I moved to Santiago, Chile during the Obama years: 2012, to be exact. I believed, as did many others, that the real financial reckoning was still to come, that race relations would worsen (bullseye there and then some!!), and that other countries were better prospects as havens for individual freedoms than a U.S. in decline. While we looked at several places (New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama), we kept returning to Chile because of the first world infrastructure of its major cities, its gringo-friendliness, its strong economy, and its political stability. I promoted Chile as such. (Go here and here; be amused.)
Libertarians in particular were soon investing in a planned community, Galt’s Gulch Chile, buying tracts of land to be developed. The first sign that GGC had gone off the rails was here. To this day I am grateful I got cold feet and refused to involve myself with what was either a scam from the get-go or the misguided idealism of the clueless. Whatever the original intent, the Libs couldn’t keep it from turning into a scam when one of their own turned out to be a grade-A sociopath. (Uh, anarchists: nuisance though it is, and full of scammers in its own right, we kinda need at least limited government as our only means of dealing with “private” scam artists and preventing as many disputes as possible from turning into shooting matches.)
That whistle was blown in 2014, on a project that was not possible to begin with, because even the Chile of 2014 was not a “free market” society. And from the look of things now, Chile was never as it appeared. The country is a place of phenomenal beauty, with an abundance of natural resources. It is also a place of breathtakingly inefficient bureaucracy sandbagging all its institutions. This last would have driven me back to the States just in time for the start of the Trump era except for one thing: I’d met the woman who became my wife. That means a lot! It kept me here …
Now it’s 2021 and for over a year we’ve had the disquieting sense of having become nonconsenting participants in a nationwide laboratory experiment.
Perhaps the real experiment began decades before, in the 1970s, when the Chicago Boys were green-lighted by the Pinochet dictatorship to set up their proposed economic paradise built on the principles of Friedmania, otherwise known as neoliberalism.
This, over the years that ensued especially after Pinochet stepped down, created the “Chilean miracle” that enticed my Libertarian friends and me. Now the question is embarrassingly obvious: were we really so stupid and naïve that we couldn’t distinguish libertarianism from neoliberalism? Or were we just blinded by the natural beauty we saw here, plus the fact that majority of Chileans are genuinely nice people?
When I finally swallowed the red pill regarding Chile and woke up in the Atacama Desert of the Real, what I saw was just another vassal state of GloboCorp — albeit a stunningly successful one!
Who or what is GloboCorp? Is there really such an entity? You’re kidding me, right? GloboCorp (short for globalist corporatism, for anyone who’s spent the last 50 years in a cave) consists of the 300 – 400 extended families who run the world. The ownership class, in other words, owning/controlling well over half the world’s wealth, beginning with leviathan investment banks and central banks; the CIA, other spook agencies; defense contractors and the war machine generally; “think tanks” such as the Atlantic Council, the Trilateral Commission, etc.; corporate media; Big Pharma, Big Tech. Then there are the several thousand administrators and technocrats under those top families, with thousands more functionaries including bought political classes, Ivy League academics, and presstitutes as Paul Craig Roberts calls them. GloboCorp’s hubs are in obvious places: Wall Street, Tel Aviv, the City of London, Basel and Davos, Brussels, Dubai, Singapore, Silicon Valley, probably Beijing, etc. I could name names, but it would take too long. Many are obvious. So I’ll just say, Yes, Thomas Dalton, there is a disproportionately large number of Jews in GloboCorp’s upper echelons and leave it at that for now.
• • •
Now, though — understatement of this article — we have a major problem on our hands: the so-called pandemic. The timing of this catastrophe ought to be of great interest to everyone: it hit after (1) multiple efforts to dislodge Donald Trump by GloboCorp lackeys in Congress and U.S. intel agencies went down in flames; (2) we red-pilled types increased in numbers and influence all over the world; therefore (3) “populist” leaders and movements were rising in stature despite fierce opposition from “official” political classes, academic “experts,” and presstitutes, all of whose credibility had fallen like boulders off steep cliffs (unsurprising since they never told the truth about anything).
The long and short of it: a dozen or so GloboCorp families own Chile lock, stock, and barrel, and have at least since the Pinochet era. There was pushback here, as there was elsewhere. Covid-19(84) came here as it did elsewhere, and for more than a year now, this country of just over 19 million has been descending into a totalitarian hellscape.
Moreover, one of the world’s most aggressive mass vaccination campaigns began here shortly after the start of this year. As of April 21, around 13 million Chileans had gotten the jab (while the rate varies with availability, somewhere around 135,000 are jabbed per day). The most interesting fact about Chile now is the explosion of new cases of Covid. We’re talking in the 6,000 – 7,000 range per day, and between 100 and 150 deaths per day attributed to Covid.
