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Venezuela: the bankruptcy of socialism and modern intellectualism

The editorial board of the Washington Post today decided it was time to speak up about the disaster of Venezuela and the totalitarian rule of that country’s socialist leader, President Nicolás Maduro.

Venezuela, which was once Latin America’s richest country, has become an unwilling test site for how much economic and social stress a modern nation can tolerate before it descends into pure anarchy. This month its 31 million people lurched a big step closer to that breaking point, thanks to another senseless decree by its autocratic populist government.

For years Venezuelans have struggled with mounting shortages of food, medicine and other consumer goods, as well as triple-digit inflation that has rendered the national currency, the bolivar, worthless. By this month the 100-bolivar bill, the largest note in circulation, was worth only 2 cents, forcing people to carry piles of them in order to make the most rudimentary purchases. Then came this coup: On Dec. 11, President Nicolás Maduro, an economically illiterate former bus driver, announced that all 6 billion 100-bolivar notes would cease to be legal tender in just 72 hours. He also closed Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil, on the theory that traders were hoarding currency in those countries.

Almost overnight, millions of Venezuelans — about 40 percent of whom do not have bank accounts in which the currency could be deposited — lost the ability to purchase even those goods still available on the market. The result was predictable: looting and riots in at least eight cities. In the eastern town of Ciudad Bolivar, with a population of some 400,000, hundreds of stores were looted and at least three people were killed in three days of mayhem. [emphasis mine]

To the Washington Post’s editorial board, made up of east coast liberals, Maduro’s government has never been socialist. Instead, it is an “autocratic populist government.” In fact, nowhere in their entire editorial do the words “socialism,” “communism,” or “Marxism” appear, even though it has been those exact ideologies that has shaped the decisions of Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. In fact, until recently the liberals on the Washington Post editorial board would have likely celebrated the socialist revolution in Venezuela, begun by Chavez. Their leftwing comrades throughout modern intellectual circles surely did.

With petrodollars pouring in, Chavez had free rein to put his statist prescriptions into effect. The so-called Bolivarian revolution over which he — and later his handpicked successor, Nicolas Maduro — presided, was an unfettered, real-world example of anticapitalist socialism in action. Venezuela since at least the 1970s had been Latin America’s most affluent nation. Now it was a showpiece for command-and-control economics: price and currency controls, wealth redistribution, ramped-up government spending, expropriation of land, and the nationalization of private banks, mines, and oil companies.

And the useful idiots ate it up.

In a Salon piece titled “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle,” David Sirota declared that the Venezuelan ruler, with his “full-throated advocacy of socialism,” had “racked up an economic record that . . . American president[s] could only dream of achieving.” The Guardian offered “Three cheers for Chavez.” Moviemaker Oliver Stone filmed a documentary gushing over “the positive changes that have happened economically in all of South America” because of Venezuela’s socialist government. And when Chavez died in 2013, Jimmy Carter extolled the strongman for “improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.”

Now that this socialist “economic miracle” has failed, as socialist economic miracles always do, the useful idiots on the Washington Post’s editorial board have suddenly realized that it was never Marxist ideology that moved Chavez and Maduro, but an “autocratic populist government.” The intellectual dishonesty here is amazing. Worse, however, is how typical it has become. Western intellectuals, the so-called elites of our society, have developed an uncanny ability to fool themselves. They are never wrong. Instead, they simply change the facts to protect their shallow leftist beliefs.

Nonetheless, Marxist leftwing ideology did destroy Venezuela, just as it destroyed Russia and Eastern Europe, and just as it is destroying the big urban cities of the United States, all ruled by increasingly leftist Democratic politicians whose only goal is to emulate Hugo Chavez and bring his “economic miracle” to their cities.

The great tragedy is that these leftist Democratic politicians in America’s big cities will likely succeed, because our so-called intellectual community, like those on the Washington Post’s editorial board, are willing to blind themselves to the truth.

Remember this the next time they try to tell you how evil Trump and the Republicans in Congress are. They are lying, not just to you, but to themselves.

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  • D.K. Williams

    Even by communist standards, Chavez and Maduro have been an unmitigated disaster.

  • LocalFluff

    The hope is, and it looks kind of real, pinch me if I’m dreaming, that the Trump administration will completely exclude main stream media from political affairs. That they will lose their role as censoring middleman between elect politicians and the people. It would be the greatest upheaval since the printing press was invented 500 years ago. MSM’s ad financing was already undermined by digital media, and now having opened a losing battle against Trump was a very bad idea for them. People’s confidence in media is crashing. Unread, untrusted, unfinanced. The most profound transformation of the Western political society since several decades is happening now.

