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Chávez’s Better World

Presented for your consideration, two quotations and a hyperlink:

“I am convinced that the path to a new, better and possible world is not capitalism, the path is socialism.”

-Hugo Chávez

“I have said it already, I am convinced that the way to build a new and better world is not capitalism. Capitalism leads us straight to hell.”

-Hugo Chávez

Venezuelan Bolivar now worth more as toilet paper than as money.

51 comments to Chávez’s Better World

  • To quote Mr. Ed (the commenter, not the talking horse): Cannibalism is socialism in a hurry

    So good thing they were not in a hurry then I suppose.

  • Mr Ed

    In the 1980s in Portugal, you could trade the Venezuela currency in bureaux de change, as so many Portuguese worked there as Gastarbeitern. Concorde flew from Paris to Caracas, stopping in the Azores for fuel. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32833477 A Colombian told me in the early 1990s how resented were the sneering, rich Venezuelans in Colombia’s Caribbean resorts, looking down on the poorer Colombians. Now look at the place, all because too many scumbags were too stupid, envious and irrational to look at Cuba and the Cayman Islands and see which worked.

    Sadly, the scum there do not deserve not to starve, but that is no reason for the decent ones to go down with them, like the former deputy Marina Corina Machado, here addressing the National Assembly in a great speech (in Spanish). http://youtu.be/Ar5qvetvAZ4

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    Hey Perry,

    Bonus points for the Twilight Zone reference. 🙂

  • Lee Moore

    I always wonder about these fellows – which are the ones who actually believe this stuff about socialism working and capitalism not working, and which are the ones who are just happy to spout populist nonsense which gives them power ? In the early days, it was possible for socialists sincerely to believe that socialism would work. If success wasn’t immediate, it was just teething troubles. But since, say 1945, certainly since 1960, how could anyone seriously believe it ?

    I’m sure there are lots of low information voters who sincerely believe that the government organising things would work better….because they’re low information voters. And there may be a few Tony Benn type dreamers who through sheer battiness genuinely believe in the sunlit socialist uplands.

    But I suspect Chavez and most of the people like him, who acquire countries to play with, are not fools but just workaday knaves. They start with some vague half digested socialist ideas, and then when they don’t work, they realise it was all nonsense. But that no longer matters.

    “For mine own good,
    All causes shall give way. I am in blood*
    Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
    Returning were as tedious as go o’er.”

    * often blood, but price controls can usually deliver much the same devastation.

  • K

    Yeah, but my awesome new super duper socialism is gonna work just fine!

    That Pope guy

  • Lee Moore
    May 26, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    I was having a discussion here: http://www.whosay.com/status/sarahsilverman/1106044#comments about Rand Paul’s –>

    “With regard to the idea whether or not you have a right to health care you have to realize what that implies. I am a physician. You have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. You are going to enslave not only me but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants, the nurses. … You are basically saying you believe in slavery,” said Paul (R-Ky.)

    And the person I was discussing with believes (with no evidence and plenty of counter evidence) that socialism can work. So it is not just knaves. Fools abound. Otherwise libertarians would make up 80% of the electorate instead of about 15%.

  • Veryretired

    They’re getting exactly what they asked for over the course of several elections, and they’re getting it good and hard.

    Anyone who claims something good is going to happen to those living in a collectivist society is either a deluded fool, or a liar, or some of each.

    And that includes Pope Fidel and all his liberation buddies.

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    I think it is seen as a challenge. Just because Statism has failed in the past, that doesn’t mean it will fail NOW! With modern gizmoes, and that machine that goes ‘ping!’, we can now make it work! Just one more try! There were plenty of failed attempts at conquering Mt. Everest, and then it became blase. And don’t Americans have a ‘We can do anything!’ belief?

  • Ellen

    Back during the Hippie era, I lived in a commune. (I was one of the people who had a job.) “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Yes, that was the ticket. But lord, lord, how those needs could expand faster than ability could!

    After a couple of years I got out of there, and I’ve never been tempted by the concept again. But even personal testimony doesn’t convince those who want to believe.

  • Thailover

    If it’s good enough for Hugo, it’s good enough for Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte and Sean Penn. Surely these retarded elitist artisans, these rich capitalists, these feeders of common (in Latin, vulgar) consumerism, (who hate consumerism and capitalism) can’t be wrong.

