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

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Everyone Else Becomes Poor


It's the siren call for far too large a percentage of progressives and a growing number of prominent Democrat politicians. Led by a brain trust whose senior members, Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren, are followed by lesser lights such as Kamila Harris or Sherrod Brown, and supported by the current "it-girls," Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar and a coterie of fawning Hollywood glitterati, progressives demonize capitalism—an economic system that has dramatically reduced poverty across the globe, improved the lives of tens of millions of poor and middle class in this country, and provided a impressive standard of living driven by a market economy that benefits all.

In its place progressives push socialism, a confiscatory economic system that has failed virtually everywhere it has been tried (no, progressives ... Scandinavian "socialism" isn't socialism—it's vibrant free market capitalism with a big government overlay). In every case, the predictable failure of socialism exacts an harsh price on the countries that have tried it—economic chaos, shortages, violence, lack of freedom, and a political class that rapidly moves from democratic to authoritarian. And who suffers? Ironically, the same people who like the sound of socialism until it's fully implemented—the poor.

Brett Stevens comments:
Conspicuous by its absence in much of the mainstream news coverage of Venezuela’s political crisis is the word “socialism.” Yes, every sensible observer agrees that Latin America’s once-richest country, sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves, is an economic basket case, a humanitarian disaster, and a dictatorship whose demise cannot come soon enough.

But … socialist? Perish the thought.

Or so goes a line of argument that insists socialism’s good name shouldn’t be tarred by the results of experience. On Venezuela, what you’re likelier to read is that the crisis is the product of corruption, cronyism, populism, authoritarianism, resource-dependency, U.S. sanctions and trickery, even the residues of capitalism itself. Just don’t mention the S-word because, you know, it’s working really well in Denmark.

Curiously, that’s not how the Venezuelan regime’s admirers used to speak of “21st century socialism,” as it was dubbed by Hugo Chávez. The late Venezuelan president, said Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn, “showed us there is a different and a better way of doing things. It’s called socialism, it’s called social justice, and it’s something that Venezuela has made a big step toward.” Noam Chomsky was similarly enthusiastic when he praised Chávez in 2009. “What’s so exciting about at last visiting Venezuela,” the linguist said, is that “I can see how a better world is being created and can speak to the person who’s inspired it.”
But the past champions of socialism and Chavez are never held to account; are never asked to defend their catastrophically incorrect predictions of Venezuela as a socialism utopia in South America; are never asked to repudiate a system that has caused so much violence, suffering, and cultural destruction. Nah ... that would require a media that was willing to examine socialism objectively, and that will not happen.

To repeat the old aphorism: "Under capitalism the rich become powerful. Under socialism, the powerful become rich, and everyone else becomes poor."

UPDATE (1/29/2019):

As the American Left continues in a futile (and patently ridiculous) attempt to defend the policies of Nicholas Madura and to tell us all that the complete collapse of Venezuela under 20 years of socialist rule is not as bad as it looks (3 million people have fled the country), Glen Reynolds of Instapundit writes:
When Churchill said “the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries,” he was wrong. Misery in socialist countries is never equally shared. The people at the top live large; misery accrues further down the ladder, though it creeps up rung by rung over time, as Venezuela demonstrates.
In my home of South Florida, middle and upper-class Venezuelans have seen the writing on the wall for years and years. They've purchased property (creating a mini-real estate boom in Miami-Dade county by gobbling up houses and condos so that they could flee when things fell apart. That has happened, and they are now in residence in the USA. I wonder if any of the bright lights of the Left have asked any one of the Venezuela ex-patriots whether they think socialism has worked well in their country? Nah, it won't fit their narrative.