Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ding Dong, The Wicked Witch is Dead

I woke up this morning to read that the darling of the left, Fidel Castro, was dead at 90.

But even though the wicked witch is dead, it is not time to ring the church bells, because the other Castro brother is still in power, and really, when your principle of existence is power, who is going to be the one to start to dismantle the regime and the perks that go to its supporters?

The fact is that a brutal regime can continue indefinitely if it is willing to use terror. That was the lesson that Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai learned as red guerrillas in southern China in the 1930s.

How bad is it in Cuba? Well, the official stats show it doing fine, level pegging with Jamaica, and not too far behind Mexico in per-capita GDP. But, conservatives tell us, you can't believe a word of Cuba's government statistics, particularly since 70 percent of the economy is government, and a socialist government can't compute prices.

It is interesting to speculate on why the left has made such a hero of Castro over the years. Apart from his undoubted charisma and his opposition to the US, I suppose the reason is that he epitomizes the heroic ideal of Romanticism. Our lefty friends think that the highest and best meaning of life, the universe and everything is to lead the dispossessed and the marginalized to overturn the unjust rule of... of whoever. (But not a lefty regime, of course.) Lefties think of themselves either in the role of the rich kids in Les Mis, leading the people in a passionate rendering of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" or as wise top-down experts organizing a rational program of health, education and welfare. Castro played to these themes, both as a colorful revolutionary and as a man that supposedly provided free education and health care to the Cuban people.

But, of course, the Castro regime was always an economic colony, first of the Soviet Union, and recently of Venezuela. The brave revolutionary was really a puppet of other powers that liked the idea of their guy thumbing his nose at the Great Satan 60 miles from Florida.

Anyway, President Obama sent his condolences, while President-elect Trump condemned Castro as a brutal dictator and expressed his hopes for a free Cuba. So there is that.

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