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    Well, Hollywoodians might feel obliged to be crowd-pleasers so their movies don’t suffer from boycotts. Also, not many of them believe in reincarnation ot Karma (though a few do), so they feel guilty about their looks which have made them rich, since they feel these were undeserved.

  • Thailover

    Lee Moore paraphrase Ayn Rand (knowingly or unknowingly). 🙂

    “Fifty years ago, there might have been some excuse (though not justification) for the widespread belief that socialism is a political theory motivated by benevolence and aimed at the achievement of men’s well-being. Today, that belief can no longer be regarded as an innocent error. Socialism has been tried on every continent of the globe. In the light of its results, it is time to question the motives of socialism’s advocates…When you consider the global devastation perpetrated by socialism, the sea of blood and the millions of victims, remember that they were sacrificed, not for “the good of mankind” nor for any “noble ideal,” but for the festering vanity of some scared brute or some pretentious mediocrity who craved a mantle of unearned “greatness”—and that the monument to socialism is a pyramid of public factories, public theaters and public parks, erected on a foundation of human corpses, with the figure of the ruler posturing on top, beating his chest and screaming his plea for “prestige” to the starless void above him. ~ Ayn Rand, The Monument Builders, Dec 1962

  • Thailover

    Nicholas, Sean Penn’s looks are certainly deserved IMO. lol

  • Rich Rostrom

    The degree to which an intelligent and knowledgeable person can nonetheless embrace nonsense, and remain profoundly ignorant about fundamental facts, is almost incomprehensible to people who are sensible. And the Dunning-Kruger effect applies: when people are sufficiently ignorant, they don’t even know they are ignorant.

    Chavez and his crew were motivated by intense resentment of the moneyed elite in Venezuela, which was corrupt, and what was worse, indifferent to the Venezuelan masses. For a while, Venezuela was awash in oil money, and the upper classes got very rich. When oil prices collapsed in the 1990s, the party ended, but the upper classes stayed rich while benefits to the masses got cut back. By 1998, there was a lot of rage building up, which Chavez shared and tapped into.

    There was a race factor in play – Venezuela’s elite were criollo (colonial white), while the lower classes were part Indio and black.

    I think for Chavez it was all about those factors: the selfishness, indifference, and corruption of the “establishment”. “Socialism” was simply the most convenient vehicle for their resentment. Actual knowledge never came into it.

  • Thailover

    Nicholas wrote,

    “Well, Hollywoodians might feel obliged to be crowd-pleasers so their movies don’t suffer from boycotts.”

    Well, I for one refuse to watch a Mel Gibson, Danny Glover or Sean Penn movie. Not because I’m being a selfrighteous prig, but because I just can’t make myself forget who I’m watching and can’t see them as the characters they’re representing. When Gibson isn’t in some god-aweful Lethal Weapon movie, or his god-aweful version of Hamlet, he’s not that bad, but I can’t bring myself to watch him anyway. ‘Boycott by default I suppose. Which is a shame because Payback actually looks like an interesting movie.

  • Thailover

    K wrote,

    “Signed, that Pope Guy”

    Collectivism under any other name is still collectivism. It’s impossible I suppose for a pope to not be a collectivist. This one is just explicitly double-dipping in the collectivist pot.

  • Thailover

    Rich wrote,

    “And the Dunning-Kruger effect applies: when people are sufficiently ignorant, they don’t even know they are ignorant.”

    Ignorance is cured by a brief explanation. Otherwise intelligent people believing idiotic things is more than mere ignorance, it’s willful ignorance and “faithfulness” to the belief, motivated and by some (probably emotional) need.

  • jsallison

    So maybe it’s time for the US to start shoveling out the Augean stable left behind by the Spanish monarchy. How many in Mexico would applaud our presence? If we could shut down the drug gangs and the bipartisan permanente fusion caudillo party (and in that number I include many in the Mexican government) I suspect that number would be surprisingly large.

    I’d rather Mexico sorted out it’s own problems, but not seeing that happening anytime remotely plausible.

  • jsallison

    Then again, we all know the Ukrainians greeted the Wehrmacht as liberators. We also all know how that turned out. One of Adolf’s larger cockups.

  • Jerry

    Every time one of these wannabe dictators gets their hands on the controls of a country they spout the same socialistic gibberish.
    More government is the solution to everything.
    We’re all going to be better off blah blah blah.

