybody else will have to pay because of them, anyway. The correlation between poverty and crime is undeniable,

  165. I’m not surprised Guy is proud to be an asshole. It’s the easiest thing in the world to be.

  166. Pinochet voluntarily left office not because he was unpopular, he was elected again and again in the capacity of senator. That “thousands and thousands were tortured and killed” sounds like leftist hyperbole to me. Still, hundreds and hundreds is awful, he is not a hero or anything of the sort.

    In the 1992 coup that Hugo Chavez staged, hundreds were also killed. He indeed DOES imprison and hold political enemies without trial, shuts down opponent news media, and sends thugs to shoot protestors. He is just more lighthearted and entertaining when he does so. He would be much more fun to have at a dinner party, especially compared to the sourpussed Pinochet, but living under either one would be a tossup.

    Pinochet? You have a better chance of being rounded up and taken to a stadium, never to be taken out again. But if you can stand 10-15 years, it’s over and you’re relatively wealthy.

    Chavez? You elected him? Now you have a better chance of being kidnapped and murdered by thugs (10,000 murders in Caracas last year), blacklisted from your job if you sign a petition against him, double digit inflation, no milk, oil, eggs or rice in the stores, and oh yeah, it’s forevah, or at least until he dies. But at least he’s entertaining about it.

  167. One thing about the Nordic countries: The bulk of government intervention in the economy in those countries is in their huge spending that maintains their welfare states (and the taxation that goes with it). In stuff related to regulation, they look pretty light (except labor regulation).

  168. linnea, You seem like a nice, well-meaning person, and I hope you will spend time on this board debating people and not be run off by this rebuttal.

    To answer your points:

    Thus logically there should be relatively more corruption in Finland and Scandinavia, since these countries are a good deal further from the libertarian ideals of voluntarily organized welfare, small government etc. There isn’t, on the contrary.

    Sorry, but no, that is not logical. That would be like saying that since a Ferrari can go faster then a Fiat, that when one looks at a Fiat, it will be going slower than a Ferrari. I know little to nothing about Finland so I can’t speak as to the amount of corruption or the reasons behind it. I can only speak to my experiences in the U.S. and Turkey, and stuff I have read about.

    The fact is that corruption requires some power to misuse. If I own a house, I cannot, by definition misuse it since whatever use I put it to is by definition of ownership the legitimate use. For corruption to occur the owner and the administrator must be different people. For corruption to be meaningful, the owner must not be able to easily remove a corrupt administrator and replace him with an honest one. That could be because there are insufficient honest administrators to choose from, or it could be because the act of replacement is hard to do.

    Another interesting point is the fact, that in mere 40 years Finland has transformed from a poor agrarian culture into a leading high tech importer. Ever heard of Nokia for example? All this happened under governments which all would be considered extreamely leftish in the US.

    That’s wonderful, and where did the capital for this expansion come from? If it came in the form of a government deciding upon an industrial policy, and taxing some industries in order to subsidize others than it came at the expense of neglecting some consumer demand in factor of other demand.

    In other words, odds are while some Finns benefitted from the gifts given to them, others were harmed. Some were made rich while others were made poorer. The Soviet Union built the best company engaging in manned space exploration in the world, and certainly produced one that would not appear in a free economy. But, in doing so they ignored a large swath of consumer demand and left alot of people poorer. Today, the state-run space company is a major exporter and source of foreign currency, and many Russians would point to it as a source of pride and source of wealth while ignoring all that was lost creating it.

    I’m not talking about wealth, I’m talking about the situation of those, who are in the very bottom.

    So am I. In a free economy the middle class grows, and poverty shrinks. The existence of a middle class is completely dependent on trade. Absent free markets, generally there are two classes, the rich feudal lords and the peasants stuck in grinding poverty.

    Today the poor in the United States have access to material wealth that King Henry VIII of England could only dream of – comfortable beds, nutritious food, warm clothing, durable shelter, music created by masters, books written by geniuses, doctors, finer weapons. All of this is the product of the market.
    The solution to the problem of poverty is two-fold:

    1) Increasing the pool of available wealth as quickly as possible which is done through the free market.

    2) Convincing those who have surplus wealth to care for those who don’t have it.

    Voluntary charity is a beautiful idea, but doesn’t work in practise any more than communism does.

