In Terms of Human Misery, No Tweet Has Aged Worse Than This One

One of the more enjoyable refrains on Twitter is the condescending epitaph “This tweet didn’t age well,” followed by some horribly missed prediction or embarrassing flip-flop by some self-described expert.

Examples abound, whether it’s:

  • Predictions in the world of sports like Skip Bayless predicting Tim Tebow would be more of an NFL success than Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers.
  • Declarations in the world of politics like Donald Trump concluding in 2012 that the Electoral College was a disaster for the country.
  • Being proven a hypocritical fool like Bernie Sanders bragging that not only would Trump lose the election, but he would start paying his “fair share” of taxes (not long after, Trump won the election and it was revealed he paid a lot more of his share in taxes than Bernie did).

Obviously any attempt to pinpoint who had the most embarrassing swing-and-miss is totally subjective and based on personal prejudices or biases. But if you quantify it in terms of a human misery quotient rather than mere political jabs, it’s hard to imagine there is a tweet that ended up being more deadly inaccurate that this one from far left filmmaker Michael Moore in 2013:

“Hugo Chavez declared the oil belonged 2 the ppl. He used the oil $ 2 eliminate 75% of extreme poverty, provide free health & education 4 all.”

I understand that Michael Moore is far from an intellect. I get that he is a propagandist who traffics in deceit and exploitation for profit. But that doesn’t change the fact that millions of people are taken in by his rhetoric and believe the lies.

For crying out loud, high school teachers and college professors actually showed his embarrassingly preposterous movie “Sicko” to their classes, pretending it was a legitimate educational documentary. If you don’t know, that’s the movie where Moore is used by the communist thugs in Cuba to film glittering and well-furnished hospital facilities (used only by the elites and communist officials) and portray them as standard care clinics for the country. Meanwhile, people were dying and getting sicker in the real standard care clinics that were bug-infested, unsanitary rat holes with unwashed bloody sheets covering the exam beds. If that absurd deceit will be embraced and spread, his nonsense about socialism will be as well.

This insipid lie about socialism turning the wealth of a nation over to “the people” has been retold so many times throughout history it is beyond comprehension how and why so many people continue to believe it. What’s more, socialism has been tried in so many different ways, with so many different approaches, under so many different personalities, it is the height of hubris to pretend that if “we” tried it, it wouldn’t end up like this.

For those like Moore who now say, “Oh well, Venezuela isn’t the real socialism I’m talking about,” remember this tweet – it’s always what they’re talking about until it descends into misery and chaos. Then the next utopian dreamer postulates a theory that it just wasn’t “done right.” The problem isn’t the implementation – the problem is the idea. Terry Jones explains exactly what happened since Chavez made this “oil belongs to the people” declaration that Moore admired:

[T]he giant oil company owes just over $10 billion this year in debt payments but, after being raided repeatedly for its cash, is desperately short of financing for badly needed investment. Citing unnamed sources, Hanke says PDVSA has just $2 billion in cash on hand, while the government’s foreign exchange reserves — all it really has to stave off mass starvation, since Venezuela imports most of its food — stand at just $10.5 billion.  Oil output is off 23% since Chavez came to power.  PDVSA, says [Johns Hopkins University Economist and Energy Expert Steve] Hanke, is in a “death spiral.” So is the entire country.

Today, Venezuela suffers from endemic corruption, 800% inflation, a -19% annual GDP growth rate, and interest rates of over 20%. Rampant food shortages are causing malnutrition, and all the diseases that come from that. One area of improvement: Income inequality. Now, most of the country is equally poor, with the exception of those in power.

The lesson of history is as real as the suffering of the Venezuelan people. Only fools pretend otherwise.

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Peter Heck

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