Gallup’s Principal Economist Dissects Just vs. Unjust Inequalities in *Republic of Equals*Read More
When we last heard from Clif Ross, Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship seemed to be on the brink of collapse. Months later, Nicolás Maduro has managed to cling to power throughout the blackouts and riots that have darkened a country with so much natural wealth and potential for prosperity.
Clif, a poet, film director, and former Bolivarian revolutionary, lost many of his former “comrades” when he conclusively rejected socialist ideology once it became impossible for him to ignore its failure in Venezuela. His memoir, Home from the Dark Side of Utopia: A Journey through American Revolutions, documents this conversion and was the subject of Bob’s discussion with him back in January. However, that conversation left little time to dig into the current situation in Venezuela, which is deteriorating more and more each day.
Since January, Clif published a lengthy mea culpa of sorts in Quillette, documenting how he “had drifted — at first gradually, but then definitively — into the camp of my former ‘enemies,’ persuaded by their narrative and by the evidence before my own eyes.”
The article was publicized by Jordan Peterson and others whose praise further eroded whatever remaining sympathies the hard-left may have had for Clif. Despite the adulation from conservatives and libertarians, Clif remains an independent thinker who won’t be pigeonholed into any ideological camp.
Neither left nor right, Clif’s worldview is rooted in more nuanced theological and philosophical ideas. He subscribes to Thomas Sowell’s view, laid out in The Vision of the Anointed, which pits the unconstrained, or utopian worldview against the constrained, or tragic worldview. The latter assumes that people behave in their self interest, and that governments should not be too ambitious in trying to change human nature.
Clif returns to the show this Sunday with producer and guest host Charlie Deist to pick up where he left off, discussing the similarities between Bolivarian socialism and other versions of “Apocalyptic Utopian Messianic Millenarianism (AUMM)” seen throughout history.
When the tragedy in Venezuela is viewed through the lens of mankind’s religious yearnings, Hugo Chavez emerges as a kind of false messiah — one anointed by himself and his followers to usher in heaven on Earth (paging Dr. Muravchik). When the ailing Chavez failed to bring about the promised socialist utopia, he hand-picked Nicolas Maduro as his replacement in an alternative form of apostolic succession. The remaining true believers are scrambling to resuscitate the failing revolution, accusing the opposition leader John Guiado of being a puppet of U.S. imperialists, and calling the popular protests an illegimate coup.
Charlie and Clif discuss the “synoptic delusion” of socialist dictators, which leads them to believe they can steer markets and society through centralized control.
[AMAZON] Home from the Dark Side of Utopia: A Journey through American Revolutions by Clifton Ross
The Bolivarian God That Failed — Quillette by Clif Ross
In the Shadow of the Revolution [FILM] directed by Clif Ross
Socialism Reincarnated , Joshua Muravchik, April 2019
Utopia Unmasked, Clif Ross, January 2019
Venezuela on the Brink with Fergus Hodgson, April 19, 2017
Ian Vasquez on the Prospects for a Free Cuba, April 03, 2016
Russia Today (Yesterday & Tomorrow), April 09, 2017
On this show, Bob and Ayn Rand Institute fellow Don Watkins interpret the American Dream through an objectivist lens, in which opportunity is the result of effort and ability plus freedom, not the redistribution of wealth and political privilege. Watkins, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, dropped out of university to attend business school at night while working full-time during the day. After this, he could have gone to work on Wall Street or a Fortune 500 company, and glided into America’s notorious 1% – only to be vilified by the growing choir of income inequality critics. Watkins' crime in their eyes would not have been fraud, or embezzlement. His “privilege” alone would have been sufficient cause for many to indict him, despite the value created through honest finance, such as increased opportunities for those with low incomes to afford a college education, or buy homes and durable consumer goods. Watkins instead chose to apply his talents to the realm of ideas and the foundation of a free society. In his new book *Equal is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality,* Watkins and his co-author, Yaron Brook (Executive Director of ARI), mount a bold attack on a popular narrative about the injustice of current levels of inequality.
Purchase the book at Amazon.
“[T]he future has arrived, well in advance of the policies needed to support it,” says Arun Sundararajan, Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Nowhere can this phenomenon be seen more clearly than in the rapidly-expanding "sharing economy," made up of digital platforms like Uber and AirBnB, which must battle with regulators in some locales to keep their innovative services running. Sundararajan's new book, The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism (MIT Press), contains everything you need to know – both cause and effect – about the radical disruption that is underway. An academic by trade, Sundararajan blends sociology, economics, technology and political science with a keen intuition to highlight the many tensions of the sharing economy, or as he calls it, "crowd-based capitalism." The sharing economy, he notes, is both capitalist and socialist, market-based and gift-based, and largely unregulated yet governed by complex rules and norms. Arun joins Bob to help listeners think about their place in the emerging landscape. Will we manage to harness these changes to become an "empowered entrepreneurs," or is technology turning us into "disenfranchised drones"?