While Venezuela was no paradise before, the past few years have turned that country into an absolute hell hole, and the last few months have been nearly apocalyptic in scope.
It seems like not a day goes by without another story hitting the news that indicates Venezuela is on the verge of collapse.
This week it was revealed that basic necessities such as toilet paper and food are in such short supply, that people are willing to storm across the border into Columbia get what they need. In fact, they’re desperate enough to bypass checkpoints manned with armed soldiers.
Dressed in white T-shirts, the women from the Venezuelan town of Ureña marched up to the barriers manned by members of the National Guard. The guardsmen formed a cordon to prevent the women from passing but they eventually broke through, cheering as they ran across the bridge into the Colombian city of Cúcuta.
“The women of Ureña decided to come to the international bridge to cross the border because we don’t have food in our homes, our children are going hungry, there is a lot of need,” one woman told the Cúcuta daily La Opinion.
There is nothing that captures the failure of socialism more than when people try to escape socialism. It’s scenes like that which have managed to turn Venezuela into the modern poster child for what socialism really does to a society. In every country where it has been attempted, it has resulted in misery, poverty, and death, or is going to at some point down the road.
But don’t tell that to the millions of Bernie Sanders supporters or the countless celebrities and academics who have called for socialist policies. They always seem to have an abundance of excuses for why communal systems fail, which usually boil down to “that wasn’t really socialism” or “they didn’t run the system correctly” or perhaps the system “wasn’t socialist enough.” And they’ve been making excuses like that in one form or another for a long time.
Before the fall of the Soviet Union and the reformation of China’s communist policies, plenty of socialists in the West supported those countries. Bernie Sanders actually went on a honeymoon to the Soviet Union during the 80’s (though he describes it differently) and in the past, he has defended some of the policies of Fidel Castro and other authoritarian regimes. There was a time when socialists were okay with defending these regimes.
But once the Soviet Union collapsed, they had to rethink their rhetoric. They knew that there was no way that they could convince people to support Soviet style communism anymore. So instead, they rebranded their beliefs as “democratic socialism,” which they have been quite successful with. They’ve managed to indoctrinate a whole new generation of young people with this label.
Whenever you hear some celebrity or politician extolling the government policies most commonly found in European countries, this is what they’re talking about. Now when they hear someone criticize socialism, they say “what about Northern European countries, with their high standards of living, free healthcare, and free education? Socialism doesn’t work, but democratic socialism is clearly a smashing success.”
However, Europe wasn’t always the go to shining example of socialism for the Left. There was a time when they could also cite Venezuela. To celebrities like Danny Glover, Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, and Michael Moore, all of them darlings of the Left, Venezuela was a paradise, and they wasted no time telling us why Venezuela was so much better than America. They repeatedly visited that country and met with their now deceased leader, Hugo Chavez.
Think about that for a moment. There was a time when socialists viewed Venezuela as the shining example for what a democratic socialist government should look like. They heaped praise on Chavez while ignoring his autocratic tendencies. To them, it really did look like a democracy.
But now, all of those celebrities are strangely quiet on the matter. Now that Venezuelans are starving in the streets, it’s suddenly no longer trendy to cite Venezuela as a democratic socialist success story. How convenient?
Even Bernie Sanders, the current champion of democratic socialism, can’t bring himself to talk about Venezuela without sounding like an idiot. Not too long ago he was interviewed on Univision, and he was asked for his opinion on Venezuela.
Not a word on that democratic socialist paradise.
And as for those European countries that socialist love to talk about so much, there’s a reason why they didn’t crash and burn into totalitarian hell holes overnight. They were so rich from capitalism, that they when they abandoned it and turned to socialism, they had a massive wealth cushion to fall on. Socialism only lasts as long as there is money in the bank, and those countries had plenty of money to go around. But now that they’re running out, they’re slowly moving away from socialism and have been for years.
In the end, democratic socialism really isn’t all that different from communism, and it’s just as much of a failure. In Venezuela’s case it was a bigger failure, but this system is falling apart all over the world. At this point, anyone who tries to convince you that democratic socialism is somehow different from communism, is either woefully ignorant or an opportunistic liar who knows better.