You’ve got to read this book: We All Make Mistakes. It’s important and it’s different.
by Carlos Alberto Montaner
It will soon be published by Grito Sagrado, a combative and rigorous Argentine publishing house. I received a copy of the manuscript and could not put it down. At the end of this article, I’ll tell you why you must read it.
Several decades ago, in his teens, Carlos Sabino was a young Argentine Trotskyite. He wanted to quickly wipe out the miseries of this crummy world. Because Peronism is a kind of black hole that swallows everything that drifts by, Sabino soon joined the radical youths in the Peronist Party. He dreamt about the revolution the general forgot to take out of the oven. However, he was horrified by the authoritarian and violent attitude of some of his comrades who took the road of the urban guerrilla and terrorism. Bullies from the left and the right were repugnant to him.
About that time, comrade Salvador Allende came to power. It was socialism baptized at the ballot box. An optimistic Sabino went to Chile. He was a young sociologist trained to find the reality concealed behind the mirrors. What he saw in Chile disappointed him, however. While Allende spoke of freedom and justice, the country fell apart, inflation and lack of supplies skyrocketed, violence increased, court rulings were not heeded, and a tense society prepared for confrontation.
Before the coup (which everyone expected and many asked for), Sabino, very discouraged, crossed the border and went to Velasco Alvarado’s Peru. He wanted to see another variant of socialism. Naturally, he discovered another modality of the disaster and, if anything, another peculiar way to mistreat people. Then he marched to Venezuela. He knew that the solution to problems lay not in the Marxist theory or the action of voracious states that usurped the functions of civilian society and sterilized the creative ability of individuals. But he still didn’t know how, or with what, to replace the socialist vision of the cosmos that had permeated the first 30 years of his life.
That happened bit by bit. While teaching sociology, Sabino got his doctorate in economics and for the first time found a rational explanation for the problem of underdevelopment and poverty that was a lot more sensible and closer to reality than the superstitions propagated by Marxism: a substantial segment of Latin Americans was very poor because the entrepreneurial fabric was weak and did not generate enough wealth. In turn, that fragility was the consequence of states that, far from stimulating development, hampered it with their absurd populist policies, designed to foment the bribery of parasite crowds that had turned into a political clientele.
In societies where economic and political freedoms had been severely mutilated and where the republican institutions and the rule of law were constantly violated, all that could be expected were barbarity and backwardness. The solution, then, could not be found in Marx or Che Guevara — as today it cannot be found in Chávez or Evo Morales — but in Mises, Hayek, Friedman, Gary Becker, and James Buchanan; in the men whom Mariano Grondona accurately calls “the thinkers of freedom.”
Certainly, this is not the first time that a book like this one is written. I know numerous valuable Latin Americans who have traversed that painful road that leads from socialist collectivism to liberal thinking: Octavio Paz, the Nicaraguans Humberto Belli and Arturo Cruz, the Venezuelans Carlos Rangel and Américo Martín, Mario Vargas Llosa, Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Cuban Adolfo Rivero Caro, Costa Rican Rodolfo Cerda, and so on, beyond one hundred.
What makes this book so different is the absolutely pedagogical and tranquil tone in which it is written. Sabino does not have the rage — often repellent — of the convert, a quality that allows him to demolish, with pulchritude and without hatred, all the myths of socialism. He simply wants to narrate his life and explain why he was wrong as a youth, and why he found in liberal thinking the antidote for socialism’s intellectual errors and moral perversity. That is why it is a different book. Sabino not only condemns the sin; he also shows the way out of Hell.
Source: Firmas Press