Venezuela is what income equality looks like

Venezuela is a nation in the midst of self-destruction.  It has become a Malthusian state of hunger, violence and despair, and is the most self-apparent example of the folly of the socialist economic system. 

All this despite the fact it has the largest oil reserves in the world. Unlike other petro states, that were able to overcome the collapse in oil prices by simply pumping out more oil, Venezuela was unable to do the same due to a combination of its years of nationalization of the oil industry as well as overspending on its socialist programs. 

Sadly, its economic system has famously led to interminable lines that last through the night in order to acquire the most basic of necessities, and it has filled its streets with violence.  Caracas has murder rates that are now among the highest in the world and it feels more like you are inside the video game Grand Theft Auto then the major cosmopolitan city it used to be.

Caracas has murder rates that are now among the highest in the world and it feels more like you are inside the video game Grand Theft Auto then the major cosmopolitan city it used to be.

I recently spent several terror filled weeks in Venezuela filming a short documentary and I experienced this extraordinarily dangerous state of affairs first hand. The second day we were there three armed men on motorcycles held us up at gun point in broad daylight and brazenly stole our camera and sound equipment. 

Unfortunately that was only the start of my Venezuelan experience. While we were filming street scenes a man was shot in front of us. Not only that, but it was witnessed by a police officer who – either because he was so inured by the daily violence or simply didn't want to be the next victim – simply watched it unfold and walked away. Most heartbreakingly, my fixer, a woman who negotiated our safety inside the hellish Venezuelan barrios, was murdered on her doorstep the day after I left.

I recently interviewed dozens of liberals in New York and asked them point-blank which economic model we should be emulating: our own economic system or that of Venezuela? Notwithstanding the obviously observable devolution of this major country, over 75 percent of the people interviewed answered Venezuela.  Even after being informed of the violence and extreme poverty that Venezuelans are suffering through every day, these self-loathing leftists were resolute in their answer.  

In the words of several people I spoke to, “We will all wait in line together.”

Therein lies the answer to the obvious question of why would they give me such a warped and perverted response.  Equality is the value that is held most dear to the Left, not equality of opportunity, which definitionally would lead to greater success for some and less success for others.  They want equality of outcome. 

Hey, if it leads to immense suffering, at least we will all suffer together. 

Ami Horowitz is a filmmaker. His "U.N. Me" film debuted in 2011. Visit the "U.N. Me" Facebook page or check out the website: theunmovie.com.