Socialism Killed My Father

Venezuela's failed collectivist experiment brought death and despair to a once-prosperous country.


I was working in Silicon Valley when my mother called me from back home in Caracas with some alarming news: My father had experienced sudden kidney failure. I immediately flew from San Francisco to Miami, where I had to wait two days until I could get one of the few flights left to Caracas. Since the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 ushered in successive waves of nationalization, inflation, and recession, international airlines—American, Delta, United Airlines, even carriers from next-door Colombia and Brazil—had been steadily reducing, canceling, and eventually abandoning all routes to my once-prosperous country. I slept in the Miami International Airport with many other desperate Venezuelans. Finally I was able to purchase a ticket for an exorbitant sum from Santa Barbara Airlines, a Venezuelan carrier that has since gone bankrupt.

Fortunately, my father was still alive when I arrived in Caracas, but he required continuous dialysis. Even in the best of the few remaining private clinics, there was a chronic lack of basic supplies and equipment. Dialyzers had to be constantly reused, and there were not enough medicines for patients. In several parts of the country, electricity and water were also rationed, including in hospitals. Given the precarious economic situation, and thanks to our comparatively advantageous financial situation, we decided the best course of action would be to leave Venezuela and fly to my father's native Madrid, where he could get the treatment he needed.

But because of the decimated air travel situation, we had to wait three weeks for the next available flight to Spain. The few airline companies still operating in Venezuela had reduced their flights dramatically because of Venezuelan government controls. Sadly, the Caracas dialysis couldn't hold out that long. Just two days before he was scheduled to leave his adopted country, my father died because of its disastrous policies. I still remember it vividly. I cannot forget.

That was August 26, 2013, a few months after Nicolás Maduro had assumed control of the country in the wake of Hugo Chávez's death. Things have gotten much worse since then. I can't imagine how hospitals attempt to function in the murder capital of the world with no medicine, no electricity, and sometimes even no water, while able-bodied doctors bolt the country at the first available opportunity. My family's story is heartbreaking and infuriating. But think of the millions of Venezuelans in worse financial straits who face the terrible choice of either wasting away in their homeland or taking up the perilous journey to whatever nearby country will accept them.

The growing number of people in the West who say they prefer socialism—or even, God help us, the pernicious Cuban and Venezuelan variants that might more properly be known as communism—often cite the provision of universal health care in their case for collectivism. That is why it's so important for me to tell my father's story. An entire nation is being hollowed out because some people refuse to accept that one of history's most deadly political ideas has produced corpses everywhere it's been tried.

From Spain to Venezuela

My parents were born in Spain during the 1930s; my Asturian-Galician father in Madrid, my mother in a small village in Segovia. They were small children during the horrific 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, when according to some experts up to 2 million people, or about one-tenth of the population, died during the struggle between and among leftist/communist/anarchist Republicans and Falangist/monarchist/conservative/Catholic Nationalists.

General Francisco Franco, a friend to and collaborator with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, emerged victorious after the bloodshed, and post–World War II Spain found itself increasingly isolated and miserable. Franco imprisoned and executed many people who had supported the Republicans; in fact, my grandfather in Segovia was jailed and almost killed for having had contacts with some Communist supporters.

My parents met in Madrid in the late 1940s. By the late 1950s, they had decided to emigrate. At that time, Venezuela was a comparatively prosperous country, a nation that gladly received millions of immigrants from Southern Europe (mostly Spain, Italy, and Portugal) and South America (mainly Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru). This was true all the way to the early 1990s.

During my childhood in the '60s and '70s, Venezuela enjoyed extraordinary economic growth—often above 10 percent a year. It was a land of opportunity, with relatively free markets, low inflation, little foreign debt, and something close to full employment. The local currency, the bolivar, was considered one of the strongest and most stable in the world. It was even revalued against the U.S. dollar in the 1930s, increasing its international value. As kids we used to say that our hometown of Caracas was "the capital of Heaven."

With increasing oil revenues, Venezuela became the wealthiest country in all of Latin America, overtaking once-dominant Argentina and Cuba. By the mid-1970s, the country's gross domestic product (GDP) was very close to that of Texas, which had comparable oil reserves and population numbers. Some pundits even foresaw the Venezuelan economy eclipsing the Lone Star State's by the 1980s.

Until, that is, the Socialist government of Carlos Andrés Pérez began nationalizing the economy in the late 1970s. All foreign oil companies (Shell, Mobil, Exxon, etc.), as well as the smaller Venezuelan producers, were taken over by the government in 1976 under a single conglomerate called PDVSA. Pérez also nationalized the telecom industry, the mining sector, and even the central bank, which had been partially owned by several private financial institutions. The country's GDP peaked in 1978 due to previous oil booms. Then it began a steady, two-decade decline that set the stage for something even worse.

Black Book, Red Terror

I still vividly remember when I first read The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. It was 20 years ago. By then I had studied in America, France, and Japan; developed interests in oil production, monetary policy, and futurism; and witnessed the slow-motion failure of socialism in my own country. Still, nothing prepared me for the shock of Black Book's truths, which clearly described how communism failed, killing millions of people, wherever it was tried.

The international bestseller was published in French in 1997 by a group of European academics, then translated into Spanish the following year and into English the year after that. It sifted through the wreckage of both Soviet communism and Chinese Maoism and found staggering body counts wherever government owned the means of production. Communist regimes, the book famously argued, were responsible for more deaths than fascism, Nazism, or any other political system of the 20th century. Nearly 100 million perished from communism worldwide—65 million in the People's Republic of China, 20 million in the former Soviet Union, 2 million in Cambodia, 2 million in North Korea, 1.7 million in Ethiopia, 1.5 million in Afghanistan, 1 million in Vietnam, and several million more in various "experiments" across Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

The actual number of people killed under communist regimes will never be truly known, since totalitarian governments actively manipulate, hide, and control official figures. But the costs were so evidently brutal that new terminology was necessary to describe the horror. For instance, the political scientist R.J. Rummel in his 1997 book Power Kills coined the term democide to indicate murder by government, as in the Stalinist purges or Mao's Cultural Revolution.

In 2008, I went to visit the site of one of modern history's worst democides: Pol Pot's murder of almost 2 million Cambodians, about one-fourth of the population, in 1975–79. Phnom Penh's Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, on the site of a secondary school that Pol Pot's vicious Khmer Rouge regime transformed into a murder camp, is a hauntingly unforgettable experience, with piles upon piles of skulls from the infamous "killing fields" of the grossly misnamed Democratic Kampuchea.

At the "Red Terror" Martyrs Memorial Museum in Addis Ababa in 2016, I saw similar displays of skeletons, bloody clothes, and photographs of some of the hundreds of thousands of people massacred by the Ethiopian government in 1976–77. "We are doing what Lenin did," the ruling Derg movement bragged back then about its pogroms against other Marxist-Leninist groups in the country. "You cannot build socialism without Red Terror."

Even before these museums opened, you could see some of these totalitarian states for yourself, as I did in the 1980s in East Germany and Burma, and then in the Stalinist holdouts of Cuba and North Korea during the 2010s. The overall impression is overwhelming, as is the resulting conviction: I can't wait to see the fall of these criminal communist regimes, and I yearn for the day that we no longer have to build even museums to remember the atrocities they inflicted upon humankind.

The Chavism Body Count

And yet even as the world was belatedly waking up to the evils of collectivization and centralization, my own socialist country was being lulled asleep by its supposed charms. The ideology might have taken another name—Chavism—but the means were the same. So were the deadly results.

