Thursday, March 7, 2013

There are a lot of leftists in South America that go a lot farther than many of us North Americans would

Fine, OK.

I personally don't like radical leftism or radical change of any sort, but I can see how people who are fed up with poverty and inequality could get excited about quicker redistributive efforts, particularly in the face of the reactionary props that preceded some of these leftists.

But if you're going to have a warm glow for a down-to-business South American leftist, why this man?

I've been amazed at some of the positive reactions I've seen. It's like the admirers of Castro. If these guys had stopped their heavy handedness after throwing out prior reactionary governments, that would be one thing. Revolutions aren't always pretty. But they didn't stop there.

Get excited about Lula or someone like that if you feel the need to have a warm glow for a leftist. That guy actually left office and (as far as I'm aware) didn't repress the media or violate the rule of law while he was shaking things up.

What possesses a person to celebrate a guy like Chavez?


  1. I'm not in love with Chavez, but if you are willing to be pragmatic when it comes to drones killing citizens then I feel like you need to be pragmatic when it comes to the media.

    When the media is owned by the bosses and the bosses are your natural enemy, then one must repress the media. It is not as though the media in such a situation is actually representing either the public interest or legitimizing itself as an unbiased arbiter of truth.

    There is a pragmatist gray area there that I feel like you are willing to embrace in other situation that applies equally in the case of an attempted coup against a democratically elected president.

    1. I think "enemy" in the sense that leftists and bosses or leaders and their critics are enemies and "enemy" in the sense that Anwar al Awlaki are two different things.

      I don't know the Venezuelan case well - my understanding is that it was not as repressive as, say, Cuba, and I don't want to give the impression that I'm saying that. But I still don't see why pragmatism demands acceptance of interference with the judiciary, the press, the arrest of political prisoners, and human rights violations.

      What I say about drones is that like any other weapon we should have them in our arsenal to use against enemy combatants.

      How is that comparable at all to journalists, judges, and opposition parties?

      How do you propose making that leap?

      If you want to just talk about trying the leaders of the coup, fine. It might have been nice if it succeeded, but far be it from me to say a government deal with an armed uprising. On something like this of course there is a case. But it went far beyond this and far beyond anything I've ever advocated.

    2. Since you brought up his name, I would like to ask that you list Anwar al-Awlaki's crimes. It would really help to clarify your position on this issue.

    3. I believe that it is generally agreed that he purchased airplane tickets for the 9/11 hijackers.

      Taken with his subsequent actions, no credible criminal lawyer would argue that he was not a member of the overarching al-Qaeda conspiracy.

      Remember, merely joining al_Qaeda is a "crime."

  2. I said this earlier, and I stand by it: "The only story that the facts tell is that Chavez cashed in national wealth to buy political favor."

    1. So? He had oil wealth and spent it on poor people. The only thing people are outraged by is that it didn't go to oil companies, once you scratch beneath the surface.

      PS you can apply this to any number of 'capitalist' leaders. Pinochet had copper, Thatcher had oil.

    2. Seeing as you mention it: What did Hugo Chavez have in common with Margaret Thatcher?

      For the record, I agree with Daniel's general point. I find it disconcerting that many people on the left are (at least to my eyes) eulogizing Chavez based on, e.g., a shared disdain for U.S. foreign policy.

  3. You forget that all your fascist libertarian fellow travelers had a ready supply of Friedmans and Hayeks on call to go to Central and South America and advise people to start dropping people like Chavez out of helicopters.

    Or, you could turn to the Chicago Boys to just wreak your economy.

    In fact Hayek, showing his true facist self, endorsed dictatorship over democracy and was very happy with the helicopter drops.

    Unlike Francis Urquhart (House of Cards), it is widely know that Hayek took great delight in his flashbacks recalling those helicopter drops.

    1. How could you have possibly gotten it into your head that I forget that?

      I for one find it natural to object to both right wing and left wing tyranny and pointing out the latter on the eve of the death of an exemplar of the latter shouldn't be taken as turning a blind eye to the former.

