Underneath the BS

Being geographically isolated and relatively unimportant, Chile has
always been able to fabricate self-images that bear little relation to a reality that has mainly escaped closer scrutiny.

Into this void have been projected two distorted versions of reality -
an “official” one that depicts a prosperous modern society on the path to achieving parity with its fellow OECD members, while the other, “progressive” viewpoint criticizes it as a corrupt, semi-dictatorial and grossly unequal country.

While both narratives contain elements of truth, both are heavily
influenced by curiously archaic attitudes that may be traced back to Chile’s colonial past. The following comes from Maximo’s blog; he’s one of the few Chileans clear-sighted enough to see this:

La idiosincrasia nacional es el zarpazo, el palo al gato, el “saber hacerla”. El chilenito vivo sueña en encontrar la fórmula mágica que le permita vivir sin trabajar mas allá de lo estrictamente necesario.

Resabios del ideario de la baja nobleza cristiana vieja de la madre patria, del hidalgo o infanzón que, ostentando su rango nobiliario de poca monta, no pagaba impuestos, no era encarcelado por deudas y no cometía la deshonra de trabajar para vivir, salvo en un puesto de la burocrática administración imperial.

What we have seen here recently is a rehash of this inherent Chilean viveza y prepotencia dressed up in modern clothing. Given the current preferences for statistics and second-hand analyses, these
unquantifiable and mostly discreditable sentiments are deliberately
ignored, even though their effects are plainly visible.



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