    I really don’t think the ones who attain power believe what they are pushing on everyone else. If they are smart enough to attain the power, they’re smart enough to know that, now, after almost a century of constant and consistent failures of the stupid ideas from Marx et al that the damned thing simply does not work and never will.
    They sell the ideas knowing full well the ideas will fail BUT the salesman will attain what they want, power, and that is all that really matters to them.

  • This is what happens when those who try to seize power by force are not sent to the gallows. (Along with Soviet Communism and National Socialism.)

  • Thailover

    Jerry, the desire or draw of the “unwashed” masses towards the tribal premise is innate to humanity imo. I won’t say instinct, since instinct is innate knowledge, like a blue bird knowing how to build a blue bird nest and dance the blue bird mating dance. I don’t think people have instinct in that manner, but there does seem to be some natural drive or draw for people to glom onto this tribal premise, where an infinitely wise paternalistic chieftain will cure all ills, where everyone gets their “fair share” from a statically pre-existing pile of wealth that needs only be hunted, gathered, scavenged (and looted), and everyone attains self actualization vai doing their specific role for the (“something greater than myself”) tribe (society) as a calling rather than a profitable profession, and where equal always magically means fair. Of course, this world hasn’t existed since the beginning of the Neolithic period 10,000yrs ago, (if at all), but that hasn’t slowed the Progs any, and their multi-faceted message rings true in the ears of the majority and they show a marked resistance (blind eye and ear) to any explanations to the contrary, no matter how straight forward, fact-supported and cogent.

  • A totalitarian is a totalitarian.

    It doesn’t matter if the bullet in your head was placed there by a National Socialist, a Soviet Communist, or (if the next election goes really wrong) a follower of Hillary Stalinova. What does matter is that you are the victim of someone who truly believed that you and other people existed to serve as tools and materials for the construction of their ideological fantasy and who also believed that those who do not submit are trash to be disposed of.

    Every member of the founding leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was once in the custody of the Russian Police for their revolutionary activities. They should have been put to death but were instead imprisoned and eventually released. Adolf Hitler was arrested and tried for his attempt to overthrow the State Government of Bavaria by force. He should have been hanged for treason but was instead imprisoned and released.

    Tens of millions of people died because persons in positions of authority did not recognize the danger that these violent revolutionaries represented and failed to exercise the full powers available to them to prevent the great massacres of the Twentieth Century.

  • The cause of the failure of socialism is always, always, always wreckers and kulaks, who need to be re-educated and otherwise oppressed.

    Once the evil monied classes are sufficiently pacified, the socialist paradise will be achieved. They just need a few more bullets, a few more camps, a few more show trials to get there.

  • Lee Moore

    Thailover : Lee Moore paraphrase Ayn Rand (knowingly or unknowingly)

    I’ve never made any sort of claim to be an original thinker. I merely repeat what is obvious….because it is so frequently denied. Another unoriginal thought, though I don’t recall who I’ve borrowed it from.

  • Mr Ed

    The BBC struggles, like a child grasping an eel in a rock pool, to get to grips with economic reality and the causes of Venezuela’s ills here.


    The good news is that they are too busy looking for food and supplies to worry about the horrific crime rate.

  • Snag

    I understand the Dunning-Kruger effect much better than most people.

  • It’s impossible I suppose for a pope to not be a collectivist.

    One would think the Pope of all people should not be if he actually grasps the underpinnings of Catholic theology. Key to Catholicism is personal moral choice, and you cannot impose moral choice at spear point. Compliance yes, moral choice, no. Which does lead me to the answer the age-old joke “Is the Pope a Catholic?” with “The evidence indicates no, not really”.

    For much of its history, the Catholic Church’s actions have indicated only a tenuous relationship to the New Testament, so the current Pope (who says he favours punching people who offend him) is just latest in a long line of Popes who have either not read or at least not understood the teachings of a certain Jewish carpenter. Yet another reason I do not regret having become a Pastafarian.

  • Jesus was a working guy. The Pope isn’t.

  • staghounds

    Worthless currency is a goal, not a side effect.

    Sound money, even a couple of gold coins in a labourer’s piggy bank, represents an alternative source of personal power and a mechanism for private decision making that is under individual control.

    State power, State largesse, and ONLY the State’s.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “I am convinced that the path to a new, better and possible world is not capitalism, the path is socialism.”

    Sounds like the SNP to me.

