Monday, December 11, 2006

And another thing

Via Matthew Yglesias, Jonah Goldberg demonstrates the utter moral bankruptcy of those on the right willing to defend Pinochet. The argument he advances is, in its essence, "Pinochet did bad things but only to stop communism and anyway Castro was and is worse."

Right. Let me preemptively say, then, that Castro is a tyrant. Let me also point out that one could just as easily say that things were worse in Cuba before Castro took over, and that the truth of this statement does not mitigate Castro's atrocities. Also, at Matt points out, there are important distinctions to be drawn between the two dictators: Castro replaced another strongman, while Pinochet overthrew a democratically elected government; Castro headed an indigenous movement while Pinochet was a puppet of the CIA; Castro faced obvious and real external threats to his regime, as demonstrated in spades at the Bay of Pigs, while Pinochet was a military coupster backed by the American government. The two of them had different ends and operated in very different environments. That said, they were both criminal tyrants.

And yet, Jonah Goldberg thinks that between the two of them, he'll side with Pinochet "in a cakewalk." I have to admit that I'm a little nauseated by the naked worship of capital on display in arguments like this. At what point, exactly, would Pinochet apologists stop apologising? I (perhaps naively) have to think that there would be a limit to the amount of carnage the most dedicated free-marketeer would be willing to tolerate for the privatization of state industries, but where exactly is it? Five thousand disappearances? Ten thousand? A hundred thousand? How many eggs, for these would be Fredericks, is too many for even the tastiest omelette?

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