Saturday, August 5, 2017

Viva la Revolución!

During the recent G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany leftists from across Europe protested violently against the evils of global capitalism. The "protestors" were presumably young socialist/communists who ought to be taken aside and asked what, exactly, is their vision of a socialist future?

Is it, say, Venezuela which was at one time in the not too distant past the fourth richest nation in the world on a per capita basis, but which, since adopting socialism in the "Bolivarian Revolution" of Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolas Maduro, finds that it can no longer feed or provide basic services for its people? Socialism has brought this once-prosperous nation to the cusp of civil war as Rich Lowry explains in a column at the New York Post.

Lowry writes:
Venezuela is a woeful reminder that no country is so rich that it can’t be driven into the ground by revolutionary socialism....

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.

The phrase is the coinage of the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, succeeded by the current Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro.

The Chavistas have worked from the typical Communist playbook of romanticizing the masses while immiserating them. Runaway spending, price controls, nationalization of companies, corruption and the end of the rule of law — it’s been a master class in how to destroy an economy.

The result is a sharp, years-long recession, runaway inflation and unsustainable debt. The suffering of ordinary people is staggering, while the thieves and killers who are Chavista officials have made off with hundreds of billions of dollars. At this rate — The Economist calls the country’s economic decline “the steepest in modern Latin American history” — there will be nothing left to steal.

Any government in a democratic country that failed this spectacularly would have been relegated to the dustbin of history long ago. Maduro is getting around this problem by ending Venezuela’s democracy.
This has been the standard modus operandi of the far left for the last one hundred years. Leftists exploit democracy to gain power and then eliminate democracy in order to consolidate that power. Finally, they employ their power to impose a violent tyranny while at the same time turning their country into an economic basket-case.

The history of Africa in the 20th century is full of case studies, and closer to home Cuba is a notable illustration of this same pattern, a pattern that George Orwell limned so charmingly for readers of his novel Animal Farm.

Lowry concludes his piece with these thoughts:
Denied the ordinary means of dissent via the press and elections, the opposition has taken to the streets. Already more than 100 people have been killed in clashes over the past several months.

Worse is yet to come. Lacking legitimacy and representing only a fraction of the populace, the Maduro regime will rely on the final backstop of violent suppression. It is now the worst crisis in a major country in the Western Hemisphere since the heights of the Colombian civil war in the 1990s and 2000s.

In the meantime, the Bolivarian Revolution is proceeding according to its sick logic — and there will be blood.
Alas, there often is. Once a government extinguishes freedom and seeks to impose a socialist economy by force, bloodshed, often massive as in Cambodia, China and the U.S.S.R., is the not uncommon result.

So, too, is economic wretchedness.