November 27, 2016

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Castro, Chavez, and “Bad Luck:” Castro and his ilk showed us that under socialism, the powerful grow rich — and everyone else grows poor.

Both Venezuela and Cuba have suffered under leaders who enriched themselves and their families. Chavez’s daughter is the richest person in Venezuela, with a net worth in the billions, while in true “socialist equality” fashion, Cuba is now run by Castro’s brother, Raul.

Yet their poverty and oppression are treated as if they’re just “bad luck.” But it’s only bad luck in the Heinlein sense. As Heinlein also said, a good cook can take wholesome ingredients and produce something much more valuable. A bad cook, on the other hand, can take those same ingredients — valuable in themselves — and produce an inedible mess.

Socialist kleptocrats are like Heinlein’s bad cook, with the added trait of stealing any edible leftovers for themselves and their kin. Perhaps the world will learn a valuable lesson from the fates of Cuba and Venezuela, and avoid such “bad luck” in the future.

Well, we can hope.

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