Why They Hate Us

Personal choices reveal our assumptions about human nature and how we see the great historical cycles. Or perhaps this is just how I see it, since our culture has benefited from an internalization of values & sense of personal responsibility. We see these as the mark of maturity – both in a man and in a civilization. Of course, temptations are constant from such a perspective, but this also gives us empowering choices.

Ray Fishman and Edward Miguel’s “Cultures of Corruption: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets” give us a clue to analyzing whether a nation has internalized its respect for property and the rule of law. I suspect it mainly reveals whether the world is viewed in tribal terms (us & them, those entitled & those not). Those entitled, of course, are not expected to observe the customs of other countries.

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Hating Pinochet

The Spanish Inquisition is the one event or institution of 16th-Century Europe that everyone today knows of even if they know of nothing else of that era. Most people believe that we remember the Spanish Inquisition 400 years later because it represented a particularly brutal event in world history.

Most people are wrong.

Prior to circa 1800, every culture or society used torture as both a means of investigation and punishment for all types of crimes, whether civil, political or religious. As a rule, however, only members of the powerless and poor classes actually got tortured. Most cultures held the idea of torturing members of the upper classes to be almost unthinkable. The Spanish Inquisition broke this rule. The Spanish Inquisition had next to nothing to do with religion. Its true purpose was to destroy the political enemies of the Spanish crown and to confiscate or extort wealth. To that end, it tortured the noble and the wealthy and thereby shocked the conscious of Europe. Had the Spanish Inquisition stuck to torturing the poor and common like the Inquisition in other regions, we would not remember it today.

The Spanish Inquisition burned itself into the collective conscious of the world not due to its use of torture but due to the value that the culture of the day placed on the class of the people tortured. Even though most religions believed all human life to be of the same value, few put that belief into practice. Most people viscerally believed that some groups of people were morally exempt from facing torture. Elitism ruled the cultures of the time.

So what does it say about our culture today that some of us place a much higher value on the lives of some groups of people than they do on others?

One can hardly find an individual more passionately hated by the Left than the recently deceased Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Leftists say that they justifiably single out Pinochet for special opprobrium due to the uniquely vile nature of his actions. After all, he overthrew a democratically elected government, killed 3,000 people and tortured thousands more.

Yet, this explanation rings false. When you see an angry mob take after a petty thief while ignoring the blood soaked serial killer standing next to him, you know immediately that something other than outrage at the degree of the crime drives the mob. Pinochet was a minor villain by any measure. Why then did the mob hound him until his death while ignoring others with far more blood on their hands?

Pinochet did kill and torture but not to such a degree as to earn a special place in history. Sad to say, but by any objective measure Pinochet ranks far down on the list of murderous 3rd-world leaders of the post-WWII era. He wouldn’t even make it into the top 100 killers. Across the border, in Argentina, the military junta killed over 20,000 in the same era and the generals in Brazil 2 or 3 times that many, but few people today remember them at all. Even more damning, the same people who condemn Pinochet actively applaud people far more brutal. Castro murdered 13,000 Cubans, tens of thousands of Africans and nearly triggered a nuclear war, yet leftists still literally give him standing ovations in forums all around the world. Yassir Arafat’s war crimes were very, very public and very unambiguous yet no one threatened to arrest him when he traveled to Europe for medical care.

Looking back with 30 years’ hindsight we can perhaps forgive the leftists of the time for buying into the myth of Allende’s regime. Uncritical adulation of socialist states was part of the zeitgeist of the era. The degree of bloodshed in other, similar countries wasn’t yet widely known, so Pinochet might have stood out at the time. But that doesn’t explain why Pinochet still today occupies a special place of hatred in the minds of many leftists.

I think Pinochet stands out in the history of the 20th Century for the same reason that the Spanish Inquisition stood out in 16th: Pinochet killed those perceived to belong to a protected class. Unlike other right-wing dictators (and their opposites on the Left), Pinochet didn’t kill people largely at random or by quota just to spread terror. He targeted those believed to be part of the extreme-leftist leadership. He cut the head off the snake. Unfortunately for his place in history, that group included several hundred foreigners, mostly from western Europe.