These were blamed initially on people mixing and mingling carelessly, maskless, during vacations, as February — mid-summer in Chile — is the traditional vacation month. But it’s late April now, and thousands of new cases are still coming apace. With that earlier narrative straining credibility, authorities blame “clandestine parties” of mask-free young people not observing “social distancing guidelines.” (Just to note, in the past year I’ve seen a grand total of five people outdoors mask free, including an afternoon my wife and I spent at the beach with dozens of people around us.)
What no one is saying is that this “new wave” of cases and deaths is consistent with what has happened everywhere that has launched mass campaigns jabbing its people with experimental mRNA vaccines. The State of Michigan is an example, with its Democrat governor-dictator Gretchen Whitmer. The state has a high vax rate, and an overwhelmed medical system on the verge of collapse.
Much of Chile had been in various degrees of lockdown for a year. The Sebastian Piñera regime, trying to appear on top of things in the wake of the unrest that began in October 2019 (more on this below), instituted ways to lock down even harder, working through the country’s health department and mass media. Yes, chilluns, we have our very own minor-league Tony Fauci. His name is Enrique Paris, and he directs the Minsterio de Salud de Chile (MINSAL), a cabinet-level office in the Chilean government.
The harder lockdown that began on April 1 has made international travel (hardly straightforward since this began) a nightmare even for citizens and foreign residents. If you’re not in either group and insane enough to want to come here, forget it. You’re not getting in. Any citizen(s) or resident(s) coming in is/are forcibly quarantined for five days in a hotel at his/her/their expense even with a negative (notoriously unreliable) PCR test, then given another (unreliable) PCR test at the end of the five days. This is a strong disincentive from traveling internationally, which is the point, I think. GloboCorp doesn’t want us peasants moving around freely like so many of us have in the roaring 2000s!
We (wife and I) had plans to leave Chile permanently last year, but the combination of contractual requirements to vacate our condo as of such-and-such a day coupled with the closed borders of our target nation derailed our plans (the health ministry there had also drank the Kool-aide). We ended up with my wife’s mother and sister until we could line up another place and figure our next move. Some friends tell me we should have taken the riots of 2019 as our cue: it was time to leave. Mea culpa.
When those began, Piñera declared an Estado de Emergencia (State of Emergency) which included toque de quedas (curfews). What the regime learned: curfews enforced with threats of jail time kept peasants as well as hooligans off the streets.
When Covid came, curfews became semi-permanent. The recent mania escalated our status to an Estado de Catástrofe (State of Catastrophe).
Author and financial advisor Simon Black, who has a residence here, took this announcement as his cue to be on the next flight out (he went to Mexico).
For it compels the question: if existing measures all fail (because their premises are false), is the next step Estado de Sitio (State of Siege), which would basically involve full-blown military junta-style martial law?
• • •
If you are in Chile, here is what you go through to go anywhere:
You obtain a permiso off a carabinero (police) website. Print it or save it in your phone. It lists your name, Chilean ID number (foreigners with permanent residency can use a passport number), age, address and comuna, and destination(s). You get two per week. Up until recently you were allowed three hours out per permiso, which means you had six hours of free movement per week to get groceries, do your banking, go to a government office, etc. (these being “essential” operations open for business). Thanks to maximum capacity rules and the above-mentioned inefficiency, you could easily spend the bulk of your free time standing in line outdoors.
Security personnel of robotic demeanor guard entrances and inspect your permiso. They then direct you to a device to take your temperature: the sort of contraption that could easily transition to something able to read an implanted chip. Most folks would never notice the difference.
At the start of this month, free time per permiso was lowered to two hours. I can’t help but wonder if someone was trying to find out how much these people would put up with. Would a reduction in outdoor free time by a third arouse resistance? Nope. I’ve heard barely a proletarian whimper! (Oh, you are allowed walks outdoors from 6 – 9 am.)
How much will Chileans put up with? Some “guidelines” are patently absurd, with no legitimate scientific backing whatever. My wife and I encountered one just this morning as I write this: a three-person limit max on large mall elevators. We had gotten on, and an elderly couple was behind us. I thought: why not? I beckoned them to go ahead and get on. They started to. An enforcer (more on them below, too) appeared instantly and barked, “!Sólo tres personnes!” (“Three persons only!”)
I said gruffly, “¡Esto es estúpido!” (“This is stupid!”)
The enforcer looked at me in shock. Clearly she’d heard no one say anything against these stupid rules before. But being a gringo from a culture that values freedom and frowns on mindless compliance, I was not going to stand there and say nothing!
But welcome to Chile, where checkpoints have now been established at toll booths on “private” highways (of which — thanks to neoliberal pseudo-privatization — there are many) so carabineros can see “Your papers please!” I was in one of these, and the traffic-back-up was a sight to behold!
