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empty shelves in Venezuela

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Here is one of the best articles I've read so far on the Venezuelan mess. It was recommended by Jordan Peterson (on Twitter). Written by Clifton Ross, it discusses his journey from being a true believer in Hugo Chavez's vision to the opposite side.

The Bolivarian God That Failed

The best quote in the article does not come from Ross, though. It comes from Herbert Spencer, and taken from the end of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book at that:

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There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.

Contempt prior to investigation. The perfect recipe for sustained ignorance.

I love that insight.

And here's another. If you ever wonder why globalists always side with the left more than the right, the following is a peek into the underbelly.

Quote

... as my wife and I compiled the interviews with the social movement activists in Latin America, we began to notice themes and threads that confirmed what Raul Zibechi had told us when we visited him in Montevideo, Uruguay in the spring of 2012.

Zibechi was an astute analyst of Latin American politics with a focus on social movements. He explained that the so-called “Pink Tide” of leftwing governments that had risen to power on the wave of the commodities boom were in fact following the prescription of Robert McNamara, the former president of the World Bank and architect of the Vietnam War under Lyndon Johnson. In this scenario, moderately progressive governments were far more useful than their rightwing homologues to the world elite, because they provided a buffer between the transnational corporations and the social movements protesting the impact of resource extraction on communities and the environment. The testimony of our interviewees seemed to bear out Zibechi’s thesis.

Mildly progressive governments, by giving away some free shit and talking poetry about "the people" to "the people," stand between the ruling class (with their rigged crony corporatist games like endless war for profit) and the pissed off masses. A right wing dictatorship does that with bullying, which is not nearly as effective long term as making the population morally soft. So the elitists, who want to keep their money without bullets flying at them, use mildly progressive governments. That makes total sense to me.

One caveat, however. I don't know anything about Zibechi, but from what little I skimmed, it seems like he is hell-bent on getting rid of capitalism from the world. So, while he is insightful on this one point about the intention of the elitists, he's probably nothing to get excited over for the rest. I would have to read him to be sure.

Getting back to the article, there are so many quotes I would like to post, but I am out of time. Alas, curating articles is long and life is short. So let's let one last quote suffice:

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Losing faith in a belief system that once gave my life meaning was extremely painful. But the experience also reawakened my dormant intellectual curiosity and allowed me to think about the world anew, unencumbered by the circumscriptions of doctrine. I have met new people, read new writers and thinkers, and explored new ideas I had previously taken care to avoid.

This is the exact point where we have to focus--right here in the US--if we do not want to see the culture collapse into a red sea of mediocrity and authoritarianism. There are a lot of true believers out there ignoring the evidence of their own eyes. The things that made this guy's dogma-laced soul crack are the very things we need to study.

Oddly enough, I don't think it's facts. I think it's more in the direction of how a true believer's friends and colleagues turn on him when he asks the wrong questions, while showing that nobody is exempt from that, not even former gods. Once that crack turns into a major rift and splits wide open in a true believer's soul, and only after that, do I believe he becomes open to facts.

Clifton Ross produced a beautifully written article even if I don't agree with everything he says. I echo Jordan Peterson's recommendation. It's writing where I can state the following with confidence: you will be intellectually richer after reading it than before. It's well worth your time.

Michael

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27 minutes ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

So let's let one last quote suffice:

Well...

Maybe one more. Ross is quoting a poet colleague, David Chorlton.

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We’re suffering from a lack of objectivity—is that because everyone wants an identity more than a solution to problems?

He ends the article with this.

It's a heavy thought and does not only apply to lefties.

In our subcommunity, I believe many folks are more interested in having an identity as an Objectivist than in looking at the actual problems and solutions.

 Michael

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