Trending

Newsletter

Latin American Intellectuals Play Gatekeepers for Socialist Dictators

By: Oswaldo Toscano - @otoscano_ec - Sep 11, 2015, 8:14 am
García Márquez claimed she "detested" Borges for political reasons, yet respected him as a writer. (Emol)
García Márquez claimed he “detested” Borges for political reasons, yet respected him as a writer. (Emol)

EspañolTimidity is no small thing. It’s worth remembering that the prodigious musician Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich (1906-1975) was profoundly timid, and found it difficult to verbalize his thoughts. This often made him seem like a fervent supporter of the Soviet regime, even though deep down he rejected them.

Shostakovich composed under the contentious gaze of the nomenklatura. On various occasions he was forced to change his scores to satisfy the authorities. The composer was even obliged to demonstrate his support for the communist regime publicly.

Marxists throughout history have used intellectuals for their propagandistic purposes. Great novelists, musicians, film and theater directors, poets, professors, and journalists have served as a platform to sustain collectivist ideology surrendered at the feet of Marxism. It remains a model through which the elite tacitly enslave the rest of society.

These intellectuals, by extension, hate capitalist society. They find the success of businessmen annoying, because they believe capitalists are intellectually inferior.

[adrotate group=”7″]

Socialist intellectuals often hide a profound resentment for capitalism in their commentary. Robert Nozick presents this matter in his essay, “Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?” Faithful to the ideas of Marx, these intellectuals believe employers are useless parasites who appropriate the surplus value of their workers.

By this logic, everything that sounds like capital distorts the idea of a communist paradise on Earth, or makes it unattainable. They have successfully managed to equate the word “capital” with “injustice.”

What’s more, they censor other intellectuals who do not conform to their ideas. In the book Stranger Shores, by the Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee, we find a quote attributed to Gabriel García Márquez:

The only thing I bought (referring to one of his trips to Buenos Aires) was the Complete Works of Borges, and it travels with me everywhere, in my suitcase. I read it everyday, and yet this is an author that I loathe for political reasons.

Without doubt, he is referring to the Argentinean writer’s anti-collectivist ideas summed up in this excerpt of his essay “Our Poor Individualism”:

The most urgent problem of our time … is the gradual interference of the state in the acts of the individual; in this struggle against this evil — called Communism and Nazism — Argentine individualism, which has perhaps been useless or even harmful up to now, would find justification and positive value.

For these intellectuals, any means which give way to their political designs are valid, even if they jeopardize human rights.

Today, in Latin America, we have socialist governments that have structured their institutional frameworks to violate individual rights. These governments strangle the republic under the pretense of “achieving equality,” an outdated communist ideal which has left hundreds of millions dead.

These ongoing issues in our region — the humanitarian crisis on the Venezuela-Colombia border; arbitrary arrests of political opponents; shutting down troublesome media outlets and other organizations; harassing private citizens; attacking private property — they are all evidence of the Machiavellian politics of the left, a historical déjà vu.

Ironically, it was the leftist intelligentsia in the past that heavily criticized any form of institutional abuse when the ruling party was not on their side.

Writers, poets, musicians, teachers, and journalists who remain silent, or support these abuses today, will eventually have to answer for their complicity.

Translated by Rachel Rodriguez.

Oswaldo Toscano Oswaldo Toscano

Oswaldo Toscano is an Ecuadorian professor, businessman, and columnist for outlets in Ecuador, Colombia, and Spain. A History PhD candidate at Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala, he also studies at SMC University for a master's degree in political economy. Follow him: @otoscano_ec.