If I didn’t know better, I’d say Hugo Chavez is trying to prove Hayek right. For years he managed to ram through economic reforms while maintaining the integrity of Venezuelan democracy. But democracy appears to be too inconvenient for him now.
Venezuela’s congress approved a request by President Hugo Chavez for the power to make law by decree for 18 months, opening the way for an overhaul of the country’s economic and political life.
Lawmakers unanimously approved the request in a televised vote.
Chavez has pledged to use his new power to nationalize “strategic” companies in the telephone, electricity and oil industries, establish new taxes on second houses, boats and luxury goods, and eliminate more than 100 municipalities.
The more time passes, the more Chavez looks like a mongrel hybrid of John Birch, George W. Bush, and Rudy Giuliani. He has Birch’s paranoia, Giuliani’s autocratic personality, and Bush’s respect for democratic institutions. A long time ago, I was disturbed enough by his rhetoric alone to compare him to Argentina’s Juan Perón. At the time, the people I was talking to told me it was nonsense because Perón was never a democrat, while Chavez was. My record of being right on Iraq in 2003, Lebanon in 2006, and now Venezuela in 2007 makes me scared that I’m also right about the entire world in 2020-21.