    You seem to feel that people are rotten to the core, and only armed policemen can accomplish this later aim by threatening to kidnap people who don’t donate moneys to be distributed to the poor.

    I believe that the best charity is that which is freely given, and that any society where people are so rotten that they have to be threatened into acts of charity is one where the charity will misdirected anyway.

    And the more sorry the state of the most unfortunate, the more everybody else will have to pay because of them, anyway. The correlation between poverty and crime is undeniable

    Let’s say I raised an army and conquered the world. So I march my armies into Finland and I announce that the Finish government is hereby denied the right to levy a tax on anyone. And being a heartless bastard, I announce that I won’t be providing any welfare.

    So, will the productive Finns celebrate and get down to ignoring the unfortunates in their midst? Will the government officials who administered the welfare programs walk away from their jobs an refuse to try to set up charities that accomplish the same ends? Will the broad mass of people who voted in governments that provided the welfare system now turn a blind eye to the charities which plead for donations. Will these voters instead pocket the newfound wealth that previously went into taxes and ignore the plight of the poor?

    I don’t think they will.

    The idea that private charity will fail where public charity will succeed is comical, at least in a society where the adult population is free to vote politicians in and out of elected office.

    And, I think comparing it to the failure of communism is even more inappropriate given that under communism the entire economy is wrecked, and everyone suffers. Let’s assume your implications are correct, and that in Finland people are mean bastards who would allow their neighbors to starve unless they were compelled to do something about it. So I march my armies into Finladn and end public welfare and no private charity appears to tend to the unfortunate.

    What happens to the poor? Well, they would starve and die. Would society end? Would there be a collapse like that taking place in Zimbabwe? No. Deprived of the very ‘bottom’ as you put it, the productive classes would continue to produce and consume and would live, I imagine, very contented lives.

    Even the rise in crime wouldn’t bother them. After all, if they aren’t bothered by the sight of their neighbors starving, your hearless countrymen would surely have no problem gunning down would be thieves they catch rummaging trough their garbage for scraps of life-giving moldy bread.

    I think this scenario is highly unlikely, and I have trouble believing that the people of Finland are as rotten as you are implying, but even if they were, the lack of public charity is hardly the society ending event you imply.

  169. In the 1992 coup that Hugo Chavez staged, hundreds were also killed.

    That sounds like right-wing hyperbole to me.

    See how that works? No research necessary, just a reflexive impulse that demands we judge atrocities based on the ideologies of those committing them.

    A cursory search implies that Chavez’s coup attempt caused zero civilian deaths.

    Of course, Chavez is despicable, but, unlike Pinochet, he was elected and there is no evidence that any dissidents in Venezuela are being rounded up by soldiers and tortured and/or murdered.

    You should find a close relative of one of the thousands of documented victims of his Pinochet’s regime and tell them they had it so much better than Venezuelans do, because, hey, look at the economy!

  170. oh man it’s time to trot my chestnut of truth again:

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

    that was in response to chalupa on the last klein thread but it still holds.

    also holy shit if klein was any dumber we’d be dead. she’s bill o fucking reilly with boobs.

  171. Tarran,

    >You seem to feel that people are rotten to the core, and only armed policemen can accomplish this later aim by threatening to kidnap people who don’t donate moneys to be distributed to the poor.

    Nope, I sure don’t. From the 20’s on the Finns have in free, democratical (actually democratical, not the two party rich brats from Yale system) elections by majority DECIDED that this is the proper way to run a society. Hell, call it voluntary charity if you like. Just like we decided to fight the Goliath of Soviet aggression during world war II. Don’t rush into silly conclusions.

  172. linna,

    Sorry about mispelling your name earlier.

    It seems then that we are in agreement; if the vast majority of people feel that charity is a good idea, then you don’t need the state to administer it; people will voluntarily donate their own surplus wealth for the care of the poor.

  173. linna, not fucking linnea,

    Tarran, I believe, does not misunderstand you, he’s getting you to make his point for him. If the Finns willingly made their government charitable, then they would willingly give charity absent a government compulsion.

    To complete the Libertarian argument, add that willing charity is superior to involuntary (or semi-involuntary) charity because
    a)its voluntary and
    b)its more efficient.

