I’m reading Two Years Before the Mast, an 1840 diary of life aboard the brigantine Pilgrim. Old books can transport me to another world, but most are burdened with excessive boring detail because people had too much leisure time and readers embraced verbose stories written by authors paid by the word.
The captain fires the second mate for sleeping on the job and failing to make the lives of the crew miserable, so he tries to fill the position:
At seven bells in the morning, all hands were called aft and told that Foster was no longer an officer on board, and that we might choose one of our own number for second mate. It is usual for the captain to make this offer, and it is very good policy, for the crew think themselves the choosers and are flattered by it, but have to obey, nevertheless. Our crew, as is usual, refused to take the responsibility of choosing a man of whom we would never be able to complain, and left it to the captain.
Why isn’t it customary to boycott shams as it was in 1840? It is a crime in Chile for a registered voter to boycott an election; the government manufactures an illusion of legitimacy. To repudiate the limited choices is expensive, illegal, or violent: organize demonstrations, throw rocks at police cars, or write blogs and newspaper editorials.
I enjoy buying food at Unimarc, Lider, Tottus, Jumbo, Ekono and others, and pleased that it’s not a government industry. I’d chafe at being limited to the same monopoly food supplier for 4 years, as during the Allende Presidency.
The USA is as bad as Chile. Where’s the meaningful choice when both candidates for President advocate robbing citizens to bail out incompetent bankers? Isn’t that like choosing at the airport between being zapped with radiation from an x-ray machine or having a stranger feel up your private parts?
Airport boycotts remain legal and voting with your feet is powerful and meaningful. I hope that Chile will attract migrants and become a beacon to freedom by reducing or abolishing:
- fees on immigrants entering the country or working; and
- commercial and investing restrictions on foreigners, especially in the banking industry; and
- the RUT, the national ID card.