In 1992, Hugo Chávez, a military leader, was imprisoned after a failed coup d'état in which his forces killed several civilians and soldiers. Even though he was a convicted criminal who had tried to topple a democratic government, Chávez was pardoned and allowed to enter politics, where he engineered an overthrow from within. The former coup leader used the last free, transparent election in Venezuela to come to power in December 1998, dubiously billing himself as a "democrat." He soon revealed himself to be a devotee of Marx, Lenin, and Mao.

Chávez called his personal ideology "Bolivarianism," misusing the name of 19th century Latin American anti-imperialist liberator Simón Bolívar. Later he rebranded his collectivism as the "Socialism of the 21st Century," an important qualifier given that almost all the 20th century models had by that time imploded. The U.S.-Argentinean journalist Andrés Oppenheimer has called Chávez a "narcissist-Leninist" dictator, and the description fits.

The aggressive policies that Chávez implemented led Venezuela from socialist slide into communist plunge. That fall only accelerated after his death, announced following months of secrecy about cancer treatments in communist Cuba, and after the hurried, fraudulent election of his designated successor, Maduro. The new president, a former bus driver who admires the Cuban revolution, is now driving society into all-out collapse.

Economic historians say what Venezuela is experiencing now is worse than any economic crisis in a peacetime country since World War II. The U.S. during the Great Depression, Zimbabwe during its 2008–09 bout of hyperinflation, Russia and Cuba in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union—nothing has come close. There is escalating starvation, disease, crime, and mortality. GDP in 2019 has been whittled down to 1950s levels. And then there is the inflation.

Since the election of Chávez in 1998, the government has removed eight zeros from the constantly inflating currency and twice changed its name. It is expected that in 2020 there will be still another currency with even more zeros lopped off—with one new currency unit equaling hundreds of billions of old bolívars since Chavism started. The International Monetary Fund has indicated that inflation could be anywhere between 1 million and 10 million percent by the end of 2019, but it's hard to know for sure since the government has stopped bothering to publish many basic economic indicators.

Venezuela now has the lowest average minimum salary in the world: just $2 a month, one-tenth the figure for impoverished Cuba. There are general shortages of almost everything, including gasoline, despite the fact that Venezuela has the largest petroleum reserves in the world. The water and electric systems are collapsing: Major national blackouts started in early 2019, with some parts of the country going dark for weeks. Telephone and internet services fail constantly, due to the electrical disruptions and a lack of system updates. Most patients who require cancer treatments or dialysis are just dying. Our former "capital of Heaven" now has no gas, no light, no food, no water, no jobs, no money, no medicine, and no hope.

It's no wonder people are leaving. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that more than 4.3 million people, or around 14 percent of the population, have fled Venezuela, and the total could pass 5 million by 2020. This kind of massive refugee crisis is a first in the Americas, and it's creating serious regional problems. The number of murders has grown from 5,000 a year before Chávez to around 25,000 today, though the government has stopped publishing those figures, too. That's about a half-million murders—a whole city dead—since the advent of Chavism.

Amid the lawlessness, deprivation, and international isolation, Venezuela has opened its doors not to Western Europeans seeking a better life but to terrorists, from Colombian FARC guerrillas to jihadist groups from the Middle East. Maduro has openly supported the repressive regimes of Iran and Syria, and he just opened an embassy in Pyongyang. Thus, Venezuela has willingly joined what was once called the "Axis of Evil."

I can no longer return to Caracas. My Venezuelan passport expired, and the Chavista government has refused to renew it. I cannot use my Spanish passport to go there either, since an anachronistic law requires native-born Venezuelans to enter and exit only with a valid Venezuelan passport. I wonder how many more tens and hundreds of thousands will die needlessly before I can again freely visit the country of my birth.

Socialism kills in Venezuela, like everywhere else it has been implemented. It kills regardless of local flavoring or whatever branding the individual dictator employs. It is beyond reason that this ideology, which has led to the deaths of more people than any other during modern history, which was thoroughly and tragically discredited in the 20th century, is still racking up body counts in 2019. May we finally learn this tragic lesson.

Rest in peace: Pedro Cordeiro Castillo.

NEXT: Michael Bloomberg and the Imperious Presidency

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  1. “Socialism Killed My Father”

    State-mandated economic did that – state-mandated socialist or not !

    Contrary to what @Reason believes, the enemy is state-mandated associations and not specifically socialism.
    Arguing socialism versus capitalism only covers up that truth.

    1. Only if TRUE Socialism were practiced….

      1. Coming soon! 22nd Century Socialism (TM)!

      2. That is the crux of most arguments for it. That what we’ve seen are aberrations. But there is no “true” anything.

        1. Maybe a should try true capitalism first before we switch to something else.

      3. Please read Publicus’ comments to GoyVey’s review of “Prairie Fire,” by Bill Ayers & Bernadine Dohrn for a dose of reality. He points out why so-called TRUE Socialism has as much of a chance of happening as man’s return to the Garden.

      4. Or REAL libertarianism… definitely worth a gamble.

    2. Socialism is the only governing ethos that has destroyed or hurt every group of humans who has attempted it on a scale larger than a commune. Even the nordic countries pulled back from socialist tendencies after only a decade of trying small fork socialism, after their growth rates halved.

      1. “Socialism is the only governing ethos –”

        you mean state-mandated socialism as I said

        1. Outside of anything bigger than a commune it is always state mandated, so the adjective is silly.

          1. Mondragon in Spain has 50 years of success as a confederation of workers coops, operated democratically, with over 70,000 members and billions in revenue.
            The success of socialism in the Nordic countries is disputed by claiming falsely they are not socialist.
            Socialism in non-white countries (Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Cuba, Venezuela) is attacked BECAUSE of it’s success… is attacked, sabotaged destroyed economically and/or militarily in wars based on lies. It like kicking a man to the gutter and then accusing him of being dirty.

            1. I want to add to my original post that MY father was killed by capitalism, as are millions every year, among the tens of millions starving to death, the one billion living on $1 a day or less not in Cuba or China but capitalist nations like India and in Central Africa.

              The richest, freest, and happiest countries are social democracies with a strong dose of socialist programs..but those who cannot face this reality argue they are not really socialist……they are true hybrids with highly regulated capitalism and univeral socialist programs like healthcare and education through graduate school, along with legally mandated worker empowerment by shared co-determination of corporate decisions by labor and management.

              Capitalism vs socialism is a divide and conquer oversimplification: capitalism needs socialism to survive. Here is George W Bush i 2018: “We had to abandon free market principles to save the free market.”
              Socialism, when it is attacked and destroyed, is then blamed for the crippled economy and human suffering that such attacks cause. Kick a man to the gutter and cuss him out!

              1. Socialism requires capitalism to feed upon. And every good Marxist knows socialism can only emerge AFTER capitalism collapses…

              2. “We had to abandon free market principles to save the free market.” — hardly, government intervention into the market prolonged the hardship. Government intervention “saved” politically connected banks and investment houses, when totally solvent banks and investment houses that didn’t so deeply engage in government-mandated lending stood by relatively unaffected who could have stepped in without taxpayer dollars.

                GWB is a nice man but hardly a deep thinker on economics.

        2. Nobody argues about communes or voluntary “socialism.” Seriously, who cares if you go have a commune? Clearly, the problem with socialism is the “force everyone to do it” part.

      2. Then why are those. Like Bernie Sanders and AOC, who want to return America to shared prosperity and a strong middle class by following the Nordic model called “Socialists/Marxists/Communists”?

        1. America has never been a socialist state as you describe. And anyone who tries to make it one is a traitor and should be put in prison, or worse.

    3. Found the libertarian socialist.

      1. Most libertarians are socialists at the family level and no more. (Enslaved orphan monocle-polishers don’t count as family, do they?)

