January 25, 2006

Dividing Lines

Alvaro Vargas Llosa critiques the too common (and too emotional) fears that Latin America is swinging back to leftist radicalism and a resurgence of communist revolutionary excess. The labels of left and right are too limiting, according to Mr Vargas Llosa. Instead, the left should be divided between herbivores and carnivores. The carnivores are Castro and Chavez, leaders who are not only leftist but toxic to civil society and political freedom. The herbivores, though no less wrong on economic theory are tolerable in their practice, not least of which is that they simply will not try to retain power once the people want a new choice. This latter brand of leftist seems to be what is currently on the rise.

The right has its herbivores and carnivores too. Pinochet was a carnivore, for instance, as were many of the military juntas of yore. But today's right is decidedly not dominated by carnivores. In fact, I can't think of one right-wing latin american carnivore in power or likely to get power in the future.

For Latin America to become a normal political zone, the left has to go through this process too. The herbivores must triumph and only then will the people be safe.

Posted by TMLutas at January 25, 2006 10:01 AM