As much of the American Left is openly mooting whether or not the American president-elect is a dictator-in-waiting, one has to wonder whether they would take that bargain: No more elections, no more free speech, no more civil liberties of any kind, but socialized medicine and literacy for everyone! American political dissidents, homosexuals, journalists, and the clergy, just like in Cuba, can languish in prison or internal exile, but at least they’ll be able to read the charges against them. To listen to some Castro defenders, you’d think the scales of justice can balance out any load of horrors.
Such un-nuanced arguments always make leftist eyes roll. In a blog post titled “Castro: It’s Complicated!” University of Rhode Island professor Eric Loomis cautioned against thinking “in terms of simplistic moral judgments.” It seems to me that when people want to ban simplistic moral judgments, it’s usually because simple morality is not on their side.
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But among serious leftists, Castro’s radical chic is secondary. For them, Fidel’s revolution provided the slender hope that America was on the wrong side of history. It was a symbol of resistance — intellectual, political, and spiritual — to Western yanqui hegemony. They loved Cuba for many of the reasons they hate Israel (despite its exemplary literacy rate and universal health-care system).