Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites.”     Thomas Sowell

January 11, 2008

Hugo Chavez Borrows From Hitler’s Playbook

by Doug Mataconis

It seems that Jewish people in Venezuela are becoming just a little concerned about their President’s ties to people like the President of Iran:

Venezuelan Jews, long uneasy with the Chávez government’s alliances with Iran and other Middle Eastern countries that espouse anti-Israel views, are concerned that the government is sponsoring anti-Semitism in this hemisphere, a prominent journalist said Tuesday.

”The situation we have now in Venezuela is that for the first time in modern history we have government-sponsored anti-Semitism in a Western country,” said Sammy Eppel. “That is why this is very dangerous, not just for the Jewish community in Venezuela but for the Jewish community as a whole.”

Among the examples offered by Eppel:

Venezuelan government intelligence services twice have raided the country’s most important Jewish center in a vague, ultimately unsuccessful search for weapons. Publications of the government’s cultural ministry run articles entitled ”the Jewish Question,” along with a Jewish star superimposed over a swastika.

Given how buddy-buddy Chavez has become with the Iranians, it’s not surprising that he would be adopting that regimes anti-Semitism, because the one thing a dictator always needs is an internal enemy to act as a scapegoat. Chavez, it seems, has found his.

H/T: QandO

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35 Comments

  1. Project much, Doug? Didn’t you support the mass murder in Iraq because Saddam was mean? Talk about stealing a page from Hitler’s playbook, Doug.

    Comment by C Bowen — January 11, 2008 @ 3:45 pm
  2. You’re boring, C. Bowen. You’re boring and your historical analogies suck.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 11, 2008 @ 4:03 pm
  3. Wow… How will the Chavistas justify this? After all, I haven’t found anything that Chavez has done that they think is wrong…

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — January 11, 2008 @ 4:07 pm
  4. C Bowen you’ve violated Godwin’s law.

    Comment by uhm — January 11, 2008 @ 4:08 pm
  5. LOL, uhm.

    That’s what I was going for.

    Doug is extremely dishonest so I thought a round of posts in the “right back at ya” style would lighten this Jack Kemp libertarian place up.

    Comment by C Bowen — January 11, 2008 @ 4:13 pm
  6. I don’t believe Doug is dishonest. Many people received a course in propaganda 101 by the media and government concerning the Iraq war.

    Comment by uhm — January 11, 2008 @ 4:36 pm
  7. “I thought a round of posts in the “right back at ya” style would lighten this Jack Kemp libertarian place up.”

    Actually it just made you a troll. A one-topic troll who uses shitty analogies at that. If you’re upset with Doug’s positions attack the topic being discussed. If you want to make ad hominem attacks either go start your own blog or don’t interrupt when the adults are having real conversations.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 11, 2008 @ 5:07 pm
  8. uhm,

    I take issue with Doug’s positions sometimes too and occasionally his debating tactics but I’ve never considered him dishonest either. A lot of people got sucked into the bullshit that Bush was peddling. But that wasn’t on them, that was on Bush, because he was in a position to know and most of them weren’t. The primary responsibility and blame lies with the person making the decision, not the advisors or the people who have no ability to change anything.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 11, 2008 @ 5:11 pm
  9. For what it’s worth, I supported the Iraq War at the time because I agreed with the proposition that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the American interest s in the region. Mind you, ever nation on the planet believed that he was harboring chemical and biological weapons.

    When it became clear in the summer of 2003 that the United States had no idea what it was doing in the occupation, I changed my mind.

    People are entitled to change the mind, Bowen, right ?

    Now, what the heck does any of that have to do with Hugo Chavez ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 12, 2008 @ 3:08 am
  10. Doug,

    “For what it’s worth, I supported the Iraq War at the time because I agreed with the proposition that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the American interests in the region.”

    I think it’s the “American interests” part that’s getting you tagged as a neo-conservative. If by “interests” you mean Saddam was a threat to American lives or he planned to attack shipping or our military over there, then sure, there’d be a case for invasion from a libertarian perspective. Only after he attacked, of course. Because that would be self-defense.

    If by “interests” you mean that Saddam created inconveniences for us in the form of higher oil prices, or a currency manipulation, or denial of access to his oil reserves, or inflammatory and hostile rhetoric, or even building weapons of mass destruction, then no, you don’t really have a case for invading Iraq if you want to call yourself a libertarian on foreign policy because you’re not talking about protecting American interests you’re talking about stomping on the rights of the Iraqis and their government to do business as they see fit within their own sovereign borders or to engage the in non-violent economic transactions to serve their own best interests (like buying currency, or deciding who to sell their oil to). Those are rights that we like to claim for ourselves and it’s hypocritical and wrong to deny them to others simply because we don’t happen to like the other people who exercise them or because they don’t exercise them in a way that serves our needs.