Many Marxists from around the world flocked to Allende’s Chile so they could play at being revolutionaries. They tended to be the most politically radical. They didn’t want to muck about with bourgeois baggage like democracy and the rule of law. They gravitated towards those factions within Allende’s coalition which advocated immediate, violent revolution. When Pinochet decided to wipe out the radical leadership, foreigners were disproportionately represented in the body count.

Until that time, 1st-world Marxist intellectuals expected to be able to travel anywhere and do or say anything and be able to skate away scot-free. They thought of themselves not only as intellectually superior human beings but also as individuals endowed with a moral authority that made their persons inviolable. Most 3rd-world governments of all political persuasions just shipped off troublesome 1st-world foreigners, regardless of their complicity in any violence or subversion. Pinochet broke that rule.

Leftists reacted with outrage. Pinochet had not murdered nameless members of the “masses.” He had killed members of the new nobility, people just like the leftist intellectuals of Europe, and in many cases people they knew personally. To this day, virtually every news story on Pinochet contains a first-hand account from some 1st-world citizen who was either imprisoned himself or lost someone close to him. Like the upper classes of 16th-Century Europe, who saw themselves in the victims of the Spanish Inquisition, modern leftist intellectuals saw themselves in Pinochet’s victims. 1st-world leftists single Pinochet out for special venom because they believe he attacked them personally. It doesn’t matter that other rulers of other political persuasions killed far more; Pinochet killed members of the protected class.

In the end, Pinochet becomes a mirror that reflects the Left’s own dark heart. Leftists always portray themselves as altruistic, only concerned with the fates of the least powerful among us. Pinochet revealed their narcissism to the world. While he showed them to be no worse than the rest of us, he also showed them to be no better.

Perhaps on some level they understand that and hate him even more.

Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

A Matter of Perspective

There was a time, many years ago, when I took a six month sublet on a house. The rent was so reasonable that I couldn’t pass up on the deal, but the place was going to be sold after the lease was up so I knew that I couldn’t stay there any longer than that.

The house wasn’t furnished, and I wasn’t about to shell out a few hundred bucks for curtains or blinds for all of those windows. I thumbtacked bedsheets up so the neighbors wouldn’t have to see me wandering around the place.

A woman I was seeing at the time was appalled! “You have bedsheets over the windows! What will the neighbors think?”

She didn’t understand, so I sat her down and gently explained that it didn’t matter one little bit what opinion the neighbors formed. I was going to be gone in 180 days, never to see any of them again for the rest of my life. No, what really mattered was what I thought of them!

After all, I work nights and keep odd hours. All I would have to do would be to turn my TV or stereo up a little in the wee hours of the morning to be a real nuisance. I didn’t own the house, so it was their property values at risk if I didn’t bother to mow the lawn or take the trash out. There wasn’t a thing they could do to me in the brief time I was going to be there that would matter one little bit, while I could cause a fair amount of frustration.

Not that I was looking for a fight, of course. Just like most people, I prefer to get along. They didn’t bother me so I acted just like I always do and was the best neighbor on the block. Considering my sensitivity to security issues and my odd schedule, that little section of suburbia was actually safer while I was living there. Sort of like having an unpaid security guard living next door.

I am sharing this slice of my past with you because of this news story on the Reuters website. It seems that Arab attitudes concerning the United States is growing ever more negative, which supposedly indicates that a change in US foreign policy is needed.

In recent years, a Liberal talking point has become the linchpin of many complaints concerning the Bush administration. This trope can best be summed up by the phrase “They don’t like us anymore!”

It seems that the American public in general and our elected government specifically is supposed to drop everything and pay close attention to the opinions and attitudes of people living in other countries, people who cannot vote in US elections and who almost certainly do not have our best interests at heart. These opinions are supposed to dictate how the US public votes, and it is supposed to play a central role when our government makes major policy decisions.

The big problem is that I just can’t see why I should give two hoots about how the US polls overseas. This goes double when it comes to opinions collected in third world dictatorships, places where the press is a tool of whatever royal family or oppressive religious organization that demonizes the US in order to cover up their own failings.

