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A well deserved demise


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Augusto Pinochet, Chile's former dictator and one of the better known despots in the world, died yesterday at age 91. He was more remarkable than most other military dictators because he overthrew a democratically elected Marxist government (led by Salvador Allende) and proceeded to institute radical free market reforms during his reign. Pinochet's regime killed an estimated 3200 people - not to mention the suffering inflicted on millions of others by his economic policies. Chile still has no social security or any kind of public pension system, such that the majority of working class people are never able to retire. Health care or higher education for the poor is out of the question, of course. Chile's Gini index (a measure of income inequality) stands at 57.1 - one of the highest in the world. Chile also has the strictest abortion laws anywhere in the world; abortion is illegal in any and all circumstances, including rape and cases where the mother's life is in danger. These are all legacies of the Pinochet era (who, by the way, received massive support from the United States).

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/11/news/obits.php

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He also received a great deal of aid from other nations.  I for one, will not regret his passing.  Our foreign policies have been full of blunders, and this is one such that cost a good deal of innocent lives.

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I saw for the first time last night, a balanced report of his career as leader - backed in later years by Thatcher (and earlier years by Nixon?) He was certainly a product of the Cold War, and the social conditions in Chile probably reflect similar values in the US, if not economic conditions. The interesting thing is the division among Chileans themselves about whether he was better or worse for the country.

Fiji is worth keeping an eye on as the military consolidates its takeover there.

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The BBC are being very fastidious about projecting this 'balanced' image of him; unfortunately, it's not a representative image. Basically, a small minority of chileans were greatly enfranchised under the Franco years (and stood to be demoted to 'one of the plebs' had Allende's lot got their act together); the population as a whole were obviously rendered politically impotent by the army and are still suffering the effects of the 'economic miracle' of Chile. So the BBC gets to say he was 'controversial' - you know, maybe he was good in a way, maybe he had his bad points, because he had both supporters and detractors.

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This economic miracle had as its base on Austrian economics (free = not within a group ie.syndicates), which is credited for much not only in Chile. This said, Fascism in Italy and Germany was credited for much as well in its time: forcing people to be ordered and work did produce more than disorder (short term anyway).

Curiously enough, Austrian economics went into some "pro-freedom crusade" equating Fascism with organized "state cult"... while having "no groups" as economic policy has its advantages for rulers, while on the other hand leaders need force to apply something the population doesn't want (like the "no groups" economic policy, but few packages are only economic ie.fascist/technocrat "national revivals").

Wiki's "His critics point out that under Pinochet real wages declined by 40%, poverty doubled to 40%, unemployment reached 22%, and that sustained economic growth did not begin until after Pinochet had relinquished power." kind of put a question mark on how "efficiency" is defined though.

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This economic miracle had as its base on Austrian economics (free = not within a group ie.syndicates), which is credited for much not only in Chile. This said, Fascism in Italy and Germany was credited for much as well in its time: forcing people to be ordered and work did produce more than disorder (short term anyway).

Curiously enough, Austrian economics went into some "pro-freedom crusade" equating Fascism with organized "state cult"... while having "no groups" as economic policy has its advantages for rulers, while on the other hand leaders need force to apply something the population doesn't want (like the "no groups" economic policy, but few packages are only economic ie.fascist/technocrat "national revivals").

Wiki's "His critics point out that under Pinochet real wages declined by 40%, poverty doubled to 40%, unemployment reached 22%, and that sustained economic growth did not begin until after Pinochet had relinquished power." kind of put a question mark on how "efficiency" is defined though.

perhaps the reason behind pinochet's invincibility was his support for britain in the folkland war???

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Am I the only one who finds it creepy that a group of people who spend their time saving lives and urging others to be more considerate, caring for our fellow man and all that, will crowd around the fresh corpses of certain people and raise their glasses in celebration? I mean if you're going to be ghoulish, be ghoulish, I don't care. But pretending to be a nice person the rest of the time seems very self-decieving. It also suggests that there is something unpleasant lurking in a great many people. Ho hum.

