Absurd Venezuela

In my last post, I laid before you the current state of Venezuela, the misery imposed on its people by a socialist government which has yet to answer for the atrocities being inflicted on millions. Absurdities like “Coca-Cola ceases production in Venezuela due to sugar shortage”, “Gigantic beer crisis in Venezuela” and “McDonald’s takes Big Macs off menu citing the bread shortage in Venezuela” brought Venezuela to the news lately. I wish the list of incongruences would be shorter, that way I could focus more, but there is a sea of monstrous news to pick from when it comes to Venezuela, and we must carry on, so hold tight and I will bring you some more Bolivarian delights, which you can either use to prick fun at your commie friends or help by coming up with ideas to help (I am currently evaluating ways of sending aid and support to Venezuelans, advices are welcome).

On Venezuela’s latest submission to the “Unfortunate News” sponsored by the It Was Not Real Socialism Association, the said government has imposed forced labour on workers, who can now be forcefully moved from their jobs to farm fields or elsewhere in the agricultural sector for 60 days in order to “achieve strategic levels of self-sufficiency”. Yes, you read it right, as of July 2016, Venezuelans can be forced to work, and it is all legal thanks to Resolution no. 9855. Jamaica is currently paying off its oil debt to Venezuela by supplying them with food on a barter system, not a bad deal for Jamaicans if you ask me, but I bet you Venezuelans are much happier, and would trade much more oil for food if they could, taking into consideration the hours of queues for grocery shopping, often unsuccessful, or just watch what happened when the Venezuelan government opened the borders with Colombia to allow people to shop for basics. Even the Zoo animals are starving in Venezuela.

Fast forward a bit and we get a Recall Referendum being demanded by the opposition, which has gathered signatures to call for the public’s opinion on Maduro’s lingering mandate. Being successful on the first stage, the movement has already met a blip, the Supreme Court declared the parliament in contempt for swearing in opposition delegates, which nulls and voids all decisions until they step down. The National Electoral Council (CNE) did not set a date for the recall process to go ahead, when the opposition will have three days to collect 4 million signatures.

The evident love affair between Latin American countries and Socialism does not get enough repercussion. Apart from Castro’s lost paradise and recent hunger-ridden Venezuela, most people are surprised to know how most, if not all, Latino countries have a large socialist influence. Just in the past week, Nicaragua, part of the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our Americas (ALBA), suffered a Coup, rendering Daniel Ortega, the president of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, an effective dictator, deposing each and every opposition lawmaker at once. Ortega has been in power before, from 1979 to 1990, and in this turn has been in charge since 2007, he has since, amended the constitution, extending his mandate, now indefinitely. You can read more here.

As the cases pile up, rendering Latin America a new Soviet breeding ground, the whole world pretends to pay attention by tuning in to The Olympic Games in Brazil, most likely trying and portray a happy, rich, safe country (despite the news) making a case for the now impeached left wing Dilma to make it back to power, having for years supported Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and more. Despite the playful tone, I would like to raise awareness to a serious ongoing violence against the liberty of the people, propaganda is proving successful, thousands are starving, dying without medication, and their agenda is to spread this to the whole continent.

Stay tuned for the next episodes of the Latino commie telenovela.


Jones and Abbot picture © anphoblacht.com

So what’s going on in Venezuela?

In the past 2 weeks Venezuela has been hitting the news with worrying updates about how the current Maduro regime has allowed its population to descend slowly and painfully into a situation of chaos, starvation and violence. The self-declared Bolivarian government is a continuation of Chavez’s policies and has long term plans to transform the country in a socialist member of the Foro de Sao Paulo.

If you are unfamiliar with the term “Foro de Sao Paulo”, a quick Google search will show up pretty quickly what has been going on in South America in the last two decades. Long story short, this pact was signed in 1990 in Sao Paulo – Brazil , by the leftist parties and organizations in Latin America and The Caribbean, 48 in total, led by the Worker’s Party from Brazil, as an answer to the fall of the Berlim Wall and alternative to neoliberalist measures to come, forming a socialist block in Latin America. According to Wikipedia their political positions vary across a wide spectrum, which includes: social-democratic parties, left-wing grass-roots labor and social movements inspired by the Catholic Church, ethnic and environmentalist groups, anti-imperialist and nationalist organizations, communist parties, and armed guerrilla forces.