        1. Only for tax purposes.

    4. Non-free-market mandates require state action to enforce.
      Even if the enforcement lies about being “state action.”
      Socialism requires enforcement of non-free-market mandates.
      Therefore: Socialism requires state action.
      State action kills
      Therefore: Socialism kills.

    5. Socialims is state-mandated economics. Just because it is a subset doe snot make it untrue.

      May as well fix your quote:

      Statism did that – state-mandated economic or not !

    6. Socialism is state mandated association. There is no voluntary socialism.

      1. You could use contracts to simulate socialism. Penalties for breaking the contract. Turn over your income and wealth to the socialist association, and have a good time trying to get it back when you quit.

        Of course, it wouldn’t simulate the authoritarian power control so many socialists like (when they are in charge), but I think it would satisfy most socialist followers.

        Note that socialism cannot similarly simulate individualism, let alone tolerate it.

        1. You could use contracts to simulate socialism.

          Socialism, by definition, is dictatorship of the proletariat; that is, the whole point of socialism is to impose the will of the proletariat on the rest of society. The whole point of it is that it is involuntary.

          1. “The whole point of it is that it is involuntary.” — As so well demonstrated by the way LEFTY policy ALWAYS has to go to the FEDERAL level. Policy at the State, City or County level might offer TOO MUCH individual volunteering.

    7. I don’t see how we’ve made it this far as a species when EVERYONE insists on getting their definitions wrong.

      Socialism is not a form of government; it is an economic system. PAY ATTENTION, KIDS: Socialism is worker control of the means of production. That’s IT.

      What the author is talking about is end-stage communism, where governments nationalize (or, take over) the means of production. Socialism would be a small family business that is owned exclusively by the family members that work there. Or, you could have a large plant (say, an automotive manufacturer) that is owned exclusively by the workers, as opposed to being traded openly on the stock market.

      Japan, for instance, has a TON of these worker co-ops and they do very well, particularly in the tech sector.

      But what the author (and most conservatives) are talking about here is communism. Socialism is as different from communism as capitalism is. These things are not the same. Not even close.

      1. You really don’t know what you’re talking about.

      2. You need to do some homework. In Socialism there isn’t a family owned grocery store or a car plant owned by the workers. The Government owns it all. What he was describing is the natural end to these disastrous policies that has the same outcome every single time it’s implemented

      3. Just YOU.

        a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

        (in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.

        Notice the definition says its a political AND economic system. You cannot force people into the economic part of it without government, hence the political part.

      4. I don’t see how we’ve made it this far as a species when EVERYONE insists on getting their definitions wrong.

        That’s pretty rich. By “EVERYONE” I suppose you mean Democrats?

        What you describe is a Co-op…. (worker control of the means of production)

        NOT socialism. And so far you’re FREE to start one WHENEVER you see fit. Many already exist and some are great outfits.

      5. Nooo…. socialism is the state control of the economic process. You can condescendingly referred to everybody as “kids” who disagree. But that just shows your level of arrogance.

    8. Best to just get rid of the socialists.

      1. The tide of the American culture war indicates we will first neuter the right-wingers politically and entirely. After that is accomplished, maybe the socialists will be next.

        1. Never get in a boat with Captain Rev. He can’t read tides for shit.

    9. Not real sociamalism!

    10. Socialism is by definition state mandated ownership and association!

    11. Yes, socialism killed his father.

      Capitalism is an economic system, not a government system. It exists (and flourishes) in free markets, and it exists in socialist and communist governments. Capitalism, by definition, consists of nothing more, nor less, than the pooling of resources to gain a high level of efficiency in the production of goods and services. ANY factory, even in a communist country, is capitalism. Same for hospitals, farms, etc.

      Socialism can and does exist outside of government. The operation of a typical church is a blend of socialism and communism. The church is owned entirely by its members, and for the good and benefit of everyone. That is pretty much the definition of socialism and communism.

      But for some reason, we consider socialism only in the context of government. And, whatever the theoretical benefits of socialism in government, it is inevitably perverted by “leaders” who bend the system to their own needs and desires.

      And government socialism is the antithesis of freedom. It is government control of as much as possible for “The good of the people”. And where does the government get that authority? Not from me. I prefer to fund my own retirement and healthcare. I have a as inviolable RIGHT to fund my own retirement and healthcare. My life is my ultimate right, and is not subject to “democracy” or “socialism”. It is irrelevant whether my judgement is any damned good, or not. It’s MY life, and MY judgment.

      Cordeiero’s father once had the God given freedom to make his own choices. Socialism robbed him of those choices, and forced socialism upon him. And it killed him. Yes, socialism killed his father. And, yes, government run socialism can be called nothing other than tyranny against the individual. It is evil, it must be fought constantly. And anyone who says differently is my oppressor. And I will fight any such person, even as they claim that I am too stupid to understand all the good they’re doing for me.

      1. Capitalism is private property. A communist factory is state owned, therefore not capitalist.

    12. “… the enemy is state-mandated associations and not specifically socialism.”

      State mandated associations sound a lot like taxes, and I’m not entirely convinced a mandated association with government that can use force against criminals who harm us is “the enemy”.

      Now if you said more government, beyond one that protects our lives and liberty to pursue our happiness, I’d agree that’s “the enemy” (or more specifically people who want that ). After all taking money from people as taxes isn’t exactly a moral act, but we need some way to deal with criminals and foreign enemies. I don’t want a gang from a foreign country coming here, stealing my stuff and harming me.

    13. No true Scotsman!
      Nice to meet you again.

    14. Leftist nonsense worthy of the Huffington Post.

  2. It will be different this time. The Right Top Men will be in place to see to it.

    1. Isn’t it funny how the Progressive Left loathes the entire concept of American Exceptionalism…right up until it’s time to invoke it to excuse Socialism’s awful record elsewhere.

      And by “funny” i mean “bloody disgusting”.

      1. Well, only their designated exceptional Americans are Exceptional.

    2. You have to be trolling.

  3. I hope you take this tragedy and spread your experiences to as many people as you can in Commifornia.

    Socialism is like a disease and once amazing places to live, like California, Colorado, Washington, etc., are dying from this plague.

    1. If it isn’t stopped soon, the likelihood is that a lot of people will end up dying to force the issue. Socialists once again adding to their hundreds of millions of victims they murdered.

  4. Sounds like your parents were pretty stupid. It’s a good thing we imported that genetic line so you could enrich our culture.

    1. Harsh!

      I doubt it. He said his family had money, they were probably educated and not retarded. They’re the kind of immigrants we should be legally allowing from Latin America… Unlike the 6th grade educated floor sweepers that have made up 90% of the illegal immigrants.

      I’d be open to letting in as many Venezuelans with college degrees in real fields (no gender studies or art history majors need apply!) as want to come here.

      An interesting aside is that refugees from failed communist states are essentially the only non white ethnic groups (and let’s be honest, some Latin Americans are essentially white, some aren’t. It’s case by case.) that ever vote right wing! Because they KNOW what socialism brings.

      Maybe we can negotiate a deal with the Dems to allow in doctors and engineers from Venezuela as refugees in exchange for actually deporting all the useless illegals??? They LOVE refugees, so it might make their heads explode.

      1. I think we already and successfully ran this experiment, as waves of Venezuelan engineers, scientists, and technicians affiliated with the oil industry moved to the US following each wave of nationalism. I worked with many of these people, who were uniformly talented, hard workers and strongly anti-socialist.

        1. Yeah I know a lot have come already, but surely there are plenty more where that came from right now. Most of them have gone to neighboring countries… Which really is probably for the best. Colombia, Brazil, etc needs the help talented people can provide more than we do!

