Chile’s Lesson: It Takes Moral Courage to Say “Yes” to Imperfect Things

Today’s Chile is a country incapable of saying yes to a political project. It was a poor country before Pinochet’s coup; a poor country of those that today serve to feed good NGOs from the first world. Chilean and African children were interchangeable objects of charity. Decades after Pinochet pulled off the coup, threw some communists out of helicopters, and put a lot of Chicago Boys into the economy, the country got rich. It has also become a chic destination for the region’s middle class, who go there looking for cheese and wine in the cold weather. There was everything to be considered a story with a happy ending, that is, the happy ending itself.

But the present times have a peculiar morality: a happy ending is not enough to be satisfied. In today’s morality, what is wanted is a certificate of purity, and that certificate can only be obtained through a thorough evaluation of history. Did this society go through slavery? So what we have today can’t be good. Did that society shoot communists out of helicopters? So what she has today cannot be good.

We live in times that are considered the End of History. The current living ones hold a judge’s hammer and use their very particular moral dogmas to condemn or praise each act passed centuries or millennia ago. So it doesn’t matter that today’s Chile does well with a Constitution more or less inherited from Pinochet. The country did not become a democracy, keeping the constitution identical to that of the dictatorship; there are seams. In fact, it is worth noting that the country managed to become a democracy after shooting communists from helicopters. Was it because of that? If building a thriving democracy were that easy, Africa would be fine today, as there was no shortage of communists on that continent to be dropped by helicopter.

Could Chile be a thriving democracy if it didn’t face a real civil war? I don’t know, nobody knows. Counterfactual is a field of history where there is hardly any consensus. There will always be liberals and leftists who say that Chile has become a thriving democracy despite violence, or at least despite violence.

On the other hand, John Gray says that a failure of the Hayekians is not realize that liberalism needs state force to be implemented. Quite simply, anti-market forces, such as unions and interest groups, are constant in societies, and only with a central force is it possible to suppress them.

In any case, only partisan militants would dare to deny that the work of the Chicago Boys is related to the economic change in Chile. The Chicago Boys didn’t shoot anyone from planes, and Chile was in such a peaceful situation that there was no climate to shoot anyone from helicopters. So, regardless of the counterfactual adopted, in recent days it was possible to keep the good things about Pinochet without the bad things.

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Saying no to the past is easy

What is objectively bad in the Chilean Constitution is never said; your addiction is from birth. It is quite the opposite case to that of Brazil, where the current Constitution emerged under a lot of democratic and media confetti, but which manages to displease everyone due to problems intrinsic to the text. People say that she is bad for being too tight with budgets or for being too particular (it deals with Colégio Pedro II, for example), and not because of some problem in the person of Dr. Ulysses. To the world, Chileans don’t give any explanation for what they dislike so much about the constitutional text that they have already patched up at will. It’s all about moral purism.

There is a plague in the West which is the transformation of the press into a global progressive party. If the people elect a president against her, she thinks she is legitimate enough to treat him like a villain. I said long ago that “la démocracie c’est moi”; decreed that democracy is itself. This is likely to have post-war roots and is a US disease exported to the world. The press determines in unison who are the bad guys, who are the good guys, and we think it’s all very beautiful and democratic. It was like that until two things happened: social networks emerged as an alternative source of information transmission and the press became radicalized. (Is the radicalization of the press the result of the loss of power? It is not possible to know now.)

Behold, the beautiful people decided to make one of those super-democratic jigsaw puzzles, which beautiful people thinks beautiful and, for that very reason, gets a cool-sounding name. It is the “Chilean Spring”, when young black blocs full of social conscience took to the streets to ask for the replacement of the “Pinochet Constitution”, the end of corruption and social injustices, in addition to lowering the price of public transport in Santiago. Fine, elegant and sincere people. Balance of dead: 21, according to historiography official. It was a mix of painted faces with June of 2013. From our violent “June Journeys”, however, no martyr emerged.

That trait of our country pointed out and deplored by communists is real and it is good: Brazil is not prone to political violence. As much as the intellectuals and the TV cry out for blood, our people are calm and will not take up arms because of abstractions.

Now let’s make a statement. According to the unbiased calculations of the Truth Commission, they died because of politics 251 people among 1964 and 1988. The “Chilean Spring” lasted five months (from October 2019 to March 2022). With that mortality rate, if the Chilean Spring lasted a year, it would kill 82 . To die the same amount of people who supposedly died in Brazil in 24 years, five years of “Chilean Spring” were enough.

Instead of explaining everything through abstractions, it would be necessary to keep in mind that people vary. Chileans activated communists by plane because they were violent and they were at war. With the destabilization of the country’s Constitution, Chile has returned to a state of conflagration. In it, violence emerges — and if bodies fall from helicopters again over politics, it won’t be surprising.

Selective bigotry

Politicians Chileans compensated for the barbarism by calling a plebiscite to determine whether there should be a new constitution.

When Pinochet was victorious, Allende was defeated. Politicized Chileans show all the intolerance of anything that refers to Pinochet; they want to refound Chile to erase it from history, to purify the country. For this whim, they are willing to cause the death of dozens in a few months.

However, this is done at the same time that Allende is elevated to the status of a saint. Now, Allende was an enthusiast of Nazi Germany’s eugenics policies and tried to implement Sterilization Courts in Chile when he was still a parliamentarian. The Socialist Party of Chile itself was born with funding from Nazi Germany, as Victor Farías showed in ‘Salvador Allende: Anti-Semitism and Euthanasia’. In fact, he ends the book by accusing Bachelet of having tried to continue Allende’s project. The socialists would be the same.

That’s why we see that it’s only interesting to review the past to criticize what worked. If it went wrong and was evidently monstrous, it will not come under scrutiny. It is forbidden to review the past and conclude that things could have been much worse.

The ease of “no”

Finally, a problem of the Chile that seems widespread to me is the abandonment of politics in the hands of fanatics. The vain and respectable citizen has only two options: either he defends a lot of fashionable nonsense, or he shrugs his shoulders and looks blasé. It seems that voting is something for those who have ideal, pure candidates. As only fanatics have such candidates, only fanatics vote.

Barbarism called a plebiscite, 41,95% From voters voted. Of those who voted, 50% wanted a new Constitution.

In the presidential elections, the same spirit dominated the country: either the dream candidate, or the disdain for politics. The fanatics said “yes” to Boric, the rest were blasé and said no to politics.

In the meantime, a crazy Constitution was ready, and all that’s left for Chile to do is say “no”. . From “no” to “no”, the political temperature is heating up. The blasés wash their hands while the fanatics set the circus on fire.

Let the lesson remain for the world. It takes moral courage to say “yes” to the imperfect things at hand. Constitutions, history and leaders are imperfect. Let us always try to improve them, but never discard them entirely, under penalty of being ruled by fanatics who think they are perfect.


The calculation has been corrected. Where it read “41”, it read “82”, and where it reads “eight and a half years”, it reads “a few five years”.

Updated in 09//2022 at 16: 41 2022


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