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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

If You Vote for Socialism, You Get Socialism

There is a checklist of "accomplishments" that every socialist country goes through. No nation is immune; what differs is the pace at which a country descends into the hellish dungeon of socialism. This article explains how even a prosperous, capitalist free-market economy can succumb to this ideological venom.


To paraphrase a good friend, the socialist project in Venezuela has now hit almost every item on its ideological checklist:

-Energy crisis
-Slave labor

The only item remaining to be checked is cannibalism. But fear not: if the Venezuelan people are given the opportunity to starve just a little bit longer, they will resort to this abhorrent practice as well. After all, other great socialists before Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, have driven their peoples to cannibalism - it was practiced in China during the early years of Mao Zedong's rule.

There are of course differences between Communist China and Socialist Venezuela, but those differences are mostly a matter of time. So are the differences between Venezuela and less-extreme iterations of socialism, such as Sweden. Venezuela has descended into socialist chaos faster than my native country has, but again – give the socialists enough time and they will dutifully finish the job.

In fact, the Swedish socialists are well under way, having already checked off some of the socialist boxes:

Dictatorship: the country's election system has been criticized by foreign observers for being blatantly violating democratic principles; increasingly invasive anti-speech laws have led to people being thrown in jail for pointing to true passages in the Koran, or sentenced to heavy fines for failing to remove a politically sensitive comment from the discussion thread on a Facebook page;
Violence: crime is high and rising, with police warning girls against walking alone after dark, gang shootings, bombings, rampant arson attacks, pervasive levels of assault and robbery, and so on;
Energy crisis: as a telling example, recently a major food producer in Sweden's third largest city was told by its utility that it could not guarantee the supply of electricity to the new facility the company was planning.

Starvation has not yet happened, but once the economy crumbles under the looming real-estate crisis it is actually possible that the country could see limited disruptions of food supply. The Swedish krona is already weak and will take a bad beating once the real estate market collapses.

As for slave labor, paying the world's highest taxes is not exactly an experience of economic freedom, but Sweden is a far cry from this socialist feature.

For now. Again, just wait and see. If there is one thing we know about socialists, it is that they only have one solution to every problem: more government. It does not matter if they achieve it through violent revolution (China, the Soviet Union, Cuba) or through democratic elections; when socialists have started sinking a country into their totalitarian abyss, they will continue until they reach the end of the road.

The similarity between socialism by means of revolution and socialism through democracy is not to be forgotten. Hugo Chavez, the now-defunct president of Venezuela, was the elected. He was also re-elected even as he was taking his country from the heights of prosperity into the shadow realm of totalitarianism, rationing, hyperinflation and starvation.

At no point during the slow-motion Venezuelan collapse has the national government even tried to reverse course. Nicolas Maduro has just continued the path that Hugo Chavez took. He has doubled down and – predictably – brought starvation to his people as thanks for their desire to replace a working economy with socialist utopia. But even though they have gotten what they voted for, it would be immoral to gloat over the fact that they now face a regime of slave labor.

In fact, the tragedy in Venezuela is now so bad that not even CNN can ignore it. Even they have found it necessary to publish a report from the socialist dreamland:
A new decree by Venezuela's government could make its citizens work on farms to tackle the country's severe food shortages. That "effectively amounts to forced labor," according to Amnesty International, which derided the decree as "unlawful." In a vaguely-worded decree, Venezuelan officials indicated that public and private sector employees could be forced to work in the country's fields for at least 60-day periods, which may be extended "if circumstances merit." "Trying to tackle Venezuela's severe food shortages by forcing people to work the fields is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band aid," Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas' Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement. President Nicolas Maduro is using his executive powers to declare a state of economic emergency. By using a decree, he can legally circumvent Venezuela's opposition-led National Assembly -- the Congress -- which is staunchly against all of Maduro's actions.
It is interesting to note that the Venezuelan disaster has unfolded within the realms of a democracy that even has some features in common with the U.S. constitutional republic. The president, for example, has been granted far-reaching powers to de facto legislate. We call it “executive orders”; in Venezuela they call it “decrees”. While Maduro’s powers exceed what the U.S. president has – even allowing him to reconfigure the country’s supreme court – with the wrong person in office it is, again, only a matter of time before we follow in their footsteps.

Venezuela shows, with chilling clarity, that socialists regard constitutional limitations as obstacles. They see it as a chore to have to deal with it, working their way around it with escalating arrogance as their socialist ambitions grow.