          Actually a newer news writing guy who writes around a bit that I kind of like moved here not long ago from there. He has 10x the balls and real libertarian cred as anybody who regularly write for Reason! He’s very much a right-libertarian, not a pussy left-libertarian like most of the Reason writers… That’s why I like his stuff so much I guess.

    2. When are you planning to leave the US? Before or after all the other frogs start realizing how hot the water’s getting?

      Over the last twenty years or so, they’ve been steadily making it harder to obtain a passport, take your money out of the US, avoid taxes as a US citizen living abroad, renounce your citizenship, travel to Canada or Mexico without a passport – and now they’re trying to build a wall to keep you from even sneaking out of the country to a place where you can easily buy as much freedom as you can afford.

      And now you’ve got an entire political party promising to seize your money and your guns, ration healthcare, institute breadlines, restrict your vote, and outlaw your right to complain. How hot does the water have to get until it’s too late?

  5. Too bad so many people can’t take the time to learn the difference between socialism and a social welfare state. How many times have we heard, “Sure socialism works. Look at Scandinavia.”?

    1. Scandinavia is made up of countries that are Socialist states.

      Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland all have over a dozen state owned businesses.

      Scandinavia has a history of teetering on edge. They have been just able to avoid the worse parts of Socialism.

      During WWII, Norway and Denmark were conquered by the Socialist state of Nazi Germany. Both states collaborated with Nazis. Sweden was “independent” and worked with the Nazis. Finland was a co-belligerent of Nazi Germany.

      Fast forward 70+ years. Scandinavia owns and controls dozens of businesses. There is massive regulation of the remaining businesses. Massive taxation. Welfare programs galore. Reducing of rights from the few rights that residents already were given.

      Sweden is still a Constitutional Monarchy for God’s sake.

      1. Furthermore, socialist states are much less oppressive when most people want to work and are dutiful in employment.

        Look at Scandinavia now with this EU forced immigration scheme flooding the low populations with immigrants who are not as dutiful about employment or about rejecting Communism.

      2. The truth is the reason socialistic policies don’t completely implode some European and Asian countries is predominantly because of the people there and the culture. Southern Europe with its more laid back culture is a disaster, whereas protestant Europe more or less does OKAY because it’s all fairly well administrated.

        That said, those countries would all be FAR better off and FAR wealthier if they DIDN’T have those socialist policies.

        1. More evidence to support what you say about “FAR wealthier” is that America became the richest nation in human history thanks to immigrants from those places but using a more free market economy.

          1. True. In all fairness, there was a lot of natural wealth to give us a good running start… But the benefits from that largely ran out MANY decades ago, and the fact that we’re still between 50% and 100% wealthier than most countries in Europe makes the point that socialism is BS as far as creating the most prosperity for the largest chunk of the population.

        2. That and the entire populations of the Scandinavian countries doesn’t even equal the populations of new York city and Los Angeles combined.

          That’s the real factor. Just think, the heating and air conditioning bill for just new York city is larger than several of those countries combined. Then you realize that applies to Healthcare and every other industries that would theoretically be socialized if new York teleported to scandinavia.

          1. Yup. There is a lot to be said for simply smaller organizational size. There’s a reason that city, county, and state government are all far more efficient than the Feds in terms of accomplishing things for a given amount of money. Smaller = nimble, more accountable, and a lot of other stuff.

            That said, the bigger countries like Germany and the UK still do an OKAY job of things. Germany is the perfect example really. They have a very efficient bureaucracy as far as things go. They keep a balanced budget too for the most part. Far lower debt than us.

            All of that is because THEY’RE FUCKING GERMAN! My people don’t fuck around. When they decide to do something stupid, like socialism, they at least execute it very well. The problem with government programs in the USA is we run our shit like Italians! LOL

      3. The Nordic countries are not “socialist” by any stretch of the imagination; in many ways, they are economically more liberal than the US. Nevertheless, even their social welfare state has hurt them badly economically.

        1. Norway, Sweden, Denamrk, and Finland all have dozens of state owned businesses (in other words, the means of production).

          1. That’s not sufficient by itself to make a nation socialist.

            1. Well, if it were the right industries it sure as hell could be.

              Imagine a country that the state owned: all agriculture, energy production, telecoms, construction industry, medical, auto industry…

              I think you get the picture. With a mere handful of state owned industries a nation could have the overwhelming majority of the economy directly owned.

              None of those countries have THAT level of state ownership, but it ain’t nothin’ either. I mean tons of things are owned by state/local governments in the USA too, which is also not good.

              1. So you agree then that the Nordic countries are not socialist by any stretch of the imagination. Thanks.

      4. Finland isn’t Scandinavian!

        Nordic and even share similar political systems sure, but not Scandi!

        1. Ehhh. People will argue that shit all day long… I volunteer at a Scandinavian non profit sometimes, and most people let ’em slide. It’s easier to count them than fight about it!

      5. Finland was fighting the Russians because the Russians invaded, fighting back against Stalin doesn’t make one a Nazi. When the Russians invaded it was the Russians that were Nazi co-belligerents, with a non-aggression pact giving them free reign in Finland and the Baltic.

        1. I never said Finland or the Finnish people were Nazis.

          Finland ended the Winter War with the USSR in 1940 and attacked the USSR during the Continuation War of 1941 as a co-belligerent of the Nazi Germany.

          1. Which in all fairness… Why wouldn’t you?

            The truth is a LOT of people who sided with the Nazis weren’t super big fans of the Nazis… They just knew they were 10x better than the commies.

            And in fact they were. I mean killing all the Jews was shitty and all, but that didn’t happen until towards the end of the war anyway, and nobody real knew about it. On the surface to most people it was just “Should we side with the slightly less shitheadish fascists, or the way worse commies? I’m gonna go with the fascists.”

            I actually know a guy from Norway who volunteered to fight in WWII on the Nazi side… He did it to fight the commies, not because he liked everything the Nazis were about. It’s easy to shit talk now in hindsight, but at the time communism was a massive threat. Half of Europe had either had civil wars or was on the verge of being taken over by them before the war came along.

      6. Private property still exists in Scandinavia so there is no pure Socialism there. Their economic system is essentially the fascist model aka corporatism. Control of the private sector via heavy regulation versus outright ownership with high taxes and many public services.

  6. Poor wankers. I wish Latin America would get over the stupid socialist crap. It always trips me out because they keep teetering back and forth between pretty hard right wing governments, and hard left wing ones…

    Have people not figured out that times are always pretty good when they have the right wing guys running shit, and it always falls apart when the lefties run shit? It ain’t that hard people!

    As I always like to say, right wing governments may be assholes about some stuff… But at least they create a highly functional and prosperous society in most cases.

    Or they could just stick with shitty, squishy, middle of the road levels of socialist BS like we have in the US or something. I don’t get why they have to have the big swings all the time. If Argentina, Venezuela, etc just had a squishy centrist government for 20-30 years that didn’t completely fuck shit up, they could probably get back into the 1st world again like Argentina once was, and Venezuela almost was.

    1. The US is bankrupt already. The squishy socialism we have has the same eventual outcome, it just takes a little longer.

      1. I mean yeah, at the end of the day, but it also allows far greater wealth and prosperity for people the whole while. Also mildly socialist governments don’t HAVE to collapse ever. They just have to accept they’ll be somewhat poorer on average than they would have been if they had a more capitalistic system.

        Germany has far more socialist BS than we do, and far less debt. As does Canada and Australia. They’re also all poorer than us. But collapse isn’t guaranteed if you keep it at middlin’ levels.

