June 25, 2016
The article ends as follows:
Greece has a wonderful chance to change the history of Europe and to throw their caps of BolÃvar into the air, as once the Italian carbonari did in Paris all those years ago. Lord Byron, who planned to settle in BolÃvar’s Venezuela before sailing off to help liberate Greece, named his yacht BolÃvar; he would certainly have been pleased with contemporary developments.
What this omits, apart from the chaos into which Venezuela has only too predictably fallen, is BolÃvar’s own miserable end as a fugitive from what he himself had brought about, and his deeply despairing though splendidly lapidary last pronouncement: He who serves the revolution ploughs the sea.
It was never very difficult, even for persons such as I ungifted with foresight, to predict that Chavez’s so-called Bolivarian Revolution would end in tears, with shortages of practically everything and corruption on a Brobdingnagian scale. For any person possessed of the most minimal common sense, Gott’s own book about the Venezuelan mountebank provided enough evidence that this would happen. Gott’s economic utopia is a place in which everything for everybody is subsidized, and nothing has a real price. A cynic, said Oscar Wilde, is a person who knows the price of everything; a Gott is a person who thinks there should be no prices, and everything should be distributed according to everyone’s wishes.
But perhaps we should not be too hard on poor old Chavez and his Guardian acolyte, praise-singer, and sycophant. Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution was only European social democracy writ large and loud, a tropical parrot to Europe’s more soberly plumaged crows. After all, what is most of Western politics about other than the size and distribution of subsidies, the state, as the great French economist of the 19th century, FrÃ©dÃ©ric Bastiat, put it (he is the only economist in the history of the world who makes you laugh on practically every page), the means by which everyone seeks to live at everyone else’s expense?