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They may be considerate, but they don't necessarilly save or put great value on life. If they are truly considerate/compassionate, then it seems reasonable to take this as meaning they seek the greatest good for all.

Though a death may be a ''bad''/''evil'' thing for them, the ''good'' that resulted from it results in an overall ''good'' result. Therefore any who seek this result can celebrate without being ghoulish or creepy. (though i'm not really sure what you mean by that, to be honest... is this some kind of allusion to the ''creepyness'' of any closeness to death. eg: necromancers are creepy in this fashion? In that case this creepyness is neither good nor bad but rather misunderstood or unusual)

Of course, as per usual, I'm not saying that anyone has fore-mentioned speculated views or that they are right or wrong. In a nutshell: don't derive any assumptions about my opinions from this.

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What I mean is that I find it ironic when one death is condemned and another celebrated by the same people, especially people who make a point of seeking the greatest good. No good will result in the death of an ancient, doddering ex-dictator. So why celebrate? Ghoulishness. The same spirit that public dissections inspired in the Victorians.

One would think that the celebration of any human death would go against the grain. It is possible to enjoy someone's fall from power without killing them, after all.

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It's all just politics, after all. And the overthrown dictators are symbols of their old regimes. I guess the main difference, the emotion over Pinochet, is that he lived longer than most people, yet still was never successfully punished for his crimes by a court of law.

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What I mean is that I find it ironic when one death is condemned and another celebrated by the same people, especially people who make a point of seeking the greatest good. No good will result in the death of an ancient, doddering ex-dictator. So why celebrate? Ghoulishness. The same spirit that public dissections inspired in the Victorians.

One would think that the celebration of any human death would go against the grain. It is possible to enjoy someone's fall from power without killing them, after all.

It makes sense when you consider the notion of justice. It is possible for people to seek the greater good and justice at the same time. The death of an evil man, even when it does not serve the greater good, may be celebrated by those people who value justice and who believe that this evil man got his deserved punishment.

On what basis do they like him? Jobs for everyone?

On the contrary, one of the effects of Pinochet's economic policies was mass unemployment. But beyond that, Pinochet made many people very poor, and some people very rich. Obviously those who became very rich like him. There are also some who like him for ideological reasons (he's quite popular among fascists).

Oh, and then there is Margaret Thatcher, of course.

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And almost every act or crime under the sun has at some point been prevented or punished in the name of justice. Justice is a very simple concept. It states: "As you have done onto others, so shall it be done onto you".

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I'd be more inclined to treat justice as the physical imposition of fairness upon the world. What is just is fair, and vice versa. The concept you describe seems far closer to revenge or retribution.

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perhaps the reason behind pinochet's invincibility was his support for britain in the folkland war???

Added to this, there is that Thatcher's "bible" for action was Hayek's Road to Serfdom, the same line of economic thought as is found with Pinochet (Austrian economics' lineage; Pinochet was advised).

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  • 2 months later...

To be honest I actually didn't know anything about Pinochet during my last post (even the very important fact that at the time of death he was an EX-dictator). At the time I thought that he was still actively causing suffering and this his death was therefore for the greatest good (by some measuring sticks anyway). I agree with dust that if justice is defined as doing onto others what they have done onto others (if you get my meaning:D), then this seems like some arbitrary action that does not serve any good but rather just a desire to serve an random principle of making people feel the pain they cause.

Unless of course, one considers having somebody receive the pain they deserve to be an inherently good thing, I see no good in justice. In fact, revenge seems to me better than justice as it has been defined above; Atleast with vengeance one party receives pleasure from the pain they cause to the one that caused them pain.

It seems interesting to note that with the involved gains of pain and pleasure of the involved parties, it is possible that the ''checkbook'' may just add up ''balanced'' in the end.

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