I had a brief conversation with a fellow yesterday who quickly pronounced upon the mess that is Venezuela and how evil is socialism. I countered with the proposition that Venezuela is not a socialist state, it is a kleptocracy. Maduro may call himself a socialist but he is really just a thief. In general  I find that the whole "left vs right" thing has lost any meaning thanks to the flagrant misuse of both terms to denigrate the policies of opponents.  Just look at the "Rightwing" GOP. When they had the chance they ditched their long held preference for free trade and no deficits in favor of tariffs, trade wars and record deficits and debt. Now they are talking about short term stimulus (pain) for long term gain. Sounds pretty "leftwing" to me. I haven't seen a similar abandonment of principles on the left but I can't say I am aware of all opportunities for lefties to do so. There were two small examples when New Democrats were elected in Ontario and Nova Scotia (both in Canada) a few years ago. I can't remember the details but both governments were attacked in short order for not being socialist enough and both lost their next general election. Plus the first term “socialist” NDP government of Alberta, Canada has been remarkably center in its policies, sparking some outrage among its more left leaning members. That has not stopped the Conservatives from accusing the NDP of ruining the province with its "Leftist" actions.

Sloganeering and slander are easy, governing is hard. It is particularly difficult to strike a balance between a free market and protecting those hurt by that free market. My opinion is that government is obligated to at least try and be willing to adjust when they fail. Strict adherence to failing dogma has no place in governance.