The Liberal Love Affair with Communists and Dictators

 

030413-sports-dennis-rodman-visits-north-korea-Kim-Jong-Un-powerIn response to Ricochet member Mark’s post about the failure of President Obama’s Cuba policyTitus Techera, who is Romanian, left a comment that too few people born and raised in Western democracies will fully understand:

I was a bouncing baby boy when the communist tyrant was assassinated. I’m not sure it would have happened without Reagan and his foreign policy. Maybe the USSR was bound to collapse. But when? I am assured by the free-market devotees that it was born dead. What an attitude … So many people were cursed to live that death. My young miss told me the other day about how Americans go as tourists to Cuba, then go online and complain about the amenities. … We had a strange moment, again. Will no one understand what fate awaited us? Into what fate our parents were born? I’m not expecting world peace, but ridding Cuba of its communist tyrants is long overdue, and a permanent sign of American shame, of the cowardice of Kennedy and his followers.

Now, I myself understand a bit about communists, although not from first-hand experience; the first four years of my life don’t count. What I know was passed down through my own family. My family endured two consecutive communist regimes. The first was Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, followed by the Vietnamese-installed regime in Cambodia. The second was a paradise compared to the first, but it was nothing cheery to talk about, either. My grandfather did his undergraduate studies in China in the 1950s, slightly before the Great Leap Forward. He used to tell stories about his time there. He had next to nothing good to say about China under Mao. My family said the same about the Soviet Union: My uncle and a distant relative did their studies in Tashkent in the 1980s. They pretty much confirmed to me that communism only produces misery, suffering, and death. This is why it’s so infuriating for me to see people who were born into a freedom they take for granted gallivanting around with dictators and old commies.

What is it about communists and dictators that gets western liberals so hot under the collar? The countless deaths? The starvation? It’s happening right now in North Korea, but Dennis Rodman has a glowing view of Kim Jong-un. The whole country is a death camp, but the New York Philharmonic thought nothing of it when they went on a grand tour of Pyongyang in 2008. Thomas Friedman writes love letters to the ChiComs every other day. Sean Penn lost a friend he was blessed to have when Venezuelan president-for-life Hugo Chavez died. How many people have been killed, tortured, and imprisoned by Castro and the butcher Che Guevara? But Michael Moore thinks the Castro brothers are generous dictators. The Democrats are having a love affair with a presidential candidate who honeymooned in the Soviet Union. Anita Dunn, President Obama’s former communication director, says Mao Zedong is one of her two favorite political philosophers I don’t want to know who her other favorite is.

Why do liberals remain enamored with communists and dictators? What would it take to end this love affair?

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  1. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I know who you’re talking about, and they aren’t liberals. Some of the old ones may have been liberals 30 years ago, but they aren’t liberals now.

    • #1
  2. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    The only thing I can deduce is these are ignorant people and even more ignorant than most because they have no historical knowledge behind them and no thinking skills to go before them.

    • #2
  3. Chris B Member
    Chris B
    @ChrisB

    Kay of MT:The only thing I can deduce is these are ignorant people and even more ignorant than most because they have no historical knowledge behind them and no thinking skills to go before them.

    No, most of the ones I know are extremely intelligent and have a surprisingly deep knowledge of history. Their problem is towering arrogance leading to a belief that if we just do it smarter, communism/socialism will work.

    Most of them fancy themselves philosophers and intellectuals. I know one self-declared communist who has stated that, as a life goal, he intends to live of of government handouts to the greatest extent possible, so that he can focus on academia and higher thought without the burden of worrying about base employment.

    • #3
  4. Lidens Cheng Member
    Lidens Cheng
    @LidensCheng

    Chris B:

    Kay of MT:The only thing I can deduce is these are ignorant people and even more ignorant than most because they have no historical knowledge behind them and no thinking skills to go before them.

    No, most of the ones I know are extremely intelligent and have a surprisingly deep knowledge of history. Their problem is towering arrogance leading to a belief that if we just do it smarter, communism/socialism will work.

    Most of them fancy themselves philosophers and intellectuals. I know one self-declared communist who has stated that, as a life goal, he intends to live of of government handouts to the greatest extent possible, so that he can focus on academia and higher thought without the burden of worrying about base employment.

    Yeah same for the people I know/ have encountered. They’re generally pretty intelligent.

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    It could be that they’re doing it out of spite.