    2. Central and South America suffer from a legacy more rooted in militant despots than socialism per se. From pre-Columbian brutal empires (even Nazis did not cut out beating human hearts, at least as public spectacle), to Spanish capitalist-conquistadors, and to various waves of alternating right and left wing dictatorships, the common thread is more feudal than socialist. They seem too susceptible to Glorious Leaders.

      1. Seems like a wise import!

      2. Yeah… But so are most people on earth. Thing is, Anglo culture largely (but definitely not fully) overcame that kinda stuff.

        Even their motherlands in Southern Europe aren’t as bad as they all are. So I just don’t get it… Argentina barely even has any natives to contend with, it’s basically all Spaniards, Italians, and other Europeans, and it’s still a mess.

        Any which way… Even if you like strong men, choose right wing dictators! At least they hold shit down and make functional and stable societies. Right wing dictators have actually ran some pretty damn good countries… You just can’t have the commies in charge.

      3. Most Western nations were transformed into prosperous, liberal societies by what you call “glorious leaders”.

  7. “Libertarian” Solution: bring the millions of Venezuelans who voted for this disaster to the US to save them from their failing government, put them on food stamps and educate their children at US taxpayer expense, give them citizenship, and then they can vote for Democratic socialists and do for America what they did for Venezuela!

    1. The sane version would be to only let in the rich and educated ones, who mostly DIDN’T vote for this shit. The Cubans are still overwhelmingly anti-communist because they mostly came from the middle and upper classes who hated that shit to begin with.

      1. A fairly simple libertarian rule is: let in anybody under the condition that they are required to pay more in taxes each year than average per capita government spending. This transitions nicely into open borders if the welfare state gets dismantled in favor of a libertarian state.

        1. Yup, somethin’ like that.

          I’m still opposed to the idea of open borders, even sans welfare state, because there are billions of illiterate peasants in the world who would flood 1st world nations… But since I don’t see the welfare state going anywhere anytime soon, I’m fine with being a net tax payer being the only criteria for moving here 🙂

  8. More propaganda from the man up, and die crowd? Lol, the comments around here during the ACA debate were full of folks saying man up, and die. If you couldn’t afford healthcare. Funny how you all cling to examples that validate your violence.

    Hopefully, ProLib followed his own advice instead of leaching on the state.

    1. What is this in reference to? Man up and die? No, we’re talking about ending socialism, not grinning and bearing it.

    2. Yes, dimwit, free people make decisions that can lead to their downfall and even death. Taking away autonomy, or making other people responsible for bad decisions, is just slavery wrapped in sympathy.

      Fuck off.

    3. The ACA and socialized medicine kill people.

      In a free market, essential medical care costs only a tiny fraction of what people pay in Medicare and Medicaid, let alone ACA premiums.

      You’re as stupid as the people who think that solving the housing crisis can be done by more government subsidies, or that the high cost of higher education can be solved by government aid.

      1. Agreed 100%. OT, but this post reminds me of something. Why is it that when Sanders et al. talk about high drug prices, it’s because of “greedy pharma companies,” yet when they talk about high college prices, it’s not “greedy colleges?” At least you can say this for pharma–its products take actual research to discover. On the other hand, why should it cost more to teach Shakespeare now than it did 100 years ago? (of course, I know the answer, but it’s interesting that Sanders and pals don’t bother with that).

        1. Be cuz corperashuns r bad.

          1. Lol, you all have no idea what you’re talking about. Keep listening to the loudest voice. Ignore that someone in this thread is ok with people dying for lack of money.

            How about we judge you when you’re sick.

            1. No one actually said that. You sound like a progtard, the way you invented that strawman.

            2. If you want to argue about healthcare being way too expensive in the US, that’s a fine argument to have. I’d completely agree although my guess is your reasoning why it’s so is the exact opposite of the truth.
              That being said, I’ll say it right now, I’m personally ok with people dying for lack of money. If you’re in the US with ample opportunity to make a decent living and you are still desperately poor, there is something seriously wrong with you. Maybe it’s laziness, stupidity or maybe a moral code corrupt enough to be ok with mooching off the rest of society. You are most likely a detriment to society overall anyway both economically and culture rot wise and if you die it’s hardly a tragedy.
              It is completely unfair for a doctor who worked and studied his ass off to treat you without compensation. If is equally unfair for the taxpayers to pay for you because you never bothered to figure out how to support yourself financially. If you personally want to become a doctor and treat a sick poor person without compensation, that’s your choice, don’t force it on anybody else. Likewise, if you want to give to charity or personally fund a poor sick person’s treatment that’s also your choice, again don’t force your choice on anybody else. Leftist emotional appeals don’t change the fact that socialized medicine is at best anti responsibility and at worst it’s theft backed up by threat of jail and threat of violence.

              1. Harsh… But true.

            3. Lol, you all have no idea what you’re talking about. Keep listening to the loudest voice. Ignore that someone in this thread is ok with people dying for lack of money.

              People are dying not because of “lack of money”, they are dying because a–holes like you vote for people who keep drug prices insanely high.

    4. Glad I’m not the only one to call out this fake news by the whores at Reason who dare to call themselves journalists.

  9. What’s happened in Venezuela and to your father is horrifying, and it’s even more horrifying because it the tragedy wasn’t only foreseeable–it was also foreseen.

    We all knew what would happen and why.

    It’s also horrifying to see my fellow Americans embrace the same thinking that led to the avoidable, man made disaster in Venezuela.

    For some reason, socialists are especially prone to the belief that if only these policies were implemented and these industries were nationalized–with the right people in charge–they would avoid all the mistakes of socialism in the past.

    The problem with socialism isn’t that the people who’ve implemented it in the past and failed didn’t really care about people, and the solution to the problems of socialism isn’t about putting nice people with good hearts in charge either.

    The problem with socialism is that the system itself defies the constraints of reality, and once you start nationalizing industries, redistributing income, and ignoring market forces, all of your other choices are mostly made for you.

    The reason the poor among us in the U.S. are suffering an obesity epidemic even while average people in Venezuela are suffering malnutrition isn’t because Maduro is a bad man. The reason average people in Venezuela were starving is because socialism was thoroughly implemented and heavily enforced.

    If they implement the same system in the U.S., we’ll feel the [burn], indeed!

    1. You’re a violent person. You’re entitlement doesn’t give you the right to control people

      1. Hello, idiot. The lack of socialist state control is exactly the opposite of trying to control people. And entitlement is exactly what socialism promises. In a market economy there are no entitlements.

        Nice try, though.

      2. “You’re a violent person. You’re entitlement doesn’t give you the right to control people”

        Let’s define some more terms!

        Markets (and market forces) are nothing but individual people making choices.

        My solution is to free the market.

        If your solution is to take the decisions of average people and subject them to coercive force of the state, then it is not I who thinks I have a right to control people.

        Meanwhile, if you plan to implement this system by way of coercive force (How else do plan to stop people from making choices for themselves?), then it is not I who am a violent person. I’m the person who thinks people should be free to make choices for themselves–without any government coercion.

      3. So, are you a new progtard here, or a sock for one of the usual band of faggots?

      4. No, you are a violent person and you are trying to control people.

        We object to your thuggery and the thuggery of progressives and socialists.

    2. Ken is the biggest advocate for man up, and die if you don’t have money. This guy thinks Obama started the herion crisis cause some folks had access to insurance. Plus, he doesn’t like it if you mention racism. He thinks it don’t exist.

      Pure example of passive aggressive lol

      1. Are you Hihn trying a new sock without all the telltale bullshit? I could see that. If so, it won’t last. As everyone knows that Hihn is a raving idiot, and pretend libertarian who tanked the LP.

        Or maybe a different piece of shit altogether.

