Is Left better than Right? (2)

In a recent post I pondered the commonly held view that right-wing regimes have historically been more ruthless to their citizens than the socialists. After all the Left is all about social justice and welfare which must be good for the ordinary people – must it not? Surprisingly, the historical evidence suggests otherwise.

As mentioned before, during the Red Terror period of the Bolshevik Revolution more citizens were sometimes dispatched in one day than during the 90 year rule of the “ruthless” Romanovs. But maybe this was just a one off episode when unusual circumstances necessitated tough measures not normally employed by the “caring” socialists? Also, we have all heard about the right-wing dictators whose sadistic rule challenged every notion of humanity. Like for example this brutal monster General Augusto Pinochet. Let us now look in detail how his appalling exploits compare to the track record of the socialists.

Augusto Pinochet was a Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean army when the country was run by a leftist president, Salvatore Allende. Allende openly declared that his ultimate goal was a Marxist revolution, styled on what had happened in Cuba. During his reign over 1500 farms were illegally seized by the Marxist gangs, judicial decisions were routinely ignored and huge numbers of arms were assembled by the Leftist activists – in preparation for an armed takeover. In 1971 Fidel Castro paid a month-long state visit to Chile during which he travelled the length and breadth of the country spreading the communist agitation. As this was going on, in true communist fashion, there were shortages of basic commodities in the stores while the annual inflation reached 500%. In fact in August 1973 the Chilean Senate declared Allende’s rule “unlawful”

It is in these circumstances that Augusto Pinochet, supported by the army, air force, navy and military police, staged a coup to overthrow the rule of Allende in 1973. As far as military takeovers go Pinochet’s action was well organised and competently carried out. What followed was a period of anti-communist repression during which people with known left-wing sympathies were treated harshly. Many were detained and tortured, some lost their lives and hundreds of thousands left the country. It is generally accepted that somewhere between 1,500 and 3,500 political opponents of Pinachet died after 1973 – a few hundreds during the guerilla rebellion and the balance while being held by the military. On the other hand the Marxist takeover was avoided, rule of law eventually restored and Chilean economy re-built after the near-collapse. Pinochet engineered the democratic elections in 1988 and gradually withdrew from politics.

There is no doubt that some ugly things happened in Chile after 1973 but how do the Pinochet excesses compare to a typical Marxist revolution? The best yardstick may be Cuba which was overrun by Castro’s guerillas in 1959. They instituted police terror during which perhaps 15,000 political opponents were executed – this on top of another 15,000 killed during the revolution. The Cuban economy has been in the doldrums since and the country never held multi-party elections. Up to 500,000 people fled or got exiled. So, perhaps 10 times more people died in Cuba than in Chile and, 55 years on, the country remains a shit-hole of the Latin America. In this context it beats me why Pinochet was a cruel dictator while Castro has gone down in history as a liberator.

So even the bad boy of the Right, General Pinochet, appears to have been a sissy compared to humble Fidel Castro. Let us now take a look at some crude statistics of the number of deaths caused by the top 10 deadliests dictators of the last 150 years or so.


Of the ten, six or seven (including the three top scorers) represent the Left and, arguably, the only true right-wingers on the list are King Leopold and Hideki Tojo. So, it appears that the bloodbaths which happen whenever “caring” leftists get to power are a rule rather than exception. Left is not necessarily better than Right – unless one is in the funeral business!



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