Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Paperwight's Fair Shot: To Bury Pinochet

>Paperwight's Fair Shot: To Bury Pinochet: With the recent death of Augusto Pinochet, one is able to see some of the paragons of modern conservatism in all their glory as they praise a dictator who murdered some thousands of his citizens, tortured thousands more, and lined his own pockets in the process. I won't link to them, but Yglesias, Ackerman, the enigmatic d and Lemieux do so I don't have to. [Update: Lemieux wades through the sewer of conservative "thought" again, coming out with a steaming lump of Goldberg stuck to his boot.] >The gist of the praise seems to be: >>Sure, Pinochet overthrew a democratically elected government by force and killed and tortured thousands of his own citizens, but he did it in the name of laissez faire capitalism, and besides, the people he killed and tortured were socialists and union leaders, and besides, Salvador Allende would have been worse somehow, which we can't prove, since Pinochet killed him and there was no evidence that Allende would have been anything out of the ordinary, but Allende really would have been worse, really. >Think about what this means, how far these people are from any respect for the very concepts of rule of law, democracy, or even basic human decency. The people to whom Pinochet was somehow worthy of not just apologia, but praise, clearly believe that the process of democracy should be overruled by force when it has an outcome that they do not like. >One notes that the very same people praising a brutal dictator they like will generally be howling loudest about the illegitimacy of any attempt by peaceful democratic means to achieve outcomes to which they object. I've heard it said that conservatism as a political position has something to recommend it. That may be, for certain definitions of conservatism that have nothing to do with actual modern conservatism, but I'm too young to experience any of those definitions except as history. Contemporary experience teaches that not one criticism a modern conservative has about liberals or the legitimacy of liberal goals or democratic processes should be taken at face value. Not one word from their mouths, pens, or keyboards should be assumed to be anything more than Schmittian war-against-the-other. These people believe their ends justify the means, and as we see from their praise of Pinochet, the means they endorse are vile. It continues to astonish me that modern conservatives are seriously treated as one side of the national discussion about rule of law, about democracy, about our republic. They don't believe in any of those things.

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