The situation in Venezuela is very tragic and another sad example of the inherit flaw in socialism. It’s interesting to me that a couple years ago my History of Economic Thought professor, Dr. Sam Bostaph (an advocate of the Austrian School of Economic Thought) predicted that the Chavista regime would be exactly where it is now.
I think the reason my old Professor was able to so accurately predict the demise of Venezuela was the inherit flaw in socialism: in that it defies human nature itself.
Socialism, by its very existence, requires government coercion. It’s redistribution by the barrel of a gun. The more extreme the socialist policy, the more government coercion is required, thus the bloodiest regimes in human history have been socialist whether Communist (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for example) or National Socialist (“Nazi”) among other regimes. Karl Marx’s philosophy, while possibly well intended, tries to impose something completely foreign on humans: give up to an omnipotent government there hard earned gains for the purpose of achieving some sort of Utopian world.
The problem is the state is never omnipotent, it is run by human beings and human beings are by their nature individualistic creatures, or at least creatures who choose to associate with some people and not with others. Hugo Chavez, the ultra socialist, died a billionaire while his country descended into inflation and crime hell. Thus like the story Animal Farm, where there is a socialist regime the supposed advocates for the poor live like the very rich they claim to despise. But worse than enriching its leaders, socialism tells humans that there individuality is worthless. You work for the state, and if you don’t do what the state wants, you die by the state, like this 22 year old Venezuelan woman. Individuals are flawed and thus capitalism and liberty can sometimes produce societies that are far from ideal. But free people, if protected under a fair rule of law will ultimately get it right in the end. Look at the advances in freedom and individuality achieved in free societies over the past 200-300 years versus the rest of the story of humanity under the thumb of absolutist regimes. There is no comparison which has been more advantageous for humans.
In the UK, socialism has been more mild but has still has been damaging. Look at Benefit’s Street. Those people are dehumanized, they live almost like animals, unwilling to work, uncaring about greater society instead focusing on what the state can give THEM. For another example of the evilness of socialism look at how left wingers acted at the death of Margaret Thatcher. They celebrated and danced in the street at the death of an old woman. Why did they hate her? Because she stopped their pipeline to steal other people’s money by returning industry to where it should belong, private hands, and let those who work hard keep their money rather then hand it to people unwilling to work and union workers.
Today, the government is fighting another important moral crusade, the fight to give people their individuality and pride again by going back to work and get off welfare. The way the Churches have responded is shocking and very disappointing. Christian churches (the latest example being the new Catholic archbishop of Westminster) have ceded responsibility to care of the poor to the secular state. No surprise then that Christianity has at the same time of this secession of responsibility declined in membership & importance in the West. A good quote that is true of the paradigm of this problem: As Dominic Lawson said in the Daily Mail ‘Once religious leaders began to see government intervention as a solution to the crisis of urban poverty, the effect on Christian charity was predictable…religious leaders failed to appreciate just how much growth of government welfare would devitalise Christian charity and, by implication, Christianity itself.’ The Prime Minister was further right to engage the Archbishop on welfare, his quote from his Telegraph I particularly like here: “welfare reforms…are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope – and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance.” However what the actions of the Catholic Archbishop or Anglican Bishops show is that socialism has infected even those who are supposed to be leading you to God. Instead of telling you to care for the poor and help your fellow man they are now leading their flocks to the cold arms of the State. From your individuality to even your worship of God, socialism strips your very humanity.
Let the people have liberty. Any attempt at controlling them from on high just leads to tyranny or anarchy or both.