Those constitutional limitations are often put in place to prevent government from destroying the country. If we need more evidence of that, we have it in Venezuela. Back to CNN:
According to the decree from July 22, workers would still be paid their normal salary by the government and they can't be fired from their actual job. It is a potent sign of tough conditions in Venezuela, which is grappling with the lack of basic food items like milk, eggs and bread. People wait hours in lines outsides supermarkets to buy groceries and often only see empty shelves. Venezuela once had a robust agricultural sector. But under its socialist regime, which began with Hugo Chavez in 1999, the oil-rich country started importing more food and invested less in agriculture. Nearly all of Venezuela's revenue from exports comes from oil.
One interesting aspect of this CNN piece is that it illustrates how socialists not only reconfigure reality, but also continuously deny it. To maintain their own vision of socialism, CNN apparently needs to outright lie about how Venezuela went from being the most prosperous nation in Latin America to being one of the worst economies in the world. Since CNN can’t not write about Venezuela – in other words they cannot deny its existence – they have to reconcile it with their socialist utopia some other way.
Their choice is to rewrite reality according to their Marxist map:
With oil prices down to about $41 a barrel from over $100 about two years ago, Venezuela has quickly run out of cash and can't pay for its imports of food, toilet paper and other necessities. Neglected farms are now being asked to pick up the slack.
Because Venezuela was a dream of prosperity and peace two years ago... Really, CNN? Not a word about how Chavez and Maduro have systematically and methodically destroyed the free market economy over two decades by:

a) socializing wholesale and retail grocery trade,
b) dictating prices at levels so low it doesn't pay for farmers to work, and
c) inciting theft and plunder out in the countryside as food supply dries up (because of a and b) and starving urbanites take to the rural areas to steal directly from the farmers.

For once the CNN had the decency to stop short of accusing President Trump of causing the Venezuelan disaster. Perhaps they realize that even the few college professors that still read CNN actually know that Venezuela went down the drain before Trump was elected.

That said, their blaming the oil market for the food crisis is akin to accusing the United States of having created it. The decline in oil prices is, of course, the result of abundant oil supply on the world market, and on demand lagging behind. That, in turn, is the result of economic stagnation in Europe and a slowdown in China.

At the same time, the boom in U.S. oil production has contributed to the depression of oil prices. Here, the CNN actually missed an opportunity to propagandize against America and take the blame off their socialist comrades in Caracas.

But wait. Give them just a little bit more space to write, and… voila – it’s all America's fault:
Maduro's actions are very similar to a strategy the communist Cuban government used in the 1960s when it sought to recover sugar production after it declined sharply following the U.S. embargo on Cuban goods. It forced Cubans to work on sugar farms to cultivate the island's key commodity.
No, the reason why they starved in Cuba was that Castro socialized the farms. Like everywhere else where government thinks it is better at producing food than farmers are, the result is a collapse of the food supply. It happened in the Soviet Union where farmers were told to not plant seeds in the soil like people have done for thousands of years - but to throw them out on the snow before it melted. 

Why? Because some Marxist theoretician came up with the idea. And since it was a Marxist idea, and Marxism is science (yes, they actually think it is) it must be true. Right?

Just like in the command-and-control agricultural sector of the Soviet Union, the People's Communes in China or the killing fields of Cambodia, socialism has proven that it can't even feed its own people. It proved the same point again in Cuba and in Zimbabwe where the socialist dictator Robert Mugabe incited racial violence against white farmers, had incompetent fools take over - and turned Africa's food basket into a starving basket case.

The attempt by CNN to deny the socialist nature of the Venezuelan catastrophe eventually takes on almost comical proportions. As we know, starvation is not the only joy that Venezuelans can pride themselves of, courtesy of the socialism they voted into power 20 years ago. CNN again:
Beyond food shortages, hospitals are low on supplies, causing many patients to go untreated and some to die.
To say that “some die” is of course like saying “some Jews died in Nazi concentration camps”. That aside, though, it is outright laughable to see this comment, given that the very essence of socialism is to promise everything to everyone. In health care, all Venezuelans have the right to all the medical services they need. By redistributing money or in-kind resources, socialism promises to care for every other need we may have: retirement, family leave, education, sick leave, clothes, food, housing, transportation…

Every time with the results on full and stark exhibition in Venezuela.

And yet, this is still not enough for some. The fact that socialism proves, time and time again, that it cannot deliver on its promises, somehow continues to escape people all over the world. Arrogant, ignorant politicians continue to rail against capitalism and the free market, thinking that they can do what more than a century of socialism has proven can't be done. New voters pop up who elect them, believing that this time socialism is actually going to make something out of nothing and give everyone everything.

We can never stop opposing socialism. So long as socialism appeals to people, we will have to continue to fight it. And let’s remember:

The fight for liberty is the only thing that can outlive socialism.

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