Tilting at windmills


Hugo Chavez, the petrodollar—powered tyrant attempting to turn Venezuela into Cuba, has once again embarrassed himself. Apparently operating on the theory that associating himself with a literary masterpiece will enhance his image, he is marking the 400th anniversary of the publication of Don Quixote by distributing free copies in Caracas and other cities.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, presidente.

"We're still oppressed by giants", the Venezuelan Minister of Culture, Francisco Sesto, told the BBC, "so we want the Venezuelan people to get to know better Don Quixote, who we see as a symbol of the struggle for justice and the righting of wrongs."

Well, yes, Don Quixote did attempt to right wrongs. But he was also delusional, a comic figure who could not distinguish windmills from giants. The expression, "tilting at windmills," describing a silly quest to fight an imaginary threat from a benign source, does, however, nicely describe Chavez's demonization of the United States.

Come to think of it, maybe Chavez is actually an avant—garde "performance artist," and his entire presidency is a put—on, intended to define for a post—modernist world the futility of using the political categories of a Nineteenth Century radical whose vision was inherently flawed. If Chavez errects a statue to Andy Kaufman, that would cinch the case.

Hat tip: Joe Crowley

Thomas Lifson   4 25 05