Q: Why did you Democratic Socialists hail socialism in Venezuela but then fall silent when the terrible consequences became undeniable?
A: Because your primary goal is power over, not the well-being of other humans.
A Thought Experiment
Let’s imagine that there is a group of people who self-identify as protectors of the world’s poor and oppressed. Members of this group continually boast about their good intentions for and practical expertise in improving the lot of humanity. However, as a practical matter, we all know that what is said is not always what is actually in the heart. Therefore, there is need for a means by which to determine if these people really care first and foremost about improving the lot of the poor and oppressed.
Let’s assume that in a specific nation the ideology and associated means by which these people propose to improve the world are embraced and implemented. And, that the leadership of this group publicly and forcefully voice their support.
But something goes terribly wrong, and rather than the expected advance towards utopia the country descends into poverty, chaos, violence and starvation. The fact of this utter failure is unavoidable and undeniable. Thus, the leaders of this group must decide how to respond.
It turns out that these leaders do indeed care first and foremost about the plight of the poor and oppressed. Therefore, they enter into a state of public repentance followed by a ground-up reassessment of their ideology to determine what went wrong. Although they may not (or may) throw out all of their ideology, they do honestly look into where it has led to the policies that resulted in such terrible human suffering. After this process they reengage in the public debate, admitting their failures and seeking to advance updated solutions that they honestly believe will lead to improved human well-being.
It turns out that these leaders didn’t really care about the plight of the poor and oppressed. What they were really doing was to use their pretense of virtue to obtain the power by which to arbitrarily and capriciously rule over others. Therefore, they fall silent for a time and then begin making up excuses for this humanitarian catastrophe. These excuses place the blame everywhere but on the ideology and policies that they use in their advance towards worldly power. They never acknowledge that they had previously supported this practical application of their ideology in a specific country, hoping that it will all be forgotten.
They also, over time, have built a predictable track record of support followed by silence followed by excuses as their ideology repeatedly fails miserably to deliver the promised results. And yet they continue pretending to be the morally superior elite whom we should follow with unquestioning obedience.
From Thought to Reality: Venezuela
Prior to the arrival of socialism Venezuela was the most prosperous country in South America. In 1999 Hugo Chávez was elected President of Venezuela and reigned until his death in 2013. He instituted an ambitious set of socialist “reforms” that were “intended” to help the poor. He funded these schemes by the looting of Venezuela’s private property. And, as is admitted by Margaret Thatcher, there is a time in the socialist program before they have “run out of other people’s money.” During that brief period — between when people have property and money to seize and when the economy collapses because no-one has an incentive to be productive — the two most prominent political supporters of socialism in the english speaking world, Bernie Sanders (U.S.) and Jeremy Corbyn (U.K.), were vocal in their praise.
But, as always happens when socialism becomes the dominant governing ideology (as opposed to a mixed political economy like in the United States), societal collapse ensued. Here is one description of Venezuela’s situation.
Venezuela’s economy is in freefall. It’s probably the worst in the world — literally. The country tops Bloomberg‘s “Economic Misery Index,” which looks at measures including inflation and unemployment to find the economy where things are worst for regular people.
Here is another description of the chaos and suffering in Venezuela.
Venezuela is a woeful reminder that no country is so rich that it can’t be driven into the ground by revolutionary socialism.
People are now literally starving — about three-quarters of the population lost weight last year — in what once was the fourth-richest country in the world on a per capita basis. A country that has more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia is suffering shortages of basic supplies. Venezuela now totters on the brink of bankruptcy and civil war, in the national catastrophe known as the Bolivarian Revolution.
Or from even the New York Times.
Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s economic powerhouses…A growing number of Venezuelans are going hungry in a food shortage and dying from treatable ailments in squalid, ill-equipped hospitals…Until political prisoners are released, the prospects for a restoration of democratic rule are very dim…Inflation has soared to an estimated 700 percent, while people in this oil-rich nation are left digging through piles of trash for scraps of food.
So, have our brave, morally-superior socialist leaders behaved more like the description of Response #1 or #2 above? They have behaved like #2. There has been no soul-searching, no public repentance, no reexamination of their ideology. No, they all have run for the tall grass, hunkered down and then pretended that nothing has happened. And, their allies in the media have issued a fog of bottom-covering stories that places the blame for Venezuela’s suffering everywhere but at the feet of socialism.
So, how can we but conclude that Sanders, Corbyn, et al. don’t actually care a whit about the actual plight of the poor, or flesh and blood humans of any kind. What they actually care about is using the ideology of socialism to gain wealth and power for themselves and their fellow looters without having to contribute anything of real value to their society.
The daughter of Hugo Chavez, the former president who once declared ‘being rich is bad,’ may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, according to evidence reportedly in the hands of Venezuelan media outlets.
Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president’s second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2billion, Diario las Americas reports.
So, let’s summarize by reviewing the three stages of socialism.
By the way, you will find the same pattern of support followed by denial for genocidal socialist regimes throughout history (e.g., the Ukrainian genocide-famine and the Cambodian genocide, among many others). Yes, we can “make fun” of the Progressive Left’s love of socialism. But we must never forget that this is in the end a deadly serious issue of life and death.