  • PeterF

    Bob wrote;

    “these leftist Democratic politicians in America’s big cities will likely succeed,”

    Not if the threat to terminate federal funded to cities that declare themselves to be “sanctuary cities”
    Once the ability to spend other peoples money is removed, they will have to start prioritizing which group of freeloaders get the leftovers. The “free” cultural crap in Chicago (available only in the “nice” areas by the way) will likely continue to be funded at the expense of social services. Maybe the’ll discover that only legal residents are authorized welfare and public housing by law.

  • hondo

    In socialist/communist failure there is always success! Leaders for life and party cadres enjoying their importance and prestige (with benefits). Their goal to be in charge, is to be in charge. Ergo – success!

  • Orion314

    The answer to 99 out of 100 questions is MONEY ….Tom Cruise, Vanilla Sky.

    If Trump can pull enough financial strings to have these “Sanctuary Cities” start bouncing checks, the whole concept will vanish overnight…look how short a time it took for the Venezuela crash

  • Max

    Bob, well stated. Hugo Chavez promised everyone everything they ever wanted, and they believed him! Put him in power and he destroyed their world. Every promise broken.

    The number one economy in South America reduced to the worse economy in less than 10 years. We truly know the recipe for destroying a country from within. Just give them empty “hope” in the promise of “change”.

    Orion, It has begun…

  • wodun

    This month its 31 million people lurched a big step closer to that breaking point, thanks to another senseless decree by its autocratic populist government.

    What they are trying to do is tie Trump to Venezuela, scapegoating by proxy, and imply that the same thing will happen here. It is worse than just ignoring socialism and leftist policies but rather trying to pin the blame for those policies for those at the other end of the political spectrum.

    This is the American leftist playbook that has been used for slavery, Jim Crow, racism, ect ect ect.

  • ken anthony

    Ironically, it would be better to keep the illegals and deport those that defend them!

    The illegals could potentially become good Americans. Their promoters, never.

    But I’m not actually recommending that… just noting the irony.

  • Stosh

    They didn’t fail, they just “ran out of other people’s money”

  • wayne


  • Edward

    Stosh wrote: “They didn’t fail, they just ‘ran out of other people’s money’

    Ironically, with the US buying much of their oil exports, what they ran out of is the money from the United States’ people.

    One would think that with such lucrative oil reserves that the Venezuelan government could be prosperous as any kind of government. Unfortunately for those poor trapped people, socialism is just so bad that it cannot even survive with such a great potential income.

    Obama greeted Chavez with great admiration, when he, Obama, came into office. I think we now know what Obama wanted to transform America into, but he did not manage to negate Congress and the Supreme Court quickly enough. Nor did he get to use that civilian army that he wanted to build (although he seems to have armed most government agencies).

  • Cotour


    This man, Bernie Sanders, a hard Left leaning / true blue Socialist / Globalist / open borders / anti American sovereignty politico is staging himself to save America and install the true intent of the apparently very well meaning but very mistaken Founders, Socialism and ultimately American Communism.

    Bernie I fully support your getting into the Democrat presidential race, I support you 100 percent. Would never ever vote for you or AOC, but fully support your delusional efforts. (I am shaking my head and smiling, they just do not get it, do they?)

    Combine Bernie and AOC’s command economy, just like China, “New Green Deal” and we will all be headed on the right track. (?)

    And I have a very well informed and extremely highly educated fellow American pointing the Dunning / Kruger effect finger in my general direction, and this Bernie / AOC / New Green Deal is I am certain like a wet dream to him.

    Like I said, I am shaking my head and smiling, and Im not smiling because I think this is funny.

  • Cotour


    This is Oregon in its Leftist and desperate wisdom. And they are serious, some of them anyway. Their need to stack the deck is paramount in how they operate.

    Why is there any test of age for any voting in the country you might ask?

    Why couldn’t you vote if you were say 10 years old?

    Why 16?

    If you can make an argument for voting at 16 then you can make an argument for voting at 10.

    This is how stupid and desperate the Left is becoming, they understand that there voting base is shrinking because they have become sooo Leftist and un American in nature, and so they need illegals flooding the country in order to mint reliable new voters along with children of 16 years old. Its just a numbers game that translates into political power.

    The less educated and mature the voter the easier to manipulate and all the better for the Democrats. Dumb, dumb dumb. They want you and their voters dumb.

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