    • #5
  6. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Lidens, I wish  your well written essay could go viral, especially on Facebook.

    • #6
  7. Andy Blanco Inactive
    Andy Blanco
    @AndyBlanco

    Thank you for this post.  This is exactly what I have been thinking recently with all the Bernie supporters around.  I don’t think we can really answer your question because the love of communism that seems to be in renaissance is completely insane.

    But if I was pressed, I would offer just a few observations gleaned from examining my hard left friends.

    First, I think you have to understand that they are not playing within the “40 yard lines” of American politics.  What I mean is that the things we take as first principles: love of individual freedom, skepticism of utopia, faith in markets, etc., they simply don’t.  Their first principles are completely different, usually they consider any kind of widespread inequality as grotesque.  They have goals, which they call values.  Ends are much more important than means to them, and they are unscrupulous about how to achieve them.

    Second, their view of history is warped and contradictory.  They believe on the one hand that past times were unenlightened, crude, and groaning under the weight of self-defeating bigotry.  Therefore, they are free to disregard any lessons of historical fact or thoughts formulated by the great minds of the past.  On the other hand, they believe that their fantasies will inevitably be tomorrow’s reality.  This creates an unnerving, reckless, and blind zeal.

    Third, many young people just believe hard left politics are fashionable and trade cheap “sophistication” for true education.

    • #7
  8. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    Lidens Cheng (Quoting Titus Techera): Maybe the USSR was bound to collapse. But when? I am assured by the free-market devotees that it was born dead. What an attitude…So many people were cursed to live that death.

    This is a really good line, and a really excellent thought.

    Even though the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, it is long. One ought to consider the lives born in misery and lived in desperation under such regimes. Each human life is valuable, and while we may be able to wait out the communists, we’re allowing an incalculable price to be extracted.

    Someone should ask John Kerry if he’s willing to ask someone to be the last person to die for a mistake.

    • #8
  9. Lidens Cheng Member
    Lidens Cheng
    @LidensCheng

    RightAngles:Lidens, I wish your well written essay could go viral, especially on Facebook.

    Haha people posting essays on Facebook is one of the main reasons why I left it.

    • #9
  10. Beatrice Campbell Inactive
    Beatrice Campbell
    @BeatriceCampbell

    They are ignorant and more importantly, you are not. I’m always interested in what you have to say LC because your family lived through the hell.

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The old ones shut their eyes to it when it was going on. To admit to it now would be to take some small sliver of responsibility for it. This they cannot do.

    The young ones know nothing about it because those who teach them are mostly of the previous designation.

    How many movies have there been which depict the evils of communism compared to the ones that do so for Nazism? One in fifty? One in one hundred?

    So it’s a combination of denial and ignorance.  Of the two, ignorance is at least curable.

    • #11
  12. Andy Blanco Inactive
    Andy Blanco
    @AndyBlanco

    Percival: How many movies have there been which depict the evils of communism compared to the ones that do so for Nazism? One in fifty? One in one hundred?

    Isn’t it strange that communism seems to seduce whereas fascism seems to compel?

    Communism just seems to be able to wrap itself all up in a warm blanket of apparent justice but Nazis just boldly proclaim a whole new morality.  I think this partially explains communism’s hydra-like persistence.  Communism offers the apparent good; Fascism offers a new good.

    • #12
  13. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I worked on a manuscript on education reform in China over the past 70 years, which often referred to the Great Leap Forward. I spent a lot of time researching it. This story (Wikipedia) just astounded me, and it is how these dictators like Mao think and work:

    With no personal knowledge of metallurgy, Mao encouraged the establishment of small backyard steel furnaces in every commune and in each urban neighborhood. Mao was shown an example of a backyard furnace in Hefei, Anhui in September 1958 by provincial first secretary Zeng Xisheng. The unit was claimed to be manufacturing high quality steel.

    Huge efforts on the part of peasants and other workers were made to produce steel out of scrap metal. To fuel the furnaces the local environment was denuded of trees and wood taken from the doors and furniture of peasants’ houses. Pots, pans, and other metal artifacts were requisitioned to supply the “scrap” for the furnaces so that the wildly optimistic production targets could be met. Many of the male agricultural workers were diverted from the harvest to help the iron production as were the workers at many factories, schools and even hospitals. Although the output consisted of low quality lumps of pig iron which was of negligible economic worth, Mao had a deep distrust of intellectuals who could have pointed this out, and placed his faith in the power of the mass mobilization of the peasants.

