Seventy Two Hours

“A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way; however, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit.”


That about describes the academic achievement of Heinz Dietrich, one of the leading exponents of the Socialism of the 21st Century who is now distancing himself from the economic disaster about to overtake Venezuela, a country which conscientiously followed his advice.

The man credited with pioneering the idea of 21st Century socialism, which was championed and put into application in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez, recently made a damning condemnation of current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

German sociologist and political analyst Heinz Dieterich said Maduro has a “complete inability to deal with the serious problems of the country.” He added that if the Venezuelan president doesn’t do something to rectify the economic and political problems facing his country soon, he could be out of office by April of 2014.

Foreign Policy sums up it up succinctly. “Venezuela’s economy is in an endless state of disarray.” It took Dietrich’s medicine and died.

Inflation is soaring, and basic staples are increasingly harder to find. Electricity blackouts are frequent, and crime presents an enormous problem for citizens and companies crazy enough to do business there.

The problem for Venezuelans is that their government has no clue as to what to do. …

Venezuela’s persistently high inflation has several root causes. Because of repeated elections and populist tendencies, the government continues to spend much more than it earns via taxes. Since it has few options to finance its deficit, it has been forced to devalue the currency twice this year, and this means producers – who mostly rely on imports to supply the market – are forced to pass this on to consumers.

Taming inflation would require the government to order their finances, but the administration seems reluctant to do so. For example, according to government sources, giving away gasoline for (practically) nothing costs Venezuelan taxpayers $24 billion in direct subsidies and lost revenues. This amount represents roughly a quarter of all spending included in the 2013 budget. But regardless of how dire the situation is, the government refuses to consider decreasing subsidies because it is fearful of a public backlash.


It almost sounds like Socialism in the 21st century isn’t doing too well, though doubtless Dietrich will claim the fault lies in the bumbling Venezuelans not faithfully following his program. People like him inevitably try again and again and again … Thank God this can’t happen in America.

Yet we are often advised to be careful of what we want, lest we get it. And for many years people have wanted a society where, like Julia, government takes care of you. Peak Oil has an article which describes the welfare system the Obama administration has victoriously managed to enshrine at the center of American life. Now it has the permission to expand indefinitely, via the removal of caps on the debt limit. To appreciate the magnitude of Obama’s achievement Peak Oil describes how the Food Stamp shutdown was averted.

… this past weekend when a “temporary system failure” caused food stamp cards to stop working in 17 U.S. states. Within hours, there were “mini-riots” at Wal-Marts and other retailers that rely heavily on food stamp users … if Congress had not pushed through a “deal”, the USDA would have started cutting off food stamp benefits on November 1st …

According to Reuters, the state of North Carolina had already cut off some welfare benefits for the month of November … And as Mac Slavo recently detailed, the USDA was already planning to cut off food stamp assistance to millions of Americans on November 1st … It may not happen this month, or even this year, but food stamp riots are coming to America.


But riots won’t come … if the Food Stamps can be kept flowing without interruption. Welfare is the oxygen of social peace.  With it everything seems fine. Without it, asphyxiation begins almost immediately.

The transition between apparent normalcy and desperation is abrupt because, as Mike Adams writing in Natural News explains, welfare dependents have no financial or logistical reserves to speak of. Poor people live from welfare check to welfare check. The system has to keep on going. If money runs out then government has to borrow. Anything is possible except stopping the flow. Once the trickle halts then there’s literally nothing to eat, not even the possibility of foraging or growing supplementary food, a fallback which was long mankind’s strategy when facing hard times.

Today’s urban welfare recipient lives in a concrete jungle and the only place to get comestibles is the Store. They live in high rise buildings where the only way up or down for the weak is electrically powered elevators. They exist in concrete boxes where the only lifeline is the Obamaphone.  In some ways urban welfare America is less resilient than the rural Third World. Adams says there are 50 million holders of EBT cards. Imagine their predicament if the EBT system went suddenly dark.

Fifty million. Consider that for a moment. Most of those 50 million people live in high-density cities. Many are proud owners of Obama phones, Obama food stamps, Obama unemployment checks and Obama subsidized housing. They have absolutely no clue that the government upon which they wholly depend to put food on the table is teetering on the verge of permanent collapse. (Seriously, they cannot conceive of the idea of government “running out of money” because they do not understand where money comes from.) Because of this distorted belief, they do not prepare for any future events other than more Obama handouts. Their entire “preparedness” plan is to vote for Democrats, because that’s who they know will give them the most handouts. And they will always win the popular vote, too, because any politician promising to restore responsible fiscal spending to the government by cutting programs will be viciously accused of being “mean” or involved in “hating poor people.” So the government handouts will only ratchet higher and higher, ensnaring more and more people, until the entire system is unsustainable and collapses under its own weight.

When that system of dependence fails, those who depend on it will panic in mere hours. As proof of this, consider the fact that this mass looting of Wal-Mart stores happened in less than three hours after the Saturday EBT card glitch struck. Police had to be called in to prevent the situation from getting completely out of control, and it was offline for only part of one day.

Now imagine what will happen when EBT cards go offline for 24, 48 or even 72 hours. And imagine it happening in every U.S. city simultaneously.


Clearly life at the very bottom can be precarious. According to Bloomberg times have been so hard there’s a resurgence in the practice of selling hair or breast-milk for cash, a trade more evocative of Les Miserables or Charles Dickens than of the Land of Hope and Change. Although the prevalence of such extreme levels of desperation may be questionable, no one can doubt the lack of lack of staying power among the poor. Certainly not the the Left , which has long claimed civilization was on the brink of disaster from Global Warming.  As one British politician memorably put it our modern civilization was “nine meals from anarchy”, seventy two hours from chaos.

But while Global Warming remains a hypothetical, a fragility of  society on welfare is not. Everything — everything — depends on the government pump. The dependents are never more than 3 days from the edge of the cliff.  The need to reopen the spending valves before the crunch came was in part due to the need to keep that fragile segment from freaking out. It’s a single point of failure system, and the necessity for keeping the federal government open was predicated precisely that on that very weakness.

The system has been saved, but only at the price of continuously expanding the dependency. Obama owns Hope and Change the way Dietrich owns Socialism in the 21st Century. It creates the conditions for its own perpetuation.  A system of entitlements becomes a proxy for the entire system of governance and cannot conceivably be circumscribed without risking the start of the seventy two hour countdown clock after which legitimacy expires.


Pyrrus, the ancient king after whom hollow victories have ever since been named complained that “one more such victory would utterly undo him.” He was smart. Today’s politicians in Washington are hankering after even more such victories. They are already working on Immigration Reform.

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
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