Anti-hero mourned

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Hugo Chavez is dead and Sean Penn is in mourning:

Penn and Oliver Stone’s adoration of such a clearly repugnant figure actually causes me confusion: Do they know something I don’t? Was Chavez actually a hero?

No, no they don’t, and no, he wasn’t a hero:

I’m not whitewashing the United States. Like all large, powerful nations, its historical record is a mix of triumphs and failures, heroism and deceit. Crimes have been committed in the name of American freedom, and South America was the scene of some of those.

But this isn’t about the failings of the U.S. It’s about the hypocrisy of socialists and Hollywood’s pretend leftists.

If all the world’s poor Penn purports to champion lived Penn’s lifestyle, the planet’s resources would be exhausted tomorrow. The actor is purported to be worth more than $100 million ( There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with him espousing his politics publicly on issues ranging from gay marriage (he’s right) to the Falkland Islands (he’s wrong). But when he opines on poverty issues, yeah, that’s when I call bull pucky.

You don’t get to be worth tens of millions and also play social worker to the destitute masses. This is especially true when the people you call friends are contributors to the poverty in their own countries.

As for socialism, its hypocrisies and failures need little elaboration by me. Party bosses always get the cigars and champagne. Ignorance and state media control are essentials. Individual liberty is buried by the masses and freedom is relabeled selfishness. And, inevitably, Western socialist poseurs will repeat their mantra: “But that’s not TRUE socialism or communism.”

No, sorry, it is. When a theory on paper gets tested in the real world, and arrives at the same disastrous real-world result over and over again, that is what the thing is. (Not that socialism is even theoretically acceptable to me – fairer than the corrupt incarnations it always forms, granted, but still repugnant.)

Thankfully, I haven’t noticed any Amherstonians sporting Che Guevara tee-shirts. We do live in a province ruled by the NDP, though, which certainly has factions who would proudly declare themselves socialist (even if their leader, Dexter, likes to throw public money at the captains of industry).

And make no mistake, while Left-leaning commentators will try to tell you the West has never been more right-wing – never more greedy, never more cruel to the poor, never more evil – the reality is that big government has enjoyed decades of success. Government has grown to be the virtual equal of private enterprise in terms of how much money flows though its hands and how much of the economy is in the public domain.

Grants for this and entitlements for that. Taxes on this and taxes on that. The idea government could sacrifice even a single digit percentage of its budget is treated as an apocalypse here and south of the border. America is in a panic because of sequestration:

Here in Canada, any attempt to tighten budget belts is met with collective outrage. Let’s face it: socialism isn’t dead – it’s here in Canada right now.

It’s here when supposedly mainstream pundits declare tax cuts and budget cuts “right-wing, American-style governance.”

It’s here when unions demand their annual raise, regardless of performance or economic conditions.

It’s here when an attempt to shrink an education budget is met with brinksmanship by boards, such as threatening to fire all library staff.

It’s here when government redistributes $300 million to protect jobs that couldn’t survive market conditions.

It’s here when government buys votes by promising $25 billion in public spending on ships we don’t really need.

Budget cuts aren’t radical. Tax cuts aren’t radical. Saying government should be half its current size and taxes should be half what they currently are isn’t radical. These are statements of trust and freedom: I get to decide what to do with my work and the proceeds of my work, I trust myself to spend those proceeds more than I trust a person I’ve never met who happens to win a televised verbal spate. And circumventing those rights is only justified for a limited number and type of expenses.

Government has the right to collect taxes for fire stations and paving roads, but it shouldn’t have the right to collect taxes for the CBC or building new stadiums. The former are necessary, the latter are merely desirable to some.

I won’t say I’m glad Chavez is dead. There’s something particularly hateful about that kind of sentiment. But the world is better off with one less liar in a position of power.


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