Venezuelan Economic Disaster: Finding Moral Equivalence Between Socialism and the "Right Wing" in America


WLRN, a radio station out of Miami, has a decent report from Tim Padgett on how crummy things have gotten in Venezuela, a land where many of the staples of modern society and life are unavailable thanks to grotesque socialist mismanagement of the economy. 

It's a nation where, as Padgett reports, engineers spend all day in lines trying and often failing to purchase basic staples of life, where medical professionals flee because anesthesia and other basic medical supplies are impossible to find and a doctor might be as apt to be robbed by a would-be patient as treat them effectively.

Padgett has the sense to detect there is some relevance in the fact that calling yourself "Stalin" is an acceptable and even maybe cool thing in that troubled country. You know, totalitarian communism, when taken for a good thing, can lead to some predictable troubles. (Ayn Rand wrote a novel about it, one that, as all right-thinking Americans know, is evil, idiotic and absurd and has nothing to tell you about life on earth.)

But Padgett drops in a rather jaw-dropping bit of "plague on both their houses" moral equivalence in the middle, blaming Venezuela's problems not on socialism, communism, or political management of the economy per se, but just on ideology, which is always bad, right? After all:

This didn't happen just because the Venezuelan revolution's policies are leftist. It's because – from reckless social spending to the senseless nationalization of businesses – they're blindly ideological.

Like, say, the dogmatically right-wing economic agenda here – from reckless financial deregulation to the senseless concentration of wealth – which shot down the U.S. during the 2000s as blindly as Dick Cheney fired buckshot on quail hunts.

Ideologues are always right, everyone else is always wrong – and the results are almost always catastrophic, from the Great Recession of 2008 to the Venezuelan Meltdown of 2015.

Irony becomes our only defense here. Yes, people unable or unwilling to pay their mortgages leading to powerful and politically influential financial intermediaries losing big bucks, most of whom had their troubles made good by government action and most of whom made their bad decisions in the first place knowing that would be the case, leading to slowdowns in employment and GDP growth, are "catastrophic" on the same level as people standing in line all days for food that often isn't there, and medical care becoming more or less impossible.

And catastrophic in the same way across "ideological lines"—leftism and "right wing" thought (search hard for the "right wing" agenda in America's post-2008 troubles largely caused from personal problems, bad business decisions, and cronyism) equally bad, equally catastrophic. Don't get me wrong, reader, because I can see and report the travails of socialism that are right before anyone's eyes! Believe me, I know the "right" is also to blame, for something, somewhere.

Some recent writings here on Venezuela's troubles from Ed Krayewski and J.D. Tuccille.