(Lockdowns are logistically impossible in a first world society for reasons anyone with a functioning brain ought to be able to discern: people need to obtain food or have it delivered, which means workers need to be in stores to supply it; medical centers and government offices need to be in operation; people have health and other emergencies; water mains break and need immediate repair; the enforcers themselves have to be out and about. This is not to mention the well-documented spikes in domestic violence, other crimes, substance abuse, depression, and suicide.)
The rules keep changing, of course, in a fashion recalling the dystopian novel Brazil (1985). This creates a nightmare for those of us who try to plan in advance, including still strategizing to leave the country with our belongings which in my case include a substantial library. Constantly changing rules cause confusion and lead to paralysis. Again, I am sure this is the intent.
• • •
The unrest of ’19 — the worst in Chile since the Pinochet era — had been muted through an agreement to convene a constitutional commission to write a new constitution for the country. The existing constitution dates from the (despised) Pinochet era.
Commission members still have to be voted on, though. With the recent spike in Covid cases, the Chilean Senate postponed the vote. Since some of the issues that provoked the unrest were legitimate, and there is the possibility that a new constitution might cost the GloboCorp families in Chile some of their power, the government has every incentive to milk the Covid mania for all it is worth (“Never let a good crisis go to waste” does translate into Spanish!).
Piñera could be described as Chile’s George W. Bush — an affable fellow who sports the same sheepish, aw-shucks grin, and a GloboCorp lackey in good standing; like Bush, he knew from the start who would butter his bread. Many rioters were leftists who targeted him as Public Enemy #1 — their “populist” side rejected Chile’s vassal-state status. Neoliberalism’s primary dynamic, many of us had figured out, is that of a welfare state in reverse. It establishes winner-take-all systems and redistributes wealth upward. (Piñera made his personal fortune introducing credit cards into the country and getting Chileans addicted to debt. Surprise, surprise: there is even less financial literacy here than in the States.)
The best issue for the protesters was Chile’s “privatized” retirement pension system, the AFP (Administradora de Fondo de Pensiones) which every working Chilean pays into. This enabled the corrupt corporation managing the money to gam— I mean, invest it.
Wages remained low in Chile despite the first world appearance; the median wage here is less than half the median wage in the U.S. A middle class had developed, but it was small, and very loyal to “the system.” Upon retirement, when Chileans who earned survivable wages went to collect, the result was often under \$250/month in U.S. dollars. This guaranteed retirees a downward spiral into poverty unless they had working family members they could move in with.
A Chilean whom I was tutoring in English late in 2019 walked me through how the AFP calculated pensions. I had him do it twice, to make sure I understood him correctly.
The calculation factored in a payout period of 40 years! When the retiree died (obviously, duh, long before he or she had been collecting for 40 years), the corporation simply pocketed the rest of the money. So yes, Chileans were being systematically ripped off. They had been putting up with this rotten system for years!
(By the way, many conservatives and Libertarians infatuated with the words private and privatized have praised this system!)
Hard experience ought to tell us: the more abuse a people will tolerate, the greater the abuse that will be inflicted on them!
Chileans have a great hesitancy to question authority, or challenge power. This hesitancy is built into the culture, and is now working against them.
And contrary to one myth, leftists tend to be allies of power, not challengers of it. The local lefties became part of the vanguard of Covid enforcers. Their criticism of Piñera is not that his regime is too strict with lockdowns but that it is too lax!
And there are plenty of enforcers of the sort I encountered. Those still able to work in “essential” activities are probably told by their superiors to order the sheeple to position their masks properly, and stand where they are supposed to stand to observe “social distancing guidelines” (there are even directions pasted on floors everywhere!). They don’t wear their politics on their sleeves.
The irony is that all this has reinforced the pretext for postponing the constitutional commission vote, thus delayed the authoring of the new constitution that the unrest of ’19 was supposed to have been about.
So much for those Molotov cocktails tossed into Metro stations!
And what was that about, anyway? Wasn’t it quite out of character for this place?
Yes, by and large, it was, and one reason for the violence back in 2019, obvious in retrospect, is that the prime movers came from outside the country. There are, of course, Communists in South America who know how to exploit a legitimate issue for all the mileage they can get out of it. That was true with race in the U.S., where relations were destroyed by Jewish cultural Marxists, and it was true with neoliberal “privatization” and redistribution-of-wealth upwards here (Friedman was also Jewish, was he not? The prime movers of the Austrian economics behind at least some Libertarianism — Mises, Hayek, Rothbard — were all Jews. Ayn Rand was Jewish. Small wonder we goyim had trouble telling the ideologies apart before we wised up.)
