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Defying Chavez

Venezuela is a case study of how democracy is no sure defence against tyranny and how it can actually be the means by which it comes about. I realise we already have the example of Germany in the 1930′s, but unlike the NSDAP, the democratic majority for Chavez was far less ambiguous than the ones that incrementally brought Hitler to power.

It was interesting to note how many on the left (with many honourable exceptions I must add) have supported the establishment of a state television monopoly in Venezuela once the Chavez regime announced it was going to shut down anti-government station Rádio Caracas Televisión.

However is good to see people on the street marching in defiance of Hugo Chavez. Will it make any difference? In the short run, probably not, but it is never wrong to make a stand against a tyrant regardless of how popular he may be.

58 comments to Defying Chavez

  • Just so long as the CIA doesn’t mount a coup d’etat against him; if that happens the legend of the socialist-paradise-that-could-have-been will appear in the Guardian for the next 40 years and Chav will never be allowed to die.
    Oh, and his replacement will be hunted to the grave by ‘constitutional’ fraudsters.

  • Nick M

    pietr is probably almost right. Unfortunately, the poor buggers in Venezuela will have to suffer so that the World sees the glaring technicolor idiocy of Chavez and his ilk.

    Except perhaps, even more depressingly, the left will still spin it. They will keep Harpo-ing on about how Chavez was undermined by Western businesses not trading, the CIA, Zionists, aliens conspiring against this beacon of social justice. They really need martyrs because they don’t have successes.

    I apologise for my (Graucho) Marxist joke.

  • Of course they will mostly have to suffer because they chose him. Why should they not suffer the natural results of their choice? Hopefully those who voted sanely will escape, I wish them the best, but it is better than Venezuela be permitted to choose their own poison then for outsiders to interfere and create the inevitable blowback.

  • For once I find myself in agreement with Rich Paul. As H. L. Mencken once said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard”.

    My advice to the non-thug portion of the population of Venezuela has been to get the hell out, liquidate what you can of your assets and burn to the ground anything you cannot.

  • Perry,

    “liquidate what you can of your assets ”

    When I last visited Venezuela in – ahem – 1991, they had very strict FX controls. It was a real bugger mounting an expedition there because you had to buy the excerable Bolivar on the spot when you arrived.

    I struggle to believe that Chavez would have relaxed such controls. So…. how do you get your liquid assets out?

  • You buy (or barter for) transportable things with the funny money (gold, gems, commodity warrants, anything you can sell overseas). Sure, you will get screwed but something is better than nothing… but eventually anything left in the country will be nothing.

  • Eamon Brennan

    There are a couple of errors in your post Perry. Firstly RCTV is not being shut down. Secondly, 97.5% of TV stations and 100% of Venezuelan newspapers are privately owned so the government is rather a long way from establishing a monopoly.

    A close friend of mine who has worked there for many years in the oil industry informs me that TV in Venezuela is almost uniformly anti-Chavez and has been throughout his years in power.

    The only question of any importance here is whether or not RCTV is guilty of the charges laid against it.

  • MarkJ

    Dear Eamon,

    “The only question of any importance here is whether or not RCTV is guilty of the charges laid against it.”

    And what is your answer to the question?

    Seems to me that Chavez has already answered the question by proclaiming, “Yo soy el estado.”

  • Aknot Wot

    Firstly RCTV is not being shut down

    Its required state licence has not been renewed… that means it can’t broadcast… how’s that not “shut down”?

    Secondly, 97.5% of TV stations and 100% of Venezuelan newspapers are privately owned

    And if they can be shut down for pissing off the government, what exactly does that mean? And the article is about TV not newspapers.

    A close friend of mine who has worked there for many years in the oil industry informs me that TV in Venezuela is almost uniformly anti-Chavez and has been throughout his years in power.

    No doubt and this is how Chavez is going to change that.

  • Aknot Wot

    The only question of any importance here is whether or not RCTV is guilty of the charges laid against it.

    Opposing Chavez’s socialist take over? I’m sure they’re “guilty”. And your point?

  • Chavez was elected once, but the recall and the last election were shams.

    Jimmy Carter(D) endorsed shams.

  • C-Low

    A new phenomium of the current Democracy ideas is that self suicide must be a allowable choice. Socialism is the polar opposite of Democracy and the whole idea that with one vote Democracy must accept its death is rediculous.

    Democracy of past never accepted polar opposites as potential canadites hence the McCarthy days. To think that Democracy must allow Mass suicide of Democracy at every vote to be democracy is ludacris. Chavez came in as a Socialist Revolutionary to be suprised now by his flipping into a Socialist economy nationalizing the resources buisness and moving towards the Socialist warm fuzzy of Totalitarian stripe governement either Faciasit or Communist soon to be determined, is just dum.

