Castro’s Looming Shadow

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Fidel Castro was an abominable human being. Now he is dead, but his myth lived on, unfortunately. Years after communism failed spectacularly with the demise of the Soviet Union, long after the horrendous deeds of the collectivist dictatorships became well known, there are still people who have the audacity to laud mass murderers of the likes ofFidel Castro.

There, however, seems to be a bias when it comes to collectivist dictators and people responsible for thousand of deaths. When the abhorable person identifies as a right-winger, it’s doubly abhorable. But when the person in question was a socialist or a communist, then it’s much less so. In fact, a socialist or a communist is often dismissed as misguided but ultimately good willed in his struggle to build equality and tolerance. Which is, of course, a load of expletives that you should insert here regardless of your political views. Any dictator and a political mass murderer should be scorned, with no place for pity. It doesn’t matter under what banner they committed their horrible acts. They are not that dissimilar after all. They are collectivists obsessed with power and the willingness to do anything to retain it. The rest is just theatrics.

Nevertheless, communist dictators are held to different standards, because there is a persistent myth that socialists or communists are tolerant and want equality. The recent passing of Fidel Castro showed the true colors of many politicians.

Obama’s statement on the matter was lukewarm, to say the least. More befitting a prophecy from Delphoi, the President was pretty much reluctant to take a stance. It was perfectly in line with his ill-begotten, naive and feel-good policy regarding Cuba.

On the other hand, Donald Trump deserves some praise here. I still disagree with a lot of his plans and actions, but credit where credit is due: he said it without sugarcoating: „Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights”.

As a stark contrast, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the bloodthirsty dictator “remarkable”, adding that “he was a larger than life leader who served his people”. Similarly, Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission, called Castro a “hero for many.” Despite the obvious failure to condemn a man causing much suffering and death, Junker is not wrong. Castro was put on a pedestal by many, unfortunately.

His image, alongside that of communism, is a lot like Cuba. It seems like a charming, peaceful paradise, a lot of fun. Just don’t look behind the curtains. The persistent obsession of the left that communism was full of good intentions that were eventually hijacked is just as moronic and misguided as the veneration of such horrible scourges of humanity as Castro or Che Guevara (the latter was a racist who took pleasure in killing).

From its conception, communism was collectivist and inherently intolerant. It didn’t tolerate individuality, free thinking, achievements, diversity or different opinions. Marx, for example, claimed in his antisemitic work, On the Jewish Question that “We will not look for the secret of the Jew in his religion, but we will look for the secret of religion in the real Jew. What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical needs, egoism. What is the secular cult of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his secular God? Money.” Marx washed together his collective hatred of capitalists and Jews.

Many statements on the demise of Castro said that it is history that will judge his character. Well, history already did. Castro lived long enough to surely prove he was a horrible man. History just as well ousted communism as a system which in all cases throws human and civil rights into mud.

The left – whether we speak about the extremities such as socialists or communists, or the progressives – should have their reality checks. The progressives, for example, have a dark past with eugenics they have to account for. The myth of purity and good intentions the left is most commonly associated with is nothing more than hot air. That is, of course, not to say that other political ideologies are pure, but the left is venerated for its tolerance the most.

It is, however, dangerous to whitewash the legacy of people who disregard individuals and the value of life, be it from any political spectrum. With one less dictator to worry about we should work on repairing the damage he caused to the world (including getting humanity on the verge of WW III). Denial and veneration, however, will only keep the false image alive and will not let us do away with the terrors these people took joy in bringing.

Mate Hajba
Free Market Foundation