  • Mary Contrary

    The BBC struggles, like a child grasping an eel in a rock pool, to get to grips with economic reality

    You think? It read to me as the BBC struggling desperately to support the Venezuelan government’s line that shortages are caused by irrational hoarding behaviour by people with psychological flaws.

    Funny how only strongly socialist economies seem to be infested with irrational hoarders. Bad luck, I suppose.

  • Mr Ed

    Mary C: They seemed almost to grasp a link between price controls and shortages, but felt obliged to let the ranters have their say first, hoping that their message would be accepted, and to hide the explanation in a fog of comment. Perhaps the BBC types do genuinely believe that price controls work, in one breath, and then will talk about supply-and-demand in the next when looking at, say, house prices in North London. The most important thing to learn in a socialist society is what to say and when to say it (and the facial grimaces that go with your slogans).

    These irrational hoarders don’t last forever you know, they get re-educated.

  • Johnnydub

    “Perhaps the BBC types do genuinely believe that price controls work” – well they certainly seemed to think that ED’s energy price freeze was the answer… the gullible twats…

  • TDK

    This calls for some sort of “first cuckoo of spring” competition

    The first person to spot a deliberate “distancing” by an avowed Socialist gets a free pint on me. Something along the lines of “well of course if Trotsky had…”/”if Chavez had lived…” etc. Has to be a well known Socialist like Penny Red, Polly Toynbee, Ken Livingstone, Ed Milliband et al.

    Or we could do a sweepstake: how long will it take before the standard line becomes “Oh come on, no one ever claimed Venezuela was real socialism …”

    I’m going to go for 2025. There has to be an interim period of embarrassed silence prior to switching

  • Paul Marks

    Lee – someone who often says “I repeat the obvious – because it is so frequently denied”.

    That would be me – I have been saying that for about 35 years. For example by saying that the American Progressive movement (the people who pushed for the Corporation Tax in 1909 and the Federal Income Tax in 1913) were not helping the rich and big business (as Kolko and co claimed), but were actually looting the rich and big business.

    And are still doing so – the proportion of Federal revenue that comes from “the rich” has never been higher, and American business taxes (which fall on big business) are amongst the highest in the world.

    Even after 35 years of pointing things out (pointing out the obvious) I find that I have to do so just as much as ever – as people get their view of the world from television and Hollywood “bastard Marxism” where “the rich” and “big business” “control the government”.

    When people have seen this several thousand times on television shows and in Hollywood films (and it has been confirmed by libertarians such as the late Murray Rothbard, and the very much alive Sean Gabb) the truth has little chance.

    But I keep stating the truth (the obvious – but ignored) anyway.

  • Paul Marks

    I had almost finished a comment – but it has vanished, I will try to remember it.

    The problem is a lot bigger than formal socialism.

    The idea of “positive rights” (the idea that people have needs that must be met at the FORCED expense of others) is ancient – Brian Tierney in “The Idea of Natural Rights” claims it was a common place in the Middle Ages.

    I think Tierney is exaggerating when he claims that ALL theologians and Canon Lawyers held this view – a view that the Christian virtue was compulsory (compulsory charity – dry liquid) a matter of justice (i.e. of force). However, it is clear that many did hold this logically (and morally) absurd position.

    Also many theologians and Canon Lawyers held that there was such a thing as a “just price” or a “fair wage” DIFFERENT to the market price or wage.

    Murray Rothbard is actually good here – by pointing out that not all Catholic scholars held such terrible opinions, indeed Rothbard argued that it was minority (that the majority opposed such evil).

    However, it is not a minority now – and not just among Catholic thinkers.

    Whether it is Pope Francis or some Anglican Archbishop, the ideas of “just price”, “fair wage” and “positive rights” (the “right” to use violence to loot others) are certainly common place now – even if they (contra Tierney) were not the universal opinion of the Middle Ages).

    So it is not just atheist socialists.

    It is people such as Pope Francis also who hold the ideas of “just price”, “fair wage” and “positive rights”.

    The ideas that are destroying the world.

    People filled with good intentions – but without understanding.

  • Paul Marks

    It could be argued that as soon as a Church calls upon the state to enforce a “tithe” (a tax to the Church) rather than relying on voluntary contributions, the corruption has already set in.

    And, of course, the “tithe” is justified by reference to the “rights of the poor”.

    Yes “fat priests” do exist (just as corrupt businessmen after government favours do indeed exist – Kolko did not invent out of whole cloth, he took something real but then absurdly exaggerated it).