    In the US we look around and see the Socialist creep in our own system we should ask is suicide a acceptable solution that should be allowed to be voted on or should we stamp out the suicide elements and send them to nations they may feel more confortable in besides our own?

  • Eamon Brennan

    Its required state licence has not been renewed… that means it can’t broadcast… how’s that not “shut down”?

    As a matter of fact, it can still broadcast, that is why it has not been “shut down”.

    As to whether it’s guilty of the charges laid against it, I would say it was. RCTV is not being shut down for opposing Chavez’s socialist takeover. It is being shut down over an accusation that it has actively worked to bring down a democratically elected government. The evidence is all out there in the public domain.

    If a British or US TV station had taken part in a coup, do any of you actually believe that it would get it’s terrestrial broadcast license renewed.

    And yes, I do believe that failing to renew a single TV terrestrial boradcast licence over a ten-year period is a very weak argument for dictatorship.

    DANEgerus

    Chavez has won three elections, a national referendum on a new constitution and a recall vote (the provisions for which Chavez himself placed in the new constitution). Strange beghaviour for a so-called dictator. Proper dictators tend not to have elections at all, or if you’re Mugabe or Saddam, you get to have elections without the benefit of international observers.

    By all means argue that Chavez is a communist kleptocrat who is bribing the poor with oil money. But making overheated claims of dictatorial behaviour doesn’t really help.

  • As a matter of fact, it can still broadcast, that is why it has not been “shut down”.

    So you are saying that RCTV is still on the air broadcasting now and state sponsored TVes is not broadcasting in its place?

    As to whether it’s guilty of the charges laid against it, I would say it was. RCTV is not being shut down for opposing Chavez’s socialist takeover. It is being shut down over an accusation that it has actively worked to bring down a democratically elected government. The evidence is all out there in the public domain.

    And to repeat Aknot’s reply, and your point is? As the first line in my article should have suggested, I care not one jot if Chavez was elected democratically. Democratically sanctioned theft and repression is still theft and repression.

    I did not use the term ‘dictatorship’ but as you have, a ‘democratic dictatorship of the proletariat’ (as you will no doubt recall Chavez has promised “socialism or death”) is by its own definition a socialist dictatorship with all the trappings of ‘popular will’ thrown in. Being given other people’s money is often popular with the people on the receiving end.

  • Eamon Brennan

    So you are saying that RCTV is still on the air broadcasting now and state sponsored TVes is not broadcasting in its place?

    I am saying that RCTV can still broadcast on cable and satellite as it is only it’s terrestrial license that has not been renewed. So your use of the phrase “shut down” is completely erroneous, as was your use of the word “monopoly”.

    As you have repeatedly argued that all state operations are theft then your are in no position to isolate Venezuela as an example of tyranny.

    My point is simple. You are making assertions which have no basis in fact in order to back up a point you wish to make. The word you did use was tyranny. So I will repeat the question you were so careful to avoid before. If a US or British TV station were involved in a coup, would you expect to have it’s license renewed.

  • “…but unlike the NSDAP, the democratic majority for Chavez was far less ambiguous than the ones that incrementally brought Hitler to power”

    Deliberately ambiguous phraseology to disguise uncertainty over whether La Schickelgruber was in fact democratically elected?

    He was not.

  • Eamon Brennan

    RCTV can still broadcast on cable and satellite if it wishes so your use of the phrase “shut down” was wrong, as was your use of the word “monopoly”, unless monoply now means directly controlling 2.5% of the broadcast media and 0% of the print media.

    My point is that you are making assertions that have no basis in fact in order to make your own point.

    I ask you again, if a US or British TV was involved in a coup against their respective governments, would you expect it to have it’s broadcast license renewed?

    Your last point is easily refuted. If Venezuela is a dictatorship of the proletariat, then all democracys are dictatorships (of whatever majority exists therein). So all democracies are tyrannies, which makes your singling-out of Venezuela rather odd, don’t you think?

  • eamon Brennan

    Sorry about the multiple posts. I am getting odd behaviour from my browser.

    [Editor's note: the server is pretty sluggish at the moment due to high traffic so it might well not be your browser that is the problem]

  • I do not ‘expect’ the licence to be renewed, but as I supported the idea of a coup in Venezuela against Chavez, naturally I want the people who supported opposing Chavez not to be put out of business. They lost so they are reaping what happens when your side loses, so I am hardly surprised.

    And if a socialist government tries to take power in the UK and a TV station calls for their ouster in a coup, I will support that TV station too.

    As you have repeatedly argued that all state operations are theft…

    Wrong. I am only opposed to the state intervening in areas where there is no collective threat that only a state can deal with (i.e. military, courts, pandemic control). It is the remaining 90% of what states do that is theft.

    …then your are in no position to isolate Venezuela as an example of tyranny.

