Those already of a certain age remember the propaganda in favor of agrarian reform in various Latin American countries in the sixties, and later the arguments put forward by Marxists and leftist Catholics in the clerical and civil spheres.
The refrain then used to drag countries into this insane project was always the same: Landowners who inherit large areas of land from their ancestors, do not make good use of it. This narrative asserts that this situation caused many to go hungry and that the solution was simple and drastic: expropriate or even confiscate the land so others could produce with greater intensity and competence.
This is not the place to take stock of the disastrous economic and social consequences of those experiments. We recall them only to show how the motivations of the left, including the Catholic left, have metamorphosed. That is, leftists have no shame to say one thing and then its very opposite to move their revolutionary projects forward.
For example, in Chile, my homeland, the reasons that drive today’s left-wingers, who are direct ideological descendants of those who preached the agrarian reform in the 1960s (and destroyed the country’s agriculture on the pretext of producing more and better), are becoming more obvious every week.
We are now finding out that their reasons are opposed to those of their ideological ancestors, the great expropriators of the sixties. Their grandchildren now claim that one must no longer work the land too productively. The land must remain in the hands of ancestral peoples – in our case the Mapuches Indians –who make a low-yield use of it. Furthermore, according to the prevailing gospel, the larger their lands, the better it will be for the nation and humanity.
This week, the results of the Lafkenche Law (a Mapuche word), promulgated in 2008, were made known. It created the Maritime Coastal Spaces of Original Peoples (ECMPO). More than ten years after its promulgation, those who for various reasons must work in that area continue to express their concerns, since only the original peoples can ask the State to grant them these spaces based on their ancestral custom, which includes religious, recreational and medicinal events, as well as fishing activities. That law repealed all concessions previously given to other persons or entities.
In short, the Parliament adheres to the mentality that favors establishing huge unproductive estates provided they are in the hands of the new “privileged” class, that is, the descendants of Mapuche Indians or those calling themselves such.
Catholic progressives largely share this mentality. Many remember that their mentors, led by the Archbishop of Santiago Cardinal Silva Henríquez, were those who organized, promoted, and “canonized” the agrarian reform project on the same motivation of Christian Democrats and the Left in general, thatit was unfair for a few people to own so much land and for many to be landless. Even worse werethose few who did not exploit it properly and for the common good. Now, the argument is turned upside down: For the sake of future generations, it is fair to leave the land in the hands of a few and for them to not develop it.
We now come to the question of the Amazon, a much larger area than our Mapuche Araucania of Chile. Today’s secular and ecclesiastical left, dancing to the new music, proposes the indigenous Amazonian tribes as an ideal of social and economic organization. Thanks to this ideological current, the State of Brazil has granted about 450,000 aboriginal people the possession of an immense amount of land equivalent to about 12.5% of the country’s area and 26.4% of its Amazon basin. Dividing the hectares of land per inhabitant, we have witnessed the creation of the largestlandowners in the world.
These privileges granted by the previous Brazilian leftwing administrations imposed only one condition on their beneficiaries: to not exploit the land or trade their products to live only as fishermen and hunters. In this way, they created huge, unproductive estates to have a basic subsistence economy.
In the Instrumentum Laboris for the upcoming Synod on the Amazon, the powerful progressive and leftist current of the Churchsings the praises of the misery in which these poor Amazon indigenous people live. It condemns those who could raise the standard of living of all the inhabitants of the region by operating in their territories with modern machinery.
Finally, let us go back to Chile. The UN is preparing the next COP25 (the supreme decision-making body for the international response to climate change) for the beginning of December this year. In conjunction with this event, “alternative” ecumenical, Cato-communist, ecologists, indigenists, and various minority groups have already been meeting to demand that “Pachamama” (Mother Earth) be taken care of and to condemn productive and profitable activities they claim are ruining the planet. Theirs is always the utopian aim of “happy degrowth” and “poor is beautiful.”
This ideological mobilization of the left is only the visible part of the iceberg which surreptitiously appears between mists and confusion, but which could well sink the “Titanic” on which are traveling today’s men, the carefree children of technological progress.
This sinking could happen, not with champagne glasses in hand and crystalline sounds of waltzes played by the onboard orchestra, but rather with this cry: “Long live the unproductiveness of aboriginal peoples!”