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History Repeats Itself in the Venezuela Tragedy

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

How many people have to die before the world, including many Americans, realizes that socialism never works, always fails, and kills people?

Look at the unspeakable tragedies that continue to unfold in Venezuela right now. People are scrambling just to get food to eat. Armed guards have to protect stores and trucks with food from being looted. Stories are emerging of people eating zoo animals and of Venezuelans feeling less safe than war-torn Syrians.


The amazing thing about this tragedy is just how avoidable it is. But it’s almost as if each generation in the last 150 years has to keep repeating the same mistake in order to relearn the same lesson: Marxism always fails.

Karl Marx, who died in 1883, spooks us even to this day from his grave. A headline a few months ago by Yuan Yang in Financial Times (6/1/16) declared: “Chinese students ‘brainwashed by western theories,’ say scholars: Professors call for more Marxism in economics courses.”

So the Chinese authorities are calling for more Marxism, not less, despite the deaths of tens of millions of human beings killed there in the 20th century due to Communist policies?

Everywhere Marxism is tried, it is found wanting. Why? Because it goes against the laws of nature and of nature’s God, and it goes against the laws of human nature.

Yet Marxism flourishes to this day, especially in academia and among the down-and-outers who don’t realize they’ve been had.

I was talking with a friend recently, who is the minister of music at a local church. In the early 1980s, he lived in Venezuela, as a professional musician and music teacher. He said it was a vibrant country with a growing economy.


But after a few years, the left-wing politicians agitated to move it toward socialism. Then came Hugo Chavez, who pushed Venezuela even further leftward---into the Communist camp. Chavez had the gall to say that Jesus was not just a socialist, but that He was a Communist.

What do the Marxists have to show for it? They can’t feed the people, despite some of the riches natural resources in the world.

But here’s the tragic thing: We have millions of young people in this country who were holding on to virtually every word of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. They were following the siren song of socialism. Sanders articulated well many of the angst people feel today because of the view that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Nonetheless, the solutions that Bernie offered lead us down the well-trod path of socialism. It’s not deadly at first, but it gets deadly when the state has to ensure that people will follow along with its edicts.

Recently, at D. James Kennedy Ministries, we presented a television special called, “The Problem of Socialism.” Some of the man-on-the-street comments in the program were typical of the feelings of millions of young people today:

  •       “Socialism means we unite as one people and we decide on what we want to do.”
  •        “Socialism is taking care of each other. That’s the way I see it. We haven’t done that in a long time in this country.”
  •        “Socialism is, in my definition I would say, people having what they need, people being able to live with dignity knowing that they have what they need.”

For our television special, I spoke with Natasha Srdoc who grew up in socialist Yugoslavia. She told me, “People need to know that it has been tried, it’s a wonderful idea but it doesn’t work. In the end actually socialism runs out of the money because it promises free education, free healthcare, free everything.” They may sound like worthy goals.

She continued, “But somebody has to pay for it and it cannot generate that kind of a growth that you can accumulate that kind of tax revenue that you can pay for everything and have economic growth. It doesn’t work.”

When it doesn’t work, then comes the taxes and punishment by the state (which at the end of the day boils down to force). When that doesn’t work, under a totalitarian system, next comes the violence. It’s happened over and over and over to force on people something they don’t want.


Joshua Muravchik, former leader of Young Socialists, told our viewers that Marx and Engels, the co-authors of The Communist Manifesto (1848), were seeking first to dethrone God and then to attack capitalism.

Muravchik told me, “The Communist countries did prove to be the greatest killers of all time. We don’t have even to this day exact numbers.” 

When I think of the repeated failures of Marxism, I’m reminded of British poet Steve Turner’s line: “History repeats itself. It has to. No one is listening.”

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