With this background, it is easy to understand why and how South America had so many left wing governments in the last 20 years and why they supported each other so fiercely. Unfortunately Venezuela’s reality did not cope with the very real consequences of a socialist approach to the economy, and even with it’s eye-opening largest oil reserves, the country spiraled down into poverty and shortages of just about anything, including electricity, having daily powercuts and reduced workweeks. The average Venezuelan spends over 8 hours a day on queues for basic supplies and the currency’s inflation is so high that the government has run out of printing paper. Coca-Cola has recently ceased production, as sugar is not available, becoming the latest in a string of companies and factories to shut down activities as a result of the narrowing rope in Venezuela’s economy.

The daily violence has been reported by international media, as the population scavenges loots and even hunts street animals to feed from, wars are fought between drug lords and lives are taken as if humanity no longer has a hold in society’s collective interest, the only purpose now is survival. Hospitals deal with daily tragedies, where patients have no access to medication, or sanitary conditions, corpses lie in the corridors and newborns perish by the dozens without a fair chance to fight for life.

The government has issued a state of emergency decree, putting the 520-thousand-strong army in a difficult position against the civil population. The government may now also confiscate factories and businesses affected by the appalling crisis. Humanitarian aid and foreign help have been blocked, while plump president Maduro watches the Venezuelan population be stripped of rights, maintenance, health and worst, humanity.

Beware of the watermelons!

hi‘Imagine a world of efficient and welcoming public services, coordinated action on climate change, equality, workers’ rights, an economy that works for people and planet at a human scale, restorative justice, and real care for the future […] Imagine a political party that prioritises the protection of the land, the seas and their inhabitants.’

The slogan of the Green Party manifesto is “for the common good”, the typically presumptuous mantra of the collectivist. Above all others, the Greens are truly the party of utopianism; their manifesto is a vision of the kingdom on Earth. The party is an odd hybrid of a hard left socialist/60’s counter-culture political movement and a sort-of religious cult. This is a form of middle-class communism designed by a coalition of sad middle aged women, washed up commies and wet hippies.

When properly scrutinised the Green Party crumbles because their aspirations are built on a weak foundation of fantasy and blinkered dogma. Natalie Bennett is a weak performer, but she is caught out under pressure because her plan for Britain is not in the realms of reality economically or socially; it is just a risible leftist fantasy that has been discredited so many times its astonishing that the Greens are taken seriously at all.

Ludicrously, their populism and good intentioned extreme leftism coated in environmentalism is marketed as “fresh”, as if it offers something new that has not been tried before. Similar attempts to create this political paradise have failed all over the world, causing misery and poverty, not to mention tyranny.

There is nothing new on offer, just old school socialism and the high minded self righteousness of the ideologue.  The Greens believe in their own benevolence and want to expand the power of the state to dictate and impose their beliefs on the rest of us, while at the same time completely destroying the economy with their delusional policies.

The harshest criticism of the media is reserved for Ukip, the Green Party have escaped the ridicule they deserve because of the perceived virtue of being left-wing. It is deeply lamentable that a party that aspires to be influential in a coalition, has a greater membership than Ukip and the Lib Dems, and at its peak polled 11%, is not examined more closely and attacked more vehemently across the media spectrum on a sustained basis.

A party with a proclivity for announcing economically dubious policies without being able to offer details on how they would be funded should immediately set alarm bells ringing. The manifesto attempts to put its readers at ease, apparently everything is “fully costed”, there is even a section at the end of the document hilariously entitled “it does all add up”, just in case you still had doubts.

Let me examine that for a moment because it is abundantly clear that a Green Party government (*shudder*) would be the most haplessly profligate the country has ever known. Ending austerity is the standard cry of left wing populism, ignoring the reality of a £90 billion deficit and the relative modesty of the cuts in spending we have undergone in the previous five years. If you really want to end “austerity” then look no further, vote Green.

One of the few indisputable achievements of the Coalition has been to reduce spending by shrinking the size of the bloated public sector and simultaneously facilitating the creation of private sector jobs. This has, contrary to the warnings from the left, led to the creation of millions of jobs that have more than replaced those lost. No matter, the private sector is inherently immoral and the public sector automatically desirable and beneficial whatever the cost.

