ARC Press Release: The Chavez School of Socialism

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Submitted by Ayn Rand Center on Tue, 2010-01-12 02:45

The Chavez School of Socialism

January 11, 2010

WASHINGTON--Venezuela’s socialist dictator Hugo Chavez devalued his country’s currency by 50 percent this weekend, sparking fears of price inflation. Chavez reasserted his government’s authority to seize any entity that boosts its prices, saying, “People, don’t let them rob you, denounce it, and I’m capable of taking over that business.”

According to Thomas Bowden, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center, “Americans can learn an important lesson from the spread of socialism in Venezuela. What is Chavez counting on when he grabs a private enterprise that’s struggling to stay afloat in an inflationary economy? He’s counting on his listeners to excuse the seizure of private property because a higher moral purpose is supposedly being served.

“Chavez is relying on the fact that socialism embodies the world’s moral ideal of individual sacrifice for the ‘common good.’ History has taught him that no opponent will denounce that ideal. And so he climbs to the moral high ground, turning his back on socialism’s dismal historical record of economic decline, lost freedoms, and human misery.

“As long as the moral ideal of self-sacrifice remains unchallenged, socialism will continue to spread--not only in the third world, but in America as well.

“There is a rational alternative. It’s laissez-faire capitalism, which upholds the individual’s moral right to live and work for his own sake, not society’s. But to establish freedom we must dig up the moral roots that continue to nourish socialism worldwide.”

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Thomas Bowden is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, focusing on legal issues. A former lawyer and law school instructor, and author of the book “The Enemies of Christopher Columbus,” his op-eds have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Daily News, and many other newspapers. Bowden has given dozens of radio interviews and has appeared on Fox News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes.

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