About Rationally Speaking

Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Kudos to Chile's new President

OK, this is rather impressive. I'm talking of the recent election of Michelle Bachelet as President of Chile. Bachelet's has been inaugurated today, sixteen years after bloody dictator Augusto Pinochet left power, and she is a socialist -- the third one to be elected president of a South American nation in a few months, an increasing source of headaches for the Bush administration.

Bachelet has promised to do much for Chile, like most politicians do at the beginning of their terms, partly because that's the way one wins campaigns, partly because they are truly confident that they can bring about real change (often such hopes are crushed within a few months, look at the Clinton administration in the US). Bachelet wants to address the increasing gap between rich and poor in Chile, and to reform the pension system, and the best of luck to her on those counts.

But the two things that are most impressive about this woman are that she is openly agnostic in a country heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, and that she already fulfilled one of her most daring electoral promises: she said she would establish equality between men and women in Chile's public offices, and sure enough exactly 50% of her ministers and of the new regional governors are women!

We talk a lot the talk of inequality here in the good 'ol US of A, and give much praise to administrations who bring in the occasional woman or black (no open gays or atheist on the horizon yet). But Bachelet has showed the world that true equality can be achieved overnight, one just has to have the integrity of doing what one is talking about. Easy, no?


  1. I agree.

    It is fair to share our freedoms, men with women, and it is smart to use all our citizens for the common good.

    And speaking about women of intelligence, and courage. I highly recommend this brief video tape of an interview/discussion on Al-Jazeera with Wafa Sultan, M.D.. She's a Syrian-American psychiatrist, raised in the Middle East who openly speaks (up) to her fellow Arabs, and her former fellow Muslims (she identifies herself as a secular human) about rationality vs. barbarism.


  2. Here's a link to the New York Times article about Dr. Sultan



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