Ethics Quiz Follow-Up: Signature Significance And Kind Words For Castro

Look at the good side!

Look at the good side!

Democrats and progressives have been “otherizing” the President Elect by incessantly referring to the fear he inspires in so many, including young children. This, as I hope to explore in another post, is part of a wide ranging  and dangerous de-legitimizing strategy, as wrong as calling Barack Obama by his middle name, or claiming that he isn’t a citizen. In the weekend’s Ethics Quiz, I answered answer to the question of whether Trump’s unequivocal condemnation of Fidel Castro in response to his death was ethical in the affirmative, and I concludeed with this:

Rather than using the occasion to find another excuse to attack Trump, Democrats should think about why it is that so many Castro admirers are in their ranks.

Now let me be more pointed: everyone surveying that national political scene should be concerned and alarmed that so many Castro admirers and apologists are in the ranks or progressives and Democrats….especially progressive and Democrats.  It is signature significance. No one who is committed to liberty, the Constitution, the democratic process and basic principles of autonomy, respect, fairness and free speech can seriously praise Castro.  The ominous turn of the increasingly radicalized Left in the United States to an “ends justify the means,” totalitarian methodology-endorsing philosophy is something to watch carefully.  You want genuine fear? I am genuinely frightened of liberals who say that Castro “did some good things” on the way to shrugging off how he did those things, and how many lives it cost.

A good friend of mine and a nice, smart, man who is also an extreme liberal wrote on his Facebook page,

RIP, Fidel. A huge figure of the 20th century, one with faults and virtues. Believed his island belonged to all its people and not just the rich. A better man than the one who was just elected…

Res ipsa loquitur.

While Obama may be forgiven his mealy-mouthed equivocation about Castro’s legacy (“History will judge…”), others not facing diplomatic dilemmas should not be given the same pass. Nicely proving my assessment of his ignorance correct, San Francisco 49ers quarterback/protester Colin Kaepernick indicated that he was a Castro fan, —not of everything he did, of course—and thus is an idiot, just prior to playing a game in Miami, where the crowd loudly displayed its displeasure. This is the same symbol of protest whom President Obama and the NFL have lauded for exercising his rights of free speech, refusing to condemn a dictator who denied free speech to his people as well a free elections. How can one resolve this apparent conflict? I see no other resolution than that favored by the current convenient tilt of the Left: good speech, as in that which supports progressive goals, must be protected; bad speech, such as that opposing leftward power, should not be.

Scared yet? Consider these letters in the New York Times today, complaining that a recent Times overview of Castro’s reign was excessively negative. The first comes from a professor of political science at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of “Cuba: Confronting the U.S. Embargo.” Yes, these people are teaching our children:

To the Editor:

Re “Fidel Castro, 1926-2016: A Revolutionary Who Defied the U.S. and Held Cuba in His Thrall” (front page, Nov. 27):

One of the more charismatic leaders of the 20th century, Fidel Castro had an enormous impact on relations among the United States, Cuba and the Soviet Union. As important, he and his fellow revolutionaries drove a hated Cuban dictator from power and used that success to charm the left and sway liberal opinion to their side by successfully standing against an American military invasion and embargo and excising America’s domination of Cuba.

Although many Cuban exiles in Miami gleefully welcomed Mr. Castro’s death (“Miami’s Streets Fill With Songs and Reflection,” front page, Nov. 27), his impact on politics in the third world was positive, while the model health care system his government developed and the educational opportunities he provided all Cubans will remain as among his greatest domestic achievements.

Although the right detested him, those of us on the left respected his standing up for the poor, the downtrodden and the desperate masses of the developing world. A controversial figure for sure, he could not be pushed around by Washington, offending it by his very impudence and survival. In his time, there was no one like him.

PETER SCHWAB

Note that there is no mention from the professor of the political prisoners, the desperate refugees, the executions and disappearances, the brutal oppression of gays and discrimination against blacks in Castro’s workers’ paradise. Nor is he bothered, apparently, by Castro’s typically lavish (for a dictator) lifestyle while his people struggled to live on rationed food and pitiful wages. He was charismatic, as dictators often are. That’s something.

The last paragraph is astoundingly values-free. How did Castro “stand up for the poor”? What was the cost in human dignity and human life? “Controversial,” was he? Only to enablers of dictators and supporters of oppression as a means to an end. Boy, what a champion to resist being “pushed around” by a government that sought to persuade him to not to ally himself with the Soviet Union and to permit his people to have some semblance of self determination, like being able to leave! As is too typical of the progressive way, all that matters to Shwab are the positive results, such as they are. Costs? Casualties? Never mind.