    Sure I am. I hardly focus on Venezuela to the exclusion of elsewhere (most of my hostility tends to be directed towards the UK state) but as in that country its appears that a paleo-nationalist-socialist regime is establishing itself and accumulating more and more power over not just the executive and legislature but also the judiciary, naturally it is going to attract my attention.

    And as I have long argued that Chavez is really more of a fascist in many ways, a ‘monopoly’ really means a monopoly of control rather than ownership (i.e. the fascist-socialist way rather than the marxist-socialist way). Nominal ownership does not matter if effective control rests with the state due to the web or regulation and intimidation.

  • Deliberately ambiguous phraseology to disguise uncertainty over whether La Schickelgruber was in fact democratically elected? He was not.

    Yes he was, just not with a majority vote in the way Chavez was. Due to the fractured nature of German politics in the 1930′s, the NSDAP grew in electoral power and came to dominate without ever being the majority party, but then many a party in the democratic west has done the same as that in more modern times.

    The reason I phrased it the way I did was because I meant exactly what I said: Hitler did indeed get into the position of taking power initially via the ballot box in a fractured but democratic political system… and only later did he put up the ladder behind him.

    Hence it is more ambiguous to link the Nazi tyranny directly with democracy, even though clearly the NSDAP was indeed an established major party that people voted for democratically. In Chavez’s case, it is much more clear cut: he has a clear democratic mandate to be a kleptocratic tyrant.

  • Eamon Brennan

    So…

    We no longer have the twin examples of Chavez’s tyranny. It’s simply the fact that he’s a democratically elected socialist that is the problem. Why didn’t you say so in the first place. I wouldn’t have any need to reply to that one.

    Eamon

  • It’s simply the fact that he’s a democratically elected socialist that is the problem

    I am obviously doing a bad job of explaining my position: the problem is that he is a socialist (i.e. someone imposing collectivist policies with the violence of state power) and it does not matter how he came to power.

    The fact he was elected does not make his theft and repression anything other than theft and repression. Democracy is only useful if it is a bulwark to liberty, if it is just the means by which a majority (or at least a plurality) screws the people they do not like, it is of very little value. The ‘Jim Crow’ laws in the USA were all quite democratic. It did not make them just or admirable or mean they should not have been opposed by ‘any means necessary’.

  • Eamon Brennan

    You have explained your position very well Perry. I just happen to think you are choosing a very poor target for your ire.

    You have called Chavez on tyranny and facism yet the only examples you give to support these assertions are not borne out by the facts. History is replete with examples of left wing governments leading to tyranny without you having to invent another.

  • Perry, you say “Hitler was democractically elected, just not with a majority…Hitler did indeed get into the position of taking power initially via the ballot box”

    Our survey says: he was manoeuvred into power by a backstairs deal.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler#Hitler.27s_appointment_as_Chancellor

    It’s only Wikipediea, I grant, but if you like, I’ll get you chapter and verse from Burleigh, Kershaw and Bullock.

    Sorry, but the “Hitler was democratically elected” schtick needs to be laid to rest. I accept that Weimar was rotten and fractured … but Hitler did not get into office because the German people put him there.

  • Martin

    C Low has it. I would go further and say we need a McCarthy, and we need a Pinochet of our own.

  • Sorry, but the “Hitler was democratically elected” schtick needs to be laid to rest

    By that logic no minority government who used ‘back room deals’ to get themselves into power with power sharing agreements or unholy coalitions is ‘democratic’, which means most western nation at some point in the last 50 years have had ‘undemocratic’ governments.

    Political chicanery is prevalent in all forms of politics. Before the enabling acts which actually screwed the system in his favour from then on, the NSDAP was in coalition with the DNVP and both parties were there by…election. Pretending people had not voted for Hitler is pointless, he did not just spring out from under a rock one day. He had enough democratic support to get himself into position to get rid of democracy and there is no escaping that.

  • Your last point is easily refuted. If Venezuela is a dictatorship of the proletariat, then all democracys are dictatorships (of whatever majority exists therein). So all democracies are tyrannies, which makes your singling-out of Venezuela rather odd, don’t you think?

    All democracies without some form of restraints on what people can actually vote for (such as a liberal constitution for example) are indeed tyrannies. Constitutional Republics such as the USA avoid this tyranny-of-the-majority by placing certain processes and rights outside democratic politics (or at least it attempts to).

    The rapid erosion of civil liberties in Britain shows what can happen if a democratically elected government can essentially do what it likes to change fundamental rights and structures if only it has enough seats in Parliament.

    I single out Venezuela because Chavez did something news worthy. All socialism is tyranny by definition, so the more socialist a system is, the more tyrannical it is. Venezuela is becoming more socialist, hence it is becoming more tyrannical. The fact it was voted for makes no difference at all morally.

