Why Venezuela Matters
Venezuela is one of the most unreported tragedies of our time. We can guess why: the left-leaning media are not interested in telling us what happened in Venezuela because it disproves so many of their narratives.
In a nutshell: Venezuela was once the most prosperous country in South America. It is now one of the poorer nations in the world. Food is hard to find, toilet paper is scarce, and civilization as the citizenry once knew it is gone. Venezuela's story has been one of going from first to worst, a fact the left does not want anyone to know. The socialist paradise the left inexplicably wants for the U.S. lies in tatters at the top of South America.
Venezuela matters because socialism is one of the two great political blights foisted on the world in the past century. There are multiple examples of the horrors of this system, be it Soviet socialism, the socialist killing fields of Cambodia, the rotting Euro-states, or the current and unfinished calamity of Venezuela. Socialism is a system that always promises great things for humanity but in the end is dehumanizing, destructive, and false. Dressed as an angel of light, offering equality, fairness, and goodness, socialism always seems to change clothes into the angel of death. Destruction of the human spirit becomes its normative end.
Its siren song is hard to resist. It always sounds so good. Hearing about it during the college years captures your attention and consideration. The professors espousing it seem knowledgeable, credentialed, and persuasive. Not many teach against it.
My first conversation with someone who explained the horrors of socialism was with my grandfather. Coming home from college, I was asked to walk him around the neighborhood. He was in his eighties. During that walk, he tried his best to pass on how he had fought socialism his entire life. He was a public school teacher from Tacoma, Washington, who made it one of his projects in life to teach about the ills of socialism.
Needless to say, it was surprising, having heard my professors. I, being young and impressionable, thought he seemed misguided and weak.
Since then, history has vindicated my grandfather's vision. The mask had yet to come entirely off the Soviet failure, the Killing Fields had not happened, the horrors of Mao's China lay unexposed, Vietnam had not fallen, Solzhenitsyn had not been published, and Venezuela was wealthy. Yet socialism was already something this man knew was disastrous.
With all these clear historical monuments to the abject failure of the socialist system, Bernie Sanders remains the most popular figure on the left. Anyone running with a (D) behind his name will have to be "with him" (the unintended political slogan). It's sad. An entire generation have not yet had their grandfathers walk with them to share the collectivist nightmare. Instead, we have too many grandfathers like Bernie: delusional, incompetent, and ignorant of history.
Once upon a day, this widespread and full acceptance of socialism was not possible in this country. The Democratic Party was not fully pro-socialist; they were once the party of JFK and Scoop Jackson, along with many other fervent anti-socialists. They had not swallowed the Kool-Aid. Unfortunately, too many of our ill-informed citizens now accept it, considering it just another system of governance.
Venezuela has become the clearest current object lesson against socialist destruction. It's a vital lesson for economic discussion in our own public square, one of the most important lessons our current snowflake generation could learn. Everyone knows a few decent, hardworking, and talented Millennials. Most know some of the snowflakes, too. Trust me: they need help. They need to see what is happening in Venezuela. They need to see just how badly they don't want Venezuela to happen here. That lesson needs a bullhorn.
These kids love their smartphones. They love good beer, good wine, cultural and sporting events. Most even love nice cars and nice places to live. They prefer civilization. In spite of their current alliance with environmentalism and "climate change," they love the material advantages we all enjoy that socialism did not bring them. They use (and love) so many technological advances that you would think that convincing them to avoid socialism would be easy.
But it's not. Because now there is an entire home-grown army of angels of light preaching the gospel of socialism daily, and too few like my grandfather.
- Our public education has indoctrinated an entire generation to favor socialism.
- Our universities teach it uncritically as if it has brought us paradise on Earth, rather than reduced countries to poverty.
- Our leftist media rarely speak or sneer against it; they save that for the capitalistic freedom that gives them their lifestyles.
- Hollywood has shown a nonstop narrative of villains as either businessmen (capitalists) or U.S. military officers (who love capitalism) for twenty-five years. Few heroes are entrepreneurs to Hollywood.
- An entire political party has renounced free enterprise for socialism.
- Rich fools such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Google principals, media moguls, and the Hollywood elite naïvely push it. That's most of our information base.
- We had eight years of a president who sounded like Hugo Chávez, nothing like JFK, and a leftist media that didn't care to know the difference.
Venezuela is the perfect truth for countering these "angels of light" and unmasking them for what they are: delusional shills for darkness and tyranny. This darkness, unlike the half-year-old moronic Russia-Trump collusion story, actually is a fact and has evidence – evidence ignored and unreported.
Chávez came to power by promising to redistribute, and then redistributing Venezuela's wealth to the poor. Giving money to the poor is always the bait for socialism; it allows power to be won and kept, as it did for Chávez. It allowed our cultural saviors to say how much Chávez helped the poor. In the end, it destroyed the people who voted for him. Too late, they finally burned the Chávez childhood home.
Barack Obama sang this same song to win his nomination and did untold damage by following socialist tendencies. His "stimulus" was nothing more than a handout to Democrat constituencies to consolidate power. Yes, that sounds familiar. Venezuela redux. He was headed there.
Chávez nationalized thousands of businesses under the guise of helping the downtrodden, ultimately destroying the ability of the Venezuelans to escape poverty. Chávez gave them fish for a day and then prevented them from fishing for themselves, convincing them he was the only one who would help them. He demonized business, then took it away, making the chaos that reigns now. It sounds unusually close to the Democrat platform today. As Trump noted, the Democrats care about the poor only for their votes to keep power, but Democrats give the poor no tools to dig themselves out.
Chávez ended up obscenely wealthy, as did his daughter – billionaires for ruining a country and the lives of countless millions. Similarly, the Clintons had their illicit and obscene pay-to-play foundation scheme; Obama is going to get millions for being a Chávez echo, huge speaking fees, along with free everything from suck-up celebrities. A visionless (and obtusely rich) Democratic Party does not know that Venezuela matters, or why.
While Venezuela descends into darkness, the leftist media focus on how Islamophobic we are.
Pounding the left for their awful, dark, and literally wrong vision of socialism needs to be done – all while exhorting a new generation to embrace the creative vision of free enterprise and of entrepreneurship, giving them what they are used to in their lifestyle and more.
An entire generation needs to rediscover what my grandfather knew. If we miss this opportunity to show why Venezuela matters, we might get there sooner than we think.