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
Some viewed the fall of the Soviet Union as the beginning of “The End of History.” Today's headlines remind us that history is not over. Russia's aggressive imperialism in Ukraine and its meddling in the Middle East have put it back at center stage.Read More
For decades, the North Korean regime has kept its oppressive rule hidden from the rest of the world. But slowly, the truth has been emerging. Defectors like Yeonmi Park—who left the country in 2007 at the age of 15—have lived to tell the stories about their escape, and of the changing political landscape they left behind. Yet in spite of the continuing famines and desperate poverty, there are rays of hope, as markets slowly work their way into the North Korean social fabric. Bob speaks with Yeonmi Park about her previous way of life as one of the rising "black market generation" that is finally experiencing the power of spontaneous voluntary cooperation. Can the trend toward freer markets and trade be stopped now that it has a foothold? Or will North Korea's isolationist "juche" ideology hold fast against the rest of the world? You won’t want to miss this inside look into a country that appears to be slowly coming out of the shadows.
Why do cities and states fall all over each other to force billions of dollars of subsidies into the pockets of billionaire professional sports team owners? Is it merely that they want to qualify as “major league cities?” Does it make economic sense (answer – of course not) or is it just to enhance the egos of local politicians and enrich local real estate interests? And aren’t the professional sports teams a monopoly, subject to anti-trust regulation? You’d think so. Imagine a retailer having to obtain the permission of Macy’s before opening a store near a Macy’s? In America professional sports leagues have been exempt from anti-trust laws since a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court case held that baseball was not “interstate commerce.” Robbing from the poor (and middle class) to give to the rich. Robin Hood, where are you when we need you? Skip Sauer, Professor of Economics and Chair of The John E. Walker Department of Economics at Clemson University has studied this issue extensively and joins Bob to discuss the subsidizing of professional sports teams by local governments. The politics, the economics, the insanity. It ain’t pretty.
Later, Bob is joined by Mitch Jeserich, host of Pacifica Radio’s Letters & Politics (KPFA in the Bay Area), to discuss the contentious (to say the least) issue of gun control. Are libertarians closer to progressives or to conservatives on this complex issue? The 2nd amendment is only 27 words long, and its three commas have been parsed and parsed for 200 years. What does the Amendment mean? Does it matter? Bob and Mitch will try to sort it out.
It is clear that Obamacare (and Medicare before it) will precipitate the decline in the quality of medical care in America. It will cause talented doctors to leave the profession, reduce the number of health care professionals available to provide us with the services we have come to expect and it will ultimately give us “post office” quality medicine with “IRS quality sensitivity.” Are we ready for that? Or will Obamacare self- destruct, leaving us with a totally free market system of health care the likes of which we have not seen since before WW II? In this episode, Bob is joined by Jeff Singer: surgeon, writer and libertarian. He has seen the erosion of medicine from the inside. His Reason Magazine article titles tell it all – “How Government Killed the Medical Profession” and “The Depressing Future of American Health Care.” This is so important that Bob spends the full ninety minutes of his show with Jeff. They will tell what you don’t want to hear, but must. They even see a light at the end of this very long and dark tunnel. It will surprise you.
This Sunday, Talk 910 will air an encore presentation of “The Credit Crunch.” Small businesses account for 70% of jobs, yet they are being starved for credit. No one in the Administration has ever operated a small business, worked for one or seemingly ever met a small businessman. Ben Bernanke’s concept of “too big to fail” results in business that are “too small to succeed.” In this episode, Bob shows us how to start the flow of credit once again. While he’s at it, he’ll examine whether the Obama foreclosure “solution” is just a reward for irresponsible parties at the expense of the penny pinchers (hint – it is!).