Cuba, Castro, and Socialism’s “Useful Idiots”
It was Lenin who talked about “useful idiots” in the West who did all the dirty work for the Communists: they sang the praises of Marxism while tearing down the free West that they lived in. The Communists sat back and laughed as these clueless wonders did their spade work for them, knowing that once they got into power these folks would be the first to get a bullet in the head.
But they performed a useful service to the Communists as they denigrated the West and its freedoms and sought to defend to the hilt this bankrupt and diabolical system. One would have hoped that this would have ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, but not so.
These Western stooges are still trying to defend socialist hellholes like Cuba, and the number of Western lefties now singing the praises of Castro is staggering. We have had plenty of Western political leaders and mainstream media folks praising this tyrant. I have already written about this here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/11/27/castro-death-tyrants/
Worse yet is when utterly clueless Christians get into the act, dumping on America and the West while shilling for these atheistic dictators. I have dealt with some of these folks and it is painful indeed. I remind them that if they so detest the West and love these socialist paradises that they of course should move there instead of being such rank hypocrites.
But no, they are quite happy to enjoy to the full all the benefits of the free market while they rage against it, and extol the “god that failed” as Koestler called it, while refusing to actually go and live there. They ignorantly go on about the evils of greed, actually believing that greed somehow does not exist in these Marxist utopias.
These Christians who have their feet firmly planted in mid-air need to get back to planet earth. Believing lies does not make one Christlike – it makes one deceived. Dan Bongino recently wrote about the “Top 3 lies socialists tell the ‘useful idiots’” Let me share his second one:
“Socialism is about sharing.” Sharing? Sharing is a voluntary act where individuals donate their time or resources to other people whom they choose. Socialism is the exact OPPOSITE. Socialism is the government TAKING other people’s time or resources, against their will most of the time, and often by force, and giving them to people whom the government chooses, not you. Again, calling this process “democratic” by disingenuously referring to it as “democratic socialism” does absolutely nothing to change the fact that socialism is, by definition, the theft of your time and resources by government. Also, calling it democratic socialism because people can vote for the people who will then confiscate their time and resources does nothing to change the fact that this is neither “sharing” nor “democratic.”
Yet these lefty Christians talk about being generous with their money to help the poor. They are utterly clueless to the reality that one must first create wealth before one can share it – something the free market specialises in. In state socialism you simply share in poverty, with the political elites being the only ones to enjoy wealth.
But these useful idiots believe places like Cuba are such wonderful countries. They really should try talking to people who have actually lived there. Millions of people have sought to flee this hellhole, but I am not aware of millions of Westerners risking everything to flee there!
It is all one way traffic as people vote with their feet. That tells us all we need to know about the socialist failure that is Cuba. Many have written about this over the years. One person who knows all about this is US Senator Ted Cruz. He writes:
The 60 years Fidel Castro spent systematically exploiting and oppressing the people of Cuba provide more than enough history to pass judgment on both Fidel and, now more importantly, his brother Raul. My own family’s experience is a case in point. My father, Rafael, had been an early supporter of the revolution against Fulgencio Batista — and spent a time in prison getting his teeth kicked in for his efforts. He fled the island, only to return to what he hoped would be a liberated Cuba. Instead, he found a new, even more brutal, form of repression had taken hold. In 1960, he left again, never to return. His sister, my Tia Sonia, bravely joined the resistance to Castro and was jailed and tortured in her turn. The betrayal and violence experienced by my father and aunt were all too typical of the millions of Cubans who have suffered under the Castro regime over the last six decades. This is not the stuff of Cold War history that can be swept under the rug simply because Fidel is dead.
Dan Mitchell has also recently written about “The Economic Misery of Cuban Communism”. He begins:
Communism should be remembered first and foremost for the death, brutality, and repression that occurred whenever that evil system was imposed upon a nation. Dictators like Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the North Korean Kim dynasty either killed more than Hitler, or butchered higher proportions of their populations.
But let’s not forget that communism also has an awful economic legacy. The economic breakdown of the Soviet Empire. The horrid deprivation in North Korea. The giant gap that existed between West Germany and East Germany. The mass poverty in China before partial liberalization. Today, let’s focus on how communism has severely crippled the Cuban economy.
He mentions several authorities in his piece. One said this:
The average Cuban makes only about $20 a month—which is a bit spartan even if you add in free housing, food, and medical care. For that matter, the free stuff is not so easy to come by: Food shortages are frequent, the stock of adequate housing has shrunk, and hospital patients often have to bring their own sheets, food, and even medical supplies.
For a long time, Cuba enjoyed the generous support of the Soviet Union. But when communism collapsed in Moscow, Cubans had to confront the deficiencies of their system. Admirers of Castro point to his alleged success in eradicating illiteracy and improving health care. But even these fall short of impressive progress.
Roger Noriega, a researcher at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, notes that before communism arrived, Cuba “was one of the most prosperous and egalitarian societies of the Americas.” His colleague Nicholas Eberstadt has documented that pre-Castro Cuba had a high rate of literacy and a life expectancy surpassing that in Spain, Greece, and Portugal.
Instead of accelerating development, Castro has hindered it. In 1980, living standards in Chile were double those in Cuba. Thanks to bold free-market reforms implemented in Chile but not Cuba, the average Chilean’s income now appears to be four times higher than the average Cuban’s.
