Friday, August 17, 2018

New England’s Cynical Socialist Conventicle

Those on the right like to joke that New England is slipping into a socialist nirvana, but recently US. Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Leon Trotsky of the movement to make New England Venezuela, has added serious notes to the charge.

Kevin Williamson has exploded the Warren menace in a thoughtful piece in National Review titled “Elizabeth Warren’s Batty Plan to Nationalize . . . Everything.”

“Warren’s proposal,” Williamson writes, is dishonestly called the ‘Accountable Capitalism Act.’ … Under Senator Warren’s proposal, no business with more than $1 billion in revenue would be permitted to legally operate without permission from the federal government. The federal government would then dictate to these businesses the composition of their boards, the details of internal corporate governance, compensation practices, personnel policies, and much more. Naturally, their political activities would be restricted, too. Senator Warren’s proposal entails the wholesale expropriation of private enterprise in the United States, and nothing less. It is unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, irresponsible, and — not to put too fine a point on it — utterly bonkers.”

Those who were born yesterday and who lived through Stalinism and Nazism with their eyes sewn shut do tend to forget, too conveniently, that nationalization is a revolutionary tool of the left. Both fascism and soviet communism are leftist tools of destruction; Hitler and Stalin were socialists, and both nationalized their industries because both were, at home, proponents of nationalism.  Mussolini was a socialist journalist before he hit upon fascism, and when the fascist fundament began to crack under his feet, he returned to socialism – much too late to save his hide. But it was Mussolini who best described fascism and the socialist state: “Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state.”

That is the political credo of socialism’s Latin American proponents. Peering over Venezuela, where toilet paper is in short supply and the proletariat lunch at garbage bins, the President of once prosperous Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, a former bus driver who studied politics at the knees of Karl Marx and the late Hugo Chavez, is unimpressed with the bitter fruits of socialism and continues on his merry way. The poor languishing on the streets of Caracas cry out to him in despair “the nationalization of primary industries has destroyed once prosperous Venezuela,” but the cries  do not pierce the walls of  the Palacio de Miraflores. Perhaps Maduro has been distracted by the Peruvian Sun Hall, decorated with gold donated by the government of Peru, or the Joaquín Crespo Hall, with its four gigantic rock-crystal mirrors.

The horror that is now Venezuela – inflation rate 40,000 percent – began shortly after then President Hugo Chavez nationalized the country’s oil industry.

Only seven years ago, when socialist Venezuela was wobbling on its pins, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist, Vermont) was throwing bouquets at the ruined state. In an essay titled “Close The Gaps: Disparities That Threaten America,” Sanders, lamenting the economic gap in the United States between rich and poor, wrote, “These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?”

Venezuela lies in tatters, socialist Ecuador is also suffering from inflation and a protracted recession, and Argentina has long been a corrupt socialist kleptocracy. To vary a phrase of Balzac, behind every Latin American socialist political fortune lies a crime against easily seduced people.

Both Connecticut U.S. Senators, Chris Murphy, up for reelection in November, and Dick Blumenthal, have  lazily tolerated Sanders and Warren. The non-camera shy Blumenthal, whose Connecticut soapboxes outnumber the stars in heaven, should be ashamed to stand on the same podium with Sanders. But he is not. And what Williamson has said of Warren is true also of Murphy and Blumenthal. They are cynical posers: “She knows that this is a go-nowhere proposition, that she will be spared by the Republican legislative majority from the ignominy that would ensue from the wholehearted pursuit of this daft program. It is in reality only a means of staking out for purely strategic reasons the most radical corner for her 2020 run at the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democratic party in 2018, like the Republican primary electorate in 2016, is out for blood and desirous of confrontation. So Senator Warren is running this red flag up the flagpole to see who salutes.” 

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