    That’s where I see you crossing the line on foreign policy from libertarianism to neo-conservatism anyway.

    Comment by UCrawford — January 12, 2008 @ 8:37 am
  11. Doug,

    As for Chavez, I wouldn’t be too concerned about the Iranian connection from an anti-Semitism perspective. For one, despite Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric Iran is hardly the second coming of Nazi Germany, nor is Ahmadinejad the next Hitler. This is mainly because Jews aren’t being hunted down over there:

    http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2007/12/26/1187574-iranian-jews-say-republic-safe-for-them

    Also, he’s not the one in charge…the council of clerics is and like Khatami before him they could remove him from office any time they want by simply barring his supporters from office in the Majles. And they’ve never given any indication that they’re planning another Holocaust…they’re basically your run-of-the-mill socialist authoritarians who have no interest in screwing up their hold on their country with unproductive genocidal policies.

    Nor do I don’t think that you particularly need to worry anti-Semitism in Venezuela because the shine is definitely coming off of Hugo Chavez’s apple these days:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,314584,00.html

    Comment by UCrawford — January 12, 2008 @ 8:49 am
  12. I have a feeling Doug has never been to Venezuela… First of all there are very few Jews, second of all there is no persecution of them. This is a completely baseless allegation.

    On the other hand, I do agree that the Chavez government needs to consider what Islamic fundamnetalist rule means for the people of Iran before they throw their verbal support behind President Ahmadinejad. I think Chavez is playing an “enemy’s enemy is my friend” strategy considering Venezuela’s own relations with the United States.

    Comment by Rob — January 12, 2008 @ 10:23 am
  13. Venezuela does have a very small Jewish population and have lived peaceful among other religions. The last antisemitism campaign took place around 1855. The only fear is that the the population largely wealthy or upper middle class, may see their wealth redistributed via socialism. This is hardly an attack on a community and their religious beliefs. This is religious scare-tactic propaganda that is used in all economies. http://www.cjp.org/page.html?ArticleID=143842

    Venezuela and Israel had good relations and were negotiating arms deal in the Mid East. The US had issue with this and strong armed Israel; the deal never went through. When Israel pulled their stunt in Lebanon Chavez pulled back his ambassador and Israel countered.

    Iran and Venezuela are partnering with China Russia for oil agreements. In fact, there are 60 countries participating in new energy policy talks…hosted by Chavez. I’m thinkin’ the US is not invited. http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/2755

    Is this the type of free trade that Ron Paul speaks of?

    Comment by Amy — January 12, 2008 @ 11:35 am
  14. UCrawford, Chavez is shrewd, if nothing else. This was not a defeat for Chavez. It gave him a mandate; approval for his Constitution of 1999. His constitution of 1999 had no support from the opposition and so-so support from is support.

    What I find intriguing is that amendments to the constitution actually went before the people of the country and not penned via an executive order. Is that how a democracy is suppose to work?

    Comment by Amy — January 12, 2008 @ 11:55 am
  15. Who informd you, Doug, that:

    “Mind you, ever nation on the planet believed that he was harboring chemical and biological weapons.”

    because it’s not remotely true. Who were the names of the folks you were reading at the time on the war question?

    Did you stop reading them? Did you investigate how they got it wrong?

    I find it odd that the libertarian (and conservative) sources I was looking to inform me said that the case was BS. I can tell you who they were if you like.

    Secondly, what sort of real libertarian believes governments? I mean if you were a statist prior to the war, okay, you were duped, but you claim to have been a liberterian whose raison d’etre is pointing out the Emperor has no Clothes.

    Nah, you are lying again, either that or you don’t take questions of whether or not to support mass murder very seriously, signifying you aren’t a libertarian by any stretch of the word.

    Comment by C Bowen — January 12, 2008 @ 3:39 pm
  16. Shrugs, some libertarians believe in governments C Bowen. Who made you the arbiter of defining libertarianism that narrowly? Not to mention in a way that eliminates a lot of folks considered libertarian, whether with a big or little L. I guess everyone in the American Libertarian Party isn’t a libertarian. Nor, of course, is Ron Paul, who is running for President and has been a member of the Congress, off and on, since 1975. Nor any other LP candidate for any government office. The guys at CATO and the Mises Institute don’t qualify either, apparently.