Next was a letter from an indignant professor emerita and documentary filmmaker in the Film, Television and Theater Department at the University of Notre Dame, who wrote…

To the Editor:

Gasping, I read this long, grim account of Fidel Castro’s life and of the anticolonial, socialist revolution he inspired and led. The article seemed to me to ridicule the Cuban revolution.

Mr. Castro is described as a “rabble-rouser” who “swaggered,” “a self-obsessive zealot,” “a tyrant” — not as a brilliant leader of a guerrilla struggle and then president of a tiny socialist republic with the highest literacy rate and best health care in the hemisphere, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida and under constant siege.

I am one who has for many years wished that Mr. Castro could have trusted the progress of the revolution enough to allow for open elections. Under constant attack from the United States — economically, militarily and through propaganda — it is clear why he thought the revolution had to be protected by the revolutionary party that led it.

One can condemn Cuba’s prosecutions of gays, and I do. And one would have hoped that Cuba hadn’t imported from the Soviets a system of surveillance that is still active today. Fidel Castro’s revolution has failed to provide liberty for each and every Cuban, but consider our contemporary surveillance situation and our political prisoners.

When sentenced to up to 15 years in prison by the Batista regime in 1953, Mr. Castro said, “History will absolve me.” All in all, it has.

JILL GODMILOW

History has absolved him! I guess that ties up Obama’s statement. The entire letter is testimony to contemporary leftist ethics rot. I am one who has for many years wished that Mr. Castro could have trusted the progress of the revolution enough to allow for open elections,” she says. That’s nice. She dismisses the utter failure of the revolution to free its supposed beneficiaries—for six decades!—as just a disappointing glitch.  Besides, it’s all the fault of the United States.

Prosecutions of gays, Big Brother-style surveillance, “failure to provide liberty for each and every Cuban”—now there’s a euphemistic phrase for the ages—again, no mention of all the deaths—but hey, look at the United States!  Nobody’s perfect! (WHAT “political prisoners”?)

Would that these two were isolated cases of terminal left wing derangement, but they are not. We are finally ending a progressive adminsitration that bypassed the democratic process to rule by “phone and pen” to the cheers of the news media, academia and the Democratic Party, and have seen totalitarian methods and philosophies creep into the political culture of the Left. After all, the head of the Democratic National Committee said she was proud, not remorseful, about helping her presidential candidate cheat, and the Democratic Party’s leader in the Senate has endorsed the Big Lie tactic as a legitimate political tool. Progressive are clamoring to overturn the Constitutional results of the election. Electors are receiving death threats. Lenin would be impressed.

“Although the right detested him, those of us on the left respected his standing up for the poor, the downtrodden and the desperate masses of the developing world.”

Good for the Right. The rest is a full-throated endorsement of brutal leadership, for the “right’ ends. How many progressives and Democrats would say the same?

I’m afraid of the answer.

43 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Character, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Rights

43 responses to “Ethics Quiz Follow-Up: Signature Significance And Kind Words For Castro

  1. Take mental note of everyone who is speaking positively of Castro or even speaking in guarded praise of him…they are the subtle quiet threats to our free republic. They are the ones who will contently allow that kind of monster at the helm of our nation someday.

    Anyone NOT condemning him for what he was troubles me.

  2. Inquiring Mind

    You wonder why I voted Trump with a clean conscience?

    The praise of Fidel Castro explains it.

  3. There are clueless lefties using words like this to describe Castro…

    “a popular leader who inspired generations of Cubans”

    When you squash dissent all that’s left are supporters, the brainwashed, and an opposition that hides in the shadows; that my friends is how you become a “popular leader”.

    What Castro “inspired” his people to do was to shut up or be thrown in prison or killed. If you didn’t like Castro’s Cuba you could climb on a little boat and float your opposition ass across the Caribbean in hopes of reaching the United States coastline; those people risked the lives of their families to escape that ever popular Castro inspiration.

    • Castro was known for his unwavering stance on socialism, often proclaiming “Socialism or death” as his rallying cry. Soglin did not see Castro’s staunch ways as a reason to disregard the lifetime of the man some called a dictator. “His success was defined by U.S. standards,” Soglin said. “He would not allow a free press or elections. On the other hand, he was a popular leader who inspired generations of Cubans.”