  174. RE: the tarran-linna debate, especially bonewah’s comments
    1. I’m not sure private charity is always more efficient than government services. Many private charities that I have worked with were run by volunteers for a reason (that noone would have paid much for these folks services).
    2. In your example above, let us say that 60% of Finns see the importance of helping the less fortunate. If they contribute themselves then they have whatever they were willing to contribute x 60%, if they enact a law using their majority then they have whatever they set x 100%. This distributes the costs out more, gets rid of free riders (who would get the benefits of less poverty and ignorance etc., among the population w/out paying) and would provide more money in the pot to work with in lessening poverty, etc.
    3. The state does not just give x y’s money. In theory it also sets up boundaries for certain behaviors. For example, it says that if you set up a workplace it has to meet certain safety conditions, or that you have to dispose of your trash and waste within certain standards, etc. Again, in theory they do this because they feel that coercion does not solely come from unequal force, but from unequal bargaining power over certain neccesities in life. The Finns larger, more active governmnet has a great deal of this stuff as well.
    4. We had private charity before events like the Great Depression, and during it. Voters reflecting on their experience thought it woefully inadequate. It’s a libertarian shiboleth that private charity would just take care of everything the government does. Of course, usually private charity had a chance to take care of it before any of the government programs addressing it were created.

  175. A few weeks ago, Reason ran a post about the cult of Che. Che was responsible for the deaths and torture of thousands of people. Some apologists insisted that one needed to understand the context of the times, past economic injustices, etc. Others, such as joe couldn’t understand what the fuss was about as he wrote:
    “What an odd thing to spend one’s time and energy being angry about.”

    And then he responds that people who insist that one should understand the context of Pinochet’s Chile as well as the greater danger Chileans could have experienced under Communist rule are the hypocritical ones.

    It’s also odd how statists on the Left, spend so little time griping over murdering thugs such as Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Stalin, etc. who were responsible for exponentially more murder and torture in their regimes than Pinochet was. Around 2,800 people disappeared under Pinochet and some 30,000 were tortured. That’s awful, but that figure is greatly dwarfed by the numbers, in some cases into the millions, who died and were tortured under the thumbs of at least three of those dictators. Even Castro was worse than Pinochet. Yet, you would think by the attention that’s given to Pinochet that he was the worst mass murderer in history. Whereas, Pol Pot and Mao are not even discussed, Castro is largely apologized for or defended, and for Che it’s just said, “What a strange thing to be angry about….”

    Finally, at least under a system where some economic freedoms are allowed, the people have a chance to gradually work their way out of poverty, to make some choices fitting their interests, and to even to eventually overthrow or evolve out of the dictatorship, these option don’t usually happen under Communist dictatorships: the people just gradually get poorer over the decades, millions starve, and the only hope is for when market systems are eventually allowed in and/or the ruling parties are overthrown to make way for market democracies. This latter is really the only hope for N.Korea or Burma.

  176. For those who think that “Look how many people were killed by [insert Communist dictator here]!” is a valid response to criticisms of Pinochet:

    I don’t get all the fuss over the cops who killed that woman in a no-knock raid in Atlanta. Why, just look how many people [insert Communist dictator here] killed!

    I don’t get all the fuss over 9/11. Why, just look how many people [insert Communist dictator here] killed!

    And why do the newspapers talk about it when somebody is killed in the local area? Why, just look how many people [insert Communist dictator here] killed!

    Hell, why does everybody get so bent out of shape over Hitler? I mean, Stalin’s body count was even higher!

  177. Nicely built straw man, thoreau. But the argument is not why do people get bent out of shape over comparatively smallish thugs like Pinochet when much bigger thugs abound. The argument is why the attention is so much more on the former than the latter, when the latter are not only the greater monsters but also likely to do more long term structural damage, making recovery for future generations that much harder, with much greater suffering for future generations. There’s hardly any equivalency there, and any honest person should be able to recognize that.

    The other weird thing is to insist on standards of purity and low tolerance for violence under a regime friendly to markets but to insist that much greater violence under Left regimes should all be explained away by context.

    None of this should excuse the excesses under Pinochet. It’s just odd that the attention of the Left is so skewed and blind to the much greater thuggery on their side. But maybe it’s not that odd.

  178. Insisting on equivalency simply for the sake of ‘fairness’ (let’s just all denounce violence everywhere and share a coke, we are the children…) is blind to the finer and important distinctions in the two situations mentioned above.