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 12, 2008 @ 4:12 pm
  17. Chavez welcomed Naomi Campbell (Super Model?) to interview him. Lenin would refer to her as “a useful idiot.” Chavez’ clowning antics shadow his cunning and it has taken the Venezuelans far too long to realize what he is doing to their country. Unfortunately, Latin America has been dissed for too many years by the USA. Wake up before it is too late.

    Comment by Joe Cool — January 12, 2008 @ 8:07 pm
  18. Joe Cool;

    The Venezuelans largely support what Chavez is doing and for many it cannot come fast enough. Just recently a European conference with 12 countries attending, declared support for his reforms and noted that under Chavez there has been more democratic elections in the entire world in the past 8 yrs. http://21stcenturysocialism.com/article/european_conference_on_venezuela_backs_radical_social_reforms_01571.html

    20% of the population owned 80% of the wealth. Corruption was rampant. Under Chavez he is developing the shanty towns, educating and providing health care. He is using the oil profits to reinvest in his own people. While many think this is a foolish use of the money, he counters that the success of the revolution is to educate and motivate one generation. The rise of the poor will give them an opportunity to flourish economically in the long run. Meanwhile he is trying a new form of socialism, one with a mixed economy and a participatory democracy.

    The Bolivarian Revoluiton is a fascinating read; it is turning racism and social class on its head.It is the tearing down of one system and developing another.

    While I do not agree with socialism, I do not think it is inherently evil. I will also add that the U.S media is not a credible source in the portrayal of Chavez or the Revolution.

    Comment by Amy — January 13, 2008 @ 8:29 am
  19. While I do not agree with socialism, I do not think it is inherently evil. I will also add that the U.S media is not a credible source in the portrayal of Chavez or the Revolution.

    And people accuse me of not being a libertarian.

    If you don’t think socialism is inherently evil, ask the people in Eastern Europe who lived under for two generations.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 13, 2008 @ 8:43 am
  20. My best friend is from the The Czech Republic and lived under communist rule for 32 years. She is now a US citizen and holds libertarian ideas. Through her I have met a friend from France; anothor libertarian free-market thinker. As you can imagine one of our favorite past times is discussing different economic models and social conditions. A challenge in these dialogs is siphoning and dismantling my own thought processes that were ingrained via our education system and governmental propaganda. E.g., Standing in line for toilet paper is always a great visual for the evils of socialism, yet we forget our own history and current reality of people standing in line for dole.

    Is socialism “evil” or is it a flawed system that eliminates competition and motivation? It is a system that redistributes wealth, counter that to our own that recycles and redistributes wealth.

    My point is that a system is not evil, rather it is those in control of it that are evil.

    Comment by Amy — January 13, 2008 @ 9:42 am
  21. You do realize that socialism is anti-thetical to everything libertarians believe in — mostly because it violates individual liberty on a wholesale basis ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 13, 2008 @ 9:45 am
  22. Amy, using one broken and evil system to “prove” that another is not evil is a fallacy. Any system that allows for the theft of private property by another group, whether that group is central government planners or a tyrannical majority, is evil. Violating individual liberties is evil. Socialism is responsible for more innocent deaths than ANY OTHER ‘ism, ever, period. The 20th century was the bloodiest in human history, and 99% of the blood is on the hands of socialists, not capitalists or even mild collectivists like the French.

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 13, 2008 @ 10:12 am
  23. I do know this and agree. The fact that these ideologies are extreme opposite does not diminish that the fact some societies have had success with socialism in one form another when attached to democracy.

    My motivation in participating in this thread, is none other than to put forth a challenge to the propaganda surrounding the Bolivar Revolution. There are parallels to this systems change versus our very own initiative of libertarianism; false ideas and a threat to the status quo. Propaganda is distributed as a method of self-destruction.

    What I find intriguing is that this Venezuela is dismantling an entire system and rebuilding another. The effects of this will reverberate throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. This is a great accomplishment and there is something we could learn from this.
    How can we put this to use to change our system to a libertarian system?

    Comment by Amy — January 13, 2008 @ 10:18 am
  24. Shrugs, Amy, I won’t participate in a discussion about how to use an inherently evil system to promote liberty. Socialism is inherently evil because it advocates the violation of individual liberty without cause. Chavez himself advocates violating individual liberty without cause and is using the most vicious sort of collectivism, racism, to do so. Not only that, but the worst and most vile racism the world has ever known, anti-semitism, which posits that a group of people is inherently less than others because of their religion.

    That you cannot see the utter hypocrisy in your suggestion demonstrates a real problem. And brings into question all of the other comments you have made on this site.