      The man “SOME” called a dictator? What the hell else would you call him? The AP is almost as bad as the mayor. Castro inspired generations of Cubans to risk life and limb to get off the island. Signature Significance. What an idiot.

      • Jack Marshall said, “The man “SOME” called a dictator? What the hell else would you call him? The AP is almost as bad as the mayor. Castro inspired generations of Cubans to risk life and limb to get off the island. Signature Significance. What an idiot.”

        Yup, that’s the kind of extreme Liberal Mayor that gets elected in the Liberal bastion Madison, WI that’s surrounded by reality.

      • From the comments section of that article…

        “Hey Mayer Soglin, Stalin “inspired” millions in the Soviet Union, Hitler also “inspired” millions of Germans, Pol Pot “inspired” the Khmer Rouge.

        People need to curtail their use of the word “inspired” when specifically talking about dictators and the like.”

      • Wait wait wait wait…

        Castro considered himself a socialist????

        And Chris said in an earlier thread as a diversion from the main topic (which he has still failed to address) that the only thing to do with conservatives who think socialism and communism are the same thing is to mock those conservatives…

        Hm. I hope he starts mocking Castro soon.

        So at least one leftist does.

  4. junkmailfolder

    Yikes. I wonder if these esteemed professors would be so candid about their admiration for Castro if they were speaking face-to-face with one of the survivors of his regime.

    This seriously has me shaking my head in disbelief.

  5. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Why don’t you ask George Galloway, who lamented the fall of the USSR as removing the only check on American power and saluted Saddam Hussein? Why don’t you ask Cindy Sheehan, who stood on a podium with Hugo Chavez and said their hearts were filled with love? Why don’t you ask Michael Moore, who praised Cuba’s health care system but said the 2004 US election wasn’t on the up-and-up? Why don’t you ask Jimmy Carter, who penned how many hosannas to other dictators?

    I submit that if you look to how many social media followers some of these figures have, and how many hits their websites get, and how many people post brainless love letters to them every day, you might have a general idea, and frankly, it’s both shocking and revolting.

    I guess over the past three or four years I’ve been posting on this site I have probably established myself the quick-thought reputation of being a hater of the Democratic Party and all things on the left. Both political parties in the US have done awful things and both sides of the political aisle have also committed some major wrong acts. The Democratic Party gave us Andrew Jackson, who was the first to really breathe life into the Presidency, FDR, whose achievements speak for themselves, Harry Truman, who stood up to tyranny firmly, and JFK, who pushed the USSR back and brought Krushchev down. A lot of the ideas later implemented by Republicans that turned out to be fairly good came from the political left – Eisenhower initiating the interstate system, Nixon going to China, Bush the elder and the Americans with Disabilities Act. I might add when the GOP has been holding all the cards it has achieved decidedly mixed results – Reconstruction, which created, then abandoned a class of clueless freedmen, the freewheeling capitalism that ended with a crash in 1929, GWB’s Wilsonian overreach in Iraq. This nation is NOT always well served by one party and poorly by the other, and a one-party state is never in a nation’s best interest.

    Unfortunately the Democratic Party started to really rot from within when LBJ created the Great Society not necessarily to do good for this nation, but to “have them n—gers voting Democrat for…” some long period of time. It stopped being about what was best for America and started being about what would keep that party in power. A big part of what turned out would keep that party in power was pandering to the have-nots and making sure at the same time they stayed the have-nots, and stirring up anger against the haves.

    The fact is, however, that these same tactics also proved effective, much more so, in a lot of other nations where the rule of law was weak and the small-d democratic tradition almost non-existent. Incitement of the haves against the have-nots put the Communists in the Kremlin for 75 years, any number of tin-plated dictators in charge of Central and South America on and off, 7th century clerics in charge in Iran where they still hold sway and will for the foreseeable future, and Hussein, Gaddafi, Mugabe, Chavez and Castro all in power for LIFE. All of them, however, professed to be the guardians of the people, for the people, for equality, for better lives for all, etc., etc. It should come as no surprise that those on the left of the aisle would feel a certain kinship with this approach and envy its level of success.

    In the meantime those who battled tyranny of the left in other parts of the world and often did so brutally, but painted on no false moral gloss of being for the people: Pinochet in Chile, Mobuto in Zaire, the leaders of El Salvador and the Contras in Nicaragua, and, later, the strongmen who emerged in the wake of the fall of the USSR, got no moral pass, and when some in the GOP made common cause with them due to coinciding US interests, they got no moral pass either.