    However, most of the tithe was indeed spent on the poor – it really was.

    That does NOT justify it.

  • Thailover
    May 27, 2015 at 2:54 am

    What a man believes at age 30 he is stuck with the rest of his life baring a major shock. The reason is that endocannabinoids give the brain plasticity (and s certain amount of stupidity) and production starts declining around age 25. Thus “never trust anyone over 30.” And –>

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” – Max Planck

    The only hope for change is to get the youth. And keeping at that until change comes.

  • Tedd

    I think Nick Gray basically nailed it. The idea that government can (and therefore should) do certain things better than “the private sector” is axiomatic to a lot of people. It’s not a question of either principle or theory. In most cases they are scarcely aware of either, as applied to politics. Add to that mix a few mal-heuristics (“the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” or “naked self interest will prevail in a free market”) and you have all you need to convince the majority.

    MSimon’s comment is also relevant. Not that a person over 30 isn’t going to learn a few things. If not there would be even less wisdom in the world than there is now. But the heuristics by which most people operate most of the time are well entrenched by that point, and changing them is very hard.

  • What a man believes at age 30 he is stuck with the rest of his life baring a major shock.

    I became a Pastafarian in my forties, so I must disagree 😉

  • Runcie Balspune

    As a seasoned skeptic, I subscribe to a number of skeptical podcasts, which regularly de-construct and debunk the “woo” of alternative medicine, pseudoscience, and such, in what can only be described as an intelligent and evidence based manner, but unfortunately it is clear a lot of them are also leftists, and firmly in the “skeptical about everything apart from carbon based CAGW” camp, together with the cognitive dissonance of violently banning “denier” opinion whilst promoting legislation that protects anti-quack criticism, so therefore having selective blind spots on their skeptical outlook, and it occurred to me that socialism is basically the “woo” of politics and economics, and due to their left leaning view I have to come to places like here to see thorough debunking of such subjects, and it is dismally apparent that you could actually have interesting and entertaining conversations with such people unless it got into climate change or social-economics.

  • Stuck-Record

    I recently spoke to a bright young aquaintance who had returned from a holiday in Vietnam. They live in London, went to Uni, works in the media, has all the advantages of Western 21st Century living; iPhone etc.

    She regaled the room with tales of how thrilling and vibrant the country now was but added, as a coda, that every young Vietnamese she met was desperate for consumer goods, western freedoms and international travel.

    She told them, “No, DON’T DO IT! Stay exactly like you are. Modern life isn’t worth it.”

    All the other media people nodded sagely before sipping their imported wine and studying their iPhones.

  • Eric

    Then again, we all know the Ukrainians greeted the Wehrmacht as liberators. We also all know how that turned out. One of Adolf’s larger cockups.

    Yes and no. Killing and replacing the Slavs with Germans was the point of the invasion. Certainly he would have been better off waiting until Moscow fell, but it wasn’t the case of needlessly provoking people with whom he intended to live amicably.

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    Tedd, whilst I like praise, my only comments in this post have about how communism might seem like a challenge, and how we should get Hollywoodians to embrace reincarnation so they don’t feel guilty about having good looks.
    Maybe you should credit someone else, though I certainly agree with those words which someone else said.

  • Ya know…the apologists for Socialism may not be as enthusiastic about it if they had to experience it from the victims point of view.

    Lets say a vacation at a reproduction of the gulag such as Camp Stalin or Camp Mao?

  • Perry de Havilland (London)
    May 27, 2015 at 8:40 am

    It is past time to get back to the Old Time religion. If it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for me.

    And aside from the humor I was introduced to some Christian sects that celebrated all the Jewish holidays. A very small minority to be sure.

    Leslie Bates
    May 28, 2015 at 2:49 am

    We have a very nice gulag going in America. More imprisoned per capita or numerically than Stalin or Mao ever dreamed of. Of course they killed a lot of people to keep expenses down. So there is that.

  • Perry de Havilland (London)
    May 27, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    I was speaking of the mean. You are a standard deviation. 😉

  • Runcie Balspune

    More imprisoned per capita or numerically than Stalin or Mao ever dreamed of.

    I disagree, Stalin and Mao technically had an imprisonment rate of close to 100%.

  • Runcie Balspune
    May 28, 2015 at 10:12 am

    America is defacto in that position. Do you know how difficult it is to stop being an American for tax purposes?