Who Can Defend Hugo Chavez?


In a different era, he might have been called a fascist. After all, Hugo Chávez was an anti-Semitic demagogue and chauvinistic nationalist who hated Israel, hated the United States, hated democracy, and favored state control of the economy. A onetime paratrooper and failed coup leader, Chávez aggressively militarized Venezuelan society, creating pro-government citizen brigades to serve as his own praetorian guard and arming them with Russian-made assault rifles. He threatened neighboring countries and constantly warned of looming foreign invasions. He promulgated wild conspiracy theories about Jews and Americans. He befriended the most reactionary and fascistic governments on earth, including the theocracy in Iran, the gangster regime in Russia, and the racist Mugabe dictatorship in Zimbabwe.

I’m happy to call him one in this era. And he is living proof of Jonah Goldberg’s thesis.

17 thoughts on “Who Can Defend Hugo Chavez?”

  1. “He threatened neighboring countries and constantly warned of looming foreign invasions.”

    Talk about delusional, arrogant, and big headed of the type of people who think their little dirt hole country would warrant our attention.

    “After all, Hugo Chávez was an anti-Semitic demagogue and chauvinistic nationalist who hated Israel, hated the United States, hated democracy, and favored state control of the economy.”

    Now we know why he makes Democrats swoon.

  2. Call Chavez a socialist if you want, but as usual you conflate socialism with fascism in the hideously sloppy manner of Goldberg. Did Hitler or Mussolini abolish private property? No, they endorsed it against the rising tide of communism. Did Hitler and Mussolini seek to destroy independent labor movements in their countries? Yes, and Hitler went so far as to send labor leaders to concentration camps.

    Goldberg’s whole assumption is that the word “socialist” in the title of the NSDAP means that the movement was in some deep way a “socialist” movement — rather than the word being used cynically to gain support from a citizenry yearning for a nationalist version of socialism — one that looked to a national renewal, militaristic pride, authoritarianism, and hatred of international movements. If you believe that’s “socialism” as meant by any original meaning of the term, then you have to believe that East Germany in the Cold War was both “democratic” and a “republic”. Or that North Korea today is a “democratic republic”.

    1. If an owner of private property, I might at any time be taken into the streets, shot, and my property taken; am I really its owner?

      I got the premise of Goldberg that the foolish notion that Socialism is left and Fascism is right is ignoring that both relied on empowering the few within government to make serfs or slaves of the many in the citizenry. That they used different terms to hide the true intent is the silly game that becomes deadly. Although, I think that is Dave’s premise too.

      1. My impression is that “liberal” State-shtuppers who object to Jonah Goldberg’s LIBERAL FASCISM (probably–since this crowd is ultra-cocooned–without actually having read it) are uncomfortable because the Truth Hurts. They don’t want to confront the many examples of “liberal” State-worship and authoritarianism that Goldberg’s book cites. They would rather throw stones at the fascism of the so-called “Right” rather than pluck the fascist beams out of their own eyes. (And yes, I’ve mixed Biblical metaphors; but you get my point.)

    2. Sorry Dave, but Hitler and Mussolini were both socialists. Hitler said that to understand Nazism, you have to understand Marx. Mussolini’s only experiences prior to founding the Fascist party were as a Communist agitator and propagandist (which got him expelled from Switzerland), as a union organizer, and as part of the top tier of the Italian Socialist Party.

      The reason they crushed labor organizers was that under their system, they were the labor organizers, the same reason that communists didn’t allow independent labor unions either.

      1. “I have learned a great deal from Marxism, as I do not hesitate to admit. I don’t mean their tiresome social doctrine or the materialist conception of history, or their absurd ‘marginal utility’ theories and so on. But I have learnt from their methods. The difference between them and myself is that I have really put into practice what these peddlers and pen-pushers have timidly begun. The whole of National Socialism is based on it. Look at the workers’ sports clubs, the industrial cells, the mass demonstrations, the propaganda leaflets written specially for the comprehension of masses; all these new methods of political struggle are essentially Marxist in origin.”

    3. The thing that distinguishes Socialism is not necessarily public ownership of property but a planned, controlled economy as opposed to an economy based on the free market. Mussolini was a Socialist, but rather than nationalizing big businesses he co-opted them by making them participants in the planning process. Hitler’s policies were similar.

      1. Not so. Planned, controlled economies are pretty much extinct, but Socialism is not. See, for example, Market Socialism, where the means of production is publicly owned but must compete at market prices.

        And pure free markets are rare. Almost always the state intervenes to some degree, creating a mixed economy.

    4. nationalist version of socialism

      Works for me, but how can socialism not be nationalist?

      The amazing thing is how some state shtuppers(sp?) disavow fascist, while also using it as a slur against free marketers???

  3. Chavez threatened to invade other countries. The US invades other countries. If you were sitting on a pile of oil wouldn’t you arm yourself to defend it? How many US weapons does Saudi Arabia own? If the US is not aligned with your interests of governmental control of the energy sector then who else are you supposed to buy the weapons from anyway.
    But yes he was clearly a tyrant. The way he changed the constitution to make himself President for life was a clear example of that. Good riddance.

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