Would the progressive left in America tolerate the behavior of Venezuela’s President Maduro if it were taking place here in America?
In a new piece at The Daily Beast writer Michael Moynihan suggests defenders of the Venezuelan regime should think through how they might react is what was happening there was instead happening here:
It’s a thought experiment I often present to the Western Chavista, one
that usually ends up demonstrating that sympathizers of the regime, both
in this country and in Europe, have something of a colonialist attitude
towards Venezuela. Because one wonders the reaction of these faux
progressives if Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama,
Chancellor Angela Merkel–pick your the imperialist lackey!–arrested an
opposition leader who had organized peaceful street protests? Or if the
CIA shut off the internet in politically restive cities like Berkeley
and Brooklyn; blocked Twitter traffic it found politically suspect; and
took over PBS, forcing it to broadcast only pro-administration agitprop,
never allowing the opposition party to traduce the government across
public airwaves? Or if the president forced the removal of BBC America
from all cable providers for being too anti-American?
Perhaps reactions would be muted if motorcycle gangs loyal to President
George W. Bush circled anti-Iraq War protests physically attacking–and
occasionally murdering–demonstrators. How about if a judge ruled
against President Obama’s domestic spying apparatus and, in return, the
White House ordered that judge thrown in prison? How long would an
American president be allowed to run up massive inflation, despite
massive oil revenues coming into government coffers? How long would it
be considered reasonable–and not the president’s responsibility–to
preside over 23,000 murders in a country of just under 30 million
people, a rate that would horrify the average resident of Baghdad? How
long could supermarket shelves remain bare of basic staples like bread
and milk before The Nation or The Guardian would gleefully
decide that America was a failed, kleptocratic state? Or if Bush or
Obama’s economic policies meant that toilet paper could no longer be
found on the open market?
Moynihan’s closing question: Why the double standard? The answer in the cases of the left wing outlets he mentions and many like them is obvious: Because socialism.
Moynihan’s point is not all that speculative. Last week I spent several hours debating the news editor of a well-known left-wing blog on Twitter. Despite repeated attempts, he refused to criticize either the random murders committed by Maduro loyalists or the media crackdown under which the crackdown has flourished.