    Chavez and Omar Mora have stated openly they support “revolutionary processes” over constitutional legal structures, so the fact Chavez was democratically elected changes nothing. Is that so hard to get your head around?

  • I would go further and say we need a McCarthy, and we need a Pinochet of our own.

    The phrase “suicide for fear of death” comes to mind.

  • Gabriel

    Of course they will mostly have to suffer because they chose him. Why should they not suffer the natural results of their choice? Hopefully those who voted sanely will escape, I wish them the best, but it is better than Venezuela be permitted to choose their own poison then for outsiders to interfere and create the inevitable blowback.

    Because, obviously, socialist dictatorships are perfectly self-contained entities, which never blow of their own accord thanks to the manifest success of autarky and nationalisation. Yeesh.
    Human beings with dark skins are capable of doing bad things without the U.S. forcing them into it; I don’t see why Lew Rockwell devotees have quite so hard a time grasping this basic principle.

    Leaving aside your already falisified narrative of cause and effect, ideologically either you are saying:
    a) By majority vote any group of people have the right to violate the property rights of minorities and said minorities have no right of recourse except escape.
    or
    b) Some weird sub-Hegelian point about property being a construct of a nation/race, which is thus logically entirely revocable under arbitrary conditions according to the will of said nation/race and, for the same reason, is no concern of any other nation/race.

    Your claims to be a libertarian are therefore subject to some fairly extreme doubt.

  • “Pretending people had not voted for Hitler is pointless, he did not just spring out from under a rock one day. He had enough democratic support to get himself into position to get rid of democracy and there is no escaping that.”

    If your point about minority parties gaining power via backroom deals holds good, Perry, then why pick on Hitler as an example of democracy throwing up a bad choice? You could, as you imply, just as easily have used any Italian government from 1945 onwards.

    No, sorry, it won’t do. Hitler was sui generis. Of course minority governments take power, and sometimes through political chicanery, but the point about using that misplaced example of Hitler is to try and exemplify him as a dictator taking office with the voters’ say-so, and that simply was not so.

    Weimar democracy failed not because of the choices of German voters but because of the ineptitude and spinelessness of a few old men who thought they could outwit or control the nasty little moustachioued one.

  • You could, as you imply, just as easily have used any Italian government from 1945 onwards.

    That comment makes no sense whatsoever. We are not talking about ‘bad choices’, we are talking about tyranny. Full blown socialist tyranny. Tony Blair was a ‘bad choice’. Edward Heath was a ‘bad choice’, Chavez (and Hitler) are (were) altogether more serious than just ‘a bad choice’.

    Likewise the post war Italian governments you mention were just flaccid and corrupt Christian Democrats whereas Hitler (and Chavez, the real topic here) are nationalist socialist thugs. Comparing Chavez to Aldo Moro or that supreme political yo-yo Amintore Fanfani on the other hand does not really imply anything useful. Big difference.

    My point being that whereas it is ambiguous to say Hitler took power democratically (as after the enabling acts there was nothing democratic about it), Chavez on the other hand is a clear, almost pristine example of what unfettered democracy can lead to.

    Hitler, who most would fairly describe as a tyrant, also ran a democratically involved political party with considerable popular support up until 1933, so the example is very germane whereas Amintore Fanfani, Fernando Tambroni, Giovanni Leone, Aldo Moro etc. may have been dismal products of a dismal political system but by no reasonable definition were they nationalist socialist tyrants. They are the ones who are not relevant.

  • Weimar democracy failed not because of the choices of German voters but because of the ineptitude and spinelessness of a few old men who thought they could outwit or control the nasty little moustachioued one.

    But in the end enough people voted for him to make him a major player. That fact cannot be escaped.

  • Perry-beware the Jabberwock.
    He is a species of Irish Guin-tellectual with a question for every answer, a problem for every solution, and whitewash for every murder.

  • Perry now – “But in the end enough people voted for him to make him (Hitler) a major player. That fact cannot be escaped”.

    Perry’s original post – “democracy is no sure defence against tyranny and how it can actually be the means by which it comes about. I realise we already have the example of Germany in the 1930′s”

    My gripe was with that aspect of your original post: Hitler did not come to power because democracy was no sure defence, nor did he come to power because democracy made it possible for him so to do; he came to power because a couple of old blokes appointed him to it.

    Weimar democracy failed, but it did not fail because the German people democratically willed its failure by electing Hitler. To that extent, your claim that Nazi Germany exemplifies democracy facilitating tyranny is flawed.

    I do not, incidentally, dispute that democracy can facilitate tyranny. I am just rather tired of the canard that it did so in the case of the Nazis.

  • I have really answered all your points methinks.