    [continued]

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    [continued from note 13]

    Moreover, the experience of the intellectual classes following the Hundred Flowers Campaign silenced those aware of the folly of such a plan. According to his private doctor, Li Zhisui, Mao and his entourage visited traditional steel works in Manchuria in January 1959 where he found out that high quality steel could only be produced in large-scale factories using reliable fuel such as coal. However, he decided not to order a halt to the backyard steel furnaces so as not to dampen the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses. The program was only quietly abandoned much later in that year.

    220px-Backyard_furnace4

    • #14
  15. Craig Inactive
    Craig
    @Craig

    Back in 1989 I was part of a left leaning music sub-culture in Melbourne Australia. Around the same time Soviet Bloc countries were collapsing. Even the people in the left leaning music sub-culture were happy for the Romanian people for getting rid of Nicolae Ceaușescu.  Why?  Because we all knew life under that system was unjust, and it’s citizens didn’t have the same freedom (be it artistic, economic or the ability to leave the country) we had.  When college kids or leftists of today start yearning for Socialism, they have no idea what a Eastern Bloc Socialism was really was like.

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This is the summary of the Great Leap Forward. I am, to put it mildly, very upset that a quarter of the electorate in Iowa thinks socialism is a good idea. What they do not realize is that communists call themselves “socialists”:

    However it is widely considered to have caused the Great Chinese Famine.

    Chief changes in the lives of rural Chinese included the incremental introduction of mandatory agricultural collectivization. Private farming was prohibited, and those engaged in it were persecuted and labeled counter-revolutionaries. Restrictions on rural people were enforced through public struggle sessions and social pressure, although people also experienced forced labor.  Rural industrialization, officially a priority of the campaign, saw “its development . . . aborted by the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward.”

    The Great Leap ended in catastrophe, resulting in tens of millions of deaths, estimated from 18 million to 32.5 or 45 million. Historian Frank Dikötter asserts that “coercion, terror, and systematic violence were the foundation of the Great Leap Forward” and it “motivated one of the most deadly mass killings of human history.”

    • #16
  17. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Thank you for a great post. It is troubling to me too that people are so casual about dictators and those who support them and give them cover.

    I read somewhere when Kerry was running for president that although there is a statue of him in North Vietnam, the South Vietnamese people who fled Vietnam in boats, many of whom immigrated to the United States, will not say his name.

    His being accepted and honored in our country is a testament to our ignorance.

    I think young people have never heard these stories, and I think when they hear the word “socialist,” they think happy friendly prosperous Canada. They do not hear about Venezuela, presently on the verge of societal and economic collapse.

    • #17
  18. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Well said, Percival.

    Many are simply ignorant. And they have been trained through many years to distrust us. So the only ways to reach them are with questions, with subtle art, and implied logic — stuff they don’t perceive as confrontation. It helps to begin from friendship, but in my experience many push away rather than try to reconcile propaganda about the Right with actual people.

    The others… well, their situation is described repeatedly in the Bible. Their hearts are hardened against truth and grace. It’s interesting to note that God sometimes hardens hearts, so it is sometimes an innocent blindness to serve a greater plan at a later time. Our past errors can make us humble and more open to difficult truths and difficult mercies in our present lives.

    Immaculee Ilibagiza, in description of her experience during the Rwanda genocide, said she saw crowds of killers with inhuman eyes, as if they were not themselves. There’s more to this world than we know.

    • #18
  19. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    Lidens Cheng:

    Chris B:

    Kay of MT:The only thing I can deduce is these are ignorant people and even more ignorant than most because they have no historical knowledge behind them and no thinking skills to go before them.

    No, most of the ones I know are extremely intelligent and have a surprisingly deep knowledge of history. Their problem is towering arrogance leading to a belief that if we just do it smarter, communism/socialism will work.

    Most of them fancy themselves philosophers and intellectuals. I know one self-declared communist who has stated that, as a life goal, he intends to live of of government handouts to the greatest extent possible, so that he can focus on academia and higher thought without the burden of worrying about base employment.

    Yeah same for the people I know/ have encountered. They’re generally pretty intelligent.

    This is easy enough to explain.  They think they’ll be the ones holding the guns.