The Green Party would create “over one million good jobs that pay at least the living wage” (my bold). At least, because they would also whack up the minimum wage to £10 an hour by 2020, so actually the plan is for the government to create a million job that pay £10 an hour. Fantastic, it’s just so easy this governing lark. In-fact, why not create two million and pay them £20 an hour? That solves the unemployment and low pay problem at a stroke!

The private sector will see its wage bill sky rocket. This must sound fantastic to students and air headed leftists, but will that encourage small businesses to hire more staff? You do not need to know much about business to understand how the young and unskilled would be shunned by employers who deem them not worth this new high minimum.

It’s classic false economy, protecting the already employed but hampering job creation and leaving those with no or few skills unemployed, how very progressive. Luckily the poor who have been priced out of work will be receiving more benefits under the Greens, so that’s that sorted.

Needless to say the Green Party will take some pretty drastic action on climate change, but no other party has a pledge quite as grandiose as their plan to “hold the increase in global temperature to below 2 degrees”. The environmental lobby will be happy with a Green government, but the poor certainly will not be.

Inflated energy bills caused by mad, reactionary “green” policies are already directly harming the poor; the Green Party want to take this to a whole new level. Since 2005 there has been a 50% increase in electricity prices, and heating a home in the UK has become 63% more expensive, all the while real wages have been in decline during the recession and the slow recovery. This is impoverishing to those who cannot afford to pay and leads the poor to consume less energy and suffer the consequences.

Green policies also restrict industry, hamper growth and disadvantage the UK against its international competitors, so the party pledge to “ban fracking, phase out coal power stations and say no to new nuclear” seems like a fast track to an exodus of industry and energy reliant business and the total depletion of the UK’s industrial base. Luckily they have this covered by the plan to “invest £85 billion to create a public programme of renewable electricity generation, flood defences and building insulation”, £45 billion of which is reserved for free loft insulation for us lucky citizens. Phew, for a minute there I was really worried.

The policies I have already discussed are eye wateringly expensive, so I think you are getting the gist. So I can brush past the plans for the massive expansion of the welfare state- including doubling child benefits and increasing the state pension to £180 a week – and investing £12 billion in the NHS while providing free universal care for the elderly and cancelling all private sector contracts; the nationalisation of the railways and the cutting of fares by 10%; cancelling all owed student debt and abolishing tuition fees. All in all, their economic plan would increase public expenditure by approximately £177 billion a year by 2020.

It does all add up” though remember, because they plan to raise £198 billion a year in taxes to pay for all this and be running a budget surplus after five years. Yep, cuckoo, cuckoo. La la la, la la la, la la la la la…

Now this is what you call a tax bomb shell: Corporation tax (the reduction in which has led to mass job creation) will be raised to 30% and bring in £12 billion. A new wealth tax “on the top 1%” of earners will bring in £25 billion. A levy on financial transactions dubbed the “Robin Hood tax” will boost the coffers to the tune of £20 billion. Abolishing capital gains tax allowance for another £3 billion. Duty on alcohol and tobacco will be increased by £1.4 billion annually and bring in £5.7 billion over the course of the parliament. A £16 billion green tariff on air travel will kill two birds with one stone, boosting income and the environment. The top rate of tax will be raised to 60% for an extra £2.3 billion of revenue. Most genius of all is the move to clamp down on tax avoidance for a whopping £30 billion a year. So there you have it, “it does all add up”, and you doubted them, you cynic you!

It is a suicide note for the economy, clearly. You do have to wonder whether the people who think this up, and those who believe in it, are mad, idiotic or just in the grip of a kind of political faith that defies rationality. Only being hopelessly captured by blind dogma explains this total lack of reason. It is typical of the utopianist to believe they can alter human nature and of the statist to believe they can force this change and impose their will.

Raising the top rate of tax to 50% did not bring in more revenue, in-fact it is likely to have had a net negative effect. This is because, humans being humans, they change the way they behave in response to circumstance, in this case punitive government policy.

So raise the top rate of tax and tax the assets of the rich, the most mobile section of the population, by 2% and watch the exodus. The exits will be pretty crowded though, as the investment banks rush out to avoid the “Robin Hood tax” and businesses the heavy corporation tax. The Green Party would certainly bring a vast boost to exports; Britain would be the biggest exporter of wealth, talent and jobs in the world.