    Unlike Chavez, Hitler was not simply elected as tyrant (with Chavez, it is very clear cut). However the NSDAP did have enough electoral support so that Hitler was able to point to the fact he was head of a major political party (we are not talking fringe screwballs like the BNP here), so clearly the reason he ended up Der Fuhrer was enough people voted for him to make him a contender (which does not reflect on the very basis of democracy itself).

    However he was not directly elected to be Europe’s Nightmare-in-Chief (hence it is an ‘ambiguous’ indictment of the German democratic process). I was not saying any more than that. Perhaps you might like to re-read my first paragraph in the article as I think I have explained by position satisfactorily now.

  • Oh, for crying out loud, why can’t you admit when you’re wrong? :0)

    You wrote: “the democratic majority for Chavez was far less ambiguous than the ones that incrementally brought Hitler to power.”

    No democratic majority brought Hitler to power and no amount of equivocation about his having a large electoral base from which to negotiate or bully for the chancellorship changes that fact.

    You also wrote that democracy ‘made’ or facilitated Germany’s descent into Nazi tyranny. It did not.

    If anything, democracy came very close to ending Hitler’s hopes.

  • Allan

    The classical socialist twist to the removal of the TV franchise (to return to the subject), is the confiscation of the assets of the old station, and their “nationalisation” for the new “people’s” company.

  • No democratic majority brought Hitler to power and no amount of equivocation about his having a large electoral base from which to negotiate or bully for the chancellorship changes that fact.

    If Hitler never had any majorities in any of the constituencies the NSDAP stood in, please explain how they got all those seats in the Reichstag and why the Nazis became one of the major political parties. Sorry but your comment does not really make sense to me.

    Millions of people voted for Hitler. How is that not an expression of a democratic process facilitating the rise of the Nazi Party? Unlike Chavez they did not vote him into the top office (which is why I used the word ambiguous), but their votes, their so-called democratic ‘consent’, is what make him the big player and thus made it possible for what eventually happened.

    If millions had not voted for the creep, history would have shaken out very differently. All they had to do was not vote for him… but they did and that is what cannot be escaped.

  • Sir Dave

    Hitler got in power because the majority of German voters believed in the same things he did— totalitarianism;socialist economics;aggressive state imperialism;ethnic supremacy and Jew-hatred…in short,they loved him.

  • This is becoming annoying. Perry’s point is very well made, and Edward is simply arguing semantics. I keep wondering why, until Sir Dave comes along and gives me a thought.

  • Alisa, you’re a creep.

    Perry – “Millions of people voted for Hitler. How is that not an expression of a democratic process facilitating the rise of the Nazi Party?”

    Not quite the same claim as ‘the democratic process bringing Hitler to power’, is it?

    You started by saying democracy brought Hitler to power. You now say it facilitated his rise.

    I am glad we have laid the ghost of Goebbels’ most successful propaganda coup.

  • Nick M

    OK, I could be very wrong here but…

    My understanding is that Hitler’s rise was because he represented a convergence of interests who underestimated him. He appealed to the Prussian military hierachy because he was for re-armament, he appealed to the industrialists because he wasn’t a communist and had Goering smooching both the military and the industrialists. He also appealed to a lot of average joes because he promised jobs. The mistake these groups made was to believe that once he had attained power he could be controlled or mitigated or that it would just be a “phase” that Germany needed to go through – a sort of political shock therapy. Of course he also appealed to the anti-semitic Deutchland uber Alles nut-jobs who I suppose, in a way, voted for Hitler more honestly than the other groups.

    There’s an even scarier thing about Hitler though. Imagine that, just after the Anschluss, he got hit by an omnibus. He would probably now be widely regarded as one of the truly great statesmen of C20th. The anti-semitism, the eugenics, the ranting about lebensraum would be forgotten. The occasional “revisionist” historian would of course publish the odd book about how Adolf the Great was actually a very dangerous and unpleasant individual but it would be rebuked. Afterall, wasn’t 1930s Europe rife with anti-semites and eugenics proponents? Surely, he was just a man of his times? These aspects of his character and policy would be minor blots on his escutcheon. Now, that’s scary.

    Edward Lud,
    Whatever the details of Hitler’s rise he did through the established channels. He didn’t manage it by staging a coup or by storming the Reichstag on top of a tank. The fact that he later had the Reichstag burned down and that his SA frequently terrorised people is incidental to the fact that like Chavez he was essentially elected.

  • Nick M – “he was essentially elected”.

    Bollocks.

  • Nick M

    Edward, care to advance your argument further than a single cuss-word? ‘cos if not, then just fuck off.

  • Edward: why, because I think the plurality, if not majority, of Germans identified with Hitler’s ideas, or because I suspect that there must be a reason you keep insisting on semantic aspect of the issue rather than the issue itself? If the latter, please tell me the reason is mere pedantry: I’ll be so relieved, I’ll let you call me whatever you like.

