Venezuela is a true relic for the Left
It always amazes me how some secular people bring a religious fervour to their politics.
One of the many reasons I'm not religious is because the idea of blind faith seems both absurd and dangerous.
After all, most people who have been systematically murdered throughout history have been murdered by the faithful - whether that faith is in their particular deity, or just in the name of a particular ideology, blind faith is blind faith and blind faith is something that tends to get other people killed.
It's also the reason why there is absolutely no point in arguing over whether a god exists with someone who is religious. They have faith, and while plenty of people who were once religious have turned their back on that belief, they did so because they arrived at that conclusion on their own, not by some smart-arse sneering at them.
That's why politics and rational ideas are more healthy than a truly religious perspective. After all, the political brain is meant to be a bit more agile than the religious one, and it's meant to be something which can change and adapt with the processing of new information.
Yet as Venezuela collapses into chaos and hurtles towards a civil war, the relics of the old Left still cling to their old excuse that it is all America's fault.
Nothing to do with the disastrous mismanagement of the economy by Chávez and his equally deranged successor, Maduro (pictured above).
The heights of the blind-faith defence of old-school socialism - something which has never worked in any country - were reached by Ken Livingstone the other day, when he made the point that, when it came to the previous ruling elites of Venezuela, Chávez "had allowed them to live".
Is that the benchmark now for the Left? That a leader who doesn't engage in the mass murder of his opposition deserves credit?
I said recently in these pages that for all the myriad problem we have in the West, at least we don't have the State secret police knocking on our door at three in the morning.
What happened in Venezuela this week? Several opposition leaders were dragged from their beds and brought to destinations unknown.
That is the fundamental and irreducible problem with socialism - it relies on State force against its own citizens.
Or maybe it would be more fair to say that that's what happens when you get any sort of authoritarian regime.
After all, South America has had plenty of tyrants of all stripes, but nobody would dream of defending Pinochet.
Frankly, when you look at the likes of Corbyn and Livingstone and plenty of their acolytes in this country, you get the impression that they wouldn't mind having their own little secret police force.