by J. D. Heyes, Activist Post:
The longer the Left-wing government of Venezuela remains in power, the more economic destruction and social chaos there will be, but no one seems capable of convincing the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro of those two realities. And so, like all authoritarians before him, he and his minions continue to double down on policies that have wreaked havoc in the once-wealthy and aspiring South American nation.
But, then again, much of what the Maduro administration is doing now is by design – aimed at keeping his people needy and, thus, more compliant. How’s that for “compassion?”
As reported by Guillermo Rodriguez of the Panama Post, you can forget politicians’ oft-stated goals of wanting to lift their constituents up and help them achieve all that is possible. “If you want to know how politicians think and act,” he writes, “you have to identify their material objectives and available resources to figure out the most efficient way they might achieve them in the context of their political opposition.”
It is a concept known as “politics without romance,” and it was introduced by James M. Buchanan, for which he won a Nobel Prize in Economics in 1986. If that philosophy is applied to recent developments in Venezuela, Rodriguez said, it can help people understand why authoritarianism has risen in the country.
Only the politically obedient will eat
Currently, he says, the country is in “complete disarray after financing its socialist revolution,” which began back when oil prices were (artificially) elevated – and much higher than they are today.
“The celebration of this is long over, but the hangover remains both for the Chavistas of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the also socialist opposition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD),” Rodriguez wrote.
One weapon, if you will, in the quiver of tyrants throughout history has always been hunger; control the flow of food and you can “win” a lot of loyalty. That appears to be a weapon of control that the Maduro administration is employing, according to Rodriguez. More on that in a moment.
See if this sounds familiar to you: In addition to the socialists’ partisan control of the electoral authority, the parties also have political control over the Supreme Court. With low oil prices, economic chaos (that the socialists caused) rife throughout the country, and the collapsing social fabric, the ruling party knows it cannot win a credible election, as evidenced by its “massive defeat” in recent legislative elections – losses that could be repeated in the future, writes Rodriguez.
“The opposition’s strategy is then to hope for power to fall into their hands as a result of the people’s massive rejection of Chavismo at the polls,” he said, adding:
“However, the problem is that those who give the orders at the MUD agree on two things: a social democratic model that will block whatever movement that does not adhere to the same ideology, and that the governing socialist rulers must negotiate the turnover of power, agreeing to the secret mutual protection of the spoils of the past, present, and future.
“In other words, their project includes the Chavistas in the new government.”
This is ‘utopia?’
Now comes the bit about food and power. Since the ruling socialists don’t have anymore petro wealth to redistribute, they will use what little food remains in the same manner, Rodriguez believes.
“But because they no longer have petrodollars to hand out among the people, they will now use the little food that is left: government rationing will be done through a criteria of political loyalty, nothing more, nothing less,” he wrote.
“Venezuela is transitioning from a system of open rationing to one where only the politically connected will get food.”
Such is life – and the use of political power – in a socialist “utopia.”
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