    As for why we can’t seem to break free of it -some may be the stupidity of youth, but I am coming to believe that a complete breaking with Communism is impossible because far too many people in our own country were implicated it is prolonged existence.  People still in government today were either witting or unwitting stooges of the USSR, either in the nuclear freeze movement, the unilateral disarmament movement, or just because the USSR had the sense to hire lobbyists (if only Hitler had such sense…)

    • #19
  20. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Sabrdance: As for why we can’t seem to break free of it -some may be the stupidity of youth, but I am coming to believe that a complete breaking with Communism is impossible because far too many people in our own country were implicated it is prolonged existence. People still in government today were either witting or unwitting stooges of the USSR, either in the nuclear freeze movement, the unilateral disarmament movement, or just because the USSR had the sense to hire lobbyists (if only Hitler had such sense…)

    I was just thinking something along those lines. So many powerful people in the democratic and capitalist countries aided and abetted these dictators (FDR with Stalin, for example) that there were not enough people to publicize the truth of what was going on. In short, no Internet.

    • #20
  21. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    In short, what do psyc evals reveal about those devoted to either branch of this think ? The previous leaders of same provide ample fodder. Yet this has continued  and in large part promoted in academia to this day. The truth lies in the fact that these “Intellectuals” propose  and hold themselves unaccountable for the results.

    Einstien commented on failed experiments. All of those with this mindset had a prime opportunity to test their theory, as Venezuala was a perfect petrie dish lesson. What is it about this constipated devotion that implies ” Well that would never happen  me ! “.

    Maybe it should –

    • #21
  22. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Maybe we should ask them why.

    • #22
  23. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Aaron Miller: Immaculee Ilibagiza, in description of her experience during the Rwanda genocide, said she saw crowds of killers with inhuman eyes, as if they were not themselves. There’s more to this world than we know.

    This is very good, Aaron. We who are lucky enough to see clearly know Communism in particular (not just dictators alone) are evil. The communist system has historically elevated the most evil man in the room to the top of the heap. It’s uncanny — and this is why Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson do so well, too.

    It comes down to misanthropy and self-hatred — these two together are full on hatred of whatever Force or Person created both this world and the individuals in it. Doctrinaire leftists and fellow travelers and Commie sympathizers seem to all have these two characteristics.

    • #23
  24. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    The Reticulator:Maybe we should ask them why.

    Recall that Hillary called for Happiness Camps ? Gotta get Yer mind right there – Let us do that for you – Trust us.

    • #24
  25. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I don’t understand why leftists support  people like Chavez, who took an essentially prosperous country, Venezuela, and drove it into the ground.  What motivates them?  Do they like misery?  By no metric is Venezuela better off now than when Chavez took charge.

    • #25
  26. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    One thing for sure: it is not possible to be logical and support the regimes that have come and gone and those that are here to stay, like Castro’s. It is simple to show that this system of government is worse than any of the ones that they replace and worse than any that have ever existed. It only works well for the very top of the pyramid — and they, of course, lose their souls.

    These are the people of the lie. Both the people inside the regime who are in control and those outside who give them support. The left has much to answer for in this last century and they showed their unerring affair with evil by siding with the Islamists, too, in this century.

    • #26
  27. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    Randy Webster:I don’t understand why leftists support people like Chavez, who took an essentially prosperous country, Venezuela, and drove it into the ground. What motivates them? Do they like misery? By no metric is Venezuela better off now than when Chavez took charge.

    No, but Chavez — just like Coleman Young in Detroit — got better and more powerful.

    Here’s what’s going on — obviously — these people just want to be on top of the corpse when it slumps to the floor. They will scramble to raise themselves up using any means available.

    This is why Saul Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

    • #27
  28. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I find I expressed myself badly.  I don’t mean I don’t understand why Chavez did what he did; the desire for power explains it.  What I meant is that I don’t understand why anyone supports what he did.

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    wilber forge:

    The Reticulator:Maybe we should ask them why.

    Recall that Hillary called for Happiness Camps ? Gotta get Yer mind right there – Let us do that for you – Trust us.

    I’m still waiting for Hillary to come with her GAZ Volga to take me to summer camp like she promised.  I’ve had my suitcase packed and ready to go for a long time.

    • #29
  30. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    As Ronald Reagan once said, a communist is someone who reads Marx and Lenin, but an anti-communist is someone who understands Marx and Lenin.

    • #30
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