If one wonders how a former finance minister eager to cut public-sector dissipation ended up adding layer after layer to an already towering bureaucratic edifice, the answer is that Santos has always believed in state power’s inherent virtues.
In 1999, he published a book titled The Third Way, the prologue of which was written by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
During his presidential campaign, Santos frequently repeated the Blairite slogan that he would support “the market to the point that it’s possible, the state to the point that it’s necessary.”
While such insipid language may have been comforting to some in the post-Cold War days during which Blair rose to power, the fact remains that after thirteen years of New Labour, Britain was left with a massively expanded state sector and looming debt levels not seen since WWII. After the 2010 general election, Labour’s chief secretary to the Treasury wrote a note to his successor, Lib Dem MP David Laws, stating that “there’s no money left” in the state’s coffers.
Most Colombians are unaware of what awaits them at the end of the Blairite path along which they now tread. Also reminiscent of Britain under Blair are a series of politically correct “progressive” legislation schemes which Santos has either authored or supported.
On August 30th, the Colombian Congress approved a law which penalizes any act of discrimination based “on race, religion, nationality, political ideology or philosophy, sex or sexual orientation,” this in a country where the majority of the population is of mixed race, where there is practically no history of widespread ethnic, nationalist, or religious tensions, where the constitution already protects minorities, and where women form an integral part of the work force.
Those violating the new law, which is based on “sociological foundations” according to the Congressman who drafted it, will face one to three years in prison and will have to pay, in minimum wages, the equivalent of 10 to 15 months’ work in penalties.
While serving time as a guest in a Colombian penitentiary is certainly a good way to establish political connections, one would have expected that the legislative branch’s overpaid members could grant the average citizen new opportunities for advancement through other means than by recycling the drivel produced in North American sociology departments.
Instead of defending free speech, which—mirabile dictu—can lead to some people being offended, Santos unleashed the thought police on the people.
Though its bureaucracy was massive long before Santos came to power, one of Colombia’s redeeming features had been that the multiculturalists had not taken over.
Now, after a generation of academic exchange with the “developed world,” there are no longer individual citizens equal before the law regardless of race and color, but rather myriad special-interest groups patronized with names such as Afro-Colombian and Indigenous. Politicians, meanwhile, frequently begin their inane speeches with the irritating and grammatically incorrect incantation: “colombianas y colombianos.”
While failure to adopt such newspeak can land you in jail, the Colombian mainstream media’s hacks can still refer to North Americans as gringos with impunity.
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