It’s the left wing intellectuals, artists, film stars and comedians I feel for. Think of the strained excuses they’d have to dream up to explain why they’ve moved to the US or Monaco, or created a new company located in the Cayman Islands. Poor fools.

Natalie Bennett has a “brain fade” moment when she was utterly unable to explain how any of her ridiculous proposals would be funded. Caroline Lucas explained the Green Party position very well on her recent appearance on Any Questions? She said that anyone who was rich and not willing to pay the new taxes wasn’t someone they wanted in the country anyway, if they leave, then “good riddance”.

I’m sure they believe their economic policies are for the best. Nonetheless it is the stated position of the party for the “current dependence on economic growth to cease, and allow zero or negative growth to be feasible”. In other words, they actively seek a permanent economic depression for the good of the environment. There would be mass poverty, starvation and social unrest, but we’d meet out emissions targets. It defies belief.

The Green Party are clearly not going to win the election, so why the need to tear into them like this? Because even though there vote share has dropped, 5% is still just too much. Nor is it reasonable or understandable why they have had a relatively easy ride from the media.

They are not a credible political party, not even as a minor part of a coalition let alone as a government. Their policies range from the ruinous to the ludicrous, their so-called “long term aspirations” are often just plain barmy and their plan for the country is economically illiterate. This is an extremist political force with a manifesto that is patently absurd and worthy of aggressive ridicule, mockery and critical analysis until the day they collapse.

A harmless, good intentioned movement they are not. The Greens are actually malevolent and regressive as well as laughable.

The virtuosity of individualism

Conventional wisdom dictates that individualism is a destructive force which has enraptured and degraded our society. According to leftist orthodoxy it manifested itself in our culture with Thatcherism and rampant consumerism and has infected the “selfish” millennial generation, the only explanation for their worrying right-wing tendencies.

Conventional wisdom is, as is so often the case, quite wrong. I do not recognise this warped image of individualism and contrarily believe that Britain is sadly lacking in this most noble of traits.

The free expression of individual thought and the exercise of individual autonomy is extremely weak in our society. The eccentric, independent minded and assertive individual was once a celebrated part of British culture. The strong willed and fearless individual with a protective barrier of self reliance is resistant to group think and, for me, characterises what individualism is all about.

Now such a trait is attacked from all directions and individualism is repressed and tamed. Society is intolerant of eccentric thoughts that stray too far from conventional wisdom. “You can’t say that” has so rapidly become “you can’t think that”, and now whenever anyone expresses an opinion that goes beyond whatever the sheep are currently bleating a reaction of outrage, bewilderment or total misunderstanding is positively expected.

Autonomy, as exercised by the individual, or the self-reliant family, or the tight-knit community, is increasingly cowed by the state which aggressively cultivates a relationship of dependence.

Individualism is a much criticised and misrepresented principle. Elements of the right dislike it because they see it as a manifestation of selfishness and irresponsibility. Not only is this based on an oversimplified definition, it is wrong because individualism allows us to achieve moral awareness. As we learn from our own experiences, and make our own choices, we become well rounded individuals with a greater sense of ourselves and our responsibilities.

“He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation. He who chooses his plan for himself, employs all his faculties. He must use observation to see, reasoning and judgment to foresee, activity to gather materials for decision, discrimination to decide, and when he has decided, firmness and self-control to hold to his deliberate decision.” – J.S Mill

Outside influences shape us as people, but it is the exercise of autonomy and the making of our own choices that hones our judgement and helps us to become responsible moral agents.

August-Landmesser-Almanya-1936

Yes. Be this guy.

The whole idea of individualism is a total anathema to the left because they believe it undermines solidarity and violates communitarianism. A central tenet of Communism, Socialism and Fascism is that the state has primacy over the individual whose interest must be sacrificed for (what the state, or the dictator, deem to be) the common good. In a collectivist society the central authority must be endowed with the power to control social life in order to subordinate the individual and centrally plan the economy. The state considers itself the embodiment of the nation and the people are bound to it, and each other, through involuntary obligation. This leads inevitably to the violation of the individual’s liberty, property and right to the pursuit one’s own goals.

Over-reliance on a distant, monolithic and (supposedly but never actually) morally neutral provider is not conducive to the self-reliance of individuals, families or communities. It undermines the impulse to voluntarily fulfil our relational obligations i.e. the obligations to those around you – family members, neighbours, communities etc.

