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Like Chavez, Like Bush
George Bush plans to spread socialism in South America! From a press release from Ayn Rand Institute, Dr. Yaron Brook finds Bush's pledge to bring American tax dollars to South America morally and economically lacking:

As President Bush ends his tour of Latin America, he has vowed to deliver "social justice" to poor Latin Americans.

"In announcing his commitment to achieving 'social justice' in Latin America," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, "President Bush is following in the footsteps, not of Thomas Jefferson, but of Hugo Chavez.

"'Social justice' is the notion that everyone deserves an equal share of the wealth that exists in a nation--regardless of how productive he is. Justice, on this view, consists of seizing the wealth of the productive and giving it to the unproductive. This is the ideal preached and conscientiously put into practice by leftist dictators like Chavez.

"But it is precisely this type of envy-driven philosophy that is responsible for the wretched conditions in Latin America. It is no mystery why a nation that shackles and loots its most productive citizens should be weighed down by poverty and stagnation.

"President Bush should tell the people of Latin America to reject the immoral goal of 'social justice' and embrace the American principles of freedom and capitalism."

Come on, Mr. Prez, you've heard of workfare, haven't you? As for the "social justice" you're proposing -- is it going to come out of the social security payments I think I have little hope of seeing?

Read about Bush putting our tax dollars to work in South America. Now, perhaps it can be argued that we have a national interest in doing this -- providing health care and education and job training for people in countries down south. Or perhaps this should be the province of charitable organizations, not American taxpayers. What do you think?

Posted by aalkon at March 26, 2007 1:49 PM


Bush? Conservative?

I pegged this little socialist bitch in 2000, folks. But nobody listened to me. The difference between Bush and Gore was one of degree, not substance.

Posted by: brian at March 26, 2007 5:11 AM

Maybe someone should check with The Shrub to see what is his idea of social justice.

Posted by: Machida at March 26, 2007 5:43 AM

The only thing remotely like socialism in the speech was...uh, nothing. I doubt if the left would identify the items emphasized in Pres. Bush's speech as their version of social justice. He spoke about debt forgiveness, increasing individual opportunity, free trade, free market capitalism, expanding public education, strengthening the rule of law, civil rights, and providing aid that, "empowers the poor and marginalized." No Universal Rights of Man, no expropriations, no workers councils or neighborhood watch committees, no "volunteer" doctors and nurses in the barrios or not even one shouted "Viva la revolucion!"

I mean, after all, this speech was before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Not the type of crowd that would get excited about creating worker's paradises or Syndicalist-anarcho vegan cooperative communes.

Posted by: Pat Patterson at March 26, 2007 5:50 AM

Yeah, it smells like buzzword appropriation to me. Besides, U.S. foreign aid expendature is, what, 0.1 percent of GNP or so? Not much of a dole.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at March 26, 2007 11:48 AM

Do you remember the National Socialist German Workers' Party ? ( There is a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk - as they showed.) The head honcho was an Austrian, Adolph Schickelgruber, a veteran of the Great War and a great orator.
Hitler should be enough of a warning for anybody about the Orwellian danger of "truthspeak" : lying because the truth was too precious a commodity to be wasted on the masses.
The C.I.A. has had far too much to do in Central and South America for far too long for people to think of them as anything but the 'arm' of corporate Amerika.
But people in the U.S. watch Fox and think they're up-to-date with the 'News' : what a sad joke.

Posted by: opit at March 26, 2007 1:12 PM

There are three things that could bring about an economic upturn in Latin America.

1. China
2. Narcotics becoming legal
3. Mexico and Brazil forming deals with each other that exclude the U.S. but exploit it.

By the way I think illegal immigration is causing socialism more than Dubya ever could.

Posted by: PurplePen at March 26, 2007 1:13 PM

Nazis! I hate those guys.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at March 26, 2007 3:20 PM

"The only thing remotely like socialism in the speech was...uh, nothing. I doubt if the left would identify the items emphasized in Pres. Bush's speech as their version of social justice."

Well, but that's the point. Rather than challenge the morality of "social justice," Bush embraces it...and merely quibbles over the means for achieving it.

But capitalism *doesn't* achieve "social justice." It rewards people for their effort and ability, and since individuals differ in their effort and ability, some will earn lots more than others. Once you grant that that is a problem that needs to be allievated, then you open the door for any leftist thug, such as Chavez, to provide you with the means for allieviating it: sieze the earnings of the successful in order to give them to the unsuccessful.

Posted by: PMB at March 26, 2007 7:39 PM

One additional point. When Bush says "social justice," he *really does* mean "social justice" as the left uses that phrase.

Observe that he is eager to prove America's commitment to social justice by talking about how much aid the U.S. gives to Latin America. In other words, since the U.S. has more than Latin America, our earnings should be sent to those who have not earned it *because* they haven't earned it. That is what "social justice" demands, and that is precisely what Bush advocates.

Posted by: PMB at March 26, 2007 7:45 PM

All I can do is refer back to the speech as to the what the speech said and what more importantly did not say. Aside from debt forgiveness there was nothing in the speech that indicated the President was using the term social justice in any way that would echo socialist thought.

Even debt forgiveness could be argued to fit quite well into a free market system in giving that country another chance to develop. It should be noted that this debt forgiveness comes with many strings to hopefully not allow this debt to reappear.

Even Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, hardly a capitalist running dog, referred to the President's proposals as another attempt to foist a market economy and globalization on South America. If the socialists deny that the President was proposing socialim then I just might have to take them at their word.

