The prevailing theme for this week is liberty. A lot of attention is being focused towards the events in Ukraine. However, just south of us here in South Florida there is another example, Venezuela.
In Venezuela we see what always happens when socialism takes root, as described so aptly by Margaret Thatcher, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” When Hugo Chavez rose to power in Venezuela, he promised everything for everyone: shared prosperity, fair share, economic equality. He enacted policies that directed the government to nationalize more of the country’s production — especially the lucrative oil industry.
He took over the means of informing the people – hm, I wonder if he started with a “critical information needs” study similar to what the Obama administration’s FCC is seeking to initiate?
What resulted? The same that always happens when you punish, demonize, and denigrate the individual entrepreneurial spirit. The same that always happens when you disincentivize work for a government subsidy check. The same that always happens when there is a promotion of a welfare nanny-state focused on dependency rather than opportunity.
The producers stop producing and flee. We see it right here in South Florida in Broward County in the city of Weston, where the Venezuelan flag flies right along with the American. So as Prime Minister Thatcher poignantly stated, socialism fails because its empty promises are rooted in the legal plunder of others based upon some ill-conceived – I submit, actually demented — sense of benevolence. And then come the riots — because after all, you promised stuff but in the end what do the people gain? Nothing. What do they lose? Liberty.
In the Ukraine the fight for liberty is not against socialism but rather totalitarianism. A quarter of a century ago, Ukraine was given a new lease on life, a chance to determine its own future. It had once been a central part of the Soviet Union but then became an independent state.
However, old desires don’t fade away easily and control is a powerful motivator. Ukraine is caught in the middle of a fight to gain control of its future and it centers around a very important commodity: natural gas. Control of energy resources is a vital aspect of foreign policy and national security strategy — as well as important to the resurgence of Putin’s Russia. Liberty is the result of independence. Subjugation is the result of totalitarianism. Ukrainians seek the former, not the latter, and so they are making a stand.
There are lessons to be learned for us here in America. Venezuelans and many from Eastern Europe have fled to our shores to enjoy liberty and freedom as they escape the ills of their home countries. But if America succumbs to progressive socialism and totalitarian control of our government, where will people go? If America succumbs, who will be the beacon of liberty and freedom? Let me refresh your memory about what’s happening in America. Democrats and the New York Times are advocating for the IRS to eliminate and attack Americans. The FCC is seeking to put monitors into newsrooms. Our president feels he does not need to govern by legislative process but rule by edict — executive order. Elected officials such as Obama and DeBlasio are leading the charge to punish hard-working successful Americans — for what purpose? Redistribute their wealth.
So where do Americans flee? What is actually perplexing is that liberal progressives run away from failing liberal states such as California and New York. Unfortunately, they do not leave behind their damaging political beliefs. Like locusts they migrate to states like Colorado, Montana, and Florida with their cancerous political philosophy and destroy those states — message to Texans: you may want to stop asking Californians to relocate, unless they renounce liberal progressivism!
As we watch unrest in Venezuela and Ukraine unfold, I wonder, will we soon reach a tipping point in America?
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on AllenBWest.com.
RELATED COLUMN: Americans rising up against government – USA Today