Nothing to See Here, Move Along
Reading about Venezuela under Chavez, you get the impression that the situation gets more predictable every day. His latest assurance to the public, for example, is that private property will be respected.
Kinda reminds me of Chomsky's favorite line - about how the renaming of the "Department of War" in 1947 to the "Department of Defense" was supposed to be a subtle signal that its real purpose would now be to wage war. Orwellian doublespeak. Somehow I don't think Chomsky's going to write any papers about how what Chavez really means when he says "private property will be respected" is that there will be no more private property.
In some important sense, after all, there already isn't any in Venezuela. The government has already nationalized all the banks, brazenly seized a television station that it found ... inconvenient ... and regularly fixes prices in shops. Now Chavez is saying that he wants a constitutional reform that will "expand the concept of ownership," but of course there's nothing to worry about because it will still respect private property "as long as proprietors and investors respect the law." Alright, I'll give anyone three guesses as to what's coming next - and you're a dumbass if you use all three.
As long as proprietors respect the law? Whatever can THAT mean? 'Cause if I'm not mistaken, it's sort of status quo around the world that property-owners have to respect the law, eh? So...
Oh, right, and I almost forgot to mention this lovely bit of line-item commentary from our beloved liberal media:
Critics accuse Chavez of steering this oil-rich South American nation toward Cuba-style communism, and many wealthy Venezuelans fear second homes, yachts or other assets could be seized.
Gee - that's not so bad then, right? Second homes, yachts? Heh - somehow I don't think that's all they're worried about...
Add a dash of the characteristic socialist stupidity -
I'm going to begin a fight against the mega-salaries," Chavez said, adding that no public servant should make more than $7,000 a month. Most Venezuelans make minimum wage - roughly $250 a month.
- and you get a country that's really about to go bottoms up any time in the next decade. Let's think about this... Amidst a frenzy of nationalization, we're going to cut government salaries? Yeah - nothing about that will encourage anyone to abuse their newfound powers of property seizure, nope! They'll simply take their massive paycuts like the patriots they are and... Which is to say nothing of bribes - and this in a country where everyone is rapidly becoming more dependent on the government. I mean, you'd almost think he was studying Soviet mistakes so he could repeat them deliberately.
Oh, yeah, and in other news, foreigners who don't like him will be deported. Imagine GW pulling that stunt! But this is super-rich, coming from the guy who went to the UN and called Bush "the devil" - right there in New York City. It's also super-rich coming from the guy who was recently "deeply offended" that anyone thought he was trampling on free speech rights when he shut down that TV station that didn't like him.
"How long are we going to allow a person - from any country in the world - to come to our own house to say there's a dictatorship here, that the president is a tyrant, and nobody does anything about it?" Chavez asked during his weekly television and radio program.
Well, gee, how does "forever" sound? Foreigners come to the US all the time and say roughly the same; the last thing we do is prove them right by punishing them for it! So this is Chavista "free speech" - freedom to say anything you want ... bucept if the government doesn't like it. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the "expansion of the concept of ownership" will mean something like own anything you want ... bucept if you use it in a way the government doesn't like.
Why, why, WHY is this crap still going on after an ENTIRE CENTURY OF PROOF IT DOESN'T WORK???
I will close with a quote from a great defender of Capitalism:
How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
The sad thing is - I think Chavez understands Marx and Lenin just fine - he just doesn't care 'cause he's the one holding the reigns. What's too bad is that the masses of South America don't seem to. I guess we'll repeat this painful lesson yet again, then.