Some are more equal than others in socialist Venezuela

By Jarrett Stepman | The Daily Signal

It’s amazing how similarly “real” socialism turns out, every time it’s tried.

In George Orwell’s book, “Animal Farm”–essentially the story of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, told through farm animals—there is an incredible moment where the animals, who suffer under the system of communism that they’ve created, come to a horrible realization that everything has gone wrong.

At a lavish dinner party with the humans, the animals’ leaders, the pigs—who promised them a life of plenty and perfect equality—morph into the tyrants the animals thought they had overthrown.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which,” Orwell wrote.

It is a perfect tale about absolute power and corruption—the end stage of communism.

All animals were equal, but some animals were more equal than others.

And so it is in Venezuela, where a socialist regime once praised by The New York Times as both successful and sustainable, is teetering on the brink of collapse while its leaders are dining at fine restaurants.

A video recently surfaced of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, once democratically elected but now clinging to power through brute force and fraud elections, eating at one of the most expensive restaurants in the world.

In the video, celebrity chef Nusret Gokce, who goes by the name Salt Bae, carves meat for Maduro and his wife in a stylized way while they dine at Salt Bae’s world-renowned Turkish steakhouse, Nusr-Et.

There was immediate blowback on social media.

As many point out, what makes this so galling is that in Maduro’s country, once one of the most prosperous in South America, the average Venezuelan starves in abject, state-created poverty.

A poll released Monday found that 84.3 percent of Venezuelans want international assistance to solve their food shortage.

The Miami Herald highlighted some other shocking numbers that have led the Venezuelan people to desperation.

“Asked about their weekly eating habits, 30.5 percent [of Venezuelans] said they often ate only once a day and 28.5 percent reported that they ate ‘nothing or close to nothing’ at least one day a week. In all, 78.6 percent reported trouble keeping themselves fed,” the newspaper said.

Although Venezuela sits on the largest oil reserves in the world, its economy is an almost unparalleled catastrophe. A recent study found that inflation is likely to hit 1 million percent by the end of the year, as basic food items and supplies become increasingly impossible for average citizens to buy because of price or scarcity.

For every crisis, the Maduro regime turns to another state-directed action that got the country into this plight. To counteract the out-of-control inflation it caused, the Maduro regime raised minimum wages by 3,000 percent.

The result?

Workers have been fired en masse and businesses around the country have been forced to close.

According to the Miami Herald, 40 percent of Venezuela’s stores have stopped doing business—perhaps permanently.

The devastation in Venezuela serves as only the most recent warning about the result of socialism and communism.

Though the ideology promises equality, fairness, and an end to hardship, in the end socialism leads to tyranny, exploitation, and uninhibited corruption.

It rots the soul of a nation.

And it should be a warning to us as well.

Americans, especially millennials, increasingly say they embrace living under “socialism” over capitalism.

While American politicians such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promise us the moon if we will only tax the rich and embrace “democratic socialism,” this is what it truly means in practice.

Perhaps fortunately, when most people in America say they want socialism, they are really just saying they want a more aggressive version of progressivism, as David Azerrad, The Heritage Foundation’s director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, explained in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Of course, those Americans may reconsider when they realize the price tag, which can’t be merely paid by taxing the wealthy, will come down hard on them.

Americans have been blessed to live in a country with a generally free economy and a strong rule of law, thanks to a culture that values those qualities and a Constitution that limits the scope of government.

There is no utopia, no panacea of perfect human equality. Just the corruption and deprivation that results from giving government unchecked power—a result of ignoring James Madison’s warning in Federalist 51.

If men were angels, we wouldn’t need government, Madison wrote, but because man is fallen—more than a beast but far from an angel—we “must first enable the government to control the governed.”

Then just as importantly, he wrote, we must “oblige it to control itself.”

Life in Venezuela, where the people starve and predatory leaders — who can’t or won’t control themselves – stuff their faces, is what it’s like under “real” socialism.

Perhaps we should finally heed this warning and banish forever the whimsical notions of socialism’s potential.

Image courtesy of Public domain

3 thoughts on “Some are more equal than others in socialist Venezuela

  1. Socialism is said to be when a government controls the means of production. Confusing because if the taxes are so onerous there can be no profit, the rules, and regulations so restrictive or demanding, your name might be on the sign outside but who really owns the business? If your neighbor paid a mortgage on their home for 25 years, put in new windows, painted it every five years, rebuilt the chimney, dug a new septic, and then had to leave because they could no longer pay the taxes, who really owns the home? When you are forced to buy an exorbitant health care plan but then discover you can’t use it because your deductible is unaffordable, don’t we already have socialism?

  2. I suggest the Bernmeister immigrate there as he would be more than equal and could join the ministry of Venezuelan truth,he has plenty of hot air to sell his beloved Marxism.

  3. Karl Marx said that the only valid class distinctions were between the working class and the ruling class – as we see in societies that have had Socialism/Communism forced upon them, e,g, Maduro, Castro. Or Stalin. There is always an underclass that cannot be made, without force, to be more productive than they need to be and socialism eliminates the personal “need to be” so socialism achieves equality the Venezuelan way by stealing from the productive sector the economic tools essential to expand productivity. The ruling class cannot of course be expected to be equal to the working class and the entrepreneurial bourgeois, deprived of the economic means to succeed, disappears. Equality achieved. It is notable that the most coveted jobs, the employment brass ring in socialist/Communist countries, are in government employment.

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