Venezuela: The Modern Socialist Experiment

Most Americans can easily complete: “Ask not…” from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. In one sentence, JFK inspired the antidote to socialist doctrine. He made clear the distinction between a worldview founded upon individual improvement and one enthralled by collective coercion.

The answer to the tragedy of life is not to ponder at how the corrupt system might be changed to suit your desires, but to ask how you might improve your life and the lives of your friends and family. Society is necessarily made of individuals, and each one has a responsibility to make his country great by doing what little or large he can to alleviate the suffering in his local sphere of existence. This responsibility is abolished under socialism, which admonishes merit and denies you the respect and opportunity to earn it.

Socialism is (because definitions are important) “a political and economic theory of social organisation which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” So often I hear people claiming to be socialists when, in reality, they are capitalists who favour progressive taxes and welfare. Real socialism, or utopian socialism, is far more insidious. Venezuela solved its high infant mortality due to starvation overnight by making it illegal for doctors to record children as having died of malnutrition. Easy.

But, why do socialist countries always become corrupt? Because, socialism – as a political machine – is inherently tyrannical. Where capitalism ensures the sovereignty of each (the right to one’s own produce and labour), socialism forcibly demands that our earnings be handed to those who have not worked for them. Where capitalism assures your right to self-determination and offers proportionate reward for altruistic behaviour, socialism refuses these, and dictates that you should labour in service to a nameless master. Socialism does not bear the potential for tyranny. Socialism is tyranny.

Of course, unrestrained capitalism bears its own danger: monopoly, and the conspiratorial, cynical alliance between commercial greed and political power. But these are concerns about the possibility of capitalism being corrupted. I’m aware that defenders of socialism might notice an apparent parallel in my defence of capitalism with their own defence of socialism: that when it goes wrong it’s because it hasn’t been done ‘properly’. But you see, capitalism is essentially a good thing which arises from the natural competition between people but which can degrade into a form of tyranny if allowed. Socialism, on the other hand, is essentially a bad thing which requires a tyrannical system to establish. The distinction lies in this point. When capitalism goes bad it’s only because the market is no longer free, that is, when capitalism has actually been eroded. Socialism is only possibly a good thing in theory (to some people) and is immediately a bad thing upon its instantiation.

Still, socialists continue in their complaint that all who oppose socialism simply don’t care enough about the poor. No-one likes poverty. To claim that capitalists do is childish, and to think that loudly voicing a distaste for poverty is the golden standard in morality is equally misguided. The original socialists were correct in their diagnosis but failed miserably in their attempt to find a cure. Perhaps we can forgive Marx his part in this, for he and his ilk may not have predicted exactly how their experiment would play out. But with the 20th century in the past, and its horrors well-documented, there is no excuse for Marxist philosophy. To this, I am often met with the defensive response, “that wasn’t real Marxism.” Well then, what is?

Are you really so confident that you would be the one, where all others have failed, to finally usher in the age of perfect socialism? To say this is doubtful would be an understatement, rather it is so viciously arrogant it beggars belief. How many corpses do socialists need before they realise their idea will never work? Clearly 100 million is insufficient. Clearly one more run of the simulation is worthwhile.

Well, here you have it: Venezuela.

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