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Lessons from Venzuela

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Write of Center

Being able to admit personal mistakes is viewed as a positive quality. It is especially endearing to see such humility, as opposed to hubris, expressed by our national leaders.

But repenting for specific actions is far different than acknowledging flaws in one’s political philosophy. Who likes to admit that beliefs they hold dear have resulted in unprecedented human misery?

This begs the question of why the American left has been so silent on the economic devastation facing Venezuela. After all, this situation is tailor made for left-wing protests as Venezuela’s victims are fighting for democracy, human rights and the basic ability to feed themselves and their children. How can the left disagree with that?

The situation in Venezuela is serious. Hospital patients are dying for lack of basics such as anti-biotics, it has the second-highest murder rate in the world, infant and maternal mortality rates are skyrocketing, widespread starvation is increasing, and close to 10 percent of the nation’s population (3 million people) has fled this “Socialist paradise.”

So why is the left so silent? Could it be that loud protests are usually a left-wing phenomenon, thus making it awkward to target left-wing villains?

For years we’ve seen sympathetic American and Hollywood leftists travel to Venezuela to heap praise on its dictator, the late Hugo Chavez, portraying him as a visionary leader. Democratic Party presidential candidate and frontrunner Bernie Sanders once stated that, “Venezuela is the embodiment of the American Dream, even more so than the US.” Who is Bernie kidding?

But Venezuela’s deterioration has been a long time coming. Its Socialist economic policies of price controls, factory nationalizations and government takeover of food distribution have had a disastrous effect.

A once vibrant private sector has been destroyed as price controls drove producers out of business. Social welfare programs such as “free” health care and college increased wasteful spending, making these services unaffordable. Inflation is out of control, with projections of 10 million percent in 2019.

And just what is Bernie Sanders’ response to this travesty? He simply said that current dictator Nicholas Maduro shouldn’t have used such extreme violence in cracking down on his country’s protestors. That’s it? That Maduro should have used a kinder, gentler approach to beat up protestors?

Of course, acknowledging the folly of one’s political views has never been popular among the radical left. They justify their views by pointing to social welfare states such as Sweden and Denmark to support their increasing government control over people’s lives. But they forget that underpinning these nation’s economy is a capitalist economy and private property ownership.

They ignore that leftist totalitarian regimes were responsible for making the 20th century the bloodiest in history. Stalin murdered millions of his own countrymen, over 40 million Chinese died of starvation in Mao’s forced collectivization, and almost one-third of Cambodians were murdered in Pol Pot’s “re-education” camps. Amazingly, many of these murderers were deified by the left as simple “agrarian reformers.”

People like Bernie Sanders can’t get away with claiming the modest success of a few social welfare states in Scandinavia without acknowledging that the track record of the overwhelming number of true socialist nations has been disastrous.

Claiming to be a “democratic socialist” doesn’t cut it. Bernie and his cohorts like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez promote the same kind of industry nationalizing and “free” stuff that ruined many nations. What will it take to get them to open their eyes?

Today, in former socialist states like India, there have been big reductions in poverty thanks to increased capitalism. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, where Bernie and his wife Jane honeymooned, the extreme poverty rate in the world has been cut in half. Why don’t we ever hear this from Bernie or any of the other Democratic Party presidential candidates?

Instead we hear them blame, you guessed it, the embargo placed on Venezuela by President Trump. In the left’s view, it could never be their misguided policies that caused this human suffering. No, it’s always the USA’s fault.

It is said that self-introspection and repentance is good for the soul. Bernie and his fellow socialists should try it. They might just find that the good old USA is not such a bad place to live. After all, where do you think those 3 million Venezuelan refugees are trying to get to?