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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:Yes. Socialism Has Ruined Venezuela.

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Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mary O'Grady argues against the notion that socialism doesn't deserve the blame for the dire situation in socialist Venezuela:

Wars are the second greatest evil that human societies can perpetrate. (The first is dictatorship, the enslavement of their own citizens, which is the cause of wars.) -- Ayn Rand (Image via Wikipedia)
If anything was more predictable than the mess created by Hugo Chávez's Marxist Bolivarian Revolution, it is the pathetic effort by socialists to deny responsibility. The Socialist Party of Great Britain tweeted recently that Venezuela's problem is that socialism has yet to be tried. It blamed the crisis on "a profit-driven capitalist economy under leftist state-control." Even more preposterous is the claim by some academics that economic liberalism in the 1980s spawned the socialism that has destroyed the country.

Learning from history is impossible if the narrative is wrong. So let's clear the record: By the time Chávez was elected, Venezuela already had 40 years of socialism under its belt and precious little, if any, experience with free markets. [link omitted]
O'Grady then walks through the attempts by various regimes over the years to run the economy, most notably starting with the suspension of Article 196 of the 1961 constitution by President Romulo Betancourt, an "avowed socialist." And what was that?
All can freely engage in the profitable activity of their choice, without any limitations other than those provided for in this Constitution and those established by law for security, health or other reasons of social interest.
Although hardly on a par with Judge Narragansett's pithier solution (near end) to the problem of central planning, this speaks volumes. But in case that's not enough, O'Grady's brief synopsis of how the predecessors of Hugo Chávez ran things should help anyone see that the current regime is a continuation rather than a change.

-- CAV

P.S. Related: Polio is making a comeback in Venezuela, which is hemmorhaging refugees. There have been cases in 17 of 23 states there this year, decades after it had been eradicated.

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