Among the Intellectualoids

Fidelistas Forever

What's a few dead bodies if we get universal health care?

By 2.20.08

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Pity the poor Cubans, who as of Tuesday have found themselves deprived of the benevolent care of their glorious leader Fidel Castro. So say today's Commie tools, anyway.

Reading the photosphere's reaction to Castro's retirement provides a gentle reminder that too many academics and other propagandists for socialist totalitarianism just don't care how many skulls must be cracked if the blood fertilizes their utopian fantasies.

Take this comment from Chris Bertram of the Crooked Timber blog:

I haven't looked yet, but I've no doubt that there'll be lots of posts in the blogosphere saying "good riddance" to Fidel Castro (especially from "left" US bloggers like Brad DeLong who never miss the chance to distance themselves). And, of course, Castro ran a dictatorship that has, since 1959, committed its fair share of crimes, repressions, denials of democratic rights etc. Still, I'm reminded of A.J.P. Taylor writing somewhere or other (reference please, dear readers?) that what the capitalists and their lackeys really really hated about Soviet Russia was not its tyrannical nature but the fact that there was a whole chunk of the earth's surface where they were no longer able to operate. Ditto Cuba, for a much smaller chunk. So let's hear it for universal literacy and decent standards of health care. Let's hear it for the Cubans who help defeat the South Africans and their allies in Angola and thereby prepared the end of apartheid. Let's hear it for the middle-aged Cuban construction workers who held off the US forces for a while on Grenada. Let's hear it for Elian Gonzalez. Let's hear it for 49 years of defiance in the face of the US blockade. Hasta la victoria siempre!"

Who is Chris Bertram? He's only the head of the school of the arts, and a professor of philosophy, at the University of Bristol in the UK.

Other less exalted fools gushed over Fidel's alleged accomplishments in the chat rooms and comment sections of left-leaning blogs Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is a smattering:

From Lysistrata at Huffington Post:

Under Castro the Cuban people learned to read and write, it is now an educated nation sending doctors and teachers to other countries. The infant mortality rate is lower than ours. And he did it in spite of 50 years of embargo. Take a look at Mexico and compare. Ever wonder why all these Mexican people leave Mexico? Mexico is a Democracy it should be heaven on earth. Cuba does not belong to the US, we have no business to interfere. So Bush and all three presidential candidates made a mealy mouthed stupid statement. Just the usual pandering for the votes.

From Danind at the Huffington Post:

I think Bush cares much less for America than Castro cared for Cuba.

Castro is proof that the only way you stop a poor hispanic country from becoming Northern Mexico or simply another Cozumel is by giving the Americans the finger for 50 years. I am all for a democratic Cuba, as long as the Americans stay the hell out of their business, which is impossible for the republicans and certain shameless capitalists.

From Doug Stych, Doug's Darkworld:

Much is made of the poverty in Cuba, that and the fact that Cubans flee Cuba is touted as the failure of the Cuban revolution. Unfortunately, people flee every Latin American country trying to get to the USA, so that doesn't really mean much. And by any objective measure the typical Cuban is far better off in terms of crime, health care, and education than most people in other Latin American countries. More on point, how much of Cuba's economy can be blamed on bad management...or on the effects of the USA embargo?

As for "Why didn't he just hold elections if he was so popular?" I can think of two good reasons. The first is that the USA doesn't care who wins elections, they only recognize elections if the USA chosen candidate wins. In the 1960s especially people remembered what had happened to the elected leader of Iran in 1953, the CIA's first successful overthrow of a foreign government. The second reason is that if you allow opposition parties, guess what huge country is going to fund money and expertise to those parties to meddle in your countries internal affairs?

John Goodrich, commenting on The Political Voices of Women blog:

Let me add this about Cuba; say what you will about it but remember this: there is or was a billboard up in a main square in Havana that read (s):

"In the world today millions of children sleep in the streets.
NOT ONE IS CUBAN."

Consider that every year in the Third World some 12 million people die of starvation, tens of millions die from preventable and curable disease and roughly half the world barely exists on $1-2.00 a day.

None of this happens to anyone in Cuba.

So how appropriate is talk of so-called "freedom and democracy" in Cuba in light of those facts?

From Jakbeau, in DailyKos:

Can you say 2 million incarcerated? As the largest proportion of a population anywhere on earth, including Cuba?

Oh, you might argue that Cuba's are political prisoners, but some may argue that the U.S. War on Drugs is distinctly political at its core with prisoners who are 70% black, though only representing some 13% of the total population.

From Lineatus, in DailyKos:

I'm really glad that I was able to see Cuba a few years ago. I will be happy for the people when their lives get easier, but I will be sad to see the country's natural beauty destroyed as it becomes one gigantic spring break haven. I expect that the high literacy rate and the health care coverage rate and many other good things will be lost as well.

I could provide more, but you get the point by now. Socialism = good, USA = bad.

These were by no means all of the thoughts about Castro expressed on these sites. There were thoughtful criticisms of Castro's brutality and human rights abuses. But there were far too many people who apologized for or excused Castro's thuggery on the grounds that it either produced good socialism or checked American capitalism and imperialism.

It is always disconcerting to see just how many people consider oppression an acceptable tool for realizing hoped-for domestic policy goals.

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About the Author

Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader. You can follow him on Twitter at @Drewhampshire.