It is one thing to become delirious with enthusiasm at political rhetoric when only 22 years old – we see that on the news almost every day – after all, the brain is not yet fully formed and one’s fund of personal experience is still very limited. To persist in the same radical, revolutionary rhetoric 50 years later is a little strange, indicating perhaps a profound lack of discernment or maturation.

Ariel Dorfman now recalls, in the NY Times Book Review*, of his being swept up in the youthful political fervor coinciding with the publication of Julio Cortazar’s “Hopscotch” in 1963: “ earthquake of language, an assault on reality, anticipating, with its joy and radical demands on the reader, the social liberation that the youth of Latin America dreamed for our continent. “Hopscotch” challenged us to drastically break out of the prison-house of consciousness and history in which we were ensnared. We need, Cortázar said, to throw reality out the window and then throw out the window as well.” Wow! Heady stuff indeed.

One should ask what is left after an assault on reality and a break out of the prison of consciousness and history? Where could one possibly be? There is almost nothing left other than self-delusion or mindless emotionalism. One cannot exist on this earth if one wants to deny reality, consciousness and history, because that is the stuff that fills the mind. These are the three pillars of almost everything in existence. However, it probably is a necessary ruse for a radical intellectual to want to wave a magical wand and turn all of history, reason and experience into nothing, to wipe the slate clean and ready it for a new reality that will spring forth from an exalted, radical mind. Facts, reason, experience and coherent analysis are just so much bourgeois propaganda. The pure idealism of the moment is sufficient foundation to rewrite history and change society, rebuild it anew, from nothing, and to make it perfect.

Mr. Dorfman was an advisor to President Allende and was very ‘lucky’ not to be at the palace on the day of the coup. Allende’s Socialists were more radical and ideologically pure than the Chilean Communist Party. Salvador Allende personally knew some of the Chilean revolutionary terrorists blowing up parts of the country at the time, he also condoned what they were doing. It is worth noting that Pinochet was promoted a few days before the coup because Allende trusted him more that some of the other generals. It is very ironic that Pinochet was appointed to escort Fidel Castro on his tour through Chile. One can surmise that he saw what was happening and cunningly, or perhaps wisely, chose to hold his peace.

Who knows what would have happened without Pinochet? Many believe Chile would have turned out more like Cuba.

*Remember Julio Cortazar