Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

02/19/2008 (6:40 pm)

Castro Steps Down, Whitewash Continues

Today’s resignation of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is giving Democrats fodder to call for the end of our trade embargo on Cuba.

Democratic hopeful Barak Obama called for reductions in the embargo, while columnists Sarah Stephens and Matt Cooper at Huffington Post both call for a immediate, unilateral, and complete end to the embargo.

Liberals grow curiously free-market-favorable when speaking about trade with communist regimes. They also grow misty-eyed describing the wonders of the universal health care and free public education systems there. They’re seldom so favorable about trade with regimes that don’t utter the favorite Utopian mantras of the Left, the way Marxist regimes always have. And they’re curiously blind to the facts of life under oppressive tyrants who suppress dissent, jail dissidents, outlaw religions, and encourage children to inform on their parents.

So, before we get treated to the expected deluge of leftists mooning over the wonders of Castro’s Cuba, let me take this opportunity to remind us all about what life is like in Cuba’s Castro, how bad the universal health care system truly is, how poverty drives Cuban peasants into the sex industry, how dissidents fare in Cuba, how Christians fare in Cuba, and how the new leader in Cuba will also be named “Castro.”

Cubans in America are not expecting much:

Cuba’s prisons are still rife with prisoners of conscience. Ordinary Cuban’s are still subjected to Cuba’s system of apartheid. Dissidents are still being round up and harrassed. The UN Declaration on Human Rights remains taboo on the island.

There is going to be much ado about new “freedoms” in Cuba and “changes” in policy and what not. Some are going to point to these as proof of raul’s willingness for change. But, you know what? True freedom can’t come piecemeal. The few crumbs this “new and improved” castro regime will toss down to the Cuban people will do little to stay any true hunger for liberty.

The day there is real change in Cuba – and not a carefully choreographed one – will be the day when every single Cuban on the island is allowed to know who Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet is. When every Cuban is allowed to know exactly and truthfully why he, and so many like him, have been rotting away in putrid jail cells for years.

For fifty years, the Cuban people have been physically, mentally, spiritually, ideologically, culturally and emotionally emasculated. Today’s news is just another snip in a surreptitiously planned and meticulously orchestrated surgery.

Ending the embargo would profit the Cuban government, which benefits from its theft of the means of production from the Cuban people. Leftists in America would howl at the prospect of American companies doing business with vendors who employ children in factories, or who underpay workers; for some reason, they don’t feel the same about governments that do the same things.

The reason, unless I’m wrong, is that leftists in America believe the same things Marxist dictators do, about wealth, about capitalists, about America, and about liberty. They see Marxist tyranny as well-intended effort in the right direction, and blind themselves to the fact that such regimes induce their own poverty and snuff out human hope. They would produce something similar here if they could; only, they think the US prosperity is eternal, and that socialism here would not produce the sort of poverty it produces everywhere else. They are wrong.

Let’s hope for the liberalization of restrictions in the Cuba of the new Castro, which would enable the US government to relax its 40-plus-year trade embargo with Cuba. But let’s not expect them soon.

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10 Comments »

February 19, 2008 @ 9:56 pm #

Hey Phil,

Gotta love the sweet charitability flowing through your words here. The desire to drop the embargo sooner than later just COULDN’T be because some think the embargo isn’t working, could it…?

Check closely the first article you referred to, and to the Senator Dodd article it links. This doesn’t sound a lot like, “They’re the lovely Commies, we must reward them.” I really see no chance of success for Communism in America again…but that is not the most dangerous -ism to us right now.

Jim

February 19, 2008 @ 10:17 pm #

On the contrary, communism (its modern descendant, actually) is the most likely -ism to destroy us from the inside. And the impulse to support Marxism has never been stated as you stated it; it’s always articulated as something else. Only, the support for it is never consistent with other positions taken by the same people. That’s how you know it’s not motivated by principle.

As I said, above, the same people who are opposed to boycotting Marxist dictators because “it doesn’t work,” scream like wounded buffalo if a US company doesn’t boycott a capitalist venture that employs children in its factory — even though the boycott is not going to shut down the factory. See the inconsistency? You know that one position, or both, is not based on the articulated principle, because they’re exactly opposite positions. Some unstated agenda is being served.

The same people routinely, over the years, demonstrate the same blindness toward every Marxist dictator, and the same animosity toward every capitalist. Conclusion: their real concern isn’t policies that work, and it isn’t protecting children or dissident writers; it’s supporting Marxists, and opposing capitalists.

By their fruits you shall know them.

