In what would be a hilarious irony if it weren’t for the fact that Venezuelans are starving and leaving the country by the millions, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Donald Trump “of sounding ‘almost Nazi-style'” following a speech the U.S. president gave in Miami Monday heavily denouncing socialism.
I ask every member of the Maduro regime: End this nightmare of poverty, hunger and death. LET YOUR PEOPLE GO. Set your country free! Now is the time for all Venezuelan Patriots to act together, as one united people. Nothing could be better for the future of Venezuela!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2019
It never stops being interesting that socialists somehow manage to convince people they’re not secret fascists at heart. In a piece at The American Conservative, Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History at Hillsdale College, writes that socialism and fascism have always been “kissing cousins.” And, indeed, one reason for the new fascination with the former is that young people are not taught this history.
Equally disturbing is that most younger defenders of communism buy into the oldest propaganda line of the Left—that real communism has never been tried and fascism is the polar opposite of communism. That the Nazis were actually “National Socialists,” these apologists argue, was merely a cynical ploy on the part of Hitler to gain the support of the working and middle classes of Germany. The term “socialism” meant nothing to Hitler. He was really a supporter of controlled corporate capitalism, not of the beautiful and compelling idea of socialism. Many of these young communism supporters go so far as to argue that those who label the Nazis “National Socialists” are either ignorant or willfully smearing a good word. While these new supporters have yet to proclaim those who call Nazis socialists as racists, they are coming close. A quick look at the social media response to a British conservative’s recent claim that National Socialism was—surprise!—socialist should be proof enough that communism is hardly dead and gone.
The young communists are more than convinced of their intellectual as well as their moral superiority. With dread certainty, they bully anyone who believes differently than they do. In other words, the Left is back and in full force, up to the same deceptions and tricks as it was in the 1920s and after.
That the National Socialists embraced socialism is factually accurate. Though they did not nationalize to the extent the Leninists wanted, they did nationalize very vital industry in Germany, even if by outright intimidation rather than through the law. In his personal diaries, Joseph Goebbels wrote in late 1925: “It would be better for us to end our existence under Bolshevism than to endure slavery under capitalism.” Only a few months later, he continued, “I think it is terrible that we and the Communists are bashing in each other’s heads.” Whatever the state of the rivalry between the two camps, Goebbels claimed, the two forces should ally and conquer. He even reached out to a communist in a personal letter: “We are not really enemies,” he offered.
Hitler admired Stalin, and the two willingly carved up Poland in 1939.
Whether or not Maduro understands the relationship between the two ideologies is not clear. If he doesn’t, he’s either misinformed or not very bright. If he does, he’s evil. None of those are an excuse to block humanitarian aid and hang desperately onto a country that no longer wants you.
And he surely felt slighted by Trump’s Miami speech, which was as explicit a renunciation of socialism as we’ve seen since the Cold War. And he should have. He was supposed to. Trump called for military leaders — whose loyalty is one of the only things still keeping Maduro in power — to abandon him and support opposition leader Juan Guaido instead.
“The eyes of the entire world are upon you, today, every day, and every day in the future,” Trump said during a speech at Florida International University in Miami. “You cannot hide from the choice that now confronts you. You can choose to accept President Guaidó’s generous offer of amnesty, to live your life in peace with your families and your countrymen. President Guaidó does not seek retribution against you, and neither do we.”
And while there is a contingent of people in this country who believe as Maduro does — that the U.S. “thinks they are the owners of this country. Donald Trump thinks he can give orders and that our armed forces will agree. It’s an offense to the dignity of our military, an embarrassment, that the armed forces are somehow authorized to respond morally to the head of the empire.’’ — opposition to the destructive force of socialism has long been part of the American ideal, one that holds to the notions of liberty-at-birth and the right of self-determination. And we join 50 other nations in recognizing that Maduro is a stain on his country and an affront to humanity.
So beware those selling that idea that the U.S. is “covertly” supporting the Venezuelan opposition, as if we have been engaged in a coup attempt for years. It’s a lie. We’ve been out in the open about it because we aspire to live among, trade with, and celebrate free people.
Correction: The U.S. has supported the Venezuelan opposition for years
There was never anything covert about it…https://t.co/bEfPFCD0yZ
— Jose Cardenas (@JoseCardenasUSA) February 19, 2019