NPR, Maduro, Venezuela and socialist experiment #183
Last night on NPR, the segment was about ostensibly Maduro, but involved a recitation of socialist movements in latin America, and the unfairness of US efforts to address them. The tone was one of outrage, with the speaker concluding that when Allende shot himself, Chilean democracy died (despite democracy thriving in Chile and Allende's grip on his office being of dubious legitimacy. It included a dramatic telling of violence against "anyone opposed to the regime" though that was never really true. The fellow lamented our anti-Castro efforts, and described the ascent of Chavez and Maduro.
The purpose of this Zinn like history of the region was to buttress the speaker's conclusion that if one were Maduro, he must view his opposition in light of a long history of American atrocities. We should think about how this affects Maduro.
The US now has food sitting on the Colombian border to relieve the starvation in Venezuela, but Maduro's forces aren't letting it in. Extra food would interfere with Maduro's explicit political strategy of getting food to his supporters who vote. Once people don't need him for food rations, what would become of the revolution?
Like the Green New Deal that looks a lot like the old red deal, Venezuela's last couple of decades illustrates a compressed version of the unhappy end of the expansive and unlimited state. Chavez is elected with quite a few votes, moves to engage media control, moves to manipulate the electoral apparatus (despite anti-Chavez regions reporting more than 100% votes for Chavez, JEC announced the re-election legitimate before any investigation). Unhappy with middle class profiteering, currency and import controls made life incrementally more difficult until hunger and state controlled food itself became the dominant political issue.
You would think that the commentariat at NPR might draw some conclusions about socialism a century ago, now, and between, but what really animates so much of the left, even in the US, is the story of US transgressions against the braindead idea that destruction of the old order will usher in an era of equality and wealth. Democrats can't stand up an identify the obscenity of a Green New Deal for the same reason they had so little criticism for the old red deal after 1980; they don't disagree with the principle of state coercion into a vegan, flightless future without any buildings put up before 2019.
Of course, there are democrats who have constituents who don't want to tear down their homes to offset the carbon emissions of Chinese coal use, or who don't see a lot of good in supporting people who simply prefer not to work, but those are accommodations rather than principles that drive them.
In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a process by which ordinary anti-communist democrats came to understand that they were in the wrong party. I wonder whether the next couple of years will feature a similar process in which people come to see a democrat party populated by strange obsessions as no good place to be.