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  • The ‘Return of the Latin American Idiot’

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on May 23rd, 2007 (All posts by )

    Alvaro Vargas Llosa writes at the website of The Independent Institute:

    Ten years ago, Colombian writer Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Cuban writer Carlos Alberto Montaner, and I wrote Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot, a book criticizing opinion and political leaders who clung to ill-conceived political myths despite evidence to the contrary. The “Idiot” species, we suggested, bore responsibility for Latin America’s underdevelopment. Its beliefs—revolution, economic nationalism, hatred of the United States, faith in the government as an agent of social justice, a passion for strongman rule over the rule of law—derived, in our opinion, from an inferiority complex. In the late 1990s, it seemed as if the Idiot were finally retreating. But the retreat was short lived. Today, the species is back in force in the form of populist heads of state who are reenacting the failed policies of the past, opinion leaders from around the world who are lending new credence to them, and supporters who are giving new life to ideas that seemed extinct.

    The Idiot’s worldview, in turn, finds an echo among distinguished intellectuals in Europe and the United States. These pontificators assuage their troubled consciences by espousing exotic causes in developing nations. Their opinions attract fans among First-World youngsters for whom globalization phobia provides the perfect opportunity to find spiritual satisfaction in the populist jeremiad of the Latin American Idiot against the wicked West.

    Read the whole thing, the article is well worth the time. Llosa describes the various species of predatory socialists who rule some key countries in South America and goes on to argue that there currently is a major conflict between pro-Western forces and those who would like to keep it on its present course. The negative influence of European and American intellectuals could well make it impossible to overcome the ‘Latin American Idiot’ and so finally get over economic stagnation and the subsequent, widespread lack of trust in democratic institutions.

    The article also is very timely, the (mostly) European variety of economic and ideological idiot is currently preparing to protest the upcoming G8 Summit.


    3 Responses to “The ‘Return of the Latin American Idiot’”

    1. Rational Bigot Says:

      Of course this leads to the argument that is the #1 reason to be against wholesale illegal immigaration from south of the border. Namely, that there is a limited number of “takers, users, and believers that might is right” that a democratic-republic can tolerate without becoming something like a South American country.

      The culture the illegals bring with them is simply not the culture of a successful democratic-republic.

      (An identical comment can be made with respect to Muslims.)

    2. Verity Says:

      I disagree with the writers and I think it is a core point: “These pontificators assuage their troubled consciences by espousing exotic causes”.

      I do not believe for a nano-second that they have troubled consciences. Au contraire. The arrogance of the left is unalloyed and untroubled by conscience. Their “lofty” reasoning is born of a pip-squeezing sense of superiority,not humble, troubled conscience.

      They know better than everyone else because they have been blessed (they should forgive the term, assuming, as it does a diety who is more powerful than they are) with a direct line to Truth And Justice. They just know because they are such fine, sensitive intelligences.

      There was a lot of this thinking around the hippie movement. And much of the hippie movement, I now realise, derives from Fidel and Ché. It began in N America. The trouble is, it didn’t get Concorde built, it didn’t get medical advances innovated, it didn’t get the internet invented, or cell phones … and didn’t advance democracy, or national wealth. T-shirt images, yes. Democracy,innovation, capitalism, personal freedom, no.

      “the (mostly) European variety of economic and ideological idiot is currently preparing to protest the upcoming G8 Summit.”

      The usual suspects.

    3. Verity Says:

      Rational Bigot says: “(An identical comment can be made with respect to Muslims.)”

      This is correct, and the sooner we disregard the bien pensants and get down to brass tacks regarding islamic incursions, the better.

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