  • Nick, I thought I had done that (Lud, this page, passim). Whether you say he was ‘essentially elected’ (whatever that means), or ‘elected’, it’s bollocks. He wasn’t. It’s a simple statement of fact. Try this:

    “In the 6 November 1932 elections, the Nazi vote fell by two million… the chief beneficiaries of the election were the conservative nationalists…and the Communists…Voter sympathy for the Nazis was not enhanced by the SA’s autumnal rampage through Silesia…For the first time, what had seemed since 1930 to be an unstoppable movement showed signs of fatigue and internal strain…

    “In December 1932 the socially conscious General Streicher succeeded Papen as chancellor… He offered Gregor Strasser the post of vice-chancellor, but the latter then tried to argue Hitler into giving his assent, and resigned all his Nazi Party offices when this was not forthcoming…there was no disguising the fact that the Nazi Party was in trouble and that the longer it remained out of power the worse it would become. On 4 December, the Nazi vote dropped again in communal elections in Thuringia, losing up to 35 per cent of its previous support in towns such as Weimar…

    “Hitler’s final ascent to the German chancellorship was due to his own political skills, the sins of commission and omission of his immediate predecessors, and President Hindenburg’s decision to pursue this fateful option…

    “The Nazis used the melodramatic term ‘seizure of power’ to describe was was actually a complex process of bargaining and intrigue in which they were not always the main actors. The outcome was never certain…

    “…Once Papen had patched together an apparently representative conservative cabinet, in which the Nazis seemed hopelessly outnumbered, and with an apprently reliable General Blomberg as Defence Minister, Hindenburg wsa prevailed upon to swear in Hitler as chancellor…

    “Those who had engineered Hitler into the chancellorship imagined that they had finally achieved a viable conservative coalition”

    From Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich (2000), pp. 144-151.

    Other leading authorities, from Bullock to Kershaw take the same line.

    It’s clear that not only did Hitler not gain power democratically, as a result of German voters putting him there, but that he was at serious risk of the majority of German voters putting him out of the game once and for all – had it not been for the intervention of cretins like Papen.

    Alisa, I have no idea how you propose to stop me calling you whatever I like. Your instincts betray you, young Skywalker.

    And your insistence on referring to my objections as ‘semantic’ suggests you don’t know what you are talking about. Even Perry has moved away from ‘the democratic process bringing Hitler to power’ in favour of the rather more nebulous ‘democratic process facilitating the rise of the Nazis’.

    In my view, it is important that Hitler did not come to power as a result of a democratic vote. It’s not just a quibble, it goes to the heart of any argument adducing the Nazis in support of the proposition that democracy-can-get-you-a-murderous-little-gangster-for-leader.

    Democracy may achieve that. But Hitler doesn’t demonstrate the proposition and it’s time we got the message.

  • Midwesterner

    Edward duL is just trolling for web hits. If his url was made to disappear, he would to.

  • Oh Buddha, it’s you, the Big Swinging Dick’s Protective Short-and-Curlies. That makes an unholy alliance of the ignorant and the myopic.

    You’re right. Time to disappear. So much for the critical rationalists.

    And that’s ‘he would, too’.

  • Sir Dave

    Edward and Nick(respectively) state some prime reasons and explanations for Hitler’s rise,in the context of political processes.But surly,the evaluation of the democratic process must be properly weighed inasmuch as there are those who consider despotism a viable/desirable outcome of this process.National socialism/fascism–that thing created by Mussolini(and transformed into ethnic national socialism/Nazism,by Hitler), is clearly the despotism of the post-industrial age.Just as nineteenth-century readers referred back to the tyrant-lover Rousseau,in order to better understand the desire to “socially contract”,so it is instructive to look to M’s transformation of Marx/Lenin in order to better understand why people seek to bargain away their power in exchange for money and security.Hugo Chavez is not the new Castro(which would be bad,in any event)…he’s the new Benito.Only,instead of invading a country with no resources,he’s exploiting those of his own.

  • Paul Marks

    I watched (thanks to Fox) the station being shut down and replaced with a Chevez station Mr Brennan.

    No doubt you will explain that away.

    As for other anti Chevez stations – there is a small cable station. Which Chevez has also threatened to shut down.

    So much for your 99% – why not just say 101%?

    Chevez has established a de facto media monopoly. His friends in the activist “workers movement” will deal with any private newspapers. Besides which (with the price controls on just about everyting) soon the only way to get supplies (for newspapers or anything else) will be to be a friend of the government.

    As for Rich Paul and “blowback”.

    There has already been “blowback” Rich Paul – but not the way you would expect.

    In 2002 there was coup against Chevez (no problem there he had lauched coups in the past himself – and he who lives by the sword…).

