I moved to Santiago, Chile during the Obama years: 2012, to be exact. I believed, as did many others, that the real financial reckoning was still to come, that race relations would worsen (bullseye there and then some!!), and that other countries were better prospects as havens for individual freedoms than a U.S. in decline. While we looked at several places (New Zealand, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama), we kept returning to Chile because of the first world infrastructure of its major cities, its gringo-friendliness, its strong economy, and its political stability. I promoted Chile as such. (Go here and here; be amused.)
Libertarians in particular were soon investing in a planned community, Galtâs Gulch Chile, buying tracts of land to be developed. The first sign that GGC had gone off the rails was here. To this day I am grateful I got cold feet and refused to involve myself with what was either a scam from the get-go or the misguided idealism of the clueless. Whatever the original intent, the Libs couldnât keep it from turning into a scam when one of their own turned out to be a grade-A sociopath. (Uh, anarchists: nuisance though it is, and full of scammers in its own right, we kinda need at least limited government as our only means of dealing with âprivateâ scam artists and preventing as many disputes as possible from turning into shooting matches.)
That whistle was blown in 2014, on a project that was not possible to begin with, because even the Chile of 2014 was not a âfree marketâ society. And from the look of things now, Chile was never as it appeared. The country is a place of phenomenal beauty, with an abundance of natural resources. It is also a place of breathtakingly inefficient bureaucracy sandbagging all its institutions. This last would have driven me back to the States just in time for the start of the Trump era except for one thing: Iâd met the woman who became my wife. That means a lot! It kept me here â¦
Now itâs 2021 and for over a year weâve had the disquieting sense of having become nonconsenting participants in a nationwide laboratory experiment.
Perhaps the real experiment began decades before,