      If I was blogging back in 2006 I guarantee you we would be talking about all that as well.

      One thing you can say for the libertarians on that count is that they only seem to fall over themselves to make excuses for Hayek's indiscretions w.r.t. dictators. I haven't seen any of them actually come out and make excuses for right wing dictators themselves - which is not the case with Chavez.

    2. Dan

      Somehow, I missed this response, leading to my pouring a little gas on the fires below. Oh well. :<)

      I am not a student of Mexico, Central and South America. My understanding is that 100 year ago Argentina had the highest standard of living in the World. If true, then I expect where the story starts is in Spain which in turn leads one back to Rome.

      I understand the American experience, back to its English roots, because I know the history. Not knowing the history of Central and South America, it seems to me that you have to fast forward to the Spanish Civil War and ask, How can people who came from a place without democratic institutions work out a working democracy? In sum, contrary to Hayek, order does not spontaneously emerge. If it did, why didn't it emerge in Central and South America sans his help?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. You might start here and then read the article on which this post is based

  6. Daniel,

    You also might want to watch the conduct of Paul and Ted Cruz, especially the later, during the so-called filibuster. Cruz is seriously ill and delusional.

    While worshiping Rand he compared himself and Paul to king Henry V and his soldiers at Battle of Agincourt, reading at length from Shakespeare. Making a speech on the Senate floor is an act of courage?

    Watch the how, the tone and body language. Cruz is an ill, very dangerous ugly evil man.

    When you have people this sick and delusional on the Right, and what really is the difference between a Rand, a Cruz, and Hayek or Friedman---Cruz would die to have been on Hitler's inner circle---well it makes it easy to understand a Chavez of Castro in reaction.

    Watch the remarks, yesterday, on the Senate Floor (on CSpan) by McCain and Graham who fairly describe the two as wacko.

    1. Hey, like I said - if Chavez and Castro kept their repression directed at right wing tyrants and then stopped it would probably be a different issue. When you target Venezuelan and Cuban political and media opposition, though, you're turning into the same monsters you were trying to oust.

    2. Perhaps the answer lies in the unique character of the coalition that won the American Revolution. It was an alliance of already existing states. And the people did trust each other, somewhat.

      And, perhaps, my great men make history thesis is correct. If Washington had been a Joe Stalin, Madison and Jefferson certainly gave him sufficient cause during the first Congress when they repudiated their agreement to the Nat'l Gov't assuming the Revolutionary War debt to receive the Trotsky treatment so as to correct the error of their ways.

      Many historians have written how remarkable it was that Washington left office. Your question certainly argues they are right.

      And, that may be the answer. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton and Franklin were great men which Chavez and Castro fail the test.

  7. "You forget that all your fascist libertarian fellow travelers had a ready supply of Friedmans and Hayeks on call to go to Central and South America and advise people to start dropping people like Chavez out of helicopters."

    This is pure fantasy. Johan Norberg addressed these sort of silly claims here:

    1. Like I am supposed to pay attention to a wack job from Cato whose soul is owned by the Koch brothers.

      BTW, did you notice that, yesterday, McCain pointed out that the Pauls, Kruz, Cato, the Kochs, Hayek, and Friedman were all "wacko," his words.

      Hayek is on record, having written letters saying he prefers dictatorships and fascism to democracy.

      When you have this kind of nutty right wing demography, you are going to get people like Chavez and Castro.

      Dan wonders what makes people like Chavez or Castro. The answer is very simple. Go watch the behavior of Rand and Cruz a couple of days ago. Same for others: Bork, Scalia, Alito come to mind. Lots of GOP now in the house and senate.

      The "how" of these people, their arrogance, scorn, intellectual pretense, it guarantees you will get a Chavez and Castro.

      If you think "How," doesn't matter, look at the reputation of Noah vs. every other economics blog. Noah's "how," put his heads and shoulders above the rest.

