Eduardo Galeano Disavows ‘Open Veins of Latin America’

I read this book a long time ago (it wasn’t required reading for any of my undergraduate courses) and found it to be much too hyperbolic and unsubstantiated, so I’m very pleased and surprised to see Galeano disavow it.

From the New York Times:

For more than 40 years, Eduardo Galeano’s “The Open Veins of Latin America” has been the canonical anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist and anti-American text in that region. Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s populist president, even put a copy of the book, which he had called “a monument in our Latin American history,” in President Obama’s hands the first time they met. But now Mr. Galeano, a 73-year-old Uruguayan writer, has disavowed the book, saying that he was not qualified to tackle the subject and that it was badly written.

The reactions of factions, something I have become increasingly interested in, are predictable but maybe that’s why I am so interested in them. For example:

Michael Yates, the editorial director of Monthly Review Press [a socialist publishing outlet – bc], Mr. Galeano’s American publisher, dismissed the entire discussion as “nothing but a tempest in a teapot.” “Open Veins” is Monthly Review’s best-selling book — it surged, if briefly, into Amazon’s Top 10 list within hours of Mr. Obama’s receiving a copy — and Mr. Yates said he saw no reason to make any changes: “Please! The book is an entity independent of the writer and anything he might think now.”

Consider not only the reaction of a long-time socialist to the disavowal of one of his intellectual and – dare I say – spiritual bedrocks, but also the fact that a socialist is scrambling to keep his best-selling product from losing its quite subjective value. Read the whole report.

Around the Web

  1. Criminal defense attorney Ken White has the most thoughtful take on the recent SCOTUS ruling that pit Clarence Thomas against Antonin Scalia
  2. Ayn Rand versus evolutionary psychology. Economist Bryan Caplan explains why Ayn Rand was wrong
  3. Why were American Economics textbooks so Pro-Soviet? A great question from Caplan (again)
  4. Inequality: Haven’t we had this discussion before? Economist Peter Boettke, a specialist in the history of economic thought, asks the question
  5. Remembering Why Hayek Mattered. A political scientist from Princeton, Keith Wittington, provides a great example

Journey Into Leftistan

When I think of leftists, college professors protected from reality by the ivory tower come to my mind. But we are all limited by our own experience if we are not careful. Facebook is a wonderful means to take journeys through parts unfamiliar. That’s if you have the time, of course. I spend a good deal of last week taking a trip into the land of the special kind of American leftists who are obsessed with Zionism, Israel and its misdeeds, real or imagined. It was a worthwhile experience.

I could reproduce the whole exchange but then, I would be fairly obligated to comment and it would take me more time than I am probably willing to devote to this ethnographic study. So, here are the points of this week-long exchange that are the most salient for me.

The multilog took place on the Facebook of a Tennessee sometimes-politician and sometimes-radio show host. His name is John Wolfe. You can easily find  him on Facebook. Mr Wolfe obviously subscribes, in general, to commonly accepted standards of rationality; he is generally courteous, and he does not make direct anti-Semitic statements although some of his Facebook followers do.

His narrative of Israeli-Palestinian relationships is not frankly at an angle from what I know or think I know. Rather, his narrative is well off to one side. Yet, it falls within the parameters of how one might interpret known facts if one were strongly motivated. Here is an example: Continue reading

Fascism Explained Part 2

[Continued from Part 1]

Why are leftists and their friends so often anti-Semitic?

It was not just Hitler, Stalin also tried to deflect the problem of his country on to “the Jews.” That happened after the Nazi extermination camps had been discovered, largely by Russians soldiers.

Melanie Kirpatrick had a piece on Hugo Chavez’ persecution of Jews in Venezuela [recently]. Hugo Chavez is one of the heroes of the Hollywood Left. In the same issue of the WSJ, an American Professor writes from Beirut, Lebanon about official Lebanese anti-Antisemitism. He reports that the television series, “The Nanny” is banned in Lebanon because the heroine Fran Drescher is Jewish! The real reason is that Lebanese have to appear as friends of the Palestinians (although they probably killed more Palestinians  over the years than Israelis did). The Palestinians are the other darlings of the Left. Anti-antisemitism is transitive! (Look up that word, knucklehead.)

I know, I know, most American Jews vote mostly on the Left. They espoused Obama as if he were the long-awaited Messiah. After the Cairo speech, they are not so sure. This does not tell me anything about the Left. It tells me about human folly and obduracy.