    However, President George Walker Bush sent out demands that Chevez not be killed (this would be against democracy you see) so he came back to power.

    One would have thought that the Americans would have learnt something from the coup against that other democrat and supporter of social justice – Norega in Panama (Norega even looked like Chevez).

    In that coup as well the Americans said “do not kill him” and he came back to power (and killed the people who had spared him).

    The blowback of saving Chevez has been lots of nationalization and price controls. There would have been a coup effort whatever the Americans did, the result of American intervention was to save the life of Chevez and (thereby) ensure that he would return to power.

    First rule of a coup – kill the key members and supporters of the government you are overturning (as many as you can, as fast as you can – keep the enemy off balance and do not allow them time to think and organize a counter attack). It is this first rule that means that senible people always tell the Americans to bugger off after a coup has actually been launched (they can be upset about all the killing that has to be done to make a coup successful – even if they rather liked the idea of a coup in theory).

    As for the last election. Well the social democrat candidate promised MORE welfare money than Chevez did (and he would have provided it – as he would not have spent the money on Chevez dreams of world influence).

    But President Carter supported Chevez anyway (which tells me all I need to know about the mainstream Ameican left – for all Nancy Pelosi’s talk of Chevez being a thug). The B.B.C. also come out with disinformation – my favourate bit (that I heard on a recent Radio 4 show – I think it was a bit from “Our Own Correspondant”) was about Chevez beng the first Presdent to provide state education for the poor (President Blanco in the 19th century was the person who actually set up tax payer funded education for the poor).

    Did Chevez really win the vote?

    I do not know whether he has really ever won any vote – but, like Perry, I do not discount this.

    I regard it as perfectly possible that many people could vote for an ex coup leader and someone who thinks that he can print as much money as he likes whilst prices remain the same.

    Liberty and democracy are indeed very different things. Indeed many people vote to have the burden of liberty removed from them.

    I know it is against the custom of the internet to refer to the National Socialists – but they are directly relevant.

    In my childhood my family lived near some Germans (the father had been a prisoner of war and he set up a Turkey farm).

    I knew the mother of the family fairly well, and she told me both how most Germans supported Hitler and how most Germans knew all about the killing of the Jews.

    It was not quite that she and her husband had supported the gassing of the Jews (at least the lady did not tell me that – but with my family name that would not have been polite), but it was something that a fairly popular leader did.

    Such is life (and death). If a majority support someone that is democracy – and if he is a pig like Chevez that is the end of liberty. Price controls mean the eventual backdoor nationalization of everything (and resistance means death, one way or another).

    I understand that this violent style of politics (mass demonstrations, killings and so on) upsets some people (it upsets me – I am reserved, timid person). But Americans had better get used to it – after all the United States is becomming (for both good and ill) more of Latin American country every day.

  • Alisa, I have no idea how you propose to stop me calling you whatever I like. Your instincts betray you, young Skywalker. Edward, I never wasted my time and money on Star Wars movies. I did see GWTW once, so: “Frankly, my dear,…” etc.

    To move beyond personal, and re semantics vs the real issue, that being, in my opinion, whether a large enough plurality of Germans in the 30ies actually identified with Hitler’s ideas. What do you think? “…what had seemed since 1930 to be an unstoppable movement”. Well, why was it so unstoppable? You may be correct that technically Hitler did not win democratically, but why is it so important, beyond semantics and technicalities? There are plenty of examples in history where various non-democratic governments, such as, for example, monarchies, supported ideas and executed policies that were perfectly consistent with the feelings of the majority of their populations. (Incidentally, often these were ideas and policies that had to do with foreigners/infidels being the source of all their problems). On the other hand, there are also plenty of examples where democratic governments supported ideas/executed policies that the majority did not support. So why is this insistence on discussing democracy vs non-democracy?

  • Eamon Brennan

    Paul

    Once again I seem to be having to defend myself from comments that I didn’t actually make. I never said 99% at all. For the record, I said this:

    97.5% of TV stations and 100% of Venezuelan newspapers are privately owned

    That was based on the following statistic:

    81 TV stations (79 privately owned)
    118 Newswpapers (118 privately owned)

    That was in response to the claim that what was happening was:

    the establishment of a state television monopoly in Venezuela

    As for RCTV. It can still broadcast on cable and satellite, which is good going for a TV station that has supposedly been shut down.

    Comfortable fantasy or awkward reality. It’s your choice.

  • Nick M

    OK, Edward Lud,
    I am not a scholar of 1930s Germany but yes, I have read Alan Bullock’s biography.

    I think that “creep” Alisa nails it. Hitler’s ultimate ascent to power may not have been democratic in whatever the strict definition of the word you insist on using but it was essentially engineered by the democratic process and it was essentially popular.