    2. Alexander Hamilton,

      This is exactly the sort of no quality response I'd expect from you. Honestly you ought to be banned from this blog.

    3. LSB you realize you and AH are pretty much peas in a pod, don't you?

    4. Yes, I'm constantly arguing such gems as "U.S. did not commit war crimes during WWII" and that the acolytes of John Maynard Keynes were behind the activities of autocratic despots.

    5. Libertarian Standard Bearer.

      It is widely known that the United States conducted the entire war against Japan under an implicit, and sometimes express, take no prisoners order or policy and that is why we took so few prisoners.

      Was this a War Crime?

  8. "What possesses a person to celebrate a guy like Chavez?"

    That's a pretty open ended question that would require a heck of a lot of discussion about how human brains work and the like.

  9. I wish Daniel came back so we could talk about drones again. You know, that discussion where I've been hitting it out of the park like a motherf#$@er, and Daniel was all like 'oh God, make it stop, just please make it stop'.

    I wish we could get back to that.

    1. I must have missed the hit out of the park.

      Don't confuse the sheer volume that you and LSB are able to produce together with any kind of quality.

    2. "I must have missed the hit out of the park."
      There were several such hits. You can watch the replays in the threads.

      "Don't confuse the sheer volume that you and LSB are able to produce together with any kind of quality."
      I don't. Don't worry.

    3. Daniel,

      You're really not the best judge of your own comments.

    4. TLS,

      that also applies to 'the narrator's' comments about hitting it out of the park.

  10. I just have to say, having been following some of his (or her?) commentary for the last several months, that "Alexander Hamilton"'s comments seem to be among some of the worst here. He's obviously a respectfully intelligent person, and many of his arguments are at least moderately reasonable. But when you have to incessantly leverage virtually all of your opinions with ad hominem attacks (both against the blog-owner and other commenters) it really detracts from the quality of discourse here.

    There are plenty of people I vehemently disagree with on this blog that manage to make thoughtful points without doing this (Daniel, Ken B, Gene Callahan, etc.). And there are plenty of people who have conclusions that I generally agree with but make very terrible arguments (or at least it seems so to me). But the over-zealous deprecation of those you disagree with - I just don't see that as being fruitful. AH seems to have that quality in spades. His general predisposition towards people who have come to alternate conclusions seems to be that they must be either a demon, naive, or slave...and he treats them as such with his disrespectful commentary.

    1. Ryan

      1. My arguments have been consistent and very reasonable. I especially am very critical of Obama's how and have been very skeptical of the deficits, for sounder reasons than expressed by anyone here. I don't favor STEM immigration as it is a disincentive to American parents and students. And, it robs others of needed talent. If one is at all concerned about India or Africa, how can we justify taking their talent?

      2. I do engage in ad hominem attacks, especially as so many here deserve them. I will give one recent example. Gene Gallahan attacked me for my admission of a 1978 economics education. Bad as it may be, I have at least read Keynes. Gene, by contrast, worships Mises but on his own blog admits that Mises did not read Keynes when given the opportunity because he might learn he was wrong. Now what kind of respect is due either Gene or Mises? For that matter, what kind of respect is due anyone in the business of worshiping a dead economist?

      3. I am a trial lawyer and thus evaluate on a dimension you never consider, the favor, the bias and conduct of the proponent. Let us take just one organization, CATO. This is walking bias and a joke. If it is ever right, it is only on the clock stopped principal. Take the heros of the moment, Paul and Kruz. They are Wacko Culls, per John McCain. They and anyone who follow either are Wacko Culls. Many many people far better at writing than am I have explained that Libertarians and Rand followers are juveniles.

      The "drone" debate is an excellent example. Being a far better student of conflict than anyone here, I have deep concerns about our drone war. We cannot go around the world selling copies of Patton and then conduct a war in which nothing is glorified or reaffirmed, seems to me. Boyd teaches such, that War is a moral struggle, first. One engaging in self-defense has to make the case it is defending something worth defending. Seems to me Obama could be a lot better at this but I wholly fail to see how Paul and Kruz are helping Obama. They are just grandstanding and playing to fools.