February 20, 2008 @ 1:26 am #

Now I’m thinking I’ll outlast you by time zone : )

Seriously, my comment on charitability remains my central concern and I think is still valid. It appears you are saying in tonight’s post:

- Liberals in general support communism.
- If a person opposes the embargo against Cuba, or supports its lifting after Castro, it’s because they have Communist leanings. There can be no other basis (reminds me of the fine reasoning of one senator some 70 years ago).
- We can group these people all together and call them unprincipled, because the set of people who believe the embargo should be lifted is identical with the set of people who want to penalize capitalist ventures elsewhere who might commit the same crimes.

Come on, Phil. It’s just lazy thinking. If you think it’s a bad idea to lift the embargo against Cuba right now, just say so. If you know of specific people who are inconsistent in their application of child labor concerns, just list who they are, with documentation.

But don’t try and demonize everyone left of center, most importantly (to you) Obama with this McCarthy-ite tactic. It is beneath you. You know very well there are plenty of arguments on both sides of the application of the Cuban embargo that have merit. Questions that must be answered:

1. Did the embargo, as applied, remove Castro from power?
2. Did the embargo, as applied, make Castro and his government suffer, especially financially?
3. Did the embargo, as applied, motivate the Cuban people to make change in their own country, or to come to the US (often illegally) to seek political asylum?

I don’t know if it is right or wrong to lift the embargo, or even have what Obama called for, “reductions” (GASP – Communist he must be). I know that there is nothing helpful in being radically simplistic – unless you are simply trying to win at all costs.

Jim

February 20, 2008 @ 2:39 am #

If dealing with a Communist country with no human rights is so evil, why is ALL our manufactiuring done in China? No one seems to have a problem with that. They call it a “global economy.”

All these pro-embargo people take exception to our businesses making money in Cuba, because they are beholden to the Miami-Cuban vote, who are not even real Americans, as they will all go back to Cuba after they have gotten the US to fight their war, which they lost.

February 20, 2008 @ 6:58 am #

I personally don’t think the embargo is necessarily a good idea; I have mixed feelings about it. It certainly has not produced democratic sentiments in the Cuban government. The only basis for such an embargo is simply principle.

It would be easier to defend the principle if we applied it consistently. The fellow calling himself Caligula is correct: if we refuse to do business with Cuba, we probably should likewise refuse to do business with Vietnam, China, Sudan, Russia, and Egypt. I, personally, wouldn’t object to that measure.

It is, however, inconsistent of the political left to insist on lifting this embargo, but at the same time to object to doing business with far eastern companies who treat people considerably better than Castro’s Cuba treats people. No, I don’t think every person who opposes the embargo does so from these motives; one must be general when addressing general patterns. I would have thought that would go without saying.

And darkhorse, this is not some spur-of-the-moment whim of mine, assessing the pro-Marxist sentiments of the political left; I’ve been watching the patterns for 35 years, and reading about longer-standing patterns than that. I was politically liberal and culturally progressive myself once, remember? I’m not making this up, and I’m not backing down; American liberalism consistently, historically bends over backwards for the most vicious tyrants when they happen to be Marxist tyrants, because they are philosophical cousins. It’s not uncharitable to assess accurately and speak the truth. It’s a truth that needs BADLY to be understood, because if they get enough power here, they will reproduce what those tyrants produced. And if you don’t believe that, explain the vicious suppression of free speech on America’s campuses, where liberals have taken over.

By the way, you would do well to read Ann Coulter’s or M. Stanton Evans’ revival of Senator McCarthy’s reputation. He was not in any meaningful way evil; he was, in fact, correct about most of his charges, effective in exposing real danger, and has been treated by liberal writers in precisely the vicious manner they accuse him of treating others. Coulter addresses this in Treason; Evans in Blacklisted By History. I’m pretty ticked off that you’re trying to sway me by calling me “like McCarthy,” but in truth, I would do well if I accomplished a tenth of what he accomplished, so your slur doesn’t land.

And anyway, how is my calling liberals “like Marxists” any different from your calling me “like McCarthy?” If you really think analysis is uncharitable, why are you doing it?

Caligula’s assertion that embargo politics are affected by Florida voters is correct; when government responds to the wishes of voters, that’s a good thing. It means our system works. And his assertion that they’re “not real Americans” is too despicable for words, and does not warrant a response.

February 20, 2008 @ 9:15 am #

Again, Phil, you appear to be misunderstanding the charitability I am calling for. My recalling of McCarthy, who was able to destroy careers by mere implication of association, is an accurate picture, I think, of what your post is attempting to do. His “evil”, if it is necessary in calling it that, was to use a bulldozer in place of a drill, and who gives a crap about everything that gets in the way, as long as we land that bulldozer on the prize a few times.

The Holocaust, as you know, had a side effect that was extremely fortunate: the German’s attempts to purify their science from any Jewish influence drained the country of all its very best scientists just in time for the race to the atomic bomb.