A primary reason for the present conformism is that there is no alternative media to speak of in Chile. The Internet may be ubiquitous here just like in the U.S. But nearly all alternative media is in English, and despite efforts to bring about a more bilingual Chile, no more than around 5 percent of Chileans can read English well enough to understand it. Hence information is even more centralized than in the U.S. Its sources — major television outlets (including a Spanish-edition CNN) and the nation’s dominant newspaper, El Mercurio — serve the kind of unquestioning obedience that enabled the AFP to sustain its scam for as long as it did (it also dates to the Pinochet era and was designed by one José Piñera — yep, the current president’s brother).
Now, mass obedience is sustaining the lockdowns and the dangerous mass vax campaign.
• • •
So where are we at?
Chile exemplifies principles that are actually quite simple. (1) Those with power will do what they can get away with, no more, no less. In Chile, they have learned they can get away with a lot. (2) The most effective instrument for guaranteeing compliance is fear.
This last is hardly news, of course. Eons ago, we learned one historically important way masses are drawn to support “their” governments’ wars through inciting in them fear:
“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?… Naturally, the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany…. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship…. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in every country.”
— Hermann Goering in his cell being interviewed by G.M. Gilbert at the Nuremberg trials, 18 April, 1946
The means have changed dramatically. Nukes made open warfare between global powers obsolete (one hopes!), and with the end of Soviet Communism, other means of bringing about desired mass behavior through fear were sought.
The “war on terror” strained credibility, even for products of America’s public schools (though I can certify: Chilean public schools are worse!).
“Man-made climate change” is too abstract a notion. Too many people don’t buy it.
But a virus?
That’s a whole ‘nother animal! Unlike climate change, a virus is easily portrayed as an immediate personal threat! Even one with a survival rate of over 99.5 percent for everyone not in a nursing home or with pre-existing conditions, so long as controlled media conveniently forget this little factoid.
All that it has taken, in every country, is every dominant news outlet hammering the threat of sickness and death 24/7, presenting figures night and day, accompanied with scary images of people in protective suits bearing caskets.
In Chile, this has worked splendidly!
A virus, moreover, has its own built-in “unpredictability,” since viruses do mutate (“second wave,” “third wave,” and beyond). Hence the ongoing scares about Covid variants and the ever-changing dictates.
Naturally, the Chilean economy, once lionized as “miraculous,” is now a complete shambles! Tens of thousands of small businesses are everywhere shuttered, many permanently. Malls are deserted. (Lider superstores — owned by Walmart billionaires — remain open. Of course. Redistribution of wealth upward, remember?)
A few folks have protested their inability to withdraw enough of their pensions to live on, in the face of being told by “their” government that the AFP well is not bottomless. Some have even been arrested for protesting outdoors without permisos. I guess hunger will sometimes motivate people to grow a pair.
• • •
In a sense, this has all been quite fascinating to watch — perhaps in the sense that a high-speed train wreck can be fascinating to watch.
Never before had I observed, from the inside, a neoliberal political economy first lose credibility as its scams were found out and challenged — a process then interrupted by what may turn out to be the biggest power grab in human history: the proposed Great Reset being passed off by some of GloboCorp’s key voices as the answer to all our problems and the path to a technocrat’s Utopia.
Chile may well be next in line for an Israeli-style “green passport” system likely to include vaccine passports (and incidentally, yes, Israel has its hooks in Chile; are you surprised?). Vaccine passports have met resistance elsewhere, although I am sure we will see them because the ownership class wants them. Whatever the vaccines do (and who really knows what the long term effects are going to be? Depopulation?), passports are magnificent pathways to population control in the meantime. Based on what I have seen, the idea might even receive thunderous applause here! Chile’s masses will have been told by “their” government and media that they can get back to “their” lives and start rebuilding “their” economy.
In sum: the country I embraced in 2012 has gone from fake economic miracle to all-too-real medical dictatorship: one of the places GloboCorp selected to let us goyim peons know who’s really calling the shots. Doubtless Chile is on the radar because it still has all those natural resources to plunder (copper, lumber, saltpeter, etc.) and a mostly clueless populace who believe they live in a democracy and are persuaded that a new constitution will solve their problems. In fairness, most Americans believe they live in a democracy despite the Andes-sized mountains of evidence to the contrary.
Populism was the idea, roughly conceived, that institutions of civil society ought to answer to the people, not simply (further) enrich a handful of unaccountable power elites. But given the effectiveness of the past year’s fear-based campaigns of terror, good luck with that — in Chile or anywhere else.
STEVEN YATES has a PhD in philosophy. He escaped from American academia in 2012 and is now an author, freelance copywriter, and ghostwriter living in Chile. His latest book is entitled What Should Philosophy Do? A Theory and will be published by Wipf and Stock later this year. He is married to a Chilean. He and his wife have no children but two cats.