In early March, a Harris poll revealed that nearly half (49.6 percent) of Millennials and members of Generation Z said they would “prefer living in a socialist country.” Millennials are typically defined as anyone born between 1981 and 1996, and Generation Z includes those born in or after 1997.
Since these two age groups are expected to make up about 37 percent of voting-age Americans for the 2020 election, trouble could be looming on the horizon. Combine that with the fact that an increasing number of U.S. senators and representatives are publicly embracing socialism, and the outlook is even more dire.
Setting aside a vast multitude of other problems created by socialist systems, the devastating effect that moving toward a more socialist type of government would have on law-abiding Americans and the practice of their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is nearly unthinkable.
The Venezuela Disaster
Venezuela was once the most prosperous country in Latin America, boasting one of the world’s richest oil reserves. High oil prices ensured that the majority of Venezuela’s citizens lived a decent life. In fact, seven years ago, nearly 90 percent of the country’s revenue came from oil.
The oil-centered economy started to crumble when prices began to fall in 2014. The drop from $100 per barrel to about $50 per barrel was more than the economy could stand. The failing economy, coupled with the Nicolás Maduro regime coming into power and morphing Hugo Chávez’s socialist government into a more tyrannical dictatorship, sent the country into a downhill spiral.
Venezuela is currently experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history, marked by hyperinflation, rampant disease, soaring hunger and crime. The crisis has affected the lives of average Venezuelans on all levels. By 2017, hunger had escalated to the point where almost 75 percent of the population had lost an average of nearly 20 pounds, and more than half did not have enough income to meet their basic food needs. By the end of 2018, more than 90 percent of the population was below the poverty line, and almost one-tenth of Venezuelans (3 million) had left their country.
Most recently, electrical blackouts have plagued parts of the country, and the shortage of food and drinkable water has worsened. As some hospitals used generators in order to continue caring for patients during the blackouts, others operated without any power at all, leaving patients needing dialysis machines and other equipment to do without.
The bottom line is that once-proud Venezuela has become the poster child for how a country’s socialist government can quickly become so corrupt that its citizens become mired in a life-or-death crisis. All the while, its leaders seem to care only about themselves, not rank-and-file Venezuelans.
Authorities have even fired upon and killed citizens by the dozens for protesting the Maduro regime. In fact, in the past two years, nearly 200 pro-democracy protesters, armed mainly with rocks, have been shot and killed by government forces in order to squelch their protests.
Socialism And Guns
Ask Venezuelans how they got where they are, and many will tell you that disarmament of average citizens has been a major factor. In fact, it is the sole reason citizens aren’t able to fight back against a corrupt, tyrannical government in their current time of need.
Back in 2012, the Venezuelan National Assembly enacted what was known as the “Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law,” with the stated purpose of disarming “all citizens.” Effective in 2013, the law banned commercial sale of guns and ammunition to all Venezuelans. That is, all but those within the government and, of course, criminals.
After Maduro succeeded Chávez as the country’s leader, the Venezuelan government in 2014 spent $47 million enforcing the ban, according to a recent report from Fox News. Many of the confiscated firearms were publicly destroyed as a show of force by government officials.
The result: Buy or sell a gun now, and you’ll spend 20 years in prison—if you can survive that long.
“Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight,” Javier Vanegas, a Venezuelan teacher of English now exiled in Ecuador, told Fox News. “The government security forces, at the beginning of this debacle, knew they had no real opposition to their force. Once things were this bad, it was a clear declaration of war against an unarmed population.”
“The idea of having the means to protect your home was seen as only needed out in the fields. People never would have believed they needed to defend themselves against the government.”
As many American politicians continue a full-scale assault on our Second Amendment and the rights it protects, it is clear that many Venezuelans wish that they would have had such a protection of their right to arms. Is it possible that citizens having such a right to keep and bear arms would have changed the outcome? I believe the answer is a resounding “yes.”
“Venezuelans didn’t care enough about it (the gun ban),” Vanegas further told Fox. “The idea of having the means to protect your home was seen as only needed out in the fields. People never would have believed they needed to defend themselves against the government.
“Venezuelans evolved to always hope that our government would be non-tyrannical, non-violator of human rights, and would always have a good enough control of criminality.”
