Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Socialism's tolerance problem

There's been plenty of great write-ups about why the death of Hugo Chavez isn't a tragedy. My favorites are from Nick Gillespie at Reason.comMichael Moynihan at The Daily Beast, a Venezuelan citizen in a comment and, most surprising, Zack Beauchamp at ThinkProgress. I also rediscovered a great piece from Christopher Hitchens about his impressions from meeting a deranged Chavez and the shameless propaganda employed when Chavez declared himself the reincarnation of Simón Bolívar while desecrating his corpse.

Every one of them is a gem, and props to Beauchamp for revealing that much of the supposed success of Chavez's anti-poverty policies really come from an ongoing South American trend.

So with that out of the way, there is something important I want to express about the difference between socialist and capitalist nations. Only one tolerates the other when they are in charge.

In capitalist nations, you're allowed to speak in support of socialism. You can have stupid little coffee houses or dirty book stores devoted to the subject. You're even allowed to build your own little Marxist commune and count down the days until it falls apart.

In socialist nations, supporting capitalism is a criminal offense. Basic human rights like freedom of speech are stamped down and spreading unauthorized messages is a crime against the state. Trying to establish a capitalist subculture can mean execution.

If I was a Venezuelan Chavez would have had me destroyed. If he was an American he would have been mocked, just as he is being mocked now.

It's clear to see which system has the moral high ground.

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