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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Welcome to the Good Life

Planned chaos:

Presented by President Hugo Chávez as an instrument to make shopping for groceries easier, the ``Good Life Card'' is making various segments of the population wary because they see it as a furtive attempt to introduce a rationing card similar to the one in Cuba.

The measure could easily become a mechanism to control the population, according to civil society groups.

``We see that in short-term this could become a rationing card probably similar to the one used in Cuba,'' Roberto León Parilli, president of the National Association of Users and Consumers, told El Nuevo Herald. ``It would use more advanced technological means [than those used in Cuba], but when they tell you where to buy and what the limits of what you can buy are, they are conditioning your purchases.''

Doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting a different result is, for most people, a textbook definition of insanity. Logically speaking then, Hugo Chavez is insane. So is much of the Venezuelan electorate, who voted this madman into office. Socialism hasn't worked the other thousand or so times its been tried, but maybe this time it'll work. So as to make sure no one misunderstands just how mad these people are, they clarify themselves through the use of Orwellian language. Only in the mind of Hugo Chavez, incarnation of Simon Bolivar and Jesus of Nazareth, is a ration card the sign of the "Good Life."

Hugo & Co are not, of course, technically insane. Nor are they necessarily cynical. Unlike, say, Papa and Baby Doc in Haiti, or Bokassa in the Central African Republic, Chavez is not extravagantly corrupt. It's not all a big lie to keep the Swiss bank accounts well stocked, and the emergency Lear jet fuelled. This only makes the situation worse. The merely corrupt, as C.S. Lewis noted, might eventually get tired of plundering. The True Believers never tire in their work. It is their duty to build the New Jerusalem. 

Chavez's Bolivarians should be seen less as a political movement, and more as a religious one. Facts are stubborn things, so just ignore them. The first few dozens times it was plausible to believe that socialism, with a few tweaks, might just work. For those fed with up with the perceived injustices of capitalism, it was worth a go. After a few decades, honest men drew their conclusions. Pious men, by their nature, continue to tend to their beads. 

The act of believing and reaffirming the faith is all important. Ration cards produce hunger? So what? We will all - the elite excepted - be equally hungry. The more regulated and controlled a society becomes, the more likely it will tip into pressure group warfare, and even civil war. Unity is a concern to those who care about it. If one is merely interested in its rhetorical expressions - peace, brotherhood, harmony - as a sort of catechism, the practical results are details. It is the acts of belief that matters. That is where these movements draw their strength, and their ultimate destruction.

Posted by Richard Anderson on September 7, 2010 | Permalink


Well, at least they have a mechanism for controlling the obesity problem.

Posted by: dp | 2010-09-07 8:53:41 AM

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