“Viva President Hugo Chavez, long live socialism!” National Assembly President Cilia Flores said as she proclaimed the law approved.
Note that they’re (intentionally) confusing Chavez’s socialist economic strategy (which I think is a legitimate strategy to hold, even if it’s ultimately wrong) with his authoritarian grab for more power. That sort of thing happens all the time, and it often works.
The key to understanding politics is that it isn’t a one-dimensional spectrum; there’s more to the world than Left-versus-Right. (Incidentally, that is absolutely not understood by most Americans, and that’s something that enabled the current Republicans to masquerade as conservatives. By most measures, they’re not.) One of the more useful divisions I’ve seen (and adopted) is to split political ideology into social and economic axes: that is, the role of authority (versus individual liberty) and the means of a creating a successful economy (free-market versus central planning).
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out The Political Compass and take their test see where you land on the social and economic scales. Here’s my most recent one; it actually comes out more socialist than my previous tests (but still mostly center). I’m
On the same page as the test results is a chart showing various leaders/famous people and how they’d score if they took the test (based on their public statements):
Note how almost of the “big-name” leaders score high on the authoritarian side. That is, of course, no accident: if you’re the authority, you’re probably more likely to think that authoritarianism (ie: Do-As-I-Tell-You-To) is a good way to do things. And, if left to their own devices, someone given authority will tend to exert it in order to keep it/gain more. That is exactly why authoritarianism needs to be kept in check; it’s self perpetuating, and it’s only beneficial to those who have it.