We were going to write a big old blog post on how Socialism and Capitalism are not opposites of each other. We were going to tell you that there are Capitalist societies deeply embedded in Socialist states. And then we were going to argue against The Kid’s assertion that Venezuela has a measles outbreak because of Socialism. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only that, but the United States can never become like Venezuela.
In essence, he is comparing apples to giraffes again.
This one screenshot wraps up his thesis:
Hilariously, that same screenshot wraps up his naïveté. “That country has also embraced socialism more than any other country in the Americas that isn’t an island.” Think about that for a second, and then think of how much this Kid has not traveled the world.
Living in a cocoon is difficult, but that should not preclude a self-anointed epidemiologist from picking up a goddamned book once in a while. Bolivia is just as Socialist as Venezuela, perhaps even more, and yet it is thriving:
“Since 2006, Bolivia has been run by socialists every bit as militant as Venezuela’s. But as economist Omar Zambrano has argued, the country has experienced a spectacular run of economic growth and poverty reduction with no hint of the chaos that has plagued Venezuela. While inflation spirals toward the thousand-percent mark in Venezuela, in Bolivia it runs below 4 percent a year. Shortages of basic consumption goods — rampant in Caracas — are unheard of in La Paz. And extreme poverty — now growing fast in Venezuela — affects just 17 percent of Bolivians now, down from 38 percent before the socialists took over 10 years ago, even as inequality shrinks dramatically. The richest 10 percent in Bolivia used to earn 128 times more than the poorest 10 percent; today, they earn 38 times as much.”
So that kills that whole argument about scary “Socialism” and how it ruins things. And that comment about an “island” is a swipe at Cuba, one of the places on the whole continent where public health is the strongest. They don’t kid around there. Because of the size of the island, the culture of the Cuban people, and the authoritarian/military regime, things get done. People get vaccinated. Water gets cleaned. Outbreaks are stopped in their tracks.
They do such a good job with diseases in Cuba that they sent their physicians to Africa to help with the Ebola outbreaks! (Colleagues who worked side-by-side with Cuban public health workers in Africa have nothing but good things to say.)
What does ruin things? Why is Venezuela so screwed up? Why are measles on the comeback? That, dear reader, would involve a very long discussion on what got Venezuela to where it is. The story would involve authoritarianism, an over-reliance on oil as a source of cash, and a constant friction with American-allied countries (Colombia, Brazil) while being aligned with OPEC countries. This timeline from BBC is a good primer.
We’ve known awhile that the Kid is an Alt Right believer who has stated that social movements like Feminism and Black Lives Matter are “a cancer.” We know that he is a big fan of the current Administration (which is hilarious because the authoritarianism being shown by POTUS 45 and company rivals what Hugo Chavez did in his first term in Venezuela). And we know that he is anti-vaccine.
If anything is going to make measles great again, it’s people like the kid, not someone looking to strengthen public health through policies that are put in scary quotes and are obvious dogwhistles.