2010 winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, Mario Vargas Llosa on the Tea Parties

I found Vargas’s column about the Tea Parties and translated it through Google translation, which made for some garbled English, but most of it remained understandable.

Here are some excerpts, with emphasis added:

open quoteBecause of his [the Tea Party’s] face [is hidden(?)] below ultraconservative, reactionary, populist and demagogic, and the nonsense that can claim some of their leaders, like those who say that President Obama is a Muslim ambush that want socialism for the United States or outbursts of Mrs. Christine O’Donnell, candidate for Delaware, a former practitioner of witchcraft who has accused homosexuals have created AIDS, there are in the core of this movement something healthy, realistic, deeply democratic and libertarian. The fear of runaway growth of the state and bureaucracy, whose tentacles are increasingly infiltrated into the private lives of citizens, cutting and stifling their freedom and their initiatives, the appropriation by the public sector functions or services that society civil could take more effective and less waste of resources, the creation of striking systems of social assistance can be financed only with systematic increases in taxes, which will result in falling living standards of middle and lower classes.

These fears are not free, respond to the reality of our time and originate from problems like living in the First and the Third World. But in the U.S. have a particular resonance, as always lively touch a nerve in a country where individualism is not ever had the bad press it has in Europe, in the collectivist doctrines that have taken deep roots in its modern history. A U.S. European pilgrims came seeking freedom, to practice their religion, it was not official, to defend the right of individuals to be independent, to choose your life without any limitation other than respect for life forms others. In the purest American tradition is not the state but the citizen is responsible first of its failure or success. . . .

For a long time, this ideal design was more or less respected and worked with the extraordinary development and prosperity of the country as a result. . . .

Then, because of wars, economic inequality multiplied, reformist political action was being amended, in many ways to improve it, but sometimes for worse. And among the latter, no doubt, given that inflation elephantine bureaucracy that, as much as in Europe, has reduced the area of freedom and autonomy of the individual, resulting in shrinkage of civil society and, therefore, the responsibility of the citizen against himself, his family and social group. . . .

In modern society, where the State is God, the individual is becoming less responsible, because reality can be just him, it pushes each extra day being only a state-dependent. For almost everything: studying, heal, get a job, enjoy a safe, participate and enjoy the cultural life, retirement account with the State. The idea that that is the final destination of the evolution that has followed the situation in his country is simply intolerable for a significant part of the United States, where the idea of the sovereign individual that should not be coil or exploitation by the State. . . .

If the State is decentralized and slim, if not . . . the individual is no longer free and has become an automaton manipulated by invisible and all-powerful bureaucrats who, in the shadows of their offices, taking all important decisions concerning their fate. . . .

In many cases, they [private individuals] do better and spend less than bureaucrats. In culture, for example, here in the United States, largely, magnificent museums, operas and concerts, dance, major exhibitions, public libraries are funded mainly by civil society. True, there are tax incentives that encourage this generosity, but the main reason is a cultural tradition, not entirely disappeared, which induces people to act, take initiative to invest their money in what they think right and necessary. Unlike others, this message from the Tea Party deserves to be taken into account.close quote

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