Fidel Castro: Into the Dustbin, by Srdja Trifkovic.
In the early years of the second half of the 20th century, some time between Stalin’s death in March 1953 and the Hungarian uprising in October 1956, it had ceased to be fashionable for Western leftist intellectuals to be uncritically supportive of the late Soviet dictator and his bloody legacy.
The search was on for a communist role model with, well, not necessarily “a human face,” but rather a dashing personality that could appeal to the bourgeois bohemians of la Rive Gauche, Hampstead, and the Upper East Side. …
Castro’s revolution started with the usual bloodbath: 18,000 executions in 1959-62, in a nation of seven million, was the equivalent of 850,000 death sentences in today’s United States.
That did not worry Jean-Paul Sartre, who went to Cuba in the 1960s to meet Castro and enthused over what he called the island’s “Russoism,” its “direct democracy and warm lemonade.” Sartre also met Castro’s fellow mass-murderer Ernesto “Che” Guevara, whom he called “not only an intellectual, but also the most complete human being of our age . . . the era’s most perfect man.”
The rest is history. As late as 1990 a popular French novelist, Jean-Edern Hallier, gushed about Castro as a “medieval knight” whose “island is too small for him,” and his historic mission, a veritable embodiment of the “universal spirit of resistance,” a man “who has never accepted the discovery that human nature is not good.”
Here was the key to understanding the Western leftists’ pathology: Since the Enlightenment they have been trying to escape the immutable givens of human nature and social conflict, to assert that mankind is on the trajectory of linear historical progress, and to demonstrate that human nature is capable of being corrected through politics, education, and indoctrination. If the process required liberating tens of thousands of Cubans of their lives or liberty, or sending at least one in ten into exile, and reducing the third most prosperous Latin American country of 1952 to the bottom of the hemispheric scale . . . still, the price was well worth paying.
And the lefties are still trying, still in love with the idea of humans are identical blank slates that are perfectible by their education. As if.
hat-tip Stephen Neil