    Without the democratic process Hitler would have remained a street-ranter that nobody apart from whichever unfortunates happened to be passing within spitting distance at the time would ever have noted. Oh, he might’ve been a footnote because of the Munich putsch of ’23 but that’s all. A footnote in the history of a great nation. A pathetic mono-testiculed wanker who mattered not a jot.

    I’m not Schilling for Germany by calling it a great nation here. They are a great nation whether we like it or not. But, Mr Lud are you shilling for Nazism?

    Because, quite frankly, your semantic nonsense is beginning to piss this member of the commentariat off, considerably.

    Why hide behind words? Why sneak, when you could just Sieg Heil! and be done with it? You’re clearly either a Nazi or a tosser. Please inform.

    I do not shill for the Samizdatistas (or their commentariat’s) “critical rationalism” but I hang here because we at least aspire towards those goals.

    Actually, I’m tired of defending my viewpoint and those of my friends against a certified merchant-banker like yourself. I know well that they can defend themselves very well.

    Edward Lud, really do go fuck yourself in the rectal passage with an aubergine. You can YouTube the results if you want but I am simply past caring…

  • Sunfish

    As for RCTV. It can still broadcast on cable and satellite, which is good going for a TV station that has supposedly been shut down.

    Is that before or after the government seizes their equipment, as has been threatened?

  • Is that before or after the government seizes their equipment, as has been threatened?

    Not just threatened. The Venezuelan Supreme Court decreed it, and the military was on hand to ensure that it happened.

    For me, this is what makes it brazen thuggery. It is unfortunate that Chavez has the power to suspend the license of any TV station that opposes him, but that is apparently within the rule of law. Forcing them to turn over their equipment so that he can use it to broadcast his equally biased opinions in their place is not civilized behavior.

    It is amazing to me that anyone is defending this takeover. Chavez brazenly uses his government stations for pro-Chavista propaganda, has himself attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government of his country, currently has red-shirted brigades of thugs marching around the coutnry beating up his political opponents, and simply steals broadcast equipment from his opponents so that he can broadcast even more propaganda. It’s Allende all over again. People can make whatever arguments about the government’s market share of broadcast media they like – the point is surely that the message will have been sent that media that openly oppose the government will not last long. Anyone who thinks that RCTV’s cable operations will stay outside of government meddling for even another two years is kidding himself.

  • It’s clear that not only did Hitler not gain power democratically, as a result of German voters putting him there, but that he was at serious risk of the majority of German voters putting him out of the game once and for all – had it not been for the intervention of cretins like Papen.

    I’d be careful with this kind of argument. Popularity ebbs and flows. There’s nothing to say that Hitler wouldn’t have come back into fashion in a couple of years. Regardless, the NSDAP had the largest caucus by far in the Reichstag after the November 1932 elections – and the next-biggest party was the KPD. And then there was the DNVP, coalition with which enabled Hitler to form the government. All of which means that Alissa’s point is right: the majority of Germans in 1932 were definitely not voting for peace, human rights, the rule of law, and democracy, no matter how you slice it. They had a pretty clear preference for authoritarian government. The manipulations that put Hitler in position to seize power in 1933 were all quite normal for parliamentary democracy. In fact, as leader of the largest constituency in the Reichstag and with enough seats (in coalition with the DNVP) to form a government, he would have been Chancellor without a second thought if Hindenburg et al hadn’t been so dead-set against it. It was clearly a legal, reasonably normal democratic process that put him in position to seize power. Of course, the actual seizure of power was not democratic, and that’s what Perry means in calling it “ambiguous,” I guess.

    But I don’t really see the point of arguing over this. The analogy with Chavez is quite apt, I think. Chavez only hasn’t seized power in the way Hitler did so far because he hasn’t had to. Let his popularity start to plummet, and we’ll see what happens then, shall we?

  • Of course, I should add that since Chavez is currently ruling by decree, maybe he already has seized power in the way that Hitler did. It’s only supposed to last for 18 months, but I suspect whether it ends will have a lot to do with what his polling numbers look like when the deadline is approaching.

  • Paul Marks

    Eamon Brannan.

    There is one small cable station in the capital that reported the mass protests against Chevez.

    ONE – and Chevez responded with threats to close them down.

    So much for your 97.something per cent.

    As for “others are privately owned”.

    This would be in the same way that there are lots of “privately owned” broadcasters in Putin’s Russia.

    “Private” accept that they have to be pro regime (although even this is not all – most of the “private” broadcasters in Russia are now owned by state owned companies like GasProm).

    As for newspapers – “activists” will deal with them. And if the “activists” do not do the job, price controls will.

    I say again that soon only friends of the government will be able to get newsprint (and other such) in the country.

    Price controls (if maintained with a background of high inflation for a long period of time) mean the back door government control of all enterprises.

    Of course they also mean an economic mess – but I doubt Chevez thinks about that.