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Who is Sovereign in Venezuela?

By Michael Rowan, El Universal

It is not the people, the state, or even the 'revolution' that is sovereign today in Venezuela, it is the monarch himself. It's doubtful that the local monarch, when he was in prison reading Bolivar, Jesus, Marx and Whitman, happened upon The Leviathan, written by Thomas Hobbes in 1651, but if he had, his explanation of sovereignty would make a lot more sense today. The monarch is sovereign, Hobbes wrote, because the people are materialistic and pessimistic and therefore they need a strict authority who tells them what to do in every detail, and to whom they relinquish their human rights in full. At the time, this was actually an improvement over the "divine right of kings" in which a sordid list of dyspeptic princes claimed a piece of God's DNA as their link to rule the filthy, putrid, squalid peasantry.

Skipping past the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, the rise of markets and democracy, and the information age for a second, the case that the monarch is the true sovereign is again being made in Miraflores, but without the solid reasoning of Hobbes. It is not the people, the state, or even the 'revolution' that is sovereign today in Venezuela, it is the monarch himself. The proof is there for anyone to witness every day in the news: no constitution, law, treaty, concession, contract, or agreement with any individual, group, corporation, institution, nation, or international body has any more meaning than that which a wink from the monarch can inalterably change. The tools of democracy, law, and human rights are but playthings in his undisputed ascendancy and supreme power over all things, even the thoughts of his stupid subjects who, if they had any sense, would be grateful for his whimsical edicts.

Contrast this time warp to what is happening to Europe, where sovereignty in relation to borders, immigration, fiscal policy, trade, national accounts, language, religion and citizenship is being willingly sacrificed, by 25 nations that have been almost continuously at war for centuries, and for their common good. Contrast the polarization and hate spewed from the mouth of the monarch to the tolerance and understanding, peace and prosperity that is being expressed in Europe, and the leviathan challenge facing this nation comes into a microscopically sharp focus.

Michael Rowan's column will be published every Tuesday in El Universal's Daily News & Summary

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