This blog is dedicated to what I call self-critical leftism, which is leftism that is critical of not just the right, but of the left as well. The point of being critical, as many leftists have urged, is that one sees problems that one would otherwise not see. But likewise, by being critical of the left itself, one will see problems with the left that one would otherwise not see. Presumably, one will then take corrective measures. For example, once I became a self-critical leftist, I noticed how far class issues had dropped in terms of leftist priorities. I have been banging on about this for some time with leftists, who stubbornly resist any change in the current direction of the left (despite the fact that they themselves promote change all the time). And now they have to deal with an election they could have easily won simply by doing two things: refraining from engaging in verbal [forgot to include that word initially!] abuse of poor whites, and coming up with a plan to help them. Those two things would probably have been enough to have reduced Trump’s margin in some key rust-belt states. The disdain for poor whites shown by leftists these days reminds me of a joke told when leftists had very different sensibilities. As the French revolution gets going, one aristocrat says to another, “The masses are revolting.” And the other responds, taking the word “revolting” in a different sense, “Yes, I know, but they can’t help it.”
But let me talk about Castro. As I pointed out a couple days ago, he was vicious and he did nothing for the poor. Moreover, by being vicious, he simply created enemies for himself and the left; ultimately, he hurt leftism more than he helped it. That is enough so that no self-critical leftist ought to praise him. As various people on the right are now pointing out, the left has gone crazy over fears of Trump’s being a dictator, yet they lavish praise on a tyrant like Castro.
What about the claim that Castro stood up to American imperialism? The trouble is that the left’s anti-imperialist stance needs some revision. It made sense when the left was concerned with nothing but class issues to be against imperialism, but now that it has abandoned class issues and has immersed itself in identity politics, anti-imperialism needs to be rethought. When one looks out at the Third World, one sees an awful lot of sexism and homophobia compared with what we have in America. Why, then, disparage imperialism? As people on the right are fond of pointing out, a certain British official in India (whose name escapes me for the moment) vigorously opposed the Hindu practice of suttee, the burning of widows, and promised to hang anyone who participated in it. Was this a bad thing? Yes, according to the postmodernists, who cling to anti-imperialism, but no, according to every sensible person.
Also, it is necessary to remember that places like Algeria practiced piracy that led to the enslaving of Europeans and Americans. One famous European so enslaved was Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, while our first foreign wars were fought in north Africa for the sake of freeing enslaved American sailors. It was partly due to the reaction against slavery that France decided to colonize Algeria, though this is often forgotten. In fact, there is still slavery in North Africa (in countries like Niger, for example), which our Social Justice Warriors disdain from including among the social injustices that they wish to abolish.
To get back to Castro, his stance against American imperialism was pathetic and did nothing for the Cuban people. It’s not as though he made Cuba into a powerful entity that was the equal of America. Instead, it was just a thorn in America’s side and nothing more.
What else is there? Healthcare? We are constantly being told of how wonderful healthcare is in Cuba, but since Cuba is a closed society, I have no reason to believe any of this. Finally, he persecuted gays, which needs to be added to the other crimes he committed.
No, there is nothing in any of this that deserves praise.