Thank you for the article regarding the Venezuelan turmoil. Many of us have followed the promise and disintegration of their government as it became a dictatorship and now totally dysfunctional. Yet the dictatorship remains in power and the people suffer. There are indeed lessons here about how we too can lose our democracy.
I was concerned however about the repeated equation of the term “socialist society” or socialism, always with dictatorship. Perhaps that was not intentional, but only to equate Socialism with the ideological name used in Venezuela. Many different ideologies and groups have attained power that destroys democracies. All the “isms” come with emotional feelings, which can be used to take power of any government. We often say that a group seizes power, but in truth the power is not seized so much as slowly chipped away, often by simple words and seemingly laudable goals. Then one day the people wake up and say, “What happened? I didn’t intend to be governed in this way.”
So back to words and isms. Nazism took over Germany; in Italy it was Fascism. Often it is religion, with various names, all filled with strong emotion. In politics we have Liberals, Conservatives, Progressives, Labor, Socialist and a current favorite, Populist. It isn’t the name, or even the game, that becomes the danger. Or even worthy goals. The devil as always is in the details. Today the social media makes it very easy to repeat an idea or slogan over and over until it seems to be true, whether it is or not. Pay attention not to the name, but to the end result desired and the methods used to obtain those goals. Ask questions. Labels can be deceiving.