  179. Hi, my name is Mike and I’m a libertarian. I hereby denounce Pinochet and all his works.
    Happy?

  180. “It’s just odd that the attention of the Left is so skewed and blind to the much greater thuggery on their side.”

    It’s not that odd. You see, while the Left might object to violence in some cases, this is really secondary. It’s capitalism and the free market that they hate most of all. So when they find violent excesses under a regime friendly towards economic liberalization they are naturally going to make a much bigger fuss out of that than they are going to make out of violence committed under regimes friendly towards their ideology, no matter how those excesses compare to excesses under regimes which are socialist.

    Of course we should denounce statist violence everywhere, but that shouldn’t obscure, as Pau says, some important distinctions. The simple fact is that violence under hard (not the softer ones such as the mixed economies in Scandinavia) socialist regimes has been astronomically greater than any economically liberal regimes. And of course, we should also note that life under a hard socialist regime just gets bleaker for the population as time wears on. As Pau notes, it’s only when “Dear Leader” dies, and the economy is allowed to liberalize, is there any hope for the common person.

  181. Kind of amazing that the Left ignores its ex-love of Hitler too. A love that ended when Hitler ordered the invasion of one of their favorites, Stalin.

    This campaign has been so popular that now any mention of National Socialism invokes that silly “Godwin Law” in a further attempt to silence any meaningful discussion about how all forms of Socialism are slavery.

  182. Uhh, I guess Montag means the Communists when he talks of “the Left” (there were and are non-Communist leftists you know). And in fact, they hated Hitler and fascism with an unmatched hatred, rallying folks to fight them in Spain for example at a time when many institutions on the right (like the Church and militaristic types) were just fine with Franco and Hitler standing up to those “Godless materialists.” When Stalin signed the pact with Hitler and ordered Communists to become anti-war they did not “love” Hitler as much as think it was in their strategic interests to work with him against the “liberal democracies” (whom both the fascists and the communists reviled). Don’t get me wrong, this demonstrates the nuttiness of the Communists (well, the very support of the USSR should have demonstrated that). But this “Hitler man of the left stuff” is just funny. All major parties in Germany at the time embraced some form of government intervention and jockeyed to get support from the working classes, and thus “National Socialism” and the like. But of course Hitler was quite plain in Mein Kampf about his almost pathological hatred of “the Reds” and Communists in general. His embrace of romanticization of the past, hatred of the liberal Weimar Republic, his acceptance by the military (in preference to the Communists) and hypernationalistic “God and Country” talk and plans mark him as the conservative alternative of his day, just as surely as Nixon was the conservative alternative for his day while he might not seem “conservative” to you.

    I have leftist friends that would point out that blaming “socialism” for Stalin is like blaming democracy for the slavery and segregation that occurred in the US (after all, we were the first modern democracy and we also kept slavery longer than most European powers). However, I am sensitive to the kernel of truth that lies in the ball of hyperbole and slogans tossed around here. I agree with Hayek, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, that when dictators take over the economic sphere as well as the governmental then there is much, much more potential for abuse. Socialism in Scandinavia works because the Scandinavians are such a “good people” (by which I mean for reasons historical and cultural they have developed institutions and values that make them less likely to abuse powers). Socialism runs a danger of giving the government, which may or may not always be friendly to your values, an apparatus to hurt people in addition to its already quite potent one (police and military). Of course, if your life is being made miserable due to the coercion inherent in vastly unequal bargaining power you might be willing to run this risk. Libertopians who fail to see why people on the bad side of unequal bargaining power will balk at their “free” society are naive, but so are leftists who fail to see that they are indeed running quite the risk by bringing the government in to “fix” it…

  183. Did O’Reilly start this trend of comparing those who disagree with him to the nazis? Why the obsession with Hitler, is he the only mega bad guy that ever lived? Calling leftist Hitler-lovers because Stalin made a short pact with him is moronic. Why strech it so far, just call them Stalin-lovers, and you actually have hit some truth. It’s true that in the late 60’s and the 70’s the leftish intellectuals throughout Europe demonized the US and by an incredible act of self deception managed to close their eyes from the wrongs of Brezhnevian era and the bloody, nightmarish history of the Soviet Union. One perticularily discusting example comes to my mind, I was actually there:

    There was an international meeting of authors in a hotel in Helsinki. A Hungarian author by the name of Denes Kiss (I kid you not, that really was his name) was there, too. He had recently spent some time in jail for critisizing the regime of his country.
    The leading leftish intellectual poet, Matti Rossi, asked him what were the Hungarian people doing to battle fascism.
    Kiss asked: Which fascism do you mean, black or red?
    The poet was enraged and stormed into the Hungarian embassy to notify the KGB. This same scum bag is still active on the litearary field, enjoying grants probably granted by his old comrads and making crappy Shakespeare translations.

