Candlelit Communism

My brother-in-law died a few years back. Stupidly shot himself in the chest with a little .22-caliber, thinking it wouldn’t do much harm.

It did, and he died. Good riddance too.

He was a dreadful individual, of absolutely no account, as we used to say in the olden days of backwoods Georgia. He had made his wife miserable for years.

He would steal the money for her epilepsy pills to buy gifts for his girlfriend.

Almost immediately after the interment, his wife lit a candle for him, and the light’s been burning ever since — in the house and in her heart.

She now says what a fine fellow he was, and describes his many good deeds. He was a wonderful husband, a family man and an admirable dad.

* * * *

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, bringing the Era of Communism pretty much to a close. Some diehard basket cases linger on, of course: Cuba, Laos, North Korea. Others are creeping slowly into the capitalist camp, hoping nobody will notice.

That would be China and Vietnam.

But for all practical purposes, Communism is dead, a 20th century test of silly idealism that bloodily blew up in the faces of those who experimented with it.

And precisely like my sister-in-law and her deadbeat spouse, many people are beginning to light candles and speak in a kindly fashion about Communism yet again.

A friend just returned from a “nature tour” of Cuba, his first visit. He tells me of the friendly people, the “free” health care and education.  He tells me how safe it is there, which is true. One can always walk the streets of dictatorships without worry.

Crime is nonexistent. I recall the calm streets I strolled in Haiti during the Duvalier dictatorship in the 1970s. Downtown Berlin was nice and peaceful in 1936.

Well, if you were not a Jew or a gypsy.

Croft, a frequent commenter here from Canada, is quite smitten by the Cuban Communist regime. He is one of, apparently, a growing legion.

CNN employs Van Jones for political feedback during the presidential debates, as if he were a normal person. Jones was Obama’s “Green Czar” for a spell until he was fired as quietly as possible following praise of Mao Zedong in a speech.

Another of Obama’s early appointments, Anita Dunn, was canned from her job as interim communications director for the same reason, praising Mao in a speech.

I once mentioned Jones and Dunn to my sister, a big Obama fan, and her reaction was: So what? Mao was not so bad. This is a woman with multiple graduate degrees.

* * * *

Precisely as my sister-in-law has chosen to forget the abuse of her husband, many of today’s opinion-makers in the media and academia are choosing to forget Communism’s crimes, and light candles to its equality, its fairness, its basic nobility.

Overlooked are the gulags, the prison camps, the forced labor, the mass murders, the killing fields, the intentional starvation of millions, the oppression of the human spirit.

Communism is being rehabilitated right before your eyes. Watch out.

* * * *

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

— George Santayana

23 thoughts on “Candlelit Communism”

  1. I would like to comment on today’s convoluted post but I am not up to the retort you’ll surely sling back… I do remember the past and am not willing to let you repeat it by beating me up in print because I don’t agree with you. You bring up points that could lead to intelligent debate – too bad you don’t show deserving respect for followers like Croft or listen to anyone’s views that conflict with your own… I’ve been scared away

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    1. Ms. Merida: I do not beat people up here, and never have. What I do find is folks who cannot really defend or justify what they believe. I await your clear rebuttal of my points. As I awaited on the Akin dust-up some weeks back, to no avail.

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    2. PS: I did not say anything bad about Croft. I simply said he admires the Cuban dictatorship, and he does. He has made that quite clear on many occasions. He will not utter the dictatorship word, of course.

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  2. Wow, very thought provoking. Just off to work now, but I’ll be hopefully discussing this with my coworkers. Have a good day in the nice weather.

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  3. Communism has certainly lost its flavor on the bedpost over night. I do believe our containment of the Castro brothers has helped to perpetuate their rule with an embargo that has lasted for fifty years. Our containment of Cuba has hurt American foreign policy in Latin America, plus our obsession with the war on drugs. Cuba has had a few pluses, including their health care system. My Mexican dermatologist got her medical degree in Cuba and she certainly is a competent physician.

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    1. Andres: The Cuban health-care system, as I heard from Cubans when I was there last April, sounds better than it actually is, and for many people it is not free at all.

      Interesting about your Mexican doctor. Unfortunately for many Cubans who study medicine there, after they graduate they often cannot earn enough money to support a family in Cuba.

      And I would never defend the U.S. embargo. Utter disaster.

      But I don’t want to wander off on the tangent of Cuba. They point of the post is that the bloody past of communism is being swept under the rug more and more, and that is very bad.

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  4. I am always amused at the people that are so engrained hard left that a D8 Caterpillar bulldozer would fail at prying their resolve from a wall. They profess freedom and the rights of people but fail to open a micron of space to be able to look at it from anyone else’s perspective.

