I’m running this story because it’s a salutary lesson to all of us, especially when that emotional creep occurs and we start to think that central government control isn’t all bad, and that some things are so big we should leave them to the government. And because Topher Field is an Australian libertarian friend of mine and I respect his opinion and insight.
Venezuela is the socialist object lesson of our generation.
I have friends in Venezuela, my wife and I were there in April last year for a wedding of a dear friend, and it was already clear that things were going to get far worse before they were going to get better. The question is, how much worse will the people suffer before there is open revolution and the bloodshed that comes with it?
Venezuela’s largest bill, the 100-bolivar note, today barely pays for a loose cigarette at a street kiosk.
Even a year ago when we were there, when the worst of the inflation hadn’t yet kicked in, we had to take wads of cash in duffle bags just to buy lunch. Preparing for a day’s shopping felt like doing a drug deal as you counted out dozens or even hundreds of notes just to buy a jacket or shirt.
I spoke on the lessons of what I saw in Venezuela at last years Australian Libertarian Society conference, and said then that it was only a matter of time before there would be blood in the streets. The locals we spoke to told us they expected open warfare and blood running the gutters before the next presidential elections. On the current trajectory, they’re not far wrong.
The military are bought-and-paid-for Chavistas, now loyal to President Maduro, and they’ve shown already their willingness to use deadly force against anyone guilty of protesting against the government. The people are disarmed, apart from the drug traffickers and the like, and so when the pay cheques to the military stop, and that will have to happen soon given that the government can’t even afford to keep printing money… then those guns will be used by the military to take food, money, and whatever else they want from the disarmed public.
Watch and learn. Socialism doesn’t lead to equality, peace, prosperity, or unicorns frolicking in the garden with rainbows coming out their asses. Socialism impoverishes an entire nation, hitting the poorest people the hardest. It leads first to where Greece is, then if you continue it leads to Venezuela, then if you persist with the madness you’ll soon arrive at North Korea.
Socialism leads to totalitarianism as the government continuously clamps down on anything and everything in a desperate attempt to keep a doomed-to-fail system working. There is no other trajectory for socialism to take.
As a man far wiser than me once said:
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
And what misery we’re seeing in Venezuela today.
Read the article linked above and marvel that any nation, let alone one with so much potential as Venezuela, could be so badly mismanaged. And then ponder that there are people and politicians in Australia today who passionately want to put us on the path to that same future.
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