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The silence of others

A review in The Economist touches on one role of silence in government:

“In 1988 General Augusto Pinochet organised a plebiscite that he was confident would grant him another eight years of absolute power. Ricardo Lagos, a hitherto little-known Socialist leader, used a live television programme—the first to feature opposition politicians since Pinochet’s military coup of 1973—to defy the climate of fear that was the dictator’s most powerful political weapon. Pointing his finger at the camera, he addressed [Pinochet] directly, saying that it was inadmissible that he sought to remain in power. Ignoring the presenter’s attempt to cut him off, Mr Lagos said ‘I am speaking for 15 years of silence.'”

Dictatorship is the pure case, when it comes to silence, but the powerful usually love, or at least are happy to enjoy, the silence of others.

PS. AL notes, however, their similar love of surveillance.

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