Because of McCarthy, and the very common spirit that pervaded at the time at McCarthy’s leading, America showed it learned very little. Einstein, because he had been a pacifist until the rise of the Third Reich, and because he saw the destructiveness of Nationalism, was disallowed to work on the Manhattan Project.

Look at your original post once more: the first two sentences lists a few people who are in favor of some modification or removal of the Cuban embargo. The VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH is a set of sweeping generalizations about all the things “liberals” believe and do.

“…one must be general when addressing general patterns. I would have thought that would go without saying.”

No, Phil, there is no MUST here. Christian decency contains the must. Of those you are labeling “liberal”, there is a pretty wide variety in how they treat foreign governments of various stripes.

“Leftists in America would howl at the prospect of American companies doing business with vendors who employ children in factories, or who underpay workers; for some reason, they don’t feel the same about governments that do the same things.”

Whether you were once a ‘leftist’ or not, this is a dehumanizing generalization beyond decency. It is simply not true of most of the people you’re trying to implicate.

Jim

February 20, 2008 @ 11:16 am #

My recalling of McCarthy, who was able to destroy careers by mere implication of association, is an accurate picture…

Name one career that he destroyed, and let’s examine whether or not what McCarthy claimed about that person was was appropriate. I think you’ll find that the facts are very different from what you’ve been led to believe.

Look at your original post once more: the first two sentences lists a few people who are in favor of some modification or removal of the Cuban embargo. The VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH is a set of sweeping generalizations about all the things “liberals” believe and do.

I have no difficulty whatsoever including all three of the people named in the first paragraph among my general category. If it’s unfair about any one of them, please feel free to explain your reasons why, and I will gladly discuss them. If I’m wrong, I’ll not only apologize here, but in writing to them personally.

I’m thinking more and more that your claim about my uncharitableness boils down to your being uncomfortable with the Church playing any sort of prophetic role in the culture. Proclaiming uncomfortable truths is part of our job. I am what God made me, Jim, and I don’t feel that I’m being unfair or imprecise.

February 20, 2008 @ 12:00 pm #

I have no problem, Phil, with what God made you…but we are addressing what you’re doing with it ; )

Take Obama – you are comfortable making these sweeping, damning generalizations about him, without listing your justification? Why, in the question of decency, is it MY job to prove that they are untrue, rather than yours to do the opposite? I like your other tack with him…that we really don’t know enough about him to make conclusions.

On McCarthy, I have to assume the engineer at Voice of America who committed suicide during the Senator’s inquisition of them didn’t have much of a career afterward. Irving Peress, the army dentist who was forcefully discharged because conscience demanded he not reveal “party affiliation” to the army, likely had to change career directions.

February 20, 2008 @ 12:06 pm #

BTW, am about halfway through a book that addresses your comment about my discomfort with the church’s prophetic role. It is “God’s Name in Vain” by Stephen Carter, and what a book. It expresses the same thoughts I have said here before: Christians, enter politics with your Christianity on your sleeve, but enter at your own risk. Politics always calls for Christians to compromise their prophetic role in the interest of efficiency.

I think you overestimate the prophetic roll you are playing – you have planted your feet firmly inside a political camp and are taking on the tactics necessary to legitimize that camp (and demonize the others). As long as you recognize that this is what you’re doing, no problem.

Jim

February 20, 2008 @ 6:42 pm #

There was apparently a dispute within the Voice of America regarding the location of a particular transmitter tower. One group wanted to locate the tower in Seattle, which would have rendered the entire program meaningless as the signal would not have reached into any place that needed the signal.

Roy Kaplan was one of those who opposed putting the tower in Seattle. Senator McCarthy, likewise, was curious about why the tower should be built where it would do no good. So McCarthy called Kaplan to testify, which Kaplan said he would be glad to do.

Kaplan stepped in front of a truck before he had a chance to testify. A note he left said “When the dogs are set upon you, everything you have done from the beginning of your life is suspect.”

Which dogs was he talking about? McCarthy wasn’t persecuting Kaplan; on the contrary, Kaplan was called as a witness to what others were doing. McCarthy was not named in the note; Kaplan was involved in a rancorous dispute at his place of work (Voice of America), and could easily have been complaining about that. McCarthy was so keen to have Kaplan testify that he inquired into whether there might have been foul play to prevent him from doing so.

Liberal writers have assumed that Kaplan was referring to McCarthy in his note, but there’s truly no reason to think so. Even if you go to the place of asserting that a suicide is ever, under any circumstances, anybody’s fault other than the person who does it (which I don’t think is ever appropriate), it’s not even likely that McCarthy was involved in the decision.

So, no, I’m not buying that McCarthy did anything to hurt Roy Kaplan’s career.

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