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 13, 2008 @ 10:26 am
  25. Oh, and a side note, my family (part of it anyhow) are refugees from communism in eastern europe. Some of my relatives who did not escape were “purged” by the NKVD in the 1940′s. Purged being doublespeak for shot in the back of the head by a NKVD thug. They were purged for the crime of being part of the intelligentsia, another bit of doublespeak for folks who are educated and opposed to socialism. Guess who Chavez went after first in Venezuela? Guess why?

    How can you call yourself a lover of liberty and stomach the things you are saying?

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 13, 2008 @ 10:30 am
  26. Adam, I am a hypocrite because I am willing to explore and educate myself on other systems and not steadfastly hold onto a myopic viewpoint and am attempting to dig past the ism to identify the cause of change? To understand how one can bring about change, one needs to study change; its successes and failures and sort through the truths and lies.

    My interest in this Revolution is not economics or even ideological, it is sociological.

    Your failure to see that there is benefit in studying this revolution from an sociological standpoint, proves my theory on why libertarianism, (one of these oldest isms) will never flourish and that is, there is too much infighting and a prevailing elitist attitude, which excludes self-defined incompatible thinking.

    Your viewpoint here is not one of a free-thinker and could be misconstrued as a form of bigotry.

    Comment by Amy — January 13, 2008 @ 11:02 am
  27. laughs, Chavez, and his “revolution”, is a socialist and a perpetrator of violence and anti-liberty behavior. You can twist things any way you desire, but that doesn’t change reality. You’re not doing anything but helping a socialist, who opposes individual liberty, who uses racism and collectivism to keep and retain power, who uses populism to stir the masses into collectivist hatred, who purges the “intelligentsia”. If you love liberty, an intellectual exercise to try and understand how Chavez promotes is pretty hypocritical. Not to mention exactly what the collectivists in the US are doing. Are you allying yourself with them? Your “free thinking” is that of someone being duped.

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 13, 2008 @ 11:05 am
  28. It is all that… the fact remains he is systems changing, going up against and freed himself from the clutches of the IMF, World Banks, WTO, etc; key components of some libertarian ideologies, and he is gaining approval of the world community- sans the U.S. This is the economic aspect as to why it is important to study this revolution- How could this impact the U.S. economy?

    One can be rabidly blinded to this movement based on personal idealogical differences but the fact remains it is taking place, there are lesson to learn and it will impact the World communities.

    I cannot believe that you do not find it fascinating that this so-called fruit cake is able to free his country from some the most evil forms of world governesses… that BTW stand in the way of free-markets.

    Comment by Amy — January 13, 2008 @ 11:49 am
  29. So, it’s all okay because he did some things that libertarians are in favor of. It doesn’t matter that it’s evil at all? The ends justifies the means? That’s not free thinking, we’ve heard that sort of thing before.

    I am paying attention to Venezuela, and not learning anything new. Chavez is using standard populist, racist, collectivist tactics to implement socialism. I see no difference between him and any of the others that have gone before him.

    How can you think there is something to learn from evil? Except for one thing, and that is to oppose it. Mussolini made the trains run on time, Hitler freed his country from the constraints of the League of Nations and Versailles. Does that make them good? Is there a lesson (other than the one that we have already learned about socialism) to be learned?

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 13, 2008 @ 12:06 pm
  30. Adam, go back in read what I have written. You turned this into a pro socialism dialog, which was never the tenet.

    How can I think you can learn from evil? How can you not? The field advantage is to know your enemies. Knowledge is power.

    Although your bio indicates that you favor revolution, your fear of socialism prevents you from having an open dialog about this revolution. Our own country takes property from another to benefit others. How about the poor that pay taxes that turns into aid for corporate bailouts? This is evil. Change is needed here. In order for that change to take place you have to be well versed in it. The libertarian movement is nothing more than a bowel movement if you cannot move past unpleasantness to see the whole picture.

    BTW, this conversation started with Sammy Eppel’s fear mongering and race-baiting. I find it ignorant that anyone that speaks against Israel is an antisemitic. Further to not do business with some one because of the your with me or against me attitude is isolationist thinking. It should be an insult to all free-thinkers.

    Comment by Amy — January 13, 2008 @ 1:14 pm
  31. Amy, I clearly implied in my responses to you that I consider the USA’s current system of governing to be evil and broken, so trying to imply that I do not is avoiding the words I’ve written.

    Refusing to do business with socialists is not an insult to free thinking. Socialists have proven, time and again, that they will commit any heinous crime necessary to further their ideas. You are suggesting that I should “do business” with people that deliberately choose to act in evil ways?