      2. The fact is that the opioid epidemic coincided with the expansion of Medicaid and facts have been cited over and over again by me to you, and the means by which the Obama’s Medicaid expansion contributed to the opioid epidemic has been cited for you, repeatedly, by me, as well. I suspect the reason you never respond to these arguments is because you can’t.

        But here we go again:

        1. Fact 1)

          More than 75% of opioid addicts were getting their drugs either from a prescription themselves or–for free–from a family member or friend who had a prescription.

          Only about 4% of opioid addicts bought their drugs from a dealer.

          1. For whatever reason, the system doesn’t like this link. You can find it here after the jump.


            Go ahead and jump.

        2. Fact 2)

          People who earned less than $20,000 a year were 3.4 times more likely to become addicted to opioids than someone who earned $50,000 per year.

          1. Put those stats together, and what do you get?

            Fact 1) More than 75% of opioid addicts are getting their opioids with a prescription.


            Fact 2: People who qualify for Medicaid are 3.4 times as likely to become opioid addicts

            = The uptick in opioid addiction is almost certainly a function of the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion.

            Persecuting addicts may or may not have anything about people who were already addicted, but if you wanted to shut the system down that was creating more and more opioid addicts everyday, shutting down the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion was the way to solve that part of the problem.

            Is moral hazard really too hard for you to understand? Is it hard for you to imagine that when you give people free opiods by way of Medicaid, it makes for more addicts? If so, why?

  10. Holy fuck. How in the world did THIS article manage to slip through the editing process?

    1. Editing process???? You new here???

    2. Mayne donations ar down and they had a moment of clarity.

  11. I wonder how many Venezuelan expats denouncing socialism it will take before the socialists reconsider their positions.

    My guess is an infinite number.

    1. Like ex-Cubans who denounce Castro, the main/left media paints them as Neo-Nazis and traitors to their country’s glorious cause.

      1. How does a Hispanic become not only “white” but also LITERALLY a Nazi??? By not being a leftist. It’s like magic.

        1. To be fair, many Hispanics are actually white Europeans; they simply happen to speak Spanish instead of English.

          1. Oh I know. In truth, it’s pretty obvious just by looking at different people. My grandpas father was born in Mexico. He was German and Spanish, possibly with some native in there somewhere on the “Spanish” side that had been there for a few generations. In pictures, you can tell he was a honky.

            But yeah, most of the time you can just eyeball somebody from Latin America and guess what their genetic mix is. A ton of them are 90%+ genetically European… Which is probably about what I am. I actually just got my DNA tested, waiting on results, so it’ll be interesting to see what that kicks out.

            IIRC the average mix in Mexico is somewhat contested, but is probably around 60-70% European blood. In Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay it is 90%+ European on average. Other places like central America are like 70-80%+ native.

            Latin Americans are not at ALL the same across the board. That’s just the official party line they like to sell, that they’re all equally mestizo. Yet strangely enough all the people high in European blood run every one of the countries down there, are most of the actors, media people, etc… And they say Americans are racist!

  12. Why’d you take your father from one socialist hell hole to another? After all, we’re clearly using the rights definition of socialism on this site, and that means Spain, and most first world countries, are also socialist hellholes with their universal health coverage.

  13. “Nearly 100 million perished from communism worldwide”


    That’s Mighty White and Kreeeeeeshchaaan of you to conveniently pretend to forget to mention that most of the deaths in the Soviet Union and China were the result of natural disasters, aka famines. (When Mao was informed, he used what little foreign currency reserves China had at the time to import food.)

    But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of attempting to whitewash the alt-Rights, aka Nazi Germany’s (and the old failed ConCare healthcare system that killed around 50,000 Americans a year), far greater body count.

    But now that you mention Conservative Socialism, aka Communism:

    The difference between Stalin sending his goons to take away the majority of people’s assets in the Soviet Union and our own parasite class gaming the system by bribing the political class to allow them to redistribute, upwards to themselves, most of the wealth created by those who do the work, which is also significantly restricting the majority of people’s participation in holding assets, is nothing relevant.

    The only difference is that Stalin was at least honest when it came to the application of coercion.

    The difference between a small number of parasites pretending to be Capitalists controlling most of the wealth under Conmanitalism that 38+ years of the failed trickle-down/supply-side Satanomics has created, is no different from the Soviet ruling class controlling most of the wealth under Communism.

    1. And your forgot to mention many of those Famines were the result of their socialist states forcing regular people to move to areas that lacked the natural resources or infrastructure to support them so the state could use the better land for itself . And then those Famines were exasperated by the lack of response and resources available to them.

      And as you admit, Mao reacted only when he was “informed”. Which is just your dumb way of saying, “he starved millions but I need to splain’ this away without butchering my point”.

      But hey, I wouldn’t expect anything different from an absolute failure like you hihn. All your years of op Ed’s and running for office and no one hired you to write, and no one elected you to anything of consequence. Your an absolute failure, not just to us but to your family and ex wives as well.

    2. “Most of the deaths in the Soviet Union and China were the result of natural disasters, aka famines. (When Mao was informed, he used what little foreign currency reserves China had at the time to import food.)”

      Why does it always seem to be the case that when a country introduces socialism, it has a problem feeding its people, and why is it always the case that the solution has to do with letting capitalists do something, however small, to feed people?

      Exhibit A:

      I’m trying to think of a place where socialism was instituted at the agricultural level and it didn’t lead to food shortages, but I can’t think of one.

      Again, the malnutrition suffered by average people in Venezuela was not only foreseeable but also foreseen. They nationalized food production and food distribution, and they gave prison sentences to anyone accused of making too much profit on food. Whenever countries nationalize food production, food distribution, and use price controls, etc. on food, the same thing always happens for the exact same reasons–natural disaster or no natural disaster.

      Here in the United States, there is an obesity epidemic among the poor.

      1. The US is a highly centralized planned economy – but under the cover of the Federal Reserve. They make it worse every year with their paranoia.

        China grew because it decentralized credit creation using the “window guidance” mechanism. You’re living 30 years ago and have no idea what they’ve accomplished there.

        1. Socialism = government ownership of industry, prices set by government, and the redistribution of wealth by the government.

          Capitalism = private ownership of industry, prices set by markets, and market redistributing wealth.

          While it’s true that the United States isn’t an ideal capitalist country, farms are privately owned, prices for food fluctuate with the market, and the companies that distribute food via our grocery stores do so for profit. Socialist countries, even those that aren’t perfectly socialist like Venezuela and the Soviet Union, suffer because they’re far more socialist than we are–even if we aren’t 100% capitalist.

          “The Perfect Solution Fallacy (also known as the ‘Nirvana Fallacy‘) is a false dichotomy that occurs when an argument assumes that a perfect solution to a problem exists; and that a proposed solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it were implemented. In other words, that a course of action should be rejected because it is not perfect, even though it is the best option available. “

          If food distribution in the USA isn’t 100% free of socialism, that doesn’t mean more capitalism isn’t better or that more socialism isn’t worse. Socialism seems to operate under the observation that everything looks darkest just before the lights go out completely and turn pitch black. At every point along that train ride, introducing more capitalism alleviates the problems.

          1. Yup!

            The Fed manipulates the economy a ton, but it does it in such a way that doesn’t fiddle TOO MUCH with how a lot of businesses operate.

          2. Your perfect solution, Ken, seems to be that we just get rid of all government intervention. That doesn’t seem to work out too well in practice though.

            1. That doesn’t seem to work out too well in practice though.

              It works out better than government intervention; the Fed has pretty much consistently failed to achieve its stated objectives. Business cycles have been worse, crashes have been worse, and we have been careening from one crisis to another. On top of that, the Fed and fiat money are the reason why the US government is spending like drunken sailors at a whorehouse.