Obviously, that’s not how things have worked out. Rather, what we are seeing on television news on a daily basis is that some Venezuelans have guns—namely corrupt government agencies and violent criminals. But regular citizens who need protection are out of luck.
Luis Farias of Margarita says violence was bad enough before the gun ban. Now, he says, it’s devastating.
“Now the criminal mother is unleashed,” Farias told Fox. “Trying to ban guns didn’t take guns off the streets. Nobody cares about the law; the criminals don’t care about the law.”
Yet isn’t disarmament of the law-abiding exactly what many in American politics are striving for? After all, we’ve discussed in these pages how most gun control laws—including “universal” background checks, “assault weapon” bans, bans on standard-capacity magazines (incorrectly called “high-capacity”) and creation of so-called “gun-free” zones—only affect law-abiding citizens since the vast majority of criminals get their guns by already illegal means. That’s the same way criminals in Venezuela get their guns now, since there are no legal means.
Ironically, socialists in the U.S. government are the very politicians trying to force their gun-ban ambition on American citizens. Consider presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the grand patron of American socialism who was arguably cheated out of the Democratic nomination in the last presidential election.
“I’m not afraid of the word,” Sanders said in an interview with The Nation published in 2015. “When I ran for the Senate the first time, I ran against the wealthiest guy in the state of Vermont. … He kept attacking me as a liberal. He didn’t use the word ‘socialist’ at all, because everybody in the state knows that I am that.”
Sanders has become a reliable “yes” vote for any kind of restrictive gun control. Ironically, Sanders was recently warned about his embrace of socialism by someone who has lived it.
“Sanders was lucky to be able to get to the Soviet Union in 1988 and praise all its stunning socialist achievements before the entire system and empire collapsed under the weight of its own spectacular failures,” said Carl Bildt, Swedish prime minister from 1991 to 1994 and minister for foreign affairs from 2006 to 2014.
Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke—all announced 2020 presidential hopefuls—align closely with socialist ideals. And of course, all say they “support” the Second Amendment. Yet that means nothing to them; all detest guns and gun owners.
Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke—all announced 2020 presidential hopefuls—align closely with socialist ideals. And of course, all say they “support” the Second Amendment. Yet that means nothing to them; all detest guns and gun owners. All three would happily ban the most popular rifle in the United States, used safely by millions of Americans on a daily basis. All three would gladly create a firearm registration system through so-called “universal” background checks. And never forget: Registration always leads to confiscation, whether here in the United States or elsewhere.
Now consider the newest “mainstream” media darling—U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., a proud socialist. In her few short months in Congress, the former bartender hasn’t met an anti-gun proposal that she doesn’t like. When voting on “universal” background checks, she even threatened to “primary” less radical Democrats who failed to vote her way on an amendment that would require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be notified if an illegal immigrant attempted to buy a gun from a commercial dealer.
And Ocasio-Cortez’s desire to ban guns carries right over into her hatred of the National Rifle Association. During a rant against AR-15s, she took aim at you, me and over 5 million other NRA members.
“NRA politicians are also cheap to buy, and kill hundreds of people through neglect over extended periods,” she said.
Ironically, Ocasio-Cortez even launched a verbal attack on the NRA when a deranged man killed 50 people in a New Zealand mosque—a mass murder that the NRA obviously had absolutely no connection to!
Of course, many more politicians on the Democrat side of the aisle have socialist leanings. And they read like a who’s-who of the modern American gun-ban movement.
“Others are socialist at heart, they just haven’t yet worked up the nerve to say as much in public,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre wrote in these pages last March (p. 32). “Far-left political elites like U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Gov. Jerry Brown, U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Chuck Schumer, Democratic National Committee Deputy Chairman Keith Ellison, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and many more.”
What do all of these politicians have in common, along with their embrace of socialism? The answer is simple: They all hate the Second Amendment, firearms and law-abiding American gun owners. And the reason why is even more simple: It’s much harder to exert social control over independent-minded, armed patriots.
Next time you see coverage of Venezuela and the dire plight of the people there, remember why they are unable to fight back against a corrupt government that couldn’t care less about their well-being. And let that be another reason to work fervently to keep the Second Amendment as relevant today as it was when it was written.
Mark Chesnut has been the editor of America’s 1st Freedom magazine for nearly 19 years and is an avid hunter, shooter and political observer.