    Venezuelan government intelligence services twice have raided the country’s most important Jewish center in a vague, ultimately unsuccessful search for weapons. Publications of the government’s cultural ministry run articles entitled ”the Jewish Question,” along with a Jewish star superimposed over a swastika.

    None of that is “speaking against Israel” and is very reminiscent of European pogroms and the early behavior of the Nazi regime (let’s say 1933 to 1935). Now you are starting to show your colors a bit more clearly. Either that, or you will repudiate what you just said.

    Yes, I am in favor of revolution, but not socialist revolution. Yes, I believe we can learn things from events, even events we believe are wrong. But there’s nothing more to be learned from socialist revolution that isn’t a minor tactical issue.

    Chavez may be the enemy of things I also am an enemy of. But the enemy of my enemy is not my friend, regardless of realpolitik. In fact, those things you point out (the IMF, for example) are not nearly as bad as Chavez.

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 13, 2008 @ 5:48 pm
  32. I am showing my true colors… ?? No sir, or madame, since we really do not know who is behind your “nom de guerre”, you are showing your true colors.

    Semites are a group of people, a classification if you will, just as African Americans are, and for good measure, lets include non-heterosexuals. Any time you group people you diminish their individual rights. So for you to speak of semitisms, that is to give favor to a specific group of people, you are deviating from the foundation of libertarian principals.

    Collectivism can be very subtle: Why is the Jewish Question any more important than the Armenian Question? You may not think it is, but American policy dictates that it is. The ADL certainly does: http://www.bloggernews.net/111338 and http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=18125

    Anti-semitism is one of the most overtly over-used philosophies, mostly to the Semites advantage. If you haven’t, I would suggest that you read Jimmy Carter’s book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”, or is this one of the books you would never read since it does not cater to your paradigm? (You know, liberal author and anti-semitic bullshit.)

    Capitalism has shown that it will stop at nothing and commit henious crimes to further their initiative, which goes to my earlier point and that is that systems are not evil only the people in charge of are.

    I repudiate nothing… You need to rethink your libertarian ideals, outside of the economic realm. Collectivism goes beyond socialism, it rears its ugly head anytime you emphasis the collective whole and not the individual.

    Other than that I am really thrilled that the Giants kicked some butt tonight… :)

    Comment by Amy — January 13, 2008 @ 9:08 pm
  33. *Laughing* suggesting that I read anything by Jimmy Carter is a real dead give away Amy. Of course, there’s also this:

    Capitalism has shown that it will stop at nothing and commit henious crimes to further their initiative, which goes to my earlier point and that is that systems are not evil only the people in charge of are.

    Horrific grammar and an indictment of capitalism along with it, even though the philosophy of capitalism espouses individual liberty.

    Amy, I will say once more that socialism, as a philosophy, is evil because it posits violating my individual liberty. Capitalism and Liberalism do not.

    I won’t even bother with your word game about anti-semitism. Or any other collective racism for that matter.

    I really enjoyed you playing this little game though.

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 13, 2008 @ 10:04 pm
  34. There are many forms of Capitalism and our brand has morphed into what is called Crony capitalism. Our Constitutional Federal Republic is morphing into an Authoritarian State.

    While you are self-censoring yourself from reading different ideologies, you should know that Karl Marx warned that the fall of Capitalism will lend itself to Communism. Lenin theorized that the highest stage of Capitalism is Imperialism. Or simply stated, Crony capitalism and Monopoly capitalism are transistions from Capitalism to Imperialism, the later does not allow for Free Markets. You may also read up on Imperialism and the cause and effect of immigration.

    Venezuela is a classic example of the failures of Crony capitalism, which is precisely the reason Chavez can tear down one system and build the direct opposite. If you are such a student of economies and care so much for the libertarian ideal (Classical liberalism or any other faction), you would be more concerned about an inevitable fall of our own system. What kind of a system would replace it? If you do not want socialism, then you had better do your homework and understand why it happens.

    Capitalism is not evil; monopolized power is. There is no way that you could intelligently argue that there has not been heinous crimes committed in the interest of promoting capitalism. Are you that neo-conned?

    One thing is clear, when challenged to a thoughtful dialog, you attacked my use of Grammar, used personal attacks, sang the same evil-doer song, and countered with emotional opinions. This is not debating.

    Comment by Amy — January 14, 2008 @ 11:38 am
  35. I was going to write a response tackling this, but it seemed sort of pointless. So, I will let you have the last word. Enjoy.

    Comment by Adam Selene — January 14, 2008 @ 11:52 am

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