Hugo Chavez: Like Leading Lambs to the Slaughter
on private property in Venezuela has begun.
is the elimination of factories and large land tracts that are
supposedly unproductive. Because these enterprises do not generate
wealth or jobs with the zeal that President Hugo Chávez might
desire, the government will expropriate them.
are held by the state, Chávez, always generous with the income
derived from oil or the taxes paid by Venezuelans, will inject
the properties with capital and with thousands of workers who
will earn lavish salaries.
will lose huge amounts of money, naturally, but to the revolutionary
mind this is an insignificant fact. The losses will be washed
down with abundant swigs of public money, creating a multitude
of grateful stomachs that presumably will join the revolutionary
bandwagon. That is precisely the essence of populism.
consequence of such stupidity is the collective impoverishment
of society. The more public enterprises lose money, the poorer
becomes the society that needs to sustain them.
Chávez explain the fact that the communist countries were abysmally
poor? Their thousands of enterprises -- crammed with unnecessary
workers, directed by apathetic bureaucrats who parroted political
slogans and inflexibly ruled by controlled prices -- inevitably
slid into generalized disaster.
explained to Lenin -- patiently and futilely -- by Ludwig von
Mises in a book titled Socialism, published in 1922, when the
Bolshevik revolution had just begun.
paid him no heed. Not because they didn't understand the impeccable
reasoning of the Austrian economist, but because the decision
to seize property was ideological, not economic.
enlightened prophet, had insisted that once changes are made in
the regime of property (its structure), changes occur in both
social mentality and the institutions (the superstructure) that
enable the emergence of the New Man, a virtuous and unitary creature
who will build paradise on Earth.
care a fig if all those enterprises mired and sank; what he wanted
was a mob of obedient Soviets that would allow him to test Marx's
scatterbrained theories and, incidentally, to govern despotically
like the implacable autocrat that he was.
in hand with Fidel Castro, his beloved mentor, is walking exactly
down the same road. Behind the dismantling of the system of private
property is a search not for economic efficiency but for political
property doesn't exist, rebellion or plain civil disobedience
is impossible. Where the state owns the means of production, society
bows its head servilely, because the government controls its sustenance
and because every enterprise becomes one more link in the repressive
why no communist dictatorship ever disappeared as the result of
a massive popular rebellion. The citizen in the hands of the state
is a defenseless being. Those of us who remember the process that
led to the fall of the Berlin Wall know it only too well: communism
collapsed when the East Germans began to run toward the border
and Gorbachev refused to shoot.
did not rush the army barracks to wrest the power from the military
or break into party headquarters to confront the officials of
the dictatorship. They tried to escape, not to fight, because
experience had tamed them -- with the exception of a handful of
of eliminating private property in Venezuela is precisely that:
to begin the ''stable-ization'' of society, so it can be dominated
without pity. Institutions will become stables. Venezuelans will
be controlled in their neighborhoods by the Bolivarian Circles
and will work in state enterprises under the watchful and implacable
eye of the party's labor leader.
families will crack into hostile segments. Parliament will dictate
the laws needed to keep Venezuelans under a tight rein, while
the courts -- docile to the executive's authority -- will deal
mercilessly with any transgression of their deliberately vague
and imprecise standards, so the sanctions imposed may be in accordance
with the interim needs of the revolution.
circle of terror has been closed, there will be no free press,
and the only voices of protest will be the screams of the victims.
Worst of all will be the widespread indifference to such monstruous
It has always
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