    This in turn led to a gelling of ideas on the left and in portions of the Democratic party that the GOP and what it stood for, including patriotism and a strong defense, were objectively not good things. As such the GOP and its supporters were objectively not good people and what they stood for should be rolled back when they were not in power and opposed when they were. That’s why you had Ted Kennedy ranting against Bush the elder’s more to liberate Kuwait as being all about oil and his attempt to undermine Reagan’s defense initiatives. That’s why you had Barbara Lee trying to play Jeanette Rankin when Bush the younger received otherwise unanimous authority to use force after 9/11. That’s why you had Frank Church almost destroying the intelligence capability of this nation. That’s also why you had Obama withdrawing way too early from Iraq and doing not a damn thing to restore order as this nation’s cities have deteriorated and its police have been targeted the past 2 years, all the while calling those who opposed these actions haters, racists, xenophobes, and the enemy.

    This whole set of ideas didn’t reach full domination of this nation under Obama, but it was getting there. I think it might have under Hillary, especially in a second term, with the courts almost fully under her control and no need to face the voters. They quite possibly have reached full domination of the Democratic Party and those who follow them, since, as another poster here pointed out, the capitalist-lite, national security Democrats are all but extinct. The Sam Nunns, the Leon Panettas, the Charlie Wilsons, the Harry Trumans, the Ed Kochs, are all long gone. In their place who do we have? The unhinged and past-her-sell-date Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, relic of the worst cliches associated with the 60s, Elizabeth Warren, who’s basically a nastier, more soul-dead version of Hillary, Keith Ellison, who is the same far left package with Muslim wrapping, Bill DeBlasio, who’s almost succeeded in undoing in 4 years what it took Giuliani and Bloomberg 20 to do…I really don’t see anyone there with this nation’s best interests at heart. And who the heck is voting for them? Liberal gentry who sip their wine while joking about GWB’s accent and maybe have been outside their Park Slope and Hollywood bubbles to pick apples or peep at leaves in the fall, college professors who fly every flag but the Stars and Stripes while they turn the latest group of young adults into toddlers, students who demand safe spaces, atheists who sneer at everyone who’s not, and the third or fourth generation of Hispanics, blacks and refugees whose parents got on the governmental breast and never let go.

    It should come as no surprise that a whole sector of society that thinks like that would hail the life of someone who imposed the ideals they believe are absolutely right on a whole nation and stamped out all opposition to these right ideas while tweaking the beard of Uncle Sam, symbol the nation they are frustrated they can’t do the same in.

  6. Patrice

    As one of the house liberals/progressives (not using Democrat any more because, well, you know…), I stand on the objective truth that Fidel Castro was a tyrant and a dictator and a monster to his own people. (There appears to be and have been a lot of that going around the world.) I find myself wondering if he had pure motives when he began his revolution and only later became corrupted by power, and how and why this happened. Need to read about this. I am interested in how positive idealistic political leaders are transformed into monsters. I refuse to chalk it up to human nature,

    • Other Bill

      Patrice, it’s simple: “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

      My very strong personal belief is that self-interest is the only reliable motivator in human affairs. Capitalism works because it presumes self-interest is the prime motivator. Any system that purports to place the interests of other or “the community” above those of the individual is a scam.

      I hope Chris reads this post. He snarkily asked why the right seems to think the U.S. lost the Cold War. What Jack describes here is the answer. The political left and academia in the U.S. seem to comprise the largest hold out cadre of commies in captivity. Dick Cheney would probably call them “dead enders.” If you look at the political left and academics, you’d think Communism is the greatest thing since canned milk and it’s 1917 in Russia. Bizarre. And disturbing and threatening.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Elementary, my dear Patrice, when the ideal becomes the goal at all costs, the idealist ceases to give a damn about the collateral damage done to get there. Further, sometimes the ideal, like Communism or Hitler’s super-race myth, isn’t a very good one to start with, and is damaging unto itself.