  184. you guys are hilarious sometimes. It’s like “Red vs Blue* Episode 224” on repeat.

    [if you’ve never seen the red vs. blue Halo2-generated sitcom, check it out]

    immigrating to America

    Dude, wheres GRAMMARNAZI when we need him(it)? Emigrate man! Emigrate! You’re leaving!!!

  185. I agree that there’s a lot of hypocrisy out there regarding Castro. I just don’t get why any mention of “Pinochet” is followed by a stampede of people who want to “put it in perspective” or quickly change topics to the crimes of left-wing dictators.

    Mind you, I’ve got no problem going after left-wing dictators, but when the impulsive response to any mention of Pinochet is to change topics, it gets annoying.

  186. such is the nature of TEAM RED TEAM BLUE FOREVER AND FOREVER TRUE

    (“with it, for it and never against it” was already taken i guess)

    Why the obsession with Hitler, is he the only mega bad guy that ever lived?

    my answer for that is twofold:

    1) motherfucker tried to fight the whole planet at one point.

    2) more importantly, there is footage of concentration camps. that makes something far more real than other horrible massacres.

  187. It’s just odd that the attention of the Left is so skewed and blind to the much greater thuggery on their side. But maybe it’s not that odd.

    The left is no more guilty of this than the right. The left apologize for Che and Castro (among others), the right apologize for Pinochet, Suharto, Somoza, and, until 1990, Hussein (among others).

    The tendency to overlook or justify atrocities based on ideology is equally distributed along the political spectrum. It’s a human failing based on ego that has nothing to do with any particular political viewpoint.

  188. > 2) more importantly, there is footage of concentration camps. that makes something far more real than other horrible massacres.

    All the more idiotic to drag him and his party into petty debates such as these all over and over again. If you have to make surreal comparisons, at least use some creativity then and read a book or two. Try something like this for a change: Idi Amin faught in the British army. GB introduced the welfare state model. Thus you are cannibals.

  189. Some of you just aren’t listening or are intentionally failing to read carefully. Yes, political regimes, right or left, that practice murderous thuggery is bad. No question. It’s statism run amok either way, brothers.

    But simply because both sides have been found guilty, does not mean that there are no important distinctions to be found.

    Did things gradually get better under Castro, Stalin, Mao, Pot, (and Hussein, more of the left than right, actually, if you examine his economic policies)? How about under Pinochet? As bad as he was, did the general lot of Chileans under the economic policies he allowed to be implemented, generally improve or degrade?

    An honest examination of the evidence is not necessarily the most ‘balanced,’ with attempts to find equal weak points on both sides. They simply might not be very equivalent, when all is said and done.

    The second point is that the left completely ignores the above argument, foams at the mouth over Pinochet, while defending or apologizing for or ignoring abuses under Castro; the left is often remarkably ignorant of or disinterested in abuses under Mao (greatest monster of the 20th century, imho), Pot, or in comparison to the volumes they can or do speak about Pinochet, when given the soap box to lecture to living rooms. This is just so odd when you consider how much more destructive not only the policies of these thugs were, but the legacy of their economic policies were to future generations, than to a Pinochet. Yet, that’s where their attention is placed.

    Was it ‘annoying’ to any of you to read that when the cult of Che was brought up, some defenders either said, “well, let’s talk about the context,” or “Oh, I don’t see what the big deal is.”?

  190. Pinochet was excessive. Just thought I’d add that in case anyone thinks I am arguing that what he did wasn’t troubling.

  191. Did things gradually get better under Castro, Stalin, Mao, Pot, (and Hussein, more of the left than right, actually, if you examine his economic policies)? How about under Pinochet? As bad as he was, did the general lot of Chileans under the economic policies he allowed to be implemented, generally improve or degrade?

