Venezuela has been delicately discussed in the news in recent weeks. Zero Hedge has far more coverage than other outlets combined. Why? It is fresh chum for those who oppose communists. Venezuela under Chavez was lavished with praise. It also enjoyed a commodity bull supercycle. Now that the socialism is hitting expected road markers as the oil bull ends, oil investment died off due to mismanagement and government spending keeps going, Venezuela profiles are sparse. It kills the narrative.
This profile of Venezuela in The Atlantic is a window into the death of a country by socialism. This unraveling is carefully couched by the writer as socialism is only mentioned twice and only as Chavez’s brand. A perfect molding of the failure is in this paragraph:
The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).
This focuses the energy on Chavez and his brand. Chavez was the cancer. This lines up with The New York Times op-ed on the need for Maduro to embrace democracy. The Times even allowed Maduro op-ed space of his own (most likely ghostwritten) to tout all the positives of Chavez and the party. Read his op-ed to see just for how many progressive talking points Maduro marks, and how we now know exactly how full of lies they were.
This is also the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. This is the only defense because laced throughout the article is fact after fact of government intervention and socialist policies that caused the destruction of Venezuela. Hyperinflation is tossed around multiple times, and that does not happen without a government fueling the fire.
This Atlantic article states that problems started before now, but just in 2013, other American writers were calling Chavez’s work an economic miracle. If the cracks were apparent then, why were they not mentioned? Looking even further back in time, one can see that Venezuela’s miracle was a return to GDP per capita numbers it enjoyed over 40 years ago. No writer could mention the problems Venezuela faced and its middling performance while riding the oil bull because to do so would break ranks with the Left’s stance. Chavez’s policies are no different than Bernie Sanders’ pitch. This is why protesting Venezuelans and the disastrous policies they enacted cannot be mentioned.
Venezuela is not alone. Nations spread throughout the American empire serve a purpose for domestic reasons. They are discarded the moment the purpose is served. If one watched movies about modern South Africa, one would think the rainbow nation was coming together and moving on from evil, icky apartheid. Roughly 70% of South Africans polled at year end 2015 think the nation is heading for a collapse. Rolling power outages only ended in South Africa because economic activity has declined. South Africa has seen its fortunes worsen, even as the commodity bull supercycle roared. This is a long decline, but one the American media will tap dance around.
Why? It is bad governance and corruption. Of course, the political institutions were working fine up until apartheid ended. South Africa was discarded by the Left because the mission of destroying a vestige of white colonial rule was complete. No one needs to see the consequences. The Left won. Forget how the substitution of white administrators and politicians for African bureaucrats has resulted in the decline of a functioning nation. As in The Wizard of Oz, pay no attention to the color of the man behind the curtain. South Africa and the refutation of the idea that all humans are fungible must not be mentioned.
South Africa is a particularly interesting case because we have another unmentionable nation as a guide for it: Zimbabwe. As Moldbug once wrote, Zimbabwe was Rhodesia, a country that used to exist. South Africa has better natural resources and a higher starting point, but its descent tracks along Zimbabwe’s, albeit with a twenty year delay. Zimbabwe gets press for hyperinflation and Mugabe being a dictator, but no one examines why it is a mess when it was formerly a food exporter. No one questions why the West sacrificed Rhodesia to the Gods of decolonization, democracy, and diversity. Zimbabwe sans apartheid is the exact change in governance that South Africa is experiencing.
There are others on this list of unmentionable countries. They all share the common trait of revealing reality and refuting progressive lies. Netflix may have thirty Holocaust documentaries for you to watch, but search hard anywhere for a documentary on Pol Pot’s Cambodian killing fields that Harvard endorsed. How much does anyone hear about Haiti in the years between coups or the natural disasters that kill hundreds of thousands? These nations must all be memory-holed for the narrative. These nations must only be recalled or pulled out of the tool-shed when politically useful at the moment for feeding a domestic narrative.
Venezuela’s decline will continue. It will continue to receive carefully pruned coverage by Western media. No lessons will be learned because the lessons to be learned destroy the progressive house of cards. The misery of the human condition for millions that directly refutes progressive beliefs must not be mentioned. Besides, that wasn’t true socialism, anyway. That was not true communism. It just has not been implemented correctly. Fret not, your progressive overlords can do it better.