      As for concerns about civil rights, we still have lots of abuses in our society: the LA police, recently, the man in New Mexico held in jail for 22 months without being taken to court. Consistently, you never hear the so-called libertarians here talk about local police, local law enforcement, etc. Paul would never propose to strengthen federal law to have greater over site of local police. The supreme court judges worshiped by those at whom I aim--Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy---would turn the police loose on everyone. Their cynical nihilism is well understood by those of us who read all the cases, not just ones selected to toss red meat to the bleachers.

      Now, anything anyone wants to have an sound discussion here, I will welcome such. But when someone puts up Friedman and Hayek and then complains about Chavez in Central or South America I will point out that one may have lead to the other. You don't go tell people, adopt a system that will make a few people rich as a system, and impose that system by a dictator, and not expect someone to say, then to help the poor you have to go a different way. And when anyone says that Paul is due respect, then Katy bar the door. The man is due no respect and if you cannot understand why just based on watching him, then you have real problems.

  11. Ryan Wills,

    I think you were trying to describe the person under this bridge: :)

  12. 1. On Consistency and Reason - The point of my comment wasn't to criticize the "reasonableness" of your arguments. In fact, I explicitly noted that this wasn't my intention.

    2. On Ad Hominem Attacks - I'd never claim that there is no place for such attacks in common discourse, but judicious, prudent, and effective use of such comes no where close to your indulgence in such. I can see the value in doing so for your own amusement, if we're going to be petty about it, but there's something to be said for giving charitable interpretations of your opponents and their views. In not doing so, you run both the risk of misunderstanding your opponents (and thus not learning from them) and of constantly re-branding yourself as un-serious to onlookers. Neither one of these helps further your argument(s). And, to that point, I would contend that behaving as such is actually pretty unreasonable.

    3. On Being a Trial Lawyer - I'm sure you make a great lawyer. And I'm sure such rhetoric and personal attacks serve you well in that realm. But the rest of us (at this blog) are left to carve all the fatty gristle off your posts to re-fashion some kind of substantive argument. Let's see what kind of saturated and unsubstantial claims we can pull just out of your response to me:

    "Gene, by contrast, worships Mises"

    "what kind of respect is due anyone in the business of worshiping a dead economist"

    "I am a trial lawyer and thus evaluate on a dimension you never consider..."

    "Let us take just one organization, CATO. This is walking bias and a joke."

    "They are Wacko Culls, per John McCain."

    "They and anyone who follow either are Wacko Culls."

    "Many many people far better at writing than am I have explained that Libertarians and Rand followers are juveniles."

    "Being a far better student of conflict than anyone here..."

    "They are just grandstanding and playing to fools"

    "The supreme court judges worshiped by those at whom I aim"

    "Their cynical nihilism is well understood by those of us who read all the cases"

    "The man is due no respect and if you cannot understand why just based on watching him, then you have real problems."

    Now, in between some of this rhetorical brandishing, you have some substantial points. But the rest of this contributes next to nothing to your argument - other than making reasonable people aware of your emphatic derision for your "inferiors". And I'm sure your heated presentation may draw the sympathy of some readers, but I don't think your actual arguments are so weak that you need to prop them up with disparaging generalizations. Then again, maybe I'm wrong. You could at least meet us all halfway by actually substantiating some of your mischaracterizations should you choose to employ them.

    A convincing lawyer you may make. A convincing philosopher you would not.

    1. I am not interested in Philosophy; I am interested in the truth and in wise governance. Thus, I pay no attention whatsoever to people who are not about telling the truth, who have no interest in being engaged or constructive.

      I will take a very simple example. In fact, there is an excellent book on the entire subject, Banner's Who Owns the Sky?

