Whether a tiny fascist or benevolent dictator, South America needs something
December 29, 2005 by William K. Wolfrum
When I was about 7 or 8, I’d have these sprawling, epic fantasies of being a worshipped leader of a nation. It was never the U.S., though. It would always be some undefined nation of non-English speakers. I’d be at the podium in front of millions of my admirers, shouting gibberish and accepting adulation from the awestruck populace.
Looking back, it seems kind of weird, but one must admit that being a 7-year-old, beloved fascist dictator must be a real hoot.
I never truly built on my fascist fantasies and really am not much of an ideologue of any type at this point. Which is likely why the trend of South American nations veering sharply to the left hasn’t filled me with any good, old-fashioned American hatred and fear.
I can’t say I’m a big fan of socialism, as for the most part, it seems to me the general plan of many socialists to solve wealth inequality is to just make everyone poor. But after spending enough time in South America, I can see why people are willing to listen to suggestions.
Here in Brazil, a simple drive down the street will take me past dozens of children — very young children — juggling tennis balls at stoplights for loose change. Or just outright begging. And, keep in mind, Brazil is about as good as it gets in South America, and the city I live in is as good a city as Brazil has to offer.
So if Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez wants to condemn capitalism and taunt the U.S., and Bolivians want to elect Evo Morales, who am I to judge? Unless the entire nation is endlessly ablaze, it’s not like a place like Bolivia will get much worse, anyway.
Obviously, the endless democratic tinkering the U.S. does in South America haven’t helped matters here, and one would hope there will be no more Allendes. There will be, of course, but one can hope.
But just as guilty are South American politicians as a whole. If you want to think that U.S. politicans are narcissistic whores, so be it. But take a look at some of the cats in charge down here some time to see how politicians really put the screws to their own people.
What do South American nations need more than anything else, in my opinion? Benevolent dictators. Preferably intelligent and older than 7.
Because something needs to happen. The level of poverty in South America is just morally insulting. While dreams of an immense South American turnaround are very likely akin to my fascism fantasies, it’s still blindingly clear things need to improve. And all plans for that improvement should be given consideration.