              Yeah, less government intervention would work out a whole lot better for the US economy, as it does everywhere. In fact, growth and prosperity are demonstrably inversely related to government intervention and the size of government.

              1. Enabling endless deficit spending is the single biggest problem created by a fiat monetary system ran through a central bank. They’d have to tax for current spending for the most part if they couldn’t endlessly print money. That would piss people off, and the kibosh would get put on that shit quick!

            2. The best possible solution is getting the government out of the way, and the inferior solution is to get them as much out of the way as possible. Socialism, on the other hand, isn’t a solution to anything at all. It’s part of the problem if capitalism is the solution.

    3. The famines in the Soviet Union weren’t natural disasters, they were man made and deliberate. No famine is a natural disaster, it’s always the result of bad economic policy, genocide, or war.

      1. Capitalist countries certainly respond to droughts better than socialist countries.

        1. Ken,

          Two questions:

          1. Have you ever heard of the Dust Bowl and 2. What responsibility did Mao/Stalin/Pot have in bringing about this calamity? {Never mind— found out this happened in America under Trotskyite Comrade Roosevelt— so I have the answer}

          1. The capitalist response to the destruction of the top soil in the areas devastated by the dust bowl involved farm mechanization, the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and genetically modified seeds–capitalist stuff. Where once the top soil was considered destroyed to the point that the land couldn’t be productive, that land is now productive farmland.

            The United States exports crops like crazy. We’re among the most productive farmers in the world. For a nation our size, with as much land as we have to average into the equation, we can boast higher crop yields than anybody.


            To the extent that other countries are catching up, it’s largely because they’re using innovations that were developed by capitalist entrepreneurs.

            1. Yeah, but before that Ken, Comrade Roosevelt created the Soil Conservation Service and the Works Progress Administration which, as we all know, led to hundreds of millions of deaths from government mismanagement, right?

              1. Maybe you see what you mean by this, but it isn’t clear to me. You just seem to be drifting off topic.

                What, exactly, are you trying to say?

                Is it your contention that the dust bowl shows that capitalist countries are inferior in responding to natural disasters or not?

                If so, how are you making that connection?

          2. 1. Have you ever heard of the Dust Bowl

            The Dust Bowl was a natural disaster; it was not a famine precisely because the US was not socialist.

            And if FDR hadn’t screwed up the economy with his idiotic interventions, the Great Depression would have ended far earlier and been much less severe.

      2. Yup. Stalin caused that shit with policies he put in place, knowing it would kill millions. He sold grain to gain foreign currency to purchase machinery and other stuff to boot. Communism killed those people, period.

    4. Does capitalism ward off natural disasters or something then?

      1. Didn’t you know? Natural disasters are a vast right wing conspiracy, designed to destroy the glorious socialist republics. Hillary Herself said so.

    5. “natural disasters, aka famines.”
      “ConCare healthcare system that killed around 50,000 Americans a year”

      1. Food shortages in the Soviet Union were the result of government intervention in markets.

        Shortages of medical care in the US are the result of government intervention in markets.

        1. Famines in India in the 19th Century killed 29 million people in just two consecutive monsoon failures. This was the result of market intervention in food supply. Before the British forced Indian farming onto a world market the land used to supply traders with cotton and wheat had supplied India with gram, which was a hedge against monsoon failure, as well as an important protein source.

          “Shortages of medical care in the US are the result of government intervention in markets.”

          Statement of mindless faith noted. The hallmark of the ideologue is the appeal to insufficient purity when his prescriptions fail. Deep down, commies and market fundies are the same. (Hence the current rather Trostkyite state of Western conservatism.)

    6. Nope. It was pretty much the communism, and all the requisite bad sexism’s that go with it.

      Kuni won’t admit it, because it destroys his Marxist fantasies.

  14. I find it ironic that the very promise of socialism, that the “people rule” and “collectively own means of productions” is in all cases the opposite of what actually happened as these failed experiments quickly moved into dictatorships where a small elite group gains control of all the means and production.

  15. Why does Reason – the Libertarian Publication (remember the nonagression principle????) keep pushing this State Department propaganda? It’s a corruption of Libertarian principles. The state department wants regime change in Venezuela so the Koch Brothers can import heavy crude for their Corpus Christi refinery so they use this phony “I hate socialism” to describe policies that aren’t even socialist in Venuzuela. You have a bunch of robber barons in Miami who want to steal the country’s resources and abuse corporate power, and they put the free-market guys at Reason behind it – but it’s not free markets. It’s fake markets. Just like the fake war on drugs or the fake war on terror. It’s all aggression. The author of the article even mixes up sanctions and socialism. The US is guilty of war crimes caused by our brutal and unnecessary sanctions.

    1. Derp.


  16. At least the healthcare was free, unlike here in AmeriKKKa!

    1. Did they have 100% literacy rates too?

    2. At the bottom of democracy, one finds envy, jealousy, even hatred, & the willingness to steal from some & give it to others under the false & feeble pretense of “social justice,” when it’s really theft by government.

    3. What makes you think healthcare was free?

      Somebody had to pay for all the supplies. Somebody had to pay for all the hospital workers’ salaries.

      Even if they paid for that stuff out of oil revenue, that’s money that could have been used for something else. They gave up buying something else with it.

      Healthcare was never free, isn’t free, and never can be free of cost.

  17. Meanwhile socialism throughout Europe, Israel, etc is doing just fine.

    1. Except the DEGREE matters.

      Also, ARE they doing fine? All other major economies are far poorer than us… Incidentally the few other countries that have as much or more economic freedom than us are all as wealthy or wealthier than us.

      Do you think that’s some magical coincidence? It’s not. Big government, over time, reduces the productivity of the economy by misdirecting funds towards useless crap, as the expense of that money being used to invest in and build the economy bigger. Reality bites, but it’s better to live in reality than fantasy land.

    2. Stop promoting this b.s. Europe isn’t “socialist”. Europe simply forces the poor and the middle class to buy into various insurance schemes because they are assumed to be too stupid to do so for themselves. And the healthcare and retirement they get for it is pretty lousy.

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  19. For excellent commentary on socialism, please read GoyVey’s excellent review of “Prairie Fire,” by wannabe Communists Bernadine Dohrn & Bill Ayers. Also, read Publius’ comments to his review for a dose of reality. They puts the myth of Marx to rest.

  20. Sorry for your loss. It would have read better if this article had stuck to its subject matter— the author’s father— rather than a short blurb on what happened in a hospital followed by a litany of descriptions the terrible things that happened in China, the Soviet Union and Cambodia some 50-90 years ago.

  21. Hmm, I wonder if the troubles the author had on arranging travel for his sick father had to do with US travel restrictions. As I was telling you, I found it quite easy to fly to Cuba by circumventing US restrictions, but it wasn’t like I could get on a plane at LAX and fly direct to Havana. It’s probably the same with a flight from LAX to Caracas. Because the article spends its time discussing non-sequiters in Ethiopia and Cambodia I can’t figure exactly whom to blame? Hugo Chavez or Obama or Trump?

    1. That’s the real problem that’s not being discussed: how the USA sabotaged his father!

  22. Fuck Socialism!

  23. The saddest thing is that it just keeps going and going.

    They can’t try market approaches because that betrays the revolution. They’ve taken command of the economy and and watch their country circling in the bowl. But they don’t know what else to do. It can’t be that they suck at running economies. So they just keep waiting for the command economy to start working.

    Meanwhile, people starve, people die of treatable diseases despite their free universal healthcare. A “right to healthcare” isn’t much good in a country with only 4 bandaids and nothing else.