      After the Wright Brothers invented the airplane, its usefulness almost came to an end because libertarians were suing airline companies for trespass, on the principal that a landowner owned from the core of the earth to the sky. State courts even enjoined airfields, etc.

      Douglas put an end to all of this with United States v. Causby which established that airspace is not owned by the landowner, subject to when take offs and landing amount to a taking. Airspace is owned by the Federal Government.

      Now this is a path in the law wholly beyond the capacity of libertarian ideas or principles. It was an extraordinary expansion of the power of the Federal Government and now, looking back, we can see the genius of Douglas and that the decision was entirely absolutely correct. And so here, by one simple, case, all of so-called libertarian thought is shown to be of no use in solving the practical problems of human kind.

      You cannot be a libertarian and come up with a way to properly regulate the airspace. This, btw, shows that there are no a priori principles of governance. Hence, Holmes is right. The path is experience, trial and error.

      Looking back, we can see that the Founding Fathers, for example, got some things right but lots of things badly wrong: Slavery and in general the idea of states rights or sovereignty. As the path of life has developed we have learned that Hamilton was closer, far closer, to the mark than Madison. That is experience.

    2. "I am not interested in Philosophy; I am interested in the truth..."

      That could be the most unwittingly funny retort I've ever read. It's not often I get a chuckle before the end of the first sentence.

      "Now this is a path in the law wholly beyond the capacity of libertarian ideas or principles...You cannot be a libertarian and come up with a way to properly regulate the airspace."

      This is exactly why a little bit of humility would serve you well. Your arrogance in this general claim seems to be preceded only by your lack of knowledge on the subject. There's a wider variance in the strands of libertarian political theory than you seem to think. Not all libertarians subscribe to wholly Lockean theories of homesteading (although many, if not most, still subscribe to parts of it). There are alternate frameworks that directly grapple with (and resolve) this issue, as per your example.

      Now, you might refute the efficacy of such framework(s). But then you would actually have to put some effort into reading up on a little libertarian theory...or at least the parts that extend past the caricatures of which you plow into with a vain kind of finality.

      I don't think any libertarian out there is expecting a total lack of grief over their political views. It's a heterodox view. There's plenty of controversy for people to pull through there. But it certainly doesn't warrant your particular demeanor - as neither do the subjects over which you continually insult Gene, or Daniel, or anyone else here. Watching you effortlessly bush aside the whole of philosophy in your supposed quest for "truth" (however a lawyer might define that) and then throw a bard at libertarianism that was dulled by theorists decades ago...I can safely tell you that it's not very impressive. It's more like watching a patient condescendingly explain to a cardiovascular surgeon what's "actually" wrong with his heart. They can certainly have an argument about it. But my guess is that anyone in the know is going to cringe a little.

    3. Gotta love auto-correct:

      "bush" = "brush"
      "bard" = "barb"

    4. 1. I noticed you had no libertarian way to regulate the airspace.

      You claim such but like every libertarian I have ever come across, when the rubber meets the road, well no one shows up. Now since the philosophy didn't have the answer, it is simple science that it is wrong, that it offers no universal truths and hence that my POV, that life is ad hoc, is the correct one.

      It reminds me of all the wack jobs who argue for private roads when you ask them, how are you going to cross over all the railroads unless the gov't gives you the right of condemnation?

      And, if you need the right of condemnation, well then the roads really aren't private, are they.

      2. There is no libertarian theory. It is simple rationalization of greed and narcissism. One need only read about 4 paragraphs and one has the picture. There is nothing there. If there was, the enlightenment would spring off the page.

      3. What you object to is that I treat libertarians exactly how, for example, they treat Franklin. Remember that by his early 20s Franklin, in the 1720s,knew enough about gold, silver, money, and paper money or currency to write a paper arguing for paper money. Instead of engaging Franklin on the merits, which he could not do, Mises impeached him with the charge that Franklin made his arguments solely so that he could get the contract to print the currency.

