The Morlocks are cracking the whips on the Eloi in Venezuela.
(Robert Tracinski @ The Federalist) writes a new chapter to the H.G. Wells novel “The Time Machine” with a stop in Soviet Russia, but informs the reader it is not a time trip to the past, but the actual present that is mirroring the past…
The fantasy of a benevolent, “progressive” socialism—which, as we saw among the Bernie Sanders supporters at last week’s Democratic convention, still attracts a large fan base—always involves the promise of a neo-aristocratic life of leisure.
Karl Marx projected that, when “society regulates the general production,” the worker would escape the tyranny of being stuck in the same 9-to-5 job, day in and day out, and could instead “do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize [art] after dinner, just as I have in mind.” More recently, advocates of a “basic income” have been touting the creativity unleashed by people freed from the necessity of making a living. It’s the “job-locked poets” trope: that the welfare state will give people the security “be creative and be a musician or whatever,” as Nancy Pelosi famously put it.
If you look at the actual record of socialism in reality, instead of this kind of imagined future utopia, you get a very different picture.
Venezuela, for example, is marching into the socialist future by marching into the socialist past. The latest news is that the entire population of the country is now subject to being drafted as agricultural laborers.
This was announced in Venezuela more than a week ago, but the first reports showed up in English in the American press just a few days ago, and it is still being ignored by many mainstream outlets. It would have been a shame, after all, to upset all those dead-end Bernie supporters at the Democratic convention with disquieting news from utopia.
Anyone who knows much about the history of the twentieth century (which is to say, appallingly few of us) will experience a little shock of recognition from that report. This is precisely what the Soviets used to do, dragooning white-collar professionals—engineers, lawyers, playwrights, college professors—to trudge out to the fields at harvest time every year in a flailing attempt to squeeze production out of a disastrous system of “collectivized” agriculture.
I doubt it ever made much difference, and I’ve always suspected its real purpose was not to aid in the harvest but to remind the rank-and-file of the Soviet intelligentsia how easily the state could ship them off to do forced manual labor.
This is what used to be known as “universal labor conscription,” which was imposed by the Soviets in 1918, in which “all those capable of working, regardless of their regular jobs, were subject to being called upon to carry out various labor tasks”—a system pretty much identical to the Medieval institution of serfdom. The measure under which this system was imposed was called the “Declaration of the Rights of the Toiling Masses and Exploited People.” George Orwell never had to make anything up.
Now we’re seeing this again in Venezuela…
Mind you, this is roughly 7 years after the country’s farms had been “nationalized” … taken over by the Venezuelan government. Everything the government, under Hugo Chavez and Nicolás Maduro, has “nationalized” and taken over and run has lead to the complete disintegration of that country … and it is on the cracking crumbling cliff of total collapse. And once the food supplies began dwindling away the government then began “nationalizing” food distribution (just as the old USSR had), and taking over the stores.