Mario Vargas Llosa: Political Correctness vs Freedom

Would he be allowed to say this on a campus near you? Or in China. h/t Brian Gladish on Facebook Critical Rationalism page.

His new book The Call of the Tribe refers to seven champions of liberalism – influential authors: Adam Smith, José Ortega y Gasset, Friedrich von Hayek, Karl Popper, Raymond Aron, Isaiah Berlin and Jean-François Revel.

My generation in Latin America was awoken to reason in a continent of monstrous inequalities and military dictatorships backed by the United States. For a young, somewhat restless Latin American, it was very difficult not to reject this caricature of democracy. I wanted to be a communist. I thought communism represented the antithesis of a military dictatorship, corruption and, above all, inequality. I started at the National University of San Marcos with the idea that there would be communists I could mix with there. And there were. But the communism in Latin America was pure Stalinism, with parties subject to the Comintern in Moscow. I was only militant for a year, then continued to be a socialist in a more relaxed fashion, a stance strengthened by the Cuban revolution, which at first seemed to be a different, less dogmatic style of socialism. I became enthusiastic. In the 1970s, I went to Cuba five times. But gradually, disillusionment seeped in, particularly after the UMAP – Military Units to Aid Production – was introduced. There were raids against young people I knew. It was traumatic. And I remember writing a private letter to Fidel telling him that I was disconcerted, and asking how Cuba, which seemed to be a tolerant and open style of socialism, could put “worms” and homosexuals in concentration camps alongside common criminals. Fidel invited myself and a dozen other intellectuals to speak to him. We spent the whole night, 12 hours, from eight in the afternoon to eight the next morning, basically listening to him speak. It was impressive, but not very convincing. From then on, I became a little dubious. The definitive rupture came with the Padilla case – when the writer Heberto Padilla, jailed in 1971 was obliged to denigrate himself in public, marking the end of the idyllic relationship between important intellectuals and the Cuban regime. I went through a long and difficult process, embracing democracy and moving gradually towards the liberal doctrine – I was lucky enough to live in Britain during the Margaret Thatcher years.

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13 Responses to Mario Vargas Llosa: Political Correctness vs Freedom

  1. stackja

    I was lucky enough to live in Britain during the Margaret Thatcher years.

    Yes!

    His new boom The Call of the Tribe

  2. Rafe Champion

    Thanks:) (close),

  3. Rafe

    Blame the outsize dairy farmer’s hands.

  4. Spring is coming

    The Long March…the other way

  5. duncanm

    He seems to have had quite a few eye-opening experiences of the left during his life.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Vargas_Llosa

  6. duncanm

    from Rafe’s link:

    Q. The picture you paint of Margaret Thatcher as a brave, cultured woman of deep liberal convictions, contrasts starkly with the image we have of her.

    A. That’s an absolutely unjust caricature. When I arrived in England, it was a decadent country – a country with freedom but whose mettle was being snuffed out gradually by the Labor Party’s economic nationalism. Margaret Thatcher’s revolution woke Britain up. They were tough times; finishing with the sinecure of the trade unions, creating a competent free-market society, and defending democracy with conviction while facing up to socialism, China, the USSR – the cruelest dictatorships in history. They were decisive years for me because I started to read Hayek and Popper, both authors quoted by Thatcher. She said that The Open Society and Its Enemies would be a crucial book for the 20th Century. The contribution of Thatcher and Ronald Reagan to the culture of freedom, finishing with the Soviet Union – the biggest challenge democratic culture had ever had – is a reality that is unfortunately portrayed in a media influenced by a campaign from the left whose achievements are few

  7. Helen

    Where can you buy it? Amazon.com doesnt have it yet, no linky in article that I could see, no result on e search.

  8. Rafe Champion

    Can someone find the story about the time he punched some leftie on the nose after they fell out?

  9. Helen

    Pre-order in spanish?

    And then learn Spanish … might be better to wait for English – but then I am sure to forget. (:

  10. duncanm

    Can someone find the story about the time he punched some leftie on the nose after they fell out?

    search “Mario Vargas Llosa punch”

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2007/mar/13/feudsensationwhyvargosllos

    Good story – with a bit of Latin temper and love thrown in.

  11. Leo G

    My generation in Latin America was awoken to reason in a continent of monstrous inequalities and military dictatorships backed by the United States

    Whereas the concept of Latin America was largely an invention of noted democrat and humanitarian Napoleon III, as a propaganda device to “soften up” Spanish and Portuguese speakers of the region in advance of his planned military conquest of Mexico.

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