Even the leftist Huffington Post had to speak the truth about Cuba:
The economic consequences of a 50-year, totalitarian, socialistic experiment in government are obvious today. Cuba is a beautiful country filled with many friendly people, who have lived in poverty and deprivation for decades. Socialism in its purest form simply didn’t work there. I was immediately reminded of that old saying: “Capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth – but socialism is the equal distribution of poverty.” Once-magnificent buildings are literally crumbling, plaster falling and walls and stairways falling apart, as there are no ownership incentives to maintain them – or profit potential to incent their preservation. …Every Cuban gets a ration book and an assigned “bodega” in which to purchase the low-cost, subsidized food. The one I visited looked like an empty warehouse, with little on the shelves. If the rice, beans, eggs, and cooking oil are not in stock, the shopper must return the following week. Allowed five eggs per month, the basics barely cover a starvation existence. …the economic results of their 50-year rule have been abysmal.
Consider also a report penned just two years ago:
The revolutionaries promised liberal democracy, but Castro secured absolute power and flattened the country with a Marxist-Leninist battering ram. The objectives were total equality and the abolition of money; the methods were total surveillance and political prisons. The state slogan, then and now, is “socialism or death.”
Cuba was one of the world’s richest countries before Castro destroyed it—and the wealth wasn’t just in the hands of a tiny elite. “Contrary to the myth spread by the revolution,” wrote Alfred Cuzan, a professor of political science at the University of West Florida, “Cuba’s wealth before 1959 was not the purview of a privileged few. . . . Cuban society was as much of a middle-class society as Argentina and Chile.” In 1958, Cuba had a higher per-capita income than much of Europe. “More Americans lived in Cuba prior to Castro than Cubans lived in the United States,” Cuban exile Humberto Fontova, author of a series of books about Castro and Guevara, tells me. “This was at a time when Cubans were perfectly free to leave the country with all their property. In the 1940s and 1950s, my parents could get a visa for the United States just by asking. They visited the United States and voluntarily returned to Cuba. More Cubans vacationed in the U.S. in 1955 than Americans vacationed in Cuba. Americans considered Cuba a tourist playground, but even more Cubans considered the U.S. a tourist playground.” Havana was home to a lot of that prosperity, as is evident in the extraordinary classical European architecture that still fills the city. Poor nations do not—cannot—build such grand or elegant cities.
But rather than raise the poor up, Castro and Guevara shoved the rich and the middle class down. The result was collapse. “Between 1960 and 1976,” Cuzan says, “Cuba’s per capita GNP in constant dollars declined at an average annual rate of almost half a percent. The country thus has the tragic distinction of being the only one in Latin America to have experienced a drop in living standards over the period.”
“But what about health care?” the Western lefties will intone:
As for the free health care, patients have to bring their own medicine, their own bedsheets, and even their own iodine to the hospital. Most of these items are available only on the illegal black market, moreover, and must be paid for in hard currency—and sometimes they’re not available at all. Cuba has sent so many doctors abroad—especially to Venezuela, in exchange for oil—that the island is now facing a personnel shortage. “I don’t want to say there are no doctors left,” says an American man who married a Cuban woman and has been back dozens of times, “but the island is now almost empty. I saw a banner once, hanging from somebody’s balcony, that said, DO I NEED TO GO TO VENEZUELA FOR MY HEADACHE?”
And lest one foolishly claims this poverty and misery is somehow due to a US boycott, think again:
For 40 years, the Castro regime was sustained by the Soviet Union. Then, when this superpower collapsed, Western European governments and others filled the gap. Then came Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela, funneling oil wealth to Havana. Then, when chavista Venezuela collapsed, President Obama threw a lifeline to the Castros, in the form of unilateral recognition.
Much more can be said about Cuba and other workers’ paradises. Whenever socialism comes to power, it results in economic misery and political repression for the masses. There is certainly nothing Christian about that, and there is nothing to be found here that anyone concerned about the poor and needy can run with.
It is a failed system which has been tried and found wanting. The alternative, the free market system, is not without fault, but compared to the dead end of socialism it is a vast improvement. Yet clueless Westerners will still sing the praises of these miserable socialist countries and still salute these brutal socialist dictators.
They certainly are useful idiots. As George Will rightly said: “Socialism is bountiful only of slogans, and a Castro favorite was ‘socialism or death.’ The latter came to him decades after the former had made Cuba into a gray museum for a dead utopianism.”
5 Replies to “Cuba, Castro, and Socialism’s “Useful Idiots””
“….. In 1980, living standards in Chile were double those in Cuba. Thanks to bold free-market reforms implemented in Chile but not Cuba, the average Chilean’s income now appears to be four times higher than the average Cuban’s…..”
Their income would be more like 20 times that of the Cubans at present – probably around $1600 month compared to the Cuban’s $80.
It should also be noted that Pinochet the ‘military ruler’ introduced free market reforms into Chile —- before both Thatcher and Reagan did in their respective countries! Pinochet also maintained all the public and private institutions of Chile.
In other words — Pinochet’s military saw that socialism leads to death – and they instead lead the country in the opposite direction — towards peace and life. Then they handed the country back to the civilians.
Thanks and God Bless Bill.
The first cruise ship with an American flag birthed on a Havana wharf last week. Of course the customary “rent a crowd” was there to welcome the American tourists. Will this country finally come into some sort of Western economic recovery? While Raul Castro is on the helm this will probably not happen, in fact he may have to be more ruthless then his brother in order to clutch onto the final straws of his power. Let’s pray that at least some of the tourist dollars will go toward providing medical provision for the oppressed Cuban people.
Bill Heggers, Bridgetown W.A.
Yes Wilhelmus, Raul is just as bad as Fidel was, so we can’t expect any welcome changes soon.
About the whole sharing thing I think Winston Churchill summed it up pretty nicely when he said:
– The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.