    It always appears that they are supportive of the rights of others but in reality when confronted with facts immediately start raising their voice and resort to name calling and emotion.

    On the other hand, someone who is to the right of center always seems to stay calm, collected and willing to debate or present facts which the other side refuses the opportunity for intelligent discussion.

    I read a blog yesterday of the disdain of the US political system from a foreigner who has lived in Mexico and currently resides on another continent that proves my point, although not audibly but with keyboard strokes. The interesting thing is that a lot of the so-called debate is provided by people who only look through a polarized screen the object, as opposed to contributors who have experienced both sides.

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    1. But, Rancho, I gotta admit that conservatives can get their dander up pretty loudly too. Extremism runs wildly on both sides of the spectrum though I do believe conservatives tend less toward hysteria these days.

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  5. Nostalgia always magnifies the positive and diminishes the negative. That is human nature. It’s always easier to see the good qualities when one knows they are no longer subject to those of malice. Your SIL can speak eloquently of her ex as a widow, knowing she will never have to experience his wrath again. Ditto for the Mao fans singing his praises from the bounty of Capitalism. Reality is easy to forget.

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  6. The “but Mao [Castro, Lenin, Stalin] did so many good things things for their people” argument is so morally reductionist, I cannot believe people utter it. Otherwise intelligent people. Just try the same argument with “but Hitler and Mussolini did so many good things for their people.” Both are true, but irrelevant to the systems the five represent. Totalitarianism is a monstrosity. And we are much better off to keep the lid on the dustbin of history.

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    1. Señor Cotton: Alas, people are slowly slipping the lid off, peeking inside and seeing things they interpret as lovely, a world where all are equal, each giving what he ought and receiving what he needs. It’s only fair, of course.

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  7. I recently read a post from a lady who lives in Idaho but grew up in Russia. She explains how difficult it was. Everybody worked hard in Russia. It was a way of life. There were no opportunities because all jobs were government jobs. Benefits in Russia implied the opportunity to bring home an extra gallon of milk or a loaf of bread. Things were rationed and there was never enough food.

    Her story really touched my heart. We take for granted in this country the overwhelming choices and opportunities we have available. With hard work we can achieve success and success is a good thing.

    We are hearing slogans of fairness and sharing, but no one will take the time to learn why socialism and communism is evil. It does not work and never will.

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    1. Well put, Jackie. The son of the elderly woman who owns the guesthouse where my wife and I stayed in Havana in April has a degree in civil engineering. He’s in his mid-40s, and does not work in the field because no job is to be had. He said there is an employment ceiling above which most people cannot go. So he was working now and then as a go-fer for his mom’s guesthouse and picking up money from the tourists on the side whenever possible.

      And in the same breath, he would speak highly of the Communist regime. Goofy, huh? Boils down to the fact that people can hold totally contrary notions at the same time.

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  8. My skin is quite thick and my feelings difficult to hurt. Thirty years as a working Union rep will do that for you. I do have to smile at Filipe’s description of me however. My Conservative friends call me a Communist and my Communist friends call me a Conservative. I guess this counts him as a “friend”.

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    1. Croft: You have a tough hide, and that is one of the things I do like about you. Like so many on the Left, you do not get perpetually “offended,” rushing off in an indignant huff.

      You are as convinced of your beliefs, crazy and incorrect as they are, as anyone could possibly be.

      But you stick to your guns, and you do not get angry. We share those characteristics. You are a good egg. Misguided but good.

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  9. I must admit to being somewhat a Marxist. Fortunately, I’m of the Groucho variety and tend to agree with Lenny Bruce’s assessment that “communism is one big phone company.” Ahhh, bless them both!

    Saludos,
    Howie

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  10. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    There’s another saying: “If you can remember the 60’s, you weren’t there.”

    Given both premises, does that mean those of us who were there during the 60’s but can’t remember it are condemned to repeat it ad infinitum? That would be a pretty trippy (pun intended) cycle.

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    1. Larry: Those of you who embraced the 1960s in the manner it was intended to be embraced are repeating its errors on a daily basis. And one child of the 1960s sits in the White House, alas.

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  11. I came of age in the 60s, but technically I am not a boomer, since I was born in 44 – the year of the monkey. All of our boomer/yuppie presidents have been disasters. Can we survive another boomer?

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    1. Ah, 1944, a very good year. I was born then too.

      As for surviving another boomer in the White House, we will have to since both Obama and Romney are boomers. I, of course, strongly favor the latter.

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