The ruthless exercise of power by strongmen and generalissimos is the natural state of human affairs.
That democratic self-governance is a historical anomaly is easy to forget for those of us in the Anglosphere — we haven’t really endured a dictator since Oliver Cromwell. The United States came close, first under Woodrow Wilson and then during the very long presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. Both men were surrounded by advisers who admired various aspects of authoritarian models then fashionable in Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
A “Russia Today” anchor broke through the Iron Curtain.
This has been making the rounds..in case you haven’t seen it yet, here it is with video. Don’t you wish anchors and reporters from ABC News, CBS News, PBS, NBC News, or CNN would quit, live on the air? Take a stand in protest to the stream of lies and deceptions pouring out of the White House? Don’t hold your breath.
Liz Wahl, who was a Washington, D.C. correspondent for the state-owned television station, quit live on-air Wednesday because she does not agree with the network’s backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine’s Crimea region.
“I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.”
Just spoke to grandparents who came to US as refugees escaping Soviets during Hungarian revolution. Amazing to hear amid new Cold War fears
— Liz Wahl (@lizwahl) March 5, 2014
The self-described “Filipina-Hungarian-American” said she faces several “ethical and moral challenges” as a reporter for the network. Wahl described herself as the daughter of a veteran who grew up in the United States. Her partner, she said, is a military-base physician “where he sees every day first hand accounts of the ultimate prices people pay for this country.”
“And that is why personally, I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin,” she said as she went off-script on live TV. “I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.”
For all the brutal revelations, the romanticized view of communism as a failed but noble venture has yet to get a stake through the heart.
My headline would be “The Left Still Has a Boner for Communism“, but the editors at Reason don’t have the benefit of punditfromanotherplant’s talent for hyperbole.
Cathy Young writes: In the mid-1980s, in my student days at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, I once got into an argument at the campus pub with a student activist who thought communism was unfairly maligned. (Back then, I had a reputation as a right-wing extremist because I didn’t think it was crazy to call the USSR—from which my family and I had emigrated a few years earlier—an evil empire.) When I mentioned the tendency of communist regimes to rack up a rather high body count, the young man parried, “Well, what about all the people capitalism kills? Like the people who die from smoking so that tobacco companies can make money?”
[Cathy Young’s book: Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood at Amazon]
Having recovered from shock at the sheer idiocy of this argument, I ventured to point out that cigarettes weren’t exactly unknown behind the Iron Curtain. I don’t recall where things went from there; but I was reminded of that conversation the other day, after reading an honest-to-goodness apologia for Communism on Salon.com, a once-interesting magazine that’s rapidly becoming too embarrassing to list on my résumé.
The author, Occupy activist and writer Jesse Myerson, already caused some controversy last month with a Rolling Stone article that outlined a five-step plan toward eliminating inequality and collectivizing wealth. But at least in that piece, Myerson limited himself to extolling a visionary American brand of kumbaya communism rather than defend any of its actual, real-world versions. Here, in an article that purports to correct Americans’ “misconceptions” about communism, he takes the further step of arguing that the real thing wasn’t as bad as we think. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Totten writes: Che Guevara has the most effective public relations department on earth. The Argentine guerrilla and modern Cuba’s co-founding father has been fashioned into a hipster icon, a counter-cultural hero, an anti-establishment rebel, and a champion of the poor. As James Callaghan once put it, “A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”
The truth about Che now has its boots on. He helped free Cubans from the repressive Batista regime, only to enslave them in a totalitarian police state worst than the last. He was Fidel Castro’s chief executioner, a mass-murderer who in theory could have commanded any number of Latin American death squads, from Peru’s Shining Path on the political left to Guatemala’s White Hand on the right.
“Just as Jacobin Paris had Louis Antoine de Saint-Just,” wrote French historian Pascal Fontaine, “revolutionary Havana had Che Guevara, a Latin American version of Nechaev, the nineteenth century nihilist terrorist who inspired Dostoevsky’s The Devils.