I recall some years ago hearing darling whackjob of the left Cindy Sheehan defending Hugo Chavez against claims he was a dictator, and stating she would rather live under his rule than George Bush’s. Sheehan was reflecting a current of the time among liberals who believed Bush was a tyrannical dictator who would obviously cancel the 2008 election and continue ruling unopposed, while Chavez in contrast was “democratically” elected.
Since then progressives have stopped worrying about tyranny so long as their party is in power, but recent events in Venezuela still have them spinning like Karl Rove on steroids. For those who do not know, Chavez died of cancer in 2013 and was replaced by Nicholas Maduro, a former truck driver and close associate. After only narrowly winning election as president the same year, Maduro managed to drive Venezuela into the ground and helped create the environment of mass starvation and food rationing which has turned the country into an effective warzone. A 2015 legislative poll cost the president’s United Socialist Party its majority, leading to a fiercer crackdown and moves by the country’s superior court to dissolve the National Assembly and usurp its power in order to support the executive.
Tragic as it may seem, Venezuela has not persuaded leftists that socialism as the predominant government policy is destined to fail. In response to the chaos in Caracas they came out swinging, attempting to blame capitalism for the nation’s problems or breaking it down to an “Us vs. Them” dichotomy. Interestingly enough, this is precisely what left-wing propaganda does by telling people to identify with their inferior economic class and pursue conflict with the rich. Socialist policies and state planning have led directly to the issues of today by stifling economic growth and freedom, making it difficult to import food the country needs, and crushing opposition voices.
But that’s fine. Venezuela is not real socialism. If socialism is done right it would be perfect. That has never happened since Marx was in diapers, but rest assured the possibility is there. All you need is Bernie to tax the rich. Taxing solves everything. Government is the answer.