    How much worse does it have to get? Socialists never seem to be able to pick their bottom.

    1. i don’t know, Brian. You and I both live in the country most associated with free market economies and our country has killed far more people over the last 50 years or so than either the good socialists in Europe or even the bad socialists of Venezuela and Cuba. What is it, you think, that makes people in free market economies so murderous and vindictive?

      1. Good point: once you exclude the first half of the 20th century and the last communist super-power that collapsed under its own weight, it doesn’t look as bad.

        The goodest, bestest socialists are coincidentally the smallest in size and time, to be sure.

        Such cherry picking could never be done for the USA, to be sure.

        1. While we’re picking fruit tell me how many people Western European socialists have killed. Why should I— as a socialist who believes in redistributive taxation, limited military spending, and a mixed economy model— be held responsible for the crazy shit Stalin and Mao did?

          1. We’re not responsible for anything, LeaveTrumpAloneAterian: that’s the point!

      2. Yeah, but we mostly only killed commies and Muslims… So surely that makes it alright?

        I mean granted, their lives weren’t worth the cost of the bullets, so as a fiscal conservative I’m against it… But morally… They were all kinda shitheads, right??? 🙂

      3. The American Holocaust is estimated by some to have accounted for as many as 40-50 million lives in interventions since WW2. But this has not been a holocaust in pursuit of liberty; bear in mind that the term “Banana Republic” directly honours the CIA’s toppling of elected governments in favour of state tyrannies to promote the interests of US fruit companies. On this basis and others I put to you all that a truly “free” market and society are incompatible with the concept of a corporation, which is in itself a manifestation of state power.

        Less well known is the Late Victorian Holocaust in India, roughly contemporaneous with the Irish Potato Famines, in which roughly 29 million Indians died in just two years, while the dictates of the “free” market in Liverpool trading houses led to India exporting wheat and cotton rather than producing the backup crop of gram.

        While I am already having a good rant, I might as well also mention Lenin’s “New Economic Order”, where he attempted to introduce a free market in the freshly-revolting Russian Empire. I believe he gave it up as a bad job.

        1. In fairness, a lot of the regimes we toppled were commies that were going to be up to no good. It’s not like they were electing Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or other blase politicians. If we hadn’t toppled them, which we shouldn’t have mind you, even more people probably would have died from communism in those countries.

          And yeah, famines have happened in the past, like the pre modern agriculture world… But in the modern world, state control is the only thing that’s made anybody starve.

  24. Socialism saves countless lives in those countries that have universal health care.

    Before Obamacare, 40,000 Americans were killed a year by capitalist healthcare.

    1. You mean like how Venezuela’s universal healthcare saved this man’s father? Oh wait, the exact opposite happened

      1. Yes, funny, that. This is why one should not attempt to reason from anecdotes based on a single case not based on a controlled comparison. To use one’s REASON one should demand a sample of a few tens of thousands, preferably a before-and-after or a side-by-side where other factors are comparable.

        Before and after Obamacare, in fact, fits the bill quite well. But you could always compare US to EU, with their comparable incomes and population sizes.

        1. Anyone who has read the stats knows that in the USA you have better chances of surviving almost any illness… The thing is we Americans are too fat, happy, and lazy, hence get more illnesses to begin with. Once you account for that American mortality rates don’t look bad, and survival rates for any given illness once diagnosed are better.

  25. We should take a page out of the socialist textbook and give everyone equal access to helicopter rides for free.

  26. “Living in a plutocratic petrostate killed my father.”


  27. Reason…. the new Fox News?
    What I see here is more fear mongering and trying to ramp up the right wing base.

    No one is promoting changing the US to a socialist country. Get over it and use your heads.

    What IS being promoted are some socialist ideas that some believe have merit.

    Every system has some elements of other systems. To act like any element means you are adopting the whole is just propoganda and THAT is what should put someone in jail if anything does.

    So go back to your couches and let the adults have a conversation.

    1. As if leftists don’t screech that people want children working in sweat shops again whenever any reasonable suggestion comes along to remove regulation!

      Both sides do this. The difference is the real world shows the more free market you are, the better off the vast majority of the population is… The more regulated/taxed you are, the worse off everybody is.

      I know which option I prefer… And for me it’s not because of dogmatic principles, it’s because evidence shows capitalism works better overall. Neither creates Utopia, but capitalism cleans house on socialized anything.

      1. That’s not what “the real world” shows. What it actually shows is that a free market with some regulation allows for the best outcomes. It’s a non-linear problem. It’s not black and white. I would expect more complexity, nuance, and honesty on a site called “Reason.”

  28. The writer might have read “La Rebellión de Atlas” and discovered that Bellamy, Howells’ and Hitler’s Christian altruism patterned after Marx, Kant, Jesus and Goethe are what result in political looter states that kill by the million. Jim Jones left a recording of the mass-suicide for mystical communism in Guyana. Franco, el caudillo de Dios and Duce, elevator of Vatican City: all are the pattern HL Mencken unfolded before Americans in his explanation of The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche published when future fangirl Ayn Rand was only two. The book is on Amazon Kindle with 6 others for $2.

    1. Assuming this was not a parody: I’ve read it. It’s drivel, with certainly nothing of worth to “discover” in its pages. Moreover, you need to coordinate with US “libertarians”, most of whom claim that Hitler was an atheist and some of whom claim that Jesus endorsed free-market capitalism.

      Those ostentatious of their reason are often running on belief.

  29. Remember, the people of Venezuela “voted themselves a raise” under Chavis. That was the start of their problems. They brought their issues amongst themselves. The author is probably a very nice person, but they shouldn’t be voting.

  30. So much for “Reason”. Maybe you’d like an anecdote about a death in America generalised to “private healthcare” killed my father. That would suit the US’s sudden volte face on free trade. Or perhaps we could take the anecdote of the author’s father and use it to claim “sanction by the USA killed my father”.

    Anecdotal evidence has failed in every country it has been attempted. Stick that in your pipe and try smoking it in front of a cop.

    1. As I said above, when properly read, one sees that an American has a far better chance of surviving any illness than people in socialized medicine countries… That’s why rich people come here for treatment, or go to other places that allow private hospitals etc.

  31. I couldn’t help noting the mention of 1 million deaths from socialism in Vietnam. My arithmetic is a bit rudimentary, so could someone answer for me: Is this including or not including the 3 million who died in France’s and then the USA and Australia’s attempts to thwart its independence from colonialism?

    I ask because I happened across the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, and it starts like this:

    “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

    “This immortal statement was made in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America in 1776. In a broader sense, this means: All the peoples on the earth are equal from birth, all the peoples have a right to live, to be happy and free.

    “The Declaration of the French Revolution made in 1791 on the Rights of Man and the Citizen also states: “All men are born free and with equal rights, and must always remain free and have equal rights.”

    “Those are undeniable truths.”

    Seems vaguely familiar, and not at all communist. Yet somehow calling it so led to it being so. That’s where name-calling in place of reasoning gets one.

    1. Unified Vietnam was definitely not communist.

    2. From what I recall, the French didn’t mind them going their own way so much as the fact that the communists in Vietnam were being backed by foreign powers, and all but guaranteed to take over.

      If a nice boring centrist politician and political party had been the ones pushing for independence I don’t think Vietnam would have ever happened as it did.

  32. “…the infamous “killing fields” of the grossly misnamed Democratic Kampuchea.”

    Surely you meant to say “the perfectly named Democratic Kampuchea.”

    Socialism always starts with democracy. Majorites of ignorant voters always eventually realize that they only need 51% of the vote to get whatever they want without costing them anything.

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