    That’s a lot like saying the family that has to endure the abusive father who’s a good provider and sends them to college shouldn’t be as upset as the family with an abusive father who has no money to give them. It’s not an important distinction to the victims or in a conversation about constructive morality.

    Once you start torturing and killing dissidents, it just doesn’t matter that their grandchildren are going to benefit from relatively low inflation.

    the left is often remarkably ignorant of or disinterested in abuses under Mao (greatest monster of the 20th century, imho), Pot, or in comparison to the volumes they can or do speak about Pinochet, when given the soap box to lecture to living rooms.

    There are just as many on “the right” who have no idea that we helped Suharto murder thousands in Indonesia or the degree of terrorism against dissidents carried out by the right-wing dictatorships of Guatemala or El Salvador during the Cold War. When you point out to a right wing idealist that the Contras were no less terrorists than Hamas, they point out how bad the Sandinistas were (and they were, no doubt), just as a left wing idealist will excuse Castro’s crack down on dissidents by claiming it’s the only way to defend against the CIA’s assault on Cuba’s sovereignty.

    Again, it’s not about “the left” or “the right.” It’s about calling an atrocity an atrocity regardless of ideology.

    Pinochet was excessive. Just thought I’d add that in case anyone thinks I am arguing that what he did wasn’t troubling.

    See, I think things like theft and fraud might qualify as “troubling.” Mass murder deserves a juicier adjective, like “horrific,” or “appalling.” John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy together killed a tiny fraction of the number of people Pinochet did, but, certainly, you wouldn’t describe what they did as “troubling.”

  192. See, I think things like theft and fraud might qualify as “troubling.” Mass murder deserves a juicier adjective, like “horrific,” or “appalling.” John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy together killed a tiny fraction of the number of people Pinochet did, but, certainly, you wouldn’t describe what they did as “troubling.”

    QFT

  193. See, I think things like theft and fraud might qualify as “troubling.” Mass murder deserves a juicier adjective, like “horrific,” or “appalling.” John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy together killed a tiny fraction of the number of people Pinochet did, but, certainly, you wouldn’t describe what they did as “troubling.”

    QFMFT!

  194. prolfeed,

    Care to point out a single passage in any of Rand’s novels where she depicts the productive classes getting revenge on the parasites? Rand was the author, the creator of the universe. She was able to create the circumstances under which the “parasites” could get their comeupance without her ubermench having to get their hands dirty. It’s comparable to one of those Hollywood revenge moview in which the heroine finally confronts the killer who’s bee stalking her, has him at gunpoint, and he falls off a cliff so she never has to pull the trigger. The writers set up the story that way for exacty the purpose of the killer getting his without distrubing the facile, black-and-white worls.

    objectively and completely parasitic You’re a little Hitler, prolefeed. You’re one of those people who can’t through the day without telling yourself you’re surrounded by morally-inferior enemies.

  195. Pau,

    I wrote “What an odd thing to get worked up about,” in reference to Moynihan’s exclaimations about tee-shirts, not the Cuban regime itself. Your misrepresentatin changes the meaning considerably.

  196. Your misrepresentatin changes the meaning considerably.

    Little known fact: joe spends Thanksgiving with his kinfolk in the Ozarks.

  197. Weeeeeeell doggies!

  198. zing, highnumber.

  199. Les, I don’t think your analogy is fitting or does justice to political economic differences between regimes, and the contrasting legacies of each (You’re right though, that my choice of adjectives was also not fitting).

    joe, I think I understood what you were about. You thought it odd that people are upset over a cult figure – as represented by wearing t-shirts – notorious for mass murder in the name of his revolution. Tens of thousands of people lionize this guy in various ways, some through the wearing of t-shirts (though granted some people just like to wear a shirt, not thinking what’s on it). You thought it weird to be annoyed over something like that. Yet, elsewhere you take people to task for explaining away Pinochet’s crimes as context driven.

    Any of you oppose the American Revolution or The Civil War and/or get hot under the collar when either one of those wars are defended? Would that make us apologists for Sherman to defend the second, or to add contextual information to explain it away? Lots of people killed, yet in the first, we came up with a nifty system that has benefited all and in the second slavery ended. There were excesses in the CW certainly – yet, I’m sure glad slavery ended as much as I think some of the Northern generals sucked as human beings.

