August 12, 2007


A bit of socialism okay for Cuba (Neil Clark, August 13, 2007, The Australian)

For the Right, Cuba is an example of where socialism inevitably leads to: repression, poverty and enslavement. For many on the Left, including filmmaker Michael Moore, Cuba is a beacon, a socialist paradise in a hostile sea of capitalism, a progressive model whose policies on education and health care ought to be copied throughout the world.

Yet both the Right and the Left hold a picture of Cuba which is far removed from the truth. Cuba is a repressive, poverty-stricken country, yet it cannot accurately be described as socialist, if by socialism we mean a society which is based on egalitarian principles.

The problem with Cuba is not that it's too socialist, but that it's nowhere near socialist enough. But don't expect either its right-wing detractors or its left-wing supporters to admit it.

Hard to believe that 80 years later there's anyone left with this big a disconnect between the theory and practice of Socialism. The Right is happy to acknowledge that Cuba hasn't realized the ideals of Socialism...which just happen to be unrealizable under Socialism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 12, 2007 2:10 PM

" ... if by socialism we mean a society which is based on egalitarian principles." I didn't know there were still people sitting in that cave.

Posted by: erp at August 12, 2007 4:15 PM

Socialism Schmocialism...

Much of the right would be perfectly content with whatever "egalitarianism" Cuba professes. At least for them... whatever. What we find beyond unfathomable is why such egalitarianism requires a MANDATORY personal dictatorship until death.

Don't get me wrong. I understand entirely why such a dictatorship is mandatory for socialism. What I will go to my grave not understanding is the number of Western college professors and movie directors et al who are personally supportive of such dictatorships.

Nor will I understand how they can possibly get away with such advocacy without being, at least figuratively, hung from the nearest stout oak for it.

Posted by: Andrew X at August 12, 2007 5:46 PM

Clearly, they haven't murdered enough people to be considered socialist.

Posted by: Pete at August 12, 2007 7:27 PM

Andrew: We cannot look for an answer to your question which has anything to do with reason.

The attraction of totalitarian dictatorship for the chattering clesses is rooted deep in Oedipal antinomian narcissism.

They hate their parents, theur community, and their God. Their hatred is so profound, so destructive, that they would embrace terror, just so that they may see the terror fall on what they hate before it takes themselves.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 13, 2007 4:37 AM

Is this the same twit, who argues that Iraqi interpreters who worked for the Coalition shouldn't be entitled to emigrate because
they're fascist collaborators. They're idiots
on the right, like Taki of the American Con.
and the Spectator, who's boasted of one of
his wedding get together; despite the fact
that as a factotum of the Greek junta; would
ordinarily be png.

Posted by: narciso at August 13, 2007 9:39 AM

Andrew, OJ's headline is the only rational explanation I've ever been able to come up with after many years of contemplating your conundrum.

Otherwise it's absolutely inexplicable.

Posted by: Genecis at August 13, 2007 10:02 AM

"What I will go to my grave not understanding is the number of Western college professors and movie directors et al who are personally supportive of such dictatorships."

Andrew - F. Hayek was perplexed by the same issue. He ultimately came to this conclusion (I'm paraphrasing here): Intellectuals value human intellect above all other human attributes. When faced with a problem, be it economic, environmental, social, whatever, the intellectual will naturally want to employ intellect in order to solve it (laissez faire will be antithetical to them - perhaps this is simple hubris). Socialism, in particular communism, provides the intellectual the greatest degree of potential political power, power that is required to see through the intellectual’s grand plans. Seen in this light the western intellectuals support for communist dictatorships makes rational sense.

Posted by: C Gatto at August 13, 2007 11:17 AM

I generally agree. But, Hayek's conclusions may have been formed during the time when the truth about totalitarian socialism was being denied, without evidential refute given general creditability. Even some individual bolsheviks in the process of being crushed by it felt it could eventually work as a socio/economic system, intellectually. Soviet propaganda was a potent force worldwide.

But surely today the evidence is so damning that the only excuse left academics is that many believe it could work, conceptually, in the world of ideas - the world of the mind. It defines them.

Posted by: Genecis at August 13, 2007 12:02 PM

No matter the fancy words, communisim/socialism tends to result in one set of aristocracy being deposed and a new set of aristocracy (members of the party) taking control.

Meet the new boss, same as the old without end, amen.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2007 3:31 PM

Einstein's def. of insanity = doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Posted by: erp at August 13, 2007 3:42 PM