The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What Could Go Wrong?

Ahhh ... the socialist model. Millennials support Bernie Sanders in record numbers because the grandfatherly Sanders does what socialists always do, make vague promises about free stuff (in the case of millennials, free college), rail on about "inequality" without an objective examination of its causes, champion bigger and bigger government, more and more debt, higher and higher taxes—all with the promise of a utopian result at the end of the left-wing rainbow. It's a lie, of course, but millennials can be forgiven for believing it. They're very young and if polls are a good indication, know little if anything about history. If they bothered to look, millennials would find that hundreds of millions of people have bought into the lie over the past century, only to have their lives ruined (or ended), their countries destroyed, and their hopes ground into dust. Oh ... socialist leaders have done just fine, thank you very much, but the people—that's a different matter.

As we watch, Venezuela—a once rich and vibrant country being destroyed by socialism—one has to wonder why the story of our South American neighbor isn't a 24-7 front page topic. Sure, even The New York Times was forced to run a story showing the carnage in Venezuela's hospitals, where drugs are now scare, equipment is failing, and doctors are working without pay. But the media would prefer to look the other way and discuss Donald Trump's girlfriends during the 1980s. In fact, I haven't heard a single trained hamster in the media ask either Bernie or Hillary to discuss the underlying causes of the Venezuelan situation. That topic is off-limits because it would reveal too much about both candidates.

And what about the large contingent of left-wing personalities (politicians, actors, commentators, and other "celebrities") who praised the socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez, when he took over Venezuela. They're strangely silent today. Their abject gullibility and/or stupidity in full view.

Bret Stevens comments on the lesson that millennials should learn about socialism:
The lesson seems all the more necessary when discredited ideologies are finding new champions in high places. When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died in 2013, an obscure U.K. parliamentarian tweeted, “Thanks Hugo Chavez for showing that the poor matter and wealth can be shared. He made massive contributions to Venezuela & a very wide world.”

The parliamentarian was Jeremy Corbyn, now leader of the Labour Party.

Let’s not stop with Mr. Corbyn. In its day, Chavismo found champions, apologists and useful idiots among influential political figures and supposed thought leaders. In Massachusetts there were Joseph P. Kennedy and Rep. Bill Delahunt, who arranged a propaganda coup for the strongman by agreeing to purchase discounted Venezuelan heating oil for U.S. consumers. The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel extolled Chávez for defying the Bush administration and offering “an innovative four-point program to renew and reform the U.N.”

Up north, Naomi Klein, Canada’s second-most unpleasant export, treated Chávez as heroically leading the resistance to the forces of dreaded neoliberalism. Jimmy Carter mourned Chávez for “his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment.”

There are lesser names to add to this roll call of dishonor— Michael Moore, Sean Penn—but you get the point: “Democratic socialism” had no shortage of prominent Western cheerleaders as it set Venezuela on its road to hyperinflation, hyper-criminality, water shortages, beer shortages, electricity blackouts, political repression and national collapse. Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, gained prestige and legitimacy from these paladins of the left. They are complicit in Venezuela’s agony.

And so to the U.S. election, specifically the resolutely undead presidential candidacy of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The Sanders campaign is no stranger to accusations that its brand of leftism is cut from the same cloth that produced Chavismo.

“Yesterday, one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent Super PACs attacked our campaign pretty viciously,” Mr. Sanders complained in September, noting that they “tried to link me to a dead communist dictator.”

The senator protests too much. As mayor of Burlington, Vt., in the 1980s, he boasted of conducting his own foreign policy, including sister-city relations with Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua and Yaroslavl in the Soviet Union. On a 1985 trip to Nicaragua, he lavished praise on Daniel Ortega’s communist regime—Chavismo’s older cousin.
Yep, what America needs is more of Sander's philosophy or a watered down version espoused by Hillary Clinton—more fantasy ideology, more debt to push the lies forward, more class warfare, more utopian lies. After all, what could go wrong?


Glen Reynolds adds an additional comment:
It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that’s not by accident.

Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich. When you look at a socialist country like Venezuela, you find that the rulers are fabulously wealthy even as the ordinary citizenry deals with empty supermarket shelves and electricity rationing.

The daughter of Venezuela’s socialist ruler, Hugo Chavez, is the richest individual in Venezuela, worth billions of dollars, according to the Miami-based Diario Las América. In Cuba, Fidel Castro reportedly has lived — pretty much literally — like a king, even as his subjects dwelt in poverty. In the old Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as Hedrick Smith reported in his The Russians, the Communist Party big shots had lavish country houses and apartments in town stocked with hand-polished fresh fruit, even as the common people stood in line for hours at state-run stores in the hopes of getting staples.

There’s always a lot of talk about free health care, but it’s generally substandard for the masses and fancy for the elite. (The average Cuban or Venezuelan peasant — or Soviet-era Russian — doesn’t get the kind of health care that people at the top get.)
Millennials should remember the the "u" in utopia has nothing to do with "you."