Right now, for God only knows how many times in this world's history, there is another experiment in socialism taking place in our western hemisphere in the South American country of Venezuela. This Cubanesque conversion of that country from capitalism to socialism and, probably, from democracy to a dictatorial form of communism is being spearheaded by Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez. What concerns me is that much of Chavez' philosophies are being faintly echoed by Barack Obama and other far-left Democrats (Click to see a related commentary from 2005). I think this is especially true when you take this quote from Hugo Chavez, "...the way to build a new and better world is not capitalism. Capitalism leads us straight to hell.” and then you hear words from Mr. Obama about changing the world (See Full Story).
Take, for example, Barack Obama's current stand on taxes. Then, read this CNN News article from April 1999, "Venezuela's Chavez assumes new powers, readies new taxes", and I think you will hear an echo in Barack's pledges of today. Chavez's reference of "leashing the devil" is in regard to the social and economic injustices of capitalism. Barack Obama's multiple comments on "spreading the wealth" sure sound a lot like Chavez's 2005 move to take land away from the wealthy and give it to those who are the lowest on the economic scale (See Full Story). One could argue that Chavez's seizure of lands is much different than just raising taxes on the rich so that money can be redistributed to the poorer in our economy. But, is it really?
When Maxine Waters talked about "socializing (err)...taking over" the oil companies in this video (Click to view) it was obvious that capitalism wasn't on her mind. Maxine is clearly taking a page out of Hugo Chavez's socialist/communist playbook when you read this story from 2007: "Chavez nationalizes oil companies" (click to view news article) .
And, doesn't this sound familiar: "Venezuela nets 4.3 billion US dollars in windfall oil profit tax" (Click to view complete article).
One thing that a leftist form of government can't stand is an opposing viewpoint. In this country, the Democrats are proposing the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" (See Wikipedia Article) to silence the right. In many ways, this is similar to some moves made by Hugo Chavez as seen in this news article: "Chavez to shut down opposition TV" (click to view). Certainly, neither move is intended to have a society with free and uncensored speech.
Chavez has gained more and more control because his left-wing political party has dominant control. Enough control to dramatically change the powers of that country (See Full Story). That control could be very similar to what might occur in this country in 2009 (See Full Story). Besides giving Chavez the power to lead that country for life, that news article points out: "Other reforms would create new types of property to be managed by cooperatives, give neighborhood-based "communal councils" administrative responsibilities usually reserved for elected officials..." Do I see a new future in this country for community organizing groups like ACORN?
The sad thing about socialism is that, in the long run, it doesn't work. In the 1950's to 1970's, some European governments tried to nationalize things like banks, railroads, and airlines. It didn't work, and those things, today, have been returned to the public sector. Russia and China have since succumbed to the ways of capitalism because the furthest left of socialist society, communism, didn't work either. Those countries who stayed with it, like North Korea and Cuba, have done nothing but drag their countries into the depths of economic nonexistence. Thousand are starving in North Korea as that country pursues it's military aspirations. Cuba is isolated and people scrape together spare parts so they can drive around in U.S. made cars from the 1950's and 1960's.
Venezuela is on track for a similar fate. Inflation in that country is just making the poor poorer (See Full Story). Milk and eggs and other essential foods are missing from grocery shelves (See story and listen to the audio). In a country that is awash with energy in the form of oil, there is a shortage of electricity, as seen in this news article: "Oil powerhouse Venezuela struggles to keep lights on" (click for article).
Chavez took over because of his populist message that appealed to the poor and the lower middle classes. This is, in essence, the Obama message; although, he has conveniently tailored that message of today to make it seem like the middle class will get the greatest benefit. But, it isn't the middle class that actually benefits from Obama's plans for this country. His plan is to redistribute income and wealth to the lowest income levels who don't even pay taxes; and, that is an attempt to turn America into a socialist, welfare state. Venezuela is an example of what Obama wants and what this country could ultimately be. As you can see, it ain't a pretty picture. The belief that you can take wealth away from a country's wealth builders is a failed belief that has been tested and proven wrong in one socialist attempt after another. Socialism only breeds inflation and shortages of goods and services with the poor getting hurt the most. Hopefully, this country won't be as complacent as Venezuela was in letting things get as far out of hand as they have today. Just hopefully!