In the last few days, our clueless friends over at CaracasChronicles have made some very alarming comments; comments that are, quite frankly, pretty scary.
First, co-author of the blog Juan Cristobal made the statement that there is no one "normal" among Chavez's supporters, and that the only ones who support him are the "crooks, the hopelessly ideological and the co-dependent psychos". Of course, this would mean that a significant portion of Venezuelan society are "crooks", "psychos" and "hopeless ideologues". The statement is pretty revealing of the contempt that JC feels towards the majority of his fellow countrymen.
The comments that followed this post were especially interesting. Some people disagreed with JC, and insisted that "some of them are still decent people." Wow, what an admission! "Some" of the millions of Venezuelans who support Chavez are "decent people"!!!!
Others implied that perhaps some of them are "normal" but they are simply too stupid to know any better, and spend all their time "reading the baseball part of últimas noticias and watching soap operas." One commenter said:
...anyone who supports Chavez is "invariably either a piece of garbage whose only possible contribution to the world is as fertilizer or an ignorant retard."
Quico then followed JC's post with an attempt to explain the fascist views of his co-author. The post itself was actually very ironic. He makes some very broad generalizations about Chavistas, implying that those who support Chavez are members of a "cult" who have a very "abnormal" set of beliefs. (In other words, Chavistas are apparently not normal people.) And one of these "abnormal" beliefs is that the world can be divided into "good" and "evil."
But, isn't this precisely what they are doing??? According to them, one's political leaning defines whether they are "normal" or "abnormal". They divide up Venezuela between "decent" (good) people and indecent (bad) people, psychos (them) and non-psychos (us), "crooks" and non-crooks, etc.
First of all, these comments show very clearly just how unfamiliar our clueless friends are with the majority of the Venezuelan population that supports Chavez. This kind of stereotyping of such a large group of people can only happen if you have virtually no contact with, or understanding of, the group at hand. It is for the same reason that many people in the United States make similar generalizations about blacks or Mexicans. This is the very definition of prejudice; making preconceived judgments about a group of people based on their race, gender, religion, or, in this case, political beliefs.
Second of all, this is pretty serious stuff. When you feel so much disdain and contempt for a certain group of society, it can easily open the door to aggression and violence towards those people simply because of their political inclinations. And this is exactly what the Venezuelan opposition has done on several occasions. Perhaps most noteworthy was when the Venezuelan opposition briefly took power in 2002. Opposition forces planned and carried out the shooting of political activists and as many as 60 pro-Chavez protesters were shot dead on the streets of Caracas by the opposition government. Many of the officials in the Chavez government were hunted down and beaten, simply because of their political inclinations.
This just goes to show you, unfamiliarity (ignorance) leads to preconceived judgements (prejudice), which, in turn, leads to discrimination, racism, and intolerance. This kind of prejudiced intolerance is certainly one of the key elements of fascism. Let's just hope our clueless friends are never in a place to put their views into practice!