Posted by: Pat Patterson at March 26, 2007 9:04 PM

"All I can do is refer back to the speech as to the what the speech said and what more importantly did not say. Aside from debt forgiveness there was nothing in the speech that indicated the President was using the term social justice in any way that would echo socialist thought."

But it was precisely his intention to echo socialist thought. Notice that he invoked the term in Latin America, where socialism, at least as an ideology, is ubiquitous. He was trying to cash in on the moral stature that notion has in Latin America in order to sell his policies.

In effect, Bush was saying, "We share your goals, we disagree about your methods. Social justice is a moral ideal--but you can't get it through socialism." My point, and I think the point of the Ayn Rand Institute press release, is that in granting that social justice is a moral idea, you undermine the case for capitalism--even if the policies you are trying to sell are nominally free market policies. (I say nominally because, if Bush's domestic policies reveal anything, it's that he's not a champion of capitalism.)

Once you grant that there is something inherently "unjust" about the fact that some people are wealthy while others aren't, it doesn't matter how loudly you proclaim that the solution is free trade or free markets. Those who are more consistent in implementing that moral premise will sweep in to declare, "I will remedy the injustice by shackling and looting those with wealth."

Now, there is a caveat here. There is a real injustice in Latin America between the haves and have nots, but the injustice is that the "haves" in many cases did not earn their wealth: they amassed it through political pull and political power. But the solution is not "social justice" but a system based on individual rights, i.e., capitalism. But notice that nowhere does Bush admonish the collectivist Latin American nations to embrace capitalism. "Keep your statism," he implies, "but keep it within your borders."

So much for his confidence in the greatness of the American system.

Posted by: PMB at March 26, 2007 10:05 PM

Ok, now I'm beginning to suspect that you, PMB, did not read the entire speech. Pres. Bush said, "Latin America needs capitalism for the campesino, a true capitalism that allows people who start from nothing to rise as far as their skills and hard work take them."

And in reference to the statism that you claimed Bush argued that, "Social justice begins with building government institutions that are fair and effective and free of corruption." As well as, "So we're working with our partners to change old patterns and ensure that government serves all its citizens." Hardly ringing endorsements of the beribboned caudillos typical of some countries of Latin America.

Also the President chose to paraphrase Pope John II, "In his many writings, Pope John Paul II spoke eloquently of about creating systems that respect the dignity of work and the right of private initiative." The President's audience would be well aware that in the Pope's Centesimus Annus, the Pope accepted and defended the virtues of the capitalist system. The Pope gave capitalism a seal of approval unlike his unremitting attacks against communism, socialism, and many of the other isms tht keep people poor and in danger. Also many in the audience, both here and abroad remember that John Paul completely rejected Liberation Theology and refused those priests communion unless they accepted his authority in those matters. Ecclesiastical hard ball at its finest. Bush was well aware of these events and used them to emphasize his support for capitalism not socialism in the South.

The President did indeed use the terms social justice but his use was not concordance with troglodyte leftism but the theft of those phrases and using them to defend and advance capitalism in South America.

Posted by: Pat Patterson at March 26, 2007 11:06 PM

Actually, PMB seems to have read it closely, and picked up exactly what I did.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 27, 2007 12:52 AM

I agree with Pat myself. Dubya has been too blunt for his support of capitalism (which tells me how clumsy he is as a politician). Remember the fight between Vicente Fox and Hugo Chavez? It was pretty much centered on that.

The problem with selling capitalism to Latin America is that there is a culture that suffers from an inferiority complex. I'm all for capitalism in its many forms, but an American president will never effectively sell capitalism to Latin America (even cloaked in socialism). The U.S. is always seen as a threat, with good reason. I LOVE the U.S. but its a bully. There has never been any country in S.America capable of telling the U.S. to shut the fuck up without fear of economic reprisal or a goverment overthrow (sounds like parent child relationship to me)

I guess at the end of the day the question remains, will individual rights coupled with capitalism solve Latin Americas problems? Only if the U.S. stops imposing its views (including its views on the form of capitalism Latin America should adopt). By the way I dont think the form of capitalism that the U.S. has will ever work in Latin America. There are cultural diffrences, that might give priority to one thing over the other. It's in the best interest of the U.S. to let Latin America be independent, and its best bet is making drugs legal and stopping the flow of illegal immigrants. We know that the right has no interest in either making drugs legal (dont want to piss off the holier than thou crowd), or stop illegal immigration with real world solutions.

The Chinese, with their big hunger for natural resources and need to undermine U.S. power should form a nice alliance with Brazil. Brazil should in turn forgive Mexico for being a dick. Once China is in power and Europe no longer relevant, in what position will the U.S. find itself?

There should always be checks. China has Japan. The U.S. has Europe. Latin America has Latin America. But Europe will stop being relevant (my generation turns to Asia anyways), Japan is dying out. We need more powerhouses.

(Mexico tries to protect Mexican illegals like crazy, by striking deals with the US Border Patrol. For example, Brazilians used to enjoy special rights under Mexican law. No longer. The U.S. started to notice that Brazilians were coming into the U.S. illegaly via Mexico, because Mexico was so lax with Brazilian nationals entering the country. Brazilians were using this to go to Mexico, earn some money then go to the U.S. Well the U.S. put pressure on Mexico to do something about it, and Mexico did something about it. It started enacting laws, and being a total dick to Brazil. Brazil said fuck you Mexico, who the fuck do you think you are? Nevertheless its now a hassle for me to go to Brazil. So fuck you U.S. Border Patrol, now even I gotta get a visa)

Posted by: PurplePen at March 27, 2007 1:33 AM

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