Nicaragua moves to silence independent media and NGOs critical of government

Originally published at:


Just a temporary measure. State of emergency. Long live the revolution!


This is what happens when people allow political extremism and an authoritarian leader. Too many people try to make this a liberal vs conservative issue.


Right-wing populism quickly and inevitably leads to authoritarianism and leadership cults of personality, but history proves that left-wing populism also had a strong chance of ending up in the same place.

The alternative explanation, that Ortega is doing this as part of a sudden decision to announce to the world that “Reagan was right about me all along”, seems less likely.


Thats because at the end they are the same thing. Strip the rethoric and go to the core - “Hey, situation is bad and you are a victim, so put absolutely all power in my hands and I’ll fix everything and punish those that are your enemies”.

That always end in everybody that says you are not delivering being an obvious enemy of The People (defined either by in pseudo-Marxism, racial or national ways, etc), so what did we told you? Enemies will be punished…


Populism is always populism: a battle of The Pure and Good People vs. Evil Foreign and Domestic Elites. Left-wing populist leaders left unchecked just take a bit longer to become the new Domestic Elites than do right-wing populists.


Well, some take long, some come pre-corrupted :stuck_out_tongue:


I’ve been thinking about how maybe it’s time to reframe our questions a bit, focusing on “mass society” rather than just left or right wing variants of mass society as the “problem”.


That might be a better way of looking at it, as it highlights the generic commonalities between oppressive leaders or leadership groups.

I prefer to focus on identifying and and fostering core values that results in cultural and legal and institutional norms that prevent any group of elites, incumbent or new, from gaining power disproportionate to the responsibilities they hold.


I don’t think it’s one or the other, though. You need to understand where the problem might lie in order to encourage effective strategies, I’d argue. I’m certainly not advocating for ignoring possible solutions, but I am a historian, after all! :wink:


Thanks. I was gonna tell you to read a history book sometime.

Really, I’m not arguing that it’s one or the other. My point was that those solutions fit very well within the framework you’re suggesting, since they’re non-partisan and relatively generic.



Indeed, agreed!


People. People are the problem. In general, us humans are assholes.

Whoa, I think I was starting to channel to the ghost of George Carlin there for a moment.

No. That sort of thinking isn’t going to help solve actual problems that can be solved. Understanding human nature matters. People are capable of being assholes and of being wonderful and generous. I pretty much reject “we can’t fix these problems, because human nature” as defeatist nonsense. Are we going to make people saints who never do anything wrong? Of course not. Can we look at history, understand the problems that existed within institutions, and move to make something that’s more in service to humanity. Yes, because we have done so before. As Ursula K. Le Guin once said, we used to think the divine right of kings was inevitable and now we understand that it’s not. A large swath of humanity does not live in a system that has a monarch with almost total authority. Most of us live within some sort of system with some sort of elected representation, even if it’s only cosmetic in nature. That’s telling.


Actually, you and I are on the same page. I was just expressing my lack of surprise that someone in power acting like an ass. I too reject that human nature condemns us to misery. I even go farther in thinking it’s possible to harness our selfishness for the greater good. Democracy is an example when you put in place checks against two wolves and sheep voting on dinner. Capitalism too when you put in checks against screwing everyone over. Individual decisions for personal advancement can have a cumulative positive effect.

But I also recognize that it’s all to easy to look at some bad historical figure and tell ourselves “I would never do that.” Nope, we’re all assholes to some degree and any one of us could become a Pol Pot or Hitler, people who thought they were the good guys too, if we don’t recognize our selfishness and work to be better people and form good institutions as a buffer.

You and I have argued (bitterly) many times, but I’ve always felt we were more in agreement than not. I look forward to stimulating debate in the future.


Power is poison. I know it is helpful for centrists to confirm their worldview to yell “look they both do it! ‘Extreme’ politics are always bad!”

Except that this says nothing substantive about Ortega’s politics (which have been a mess for a long time, but if you still call him a leftist you need to update your sources.)

Centrists fall to this poison, as well. No one is immune.


I just figured out what is wrong with Socialism. Its people, Socialism is good as long as there are no people involved. People are intrinsically corruptible so we should design a socialist system completely comprised of robots. Except, someone needs to write the code for those robots… AI! AI, will write the code, but who will code the AI?


I guess personal freedom and responsibility will have to suffice until we figure out how to hatch perfectly incorruptible humans. I guess the CRISPR scientist in China was on to something…

What I find fascinating is that only in relatively recent tines did socialism come to be secular; it was relatively common for people to form religious communes and community-based social welfare programs out of a religious conviction to make the world better. Hell, it was until the 80s that in Canada, the socons were the heaviest proponents of social credit and socialized care.

Well, Libertarian greedpigs are designing a neoliberal system completely comprised of robots in order to increase the profits of a few, so socialists might as well try designing a similar one with the end of Fully Automated Luxury Communism for all.

And before you suggest that for-profit corporations are incorruptible, let me remind you that corporations are people, my friend.

There was also this, which had its heyday in the 1960s and 70s but is still around:


What is a Libertarian Greedpig?