Critics of individualism argue that dependence is natural and desirable and they portray individualism as an atomisation of society into a Darwinist rat race between competing selfish individual entities. This is nothing more than a leftist caricature, a mythical extremist individualism exemplified by the selectively edited quote from Margaret Thatcher “there’s no such thing as society”.

In response to this straw man argument I would contend that there is an essential difference between the natural and essential interdependence of human beings (which is in no way denied or eroded by individualism) and the dependence on a distant, impersonal central authority.

Interdependence between human beings on a personal level fosters the bonds of family, friends, neighbours and community. It instils self-reliance, personal responsibility, self-restraint, dignity and an independence from government that essentially undermines its authority.

In contrast, dependence on the state provides for our needs without obligation (except financial) and without connecting us to our local networks, thus it actually breaks down relational obligations. It weakens the family and it weakens the community thus the interdependence of human beings on a personal level is severely undermined. This position is constantly undermined by the perpetuation of the aformentioned misquote of Margaret Thatcher. Now is an appropriate time to reveal the full quotation:

There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”

This has rather a different meaning than that which the left falsely attribute to her. It is not saying that there is no society per se, but is conveying the individualist’s society defined by personal responsibility, family, obligation and voluntary association. It is the antithesis to the collectivist society as embodied by the state, the destroyer of personal responsibility.

Dependence without obligation is corrosive because it gives the illusion of independence from our fellow citizens and weakens our sense of obligation to each other. It fosters the attitude of those who have no moral qualms about cheating the welfare system or shunning work because they see it as an entitlement and justify their actions by believing they are only cheating a faceless, distant authority rather than their fellow citizens.

It is desirable that everyone has enough to eat, somewhere to live and a job to do because this makes for a fair, happy and prosperous society. Dependence on the state turns what is a societal issue of human decency and compassion into a “right” to various “benefits”. It fosters a sense of entitlement and has a pernicious effect on the soul; the response to the granting of such “rights” is generally resentment and demoralisation rather than gratitude. It is not seen as the generosity of the collective but an entitlement handed down by a paternal state that renders them subordinate.

Dependence without obligation, for example, leads to the shameless dropping of litter or fly tipping because those doing it know, and expect, that the council will clear up after them. It leads to the attitude of those who see a street in their neighbourhood besmirched with litter and take no action except complaining that the council really ought to do something. Before you know it, the entire neighbourhood is filthy with litter, and then covered in graffiti, before gradually degrading into squalor. All the while the residents wait for someone else to do something about it.

It weakens associational life; that realm of voluntary institutions established by citizens independently of the state that make up an essential part of “civil society”. The death of civil society would need a nationalised sector to replace it, but it can only ever be a soulless, bureaucratic shadow of a true voluntary sector.

In Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville imagines a world in which this element of society has been killed off. It is a depiction of a society infantilised and divided by dependence:

“Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind […] Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood.”

The leftist resentment of individualism and their utopian approach to achieving solidarity and equality is hypocritical and false. It leads to a type of equality in which we are equally dependent on the state as a provider. It breaks apart groups of people – family and communities – because they are freed from obligations to each other, and creates individuals who are equal only in their dependence on the state as provider.

So, contrary to the belief that this is an alternative to individualism and a means of creating social solidarity, what it actually does is uses the powerful force of the state to atomise society.

This is the collectivist’s morally neutralising and truly destructive form of individualism that is created as an accidental consequence of their utopian folly. The repression of individualism and the cowing of people into compliant dependents coerced by the “benevolent” state into certain behaviours creates only artificial cohesion. Individual autonomy is far more nurturing of social mindfulness and virtuosity and creates stronger, and naturally occurring, social bonds.

A people who become over reliant on the state are meek, weak, and easy to manipulate and oppress. In a society with a herd mentality, where the individual does not matter, groupthink prevails and free thought dies.

Britain is becoming a conformist society and we are expected to submit to and celebrate that conformity. In a free, individualist society the virtues of self-reliance, independence of thought, individuality and creativity are allowed to thrive. Social solidarity is not forced from above but occurs naturally, not as embodied by the state, but through an organic common culture and shared heritage.

Think for yourself, don’t accept the demonisation of a virtuous personal and societal trait.