      So, it seems more than fair that I apply that to every wacko running around being a libertarian today, starting with the Koch brothers Cato for that is a technique by Mises. I have never read or heard of a libertarian who wasn't in for either the $$$ or to draw attention to themselves or both.

    5. 1. You're right in that I didn't waste my time trying to lay out the foundations of various competing frameworks. I thought, given that you at least appear to be an adult with an Internet connection whom can read and write, that maybe you'd be able to do your own research on that. But instead you've come back ringing the same bell like a helpless child. Since I obviously have to hold your hand, you can actually browse the homesteading section on wiki. That should at least be a start. I'm not doing your homework for you.

      2. No substantive argument being made here (once again) so there's not much worth responding to. Although I must say that it doesn't surprise me that the guy who thought that there was no libertarian framework that could grapple with airspace also thinks that the entire libertarian ethos is a rationalization for greed.

      3. What I object to has very little to do with how you treat libertarians specifically. You've displayed a virtual dearth of knowledge on libertarianism thus far. It's the empty rhetoric and ad hominem that I object to; your use of which seems to span the political spectrum here.

    6. 1. How can one have a dearth of knowledge about something which has no content, which offers nothing that can be learned?

      2. For example, I just gave you the opportunity to give us the Libertarian approach to control of the national airspace for a second or third time and you offer nothing, again. And, we know why. I am right. There is no possible Libertarian approach to control of the the national airspace that would make sense.

      3. It isn't that hard. One ether believes or doesn't believe in Democracy. Libertarians do not believe in Democracy, as Hayek confessed. As a real libertarian he wanted, and you would want, a dictatorship that protects your property and permits exploitation of others. For example, all Libertarians want to be able to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religious and national origin and so forth. It is a core Libertarian belief that a property owner should be allowed to discriminate and Libertarians want laws that promote and permit the maximum amount of discrimination. If you don't believe such, you are not a Libertarian and you are,at best, a crazy quilt. If you believe in laws against discrimination then you are not a Libertarian because the core libertarian principal is that the rights of the property owner trump both the right of the majority to rule and the right of the entire society to protect minorities within that society.

      4. Now pure Democracy has a core problem; it lacks a mechanism to protect the minority from the majority. Accordingly, anyone setting up a Democracy has felt it would be a pretty good idea to create means and methods for protecting minority points of view. There is no philosophy of this. You do things like separation of powers, staggered terms, blah, blah, blah. Somethings work. Some fail, horribly, as we did in giving the Senate the power to confirm appointments of Federal Officers. Why do I say that. Well, it seems to me that the Democratic Party has a very shallow bench when it comes to having the talent to manage the Federal Government. Look at new Secretary of Defense. I don't know if anyone can fill the job but I cannot believe that Hagel is up to the task and if you don't think such matters, look at the damage done to the country by McNamara. The driver of this lack of talent has been the confirmation process. It deters any new talent from getting involved. The party lacks middle and upper managers and it shows. We end up with law school teachers like Obama and Warren. These people have no idea how to manage people and large organizations. The best example was FDR. He and his people stayed in office long enough that they learned how to manage and organize, so WWII, start to finish, was less than half the time we have been in Afghanistan. Now these observations have nothing to do with philosophy. They have to do with experience.

      5. You do other things to protect the minority as well. You have general promises about rights of speech, property, and so forth, but they are general because you do not know the future and you don't want to get stuck fighting the last war. Then you quickly get into experience---what should be subject to a patent or copyright, or be a trade secret, and for how long? But, all of this is experimental. You don't know, for example, the future path of technology, so you guess at the length of patents or what to patent.

      6. In sum, either you are for Democracy or you are not. It is really that simple. If you are for Democracy you can either go cold turkey, or you can experiment to protect the minority. There is nothing more to it.