    UAIOABWAYITG?

  200. Pau, you’re right, my analogy was simplistic. But I think that reflects my belief that once a regime engages in mass murder, it doesn’t matter what the economic legacy of that regime is. Now, if Pinochet had simply stayed in power without torturing and murdering dissidents, I think one can say in regards to his regime, “Yes, but…” However, since he did engage in mass torture and murder, there are no “buts” that matter.

    Any of you oppose the American Revolution or The Civil War and/or get hot under the collar when either one of those wars are defended?

    This is a poor analogy. In neither of these wars did the government round up dissidents to torture and murder. We’re not talking about being anti-war, we’re talking about being anti-mass torture/murder.

  201. That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with analyzing the economic consequences of what Allende was doing compared with what Pinochet did. But the lesson of Pinochet isn’t “free markets are better than socialism.” I think it’s closer to “free markets don’t require torture and mass murder in order to work.”

  202. Les,
    Yes, but….Lincoln’s government murdered thoussands of civilians in the South. It also rounded up dissidents in the North and jailed them. Jefferson Davis, of the South, was jailed in stocks for a significant period after the war.
    When fighting for a cause, most if not all regimes have been found guilty of excesses. Therefore, I think a “yes, but” answer is not inappropriate in an imperfect world. Context can have some relevance. Another point where we seem to disagree is that you don’t think it matters what that cause is or what the consequences will be for the people in the immediate or distant future. I do.

    I do agree that free markets don’t require mass murder and torture, but my main point is not about that. It’s about the attention Pinochet has gotten from the Left compared to the attention given to much greater monsters out there. I guess that’s where I differ from some people on this site. Some here think it “odd” to get upset over the lionizing of a monster like Che, but then foam at the mouth over Pinochet. Some think that Che needs to be understood by the context he was found in; okay, fine, but then they turn around and insist that context has no place in discussing Pinochet’s regime. And the much odder thing is that I have met many a man of the Left, who could tell you point by point details of the Pinochet era (though some of those points might be wrong) but is relatively ignorant – at least by comparison – of left wing dictatorial regimes in Africa, the Pot regime, etc. Many of these were far worse, yet, they simply are not really discussed by the Left nearly to the extent Pinochet is. I think that’s weird.

  203. Pau, I understand you points about complexity and Lincoln is a “yes, but…” kind of historical figure, but the fact remains that while union soldiers no doubt committed atrocities, it wasn’t the policy of the government, unlike the case of Pinochet. If you’re aware of evidence that Lincoln signed off on the torture/murder of dissidents, I’d appreciate a link.

    Of course, this could start a whole conversation of the degree to which it’s okay to do bad things in order to bring about good results. But, oy! What a conversation!

    I agree that it is weird to forgive some atrocities and rage over others. The fact is that most people who consider themselves to be “on the left” are ignorant of a lot of, if not most of the atrocities committed by the left. And the fact is that most people who consider themselves to be “on the right” are ignorant of a lot of, if not most of the atrocities committed by the right.

    I think it’s natural for people to be irrationally defensive of any ideology they’ve devoted themselves to. But of course that doesn’t excuse that behavior. Plus, it’s very annoying.

  204. “I agree that it is weird to forgive some atrocities and rage over others.”

    I get it that it’s just often the case that people rage about the attrocities committed by the other side and tend to downplay ones committed by their side. Yet, I also don’t think that because evil can swing from different sides of the same tree that necessarily makes them equivalent forms of evil qualitatively or quantitatively. One might be much worse than the other, by any fair empirical measure.

    By way of one more analogy, we could say that a man who owned one slave was bad and a man that owned a hundred slaves was also bad. But it would be strange to focus on the crimes of the first one, while marginalizing the crimes of the second one.

  205. “You know, he’s right. Reason still hasn’t mounted a serious consideration of the book.

    I can understand the author’s disappointment. Two years ago, Julian Sanchez would have put together a long, thoughtful piece, taking into account the strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities of the book.

    But now Julian’s gone, and there are people like Michael Moynihan taking his place. More’s the pity.”

    In the annals of blogdom, joe you have to be the most pretentiousd douchebag ever. How about getting the stick out of your ass.

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