December 22, 2005

The Wind from the South

As I I've been writing for awhile, there is a major trend toward anti-white leftist populism in Latin America, which will likely have important implications for our immigration policy. In the wake of Evo Morales, and his Movement Toward Socialism party's smashing victory in Bolivia, others are starting to notice the Wind from the South, if not the immigration implications. In Slate, Daniel Kurtz-Phelan writes:

For Morales' most devoted partisans in the poor communities that dot the high Andes and ring Bolivia's cities, the explanation for his sweeping victory is simple: An Aymara Indian who grew up herding llamas before becoming a coca farmer and union leader, Morales will be the first indigenous president in a country that is two-thirds indigenous. "Evo is a campesino. He knows hunger and misery," a potato farmer named Remedios Quispe explained. "The other candidates are the descendants of the Spanish, who have always ruled over us." Morales, playing on this theme, calls himself "just an instrument of the pueblo" and the MAS a "second independence movement."

Indeed, Morales would rather think of himself as a Bolivian Nelson Mandela than as the second coming of Che. (One of his first trips abroad will be to meet with Mandela in South Africa.) He realizes that his victory is less about specific policies than it is about making a symbolic break—from 500 years of indigenous dispossession and 20 years of disappointment with neoliberal economic reforms and a democratic system controlled by elite interests. "This is not just about a change of government," Morales has said. "It is about starting a new history for the Bolivian people, a history free from corruption and discrimination."

I was talking to a guy in a bar in West LA once who told me a couple of his ancestors had been Presidentes of Bolivia. I acted impressed, but he said that considering how many Presidentes Bolivia has had, what with the annual coups and all, if you come from a family that's rich enough to let you drink in bars in West LA, you're almost sure to have ancestors who were Presidentes. So, it's striking that Morales is the first Indian Presidente.

More generally, this shows the fundamental problem with Francis Fukuyama's "end of history" theory that after the discrediting of Communism, everybody will agree on the ideological fundamentals. The problem is that even if everybody agrees that there should be property rights, they don't agree on who should have the rights to the property. If you go far enough back in time, virtually all "property is theft" from somebody's point of view. And the near universal human custom of property inheritance from ancestors means that property disputes are likely to break down along racial (i.e., extended family) lines. For example, from the point of view of Morales and his relatives, the current distribution of property in Bolivia is based on theft by the Conquistadors, and Bolivia's resources should be returned to their rightful owners, them.

Noah Millman has more on Bolivia at Gideon's Blog.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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