08 December 2006
You are Pinochet

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Pinochet (seated).  Definitely not a PR man’s dream.
What with the death of Milton Friedman and his own health problems, Augusto Pinochet has got the odd name check in the last couple of weeks.

[Just as an aside - why is it that the media persist in getting the guy’s name wrong?  It is Pee-no-chet, not Pin-no-shay.]

Anyway, what name checks he’s got have tended to be rather negative.  But should they be?  Put yourself in his shoes in mid-1973.  This, as I understand it, is the situation: 

  • the president is a communist.
  • the economy is falling apart.
  • your predecessor has been fired.
  • there are stories of clandestine arms shipments from Cuba.
  • Congress has declared Allende’s rule as unconstitutional.

In other words, it looks awfully like the end of not just democracy but of freedom itself.  Under those circumstances don’t you have to act?  Sure, the outcome may be far from a libertarian paradise but it’s going to be a damn sight better than the alternative.

Update 11/12/06 He’s dead now.  Paul Marks has similar opinions to my own - just better informed ones.

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