      It’s no mistake of history that Asokas (the only example of a great ruler devoted to peace and achievement, and even then only after he had been in a messy war) are few and far between. Charlemagne had the ideal of pulling the Roman Empire together again and assembling a court of scholars. The fact that he had to fight a few wars and at one point behead 4000 lapsed pagan Saxons didn’t bother him, and he’s a relatively benign example, partly because most feared him. Michael Collins’ ideal was a free Republic of Ireland. That he had to wage a campaign of terror and murder that set the pattern for assymetrical warfare later and caught more than a few innocents in the cross hairs was no big deal. Lenin’s idea was from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. The actual implementation of that ideal turned out…a bit differently.

      Idealism can be a very dangerous thing given too free a reign.

    • “I refuse to chalk it up to human nature,”

      Can you chalk it up to idealistic-statist nature?

  7. zoebrain

    Batista was a nasty, smelly dictator.
    Castro replaced him.

    That’s all that needs saying.

  8. dragin_dragon

    Case in point, Hugo Chavez. He went to Cuba to sample it’s glorious medical care. Excuse me, but isn’t he, like, you know, DEAD?

  9. zoebrain

    At the risk of thread-jacking…

    This is a man seriously being considered by the incoming Trump administration as the head of Homeland Security.

    Even Castro didn’t put 1 million people in cuban prison camps for posts on twitter and facebook.

    • Yeah, suspension of habeas corpus is pretty severe. But your last line pretty well undermines you in terms of believability. Why do you say silly things? Yes. Castro ACTUALLY was way worse than what you DREAM Trump or Clarke will be… Please stop.

      I know Castro is one the darlings of your political camp, but please, making him out to be “ok” by comparison really makes rational objective people, like us, less likely to read your comments.

      • Julian Hung

        I’m pretty sure zoebrain was being a bit tongue-in-cheek there (especially since Cuba doesn’t have much in the way of internet access to begin with).

        • Boy who cries wolf syndrome…

          she’s known for hysteria..

          • zoebrain

            Someone who seriously proposes ignoring the whole 1st amendment thing, and imprisoning a million people just on “suspicion” – and is currently front runner for the position of head of Homeland Security – and you just brush it off.

            By the way, legally, what he proposes is quite feasible. And by using another explicit law your congress passed, only the military, not any civilian court system, need be involved. No-one need be informed of the detention, nor where they are being held, nor disposition of the body (living probably) either.

            The only thing that’s surprising is the numbers involved. Hundreds of thousands, maybe a million.

            If it looks like a wolf, growls like a wolf, has teeth like a wolf.. assuming it’s a hamster in disguise and taking it into a kindergarten might not be the wisest course of action. Even if no wolves have been seen in that area recently.

            Usually I’m the one warning about crying Wolf! because of the danger that when the real thing comes along, it won’t be recognised.

            Fortunately nothing has happened yet. It may not. I prefer not to be in a situation where we have to take the chance that he may not be blatantly lying.

            • Nope. You don’t get to pretend like you were warning about Trump. I know Trump is an awful human and horrible leader.

              Your comment was a comparison of Trump to Castro, in such a way as to make Castro *less evil* than Trump.

              You were called on that abjectly moronic statement. You don’t get to pivot to save face.

            • Wayne B

              Uh, I don’t think GITMO would hold 100,000 suspected terrorists. However, those that pledged allegiance to ISIS could go there. We do have a serious terrorist problem in the USA as evidenced by what happened during the Boston Marathon, San Bernardino, and just recently, at Ohio State.

              • “at Ohio State”

                Man, that could open up a rabbit hole for 200 sub-comments…

                “Run, Hide, or Fight

                “Islamic Terrorism”

                “Mass Stabbing vs Mass Shooting”

                “How will the media spin this”

                “Immigration from muslim dominant countries”

                etc…

  10. Aletheia K

    I really want to know how many times Professor Godmilow actually gasped while reading the article.

  11. texagg04

    Wildly off topic: ever considered a post on WW2 cartoonist Bill Mauldin?

  12. Julian Hung

    You and Craig Calcaterra may disagree on a lot, but I think you’ll appreciate this article: http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2016/11/28/baseball-in-fidel-castros-cuba-is-a-story-of-obsession-propaganda-and-oppression/

    Of course, it helps that like any other reasonable baseball fan, he very much sympathizes with the plight of Cuban players.

  13. THE Bill

    A friend posted this and I have to share.

    “Defending Castro on the basis that he was better than Batista is like defending rabies on the basis that it’s better than leukemia.”

  14. Julian Hung

    I’ll give him one compliment; I think a baseball team made up entirely of Fidel Castros could hold their own against the 2013 Astros.

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