When considered in this light, actually changing our foreign policy just because an opinion poll says we should would mean that our elected officials aren’t doing their job to look out for our interests. In fact, it might even be a treasonous act.

This blog normally tilts towards the right side of the political aisle, so there aren’t too many Liberals dropping by. But if there should happen to be one or two that stumble across this post, maybe they could explain why the opinion of the great unwashed in other countries should matter one fig when it comes to our foreign policy.

After all, history teaches us that these people are going to hate us no matter what we do. Why in the world does it matter if they hate us a little more?

Discuss this post at the Chicago Boyz Forum.

The Allende Myth, by Vladimir Dorta

My friend Val Dorta originally published this outstanding historical essay on his blog in 2003. With the death of Augusto Pinochet, much attention is again being given to the Allende period, the military coup and the dictatorship that followed. I wanted to link again to Val’s essay but, unfortunately, his blog is no longer online. However, Val has graciously allowed me to republish his essay here, and I am honored to do so. – Jonathan

UPDATE: Google’s cached version of Val’s original post, with comments. (Thanks to the commenter who provided this link.)

UPDATE 2 (12/28/2014): The Google-cached version has disappeared from the Web, but Val’s original post is available via archive.org here.


The Allende Myth

Vladimir Dorta


The failed and tragic attempt by Salvador Allende and the Popular Unity at creating socialism in Chile in 1970-1973 has become a myth for the world left, presented as the possibility of a peaceful and democratic transition to socialism that was destroyed only because the almighty CIA acted as master puppeteer of the Chilean reaction. The myth reinforces itself; while the Cold War context is never mentioned, neither is the fact that the CIA’s workings are well documented whereas the Cuban and Soviet interventions are still mostly unknown. The Allende myth may be good for keeping the socialist faith alive, but it evidently contradicts the historical facts.

While Augusto Pinochet’s brutal post-coup repression and terrorism cannot be justified, it is essential to explain what led him and the Chilean armed forces to the fateful coup d’état, outside of the fantasy that had him bursting onto the democratic Chilean political scene on September 11, 1973 with readymade CIA orders to stop a beautiful, pacific and liberating socialist dream. For I have no doubts that if the Chilean Marxist experiment had ended in civil war, as it appeared to most observers at the time, it would have been an even greater tragedy or, had it ended as the totalitarian society it pointed to, it would have lasted much longer and would have brought Chileans much more suffering than Pinochet’s ugly but temporary dictatorship.

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The Land without a Heart

From The Land without a Heart by A. E. Johann

It was not the goal of this book to discuss whether America can win the war, or whether it must lose it. But perhaps it has become clear —and that was my goal — that America does not deserve to win the war and spread its system over the entire world. There is nothing in the American system worth imitating, either for Germany or Europe. If Americanism conquered the world, it would mean the end of all human values and of genuine freedom — the freedom to do something, not from something! — of all the values for which Europe has fought and suffered for millennia, for which it has given all its strength of body and soul.

No European could exchange places with an American. America is a pitiable country and the Americans are a betrayed people, betrayed by their leaders…

From Europe and America:
Failures in Building an American People

The ideal of eternal success is a grave danger to a people’s morality. The result is that in the USA, people are valued only according to their success, ignoring all other measures. Such a view of life inevitably must attract materialistically-oriented people. The USA was their place.

Even before the World War, efforts were made to teach the “aliens” the language and ways of thinking of the country. Courses in Americanism included not only the language and government, but also attempted to build American national pride. This resulted in the desire for records and gigantomania that always amuses us. Lacking a significant political and intellectual history, the American is forced to build his national pride on technology.

Customs were another leading factor. The immigrants sought to adapt to them as rapidly as possible to avoid standing out. The growing standardization of life reached such an extent in the USA that independence became impossible. Everyone wears the same clothes, and thinking like everyone else is a duty. In contrast to Europe’s variety, this seems odd to us, but we should not forget that uniformity is about the only way Americans can experience community. This process of Americanization was successful, but also superficial. A type developed, but not a people.

Randall Bytwerk, Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA), maintains an archive of Nazi and Communist propaganda from Germany. Both pieces were published in 1942, but they could have been written yesterday, and not necessarily in German.