The Green New Deal (GND) is hot. You can just google if you have been off-planet but to give you a feel for it our newspaper recently had two front page stories on it: Cleaner Energy Adds New Jobs To State (above the fold) and Green New Deal: Kind (our local Congress critter) Urged To Support Measure. The latter reported that about ten residents showed up to lobby for the GND.
Sidebar: We love the phase about ten residents. We are pretty sure that reporters can count the exact number when it might be single digits. End Sidebar.
Clearly foolishness is on the rise. But not everywhere. We have held back our joy at Clifton Ross in Quillette because it seemed too good to be true. You should read it all several times to get the full impact. Clifton appears to be a dyed-in-the-wool socialist that came to an informed decision that brought conflict to his mental processes and his life. Very few people can challenge long-held assumptions but Clifton was able to do that. He says:
An early supporter of the Revolution, I had traveled to Venezuela in 2013 to cover the April presidential elections. By the time I returned to the US, I was disillusioned and depressed. I decided I needed to start writing and speaking about what I had seen there. In an article I wrote for the radical magazine Counterpunch around that time, I argued that “the so-called ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ is bankrupt: morally, ideologically, and economically,” and I asked what we, as leftist solidarity activists, should do in response. “Should we continue to make excuses for incompetence, corruption, and irresponsibility and thereby make ourselves accomplices?” I asked. “Or should we tell the truth?”
He has a message for supporters of GND and The Donald. Not only has Clifton rejected socialism in Venezuela but he has come to an overall conclusion on socialism:
I don’t like to admit that I once believed Jesus rose from the dead, but I did. I also believed that socialism would make everyone brothers and sisters and end what my comrades and I called “capitalist oppression.”1 The available scientific and statistical evidence (not to mention common sense) weighs strongly against belief in bodily resurrection from the dead. History has delivered a verdict of comparable finality about socialism.
Wow. That is about as dramatic a change as you can make. You can probably guess how he was received by his fellow travelers:
As a result of my voltafaccia, former comrades and friends contacted my editors and publishers in (occasionally successful) attempts to have my articles spiked. I was denounced and slandered online and in print. Phone calls and emails to people I had thought of as friends now went unanswered. On those occasions when I encountered one of them in public, they looked the other way. Abruptly, I found myself excommunicated, and people I’d known for 30 or 40 years made it clear that they no longer wanted to be part of my life.
While it is a time to talk about foolishness like the GND or arguing over spare change for the wall in the US, Venezuela is trying to undo some serious foolishness. Let’s let Clifton describe it:
If the Venezuelan regime falls—and I hope that it does—it won’t even be possible to credit (or blame) the United States. It is the Venezuelan people who finally are taking their destiny in hand and rejecting an intolerable status quo.
We hope that Venezuela finds economic and political freedom. It is up to the Venezuelan people to do it. The have an epic challenge in front of them but if Clifton reject socialism then so can Venezuela. We wish them both good luck.