17 May 2010

More Youthful Folly

Sami Kent is 19 years old and coming to the conclusion (ruefully) that Hugo Chavez may not be such a nice fellow after all.

Some background here: My uncle has family in Venezuela. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met (and I've been blessed in my life by being surrounded by wonderful people). They are strikingly enterprising, quick to laugh, hard-working and just fun to be around. And, I am told, that most of their countrymen share these qualities.

But what they don't have is freedom. They need to get special permission to leave the country. They can only work in particular industries, and only keep their jobs if they behave. Dissent is dealt with harshly. They must depend on the black market and use (illegal) American dollars because the country's infrastructure and economy have been destroyed by a megalomaniacal dictator that personifies why socialism is such a terrible idea.

Anyway, good old Sami, at the precious age of 13 was taken in by The Revolution Will Not be Televised (sorry, make that utterly taken in). He writes:

For someone who had grown up in Britain during the Blair years, where there was an overwhelming centrist consensus among the parties, the strength of Hugo Chávez's socialist conviction was appealing.

Right, so living in a properly functioning democratic republic where property rights are respected and the rule of law is taken as a given, he found appealing a murderous, thug dictator. Because Britain just isn't socialist enough, I guess.

But every fairy tale has it's monster and junior seemed to realize this: "I was, however, blind to the creeping authoritarianism of the Venezuelan government."

No kidding.

But then he writes this:

Even now, however, I cannot completely shake off my fondness for him, nor have I lost the instinct to defend him – once you have invested that much hope in one person it is extraordinarily difficult to let it go. I hate to think that one of the first articles I have written is against el Presidente, agreeing with some neocons whom I despise.

I guess neocons can here be defined as "those whom Sami Kent despises," because there is no context, no parameters, no examples. Or perhaps, "those who have the temerity to disagree with international relations and political history expert, Sami Kent."

Later he uses the word "bourgeois" in a sentence. Context doesn't matter, because I've come to the conclusion that anyone who uses the word "bourgeois" and isn't being ironic or making a joke pretty much lays down the gauntlet and is impossible to take seriously. Especially when the writer is 19; when the writer has been lucky enough to live in one of the greatest societies in the history of mankind; when the writer doesn't have the slightest idea of what the man who's principles he will always respect if not his politics has done to millions of people.

As I get older I find it increasingly difficult to take young people (or socialists) seriously. This article is a good example of why. If you don't know what you're talking about, don't say anything.

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