    7. I directed you towards a libertarian answer to your supposed dilemma. If you are really so intellectually lazy that you can't type "homesteading" into a wiki search (the subsequent page which, by the way, prominently features a libertarian homesteading theory that directly speaks to the issue) then I'm left to assume that you're simply not interested in the answer at all. There's no point to further discussion at this point.

    8. 1) I don't have a dilemma. Libertarians do. They have no theory about how to regulate the national air space.

      Let's understand what happened. After the Wright Brothers proved heavier than air flight was possible and air service started we ran into a direct conflict between the old obsolete libertarian view of states, limited government, and private ownership from the core of the earth into space, the heavens above, etc. For example, we needed to control takes offs in New York and Landings in Chicago.

      What we needed was a strong national government, government ownership of the airspace, and exclusion of the states. IOW, a total rejection of anything libertarian, etc. So. there we have it: a strong national government is better than weak local government, public ownership trumps private . . . I could go on but you will never admit you are wrong and have no idea what you are talking about.

      This is true about every aspect of commerce (railroads, mfg., banking, patents, copyrights, medicine, auto safety, etc., etc.). And, now, we are shifting to needing international control (banking is leading the way)

      It is fundamental science that when one part of your "theory" is disproved, your theory "don't float" and should be consigned to the dustbin of history, but never bother you with the facts.

      So, the facts show that all the premises of this so-called philosophy are wrong and to quote John McCain, followers of such are "wacko."

      Now, take this business model that really disproves the libertarian idea. Using drones that engage in surveillance, we now have the technology that can turn off our outdoor lights at night, having the drone turn them on only on demand. In other words, reverse how we light up the night. We are starting with an estimate of cutting energy usage by 20/30%. Or, we could take the concept of driver less cars, which saves trillions with accident avoidance, no traffic lights or streetlights, etc. The point of both is that they drive the future based on network effects, but networks are diametrically opposed to the narcissism and greed of the libertarian who will want to free ride.

      Both systems will require more government, more information, more taxes (which will be more than off set by savings in other ways), etc etc etc

      So here again we have Modernity rolling right over this philosophy, which isn't a philosophy, BTW

      In sum, there is nothing to libertarianism, never was, never will be.

  13. Well, if the NYT and MSNBC had actively backed and colluded in a coup against George W. Bush, then he had managed to get back into power due to a popular uprising, what do you think would happen to those companies? To the leader of the coup? In Chavez' case he was positively lenient. He didn't even shut them all down and the leader of the coup remains the leader of the opposition. Tell me that's what would have happened in the US with a straight face.

    Chavez was a flawed 'hero.' He was paranoid about the US (though given their history in LA, that's perhaps understandable), and hence took media repression too far. He was happy to let Russian and Chinese companies do what he wouldn't have let western companies do. His land reform - the most important thing in LA - was limited. He even seemed opposed to worker ownership in some cases. His government didn't do enough to address crime (they thoughtOverall he didn't build what he could have out of oil wealth and 13 years in office. And his revolution was too focused on him and not enough on real issues.

    Nevertheless, people need to address their double standard. Venezuela has a tiny agricultural sector and food shortages have been a problem for decades. Crime has always been high and there's a good case that crime has moved from Brazil and Colombia, where it has been clamped down on recently. And rich ex-pats leave after every revolution (including, yes the US revolution). Of course they're going to complain about the poor people finally having a say!

    Had a capitalism-supporting (US approved) leader been in place, nobody would have batted an eyelid at it all. It's only because the rich, property owning class felt a slight attrition of their power (and I mean slight - the top tax rate is 34%) that we hear anything. Evidence? Honduras, with its famed corporate charter cities, and US military support following an illegal coup, has the highest crime rate in the world. But nobody's whining about that - if capitalism is in place, it's just the way things are. Natural.

    tl;dr apply all your complaints to every other leader ever, particularly in Latin America. Chavez definitely doesn't come out worse.

    1. Unfinished sentence:

      "His government didn't do enough to address crime (they thought that it would go down when poverty went down, which it obviously didn't.)"


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