September 24, 2004

Totalitarian Chic

Paul Berman is one of the best left-liberal writers and thinkers around. His book Terror and Liberalism is the best I've yet read about the meaning of the attacks on September 11. He issues a liberal call to arms, on properly left-wing grounds, against what he calls the new totalitarians, the Middle Eastern inheritors of the Nazi, fascist, and Stalinist legacies.

Unlike me, he is still on the left. But he is a besieged minority within it. And today in Slate he blasts The Motorcycle Diaries, the new film about Che Guevara, and the standing ovation the audience gave it at Sundance.

Berman shouldn't expect his fellow lefties to take up arms against the new totalitarians until they stop applauding the old ones.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 24, 2004 11:02 AM
Comments

100% agree.

I read Berman's book because of your recommendation. Thanks.

Posted by: Oberon at September 24, 2004 11:08 AM

It's sad that some Americans are so besotted with anything Anti-Bush that they would embrace someone like Che Guevara.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at September 24, 2004 11:14 AM

Tosk,

The idolization Che began well before Bush was elected. It is a phenomenon I cannot expain.

Posted by: Mark at September 24, 2004 11:26 AM

Tosk, The Left has worshipped Che as a demi-god long before George Bush was around. Many of these same folks also highly regard some of the other more dubious personalities that the 20th produced; Mao, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Arafat, Lenin, and Trotsky to name but a few.

Posted by: MB at September 24, 2004 11:33 AM

I don't think it has to do with what Che believed, I think it has to do with the fact that he was a revolutionary (according to some. I think he was just a terrorist - him and his friend Castro) that said "Fuck you" (excuse the language) to the corrupt puppet-of-the-Americans government that he fought against, no doubt with Soviet support. That government was then replaced by an even more corrupt, Stalinist government.

But people gloss over that fact and see him not as a Stalinist, but as a revolutionary fighter. And yes, I am a Democrat.

Posted by: Greg at September 24, 2004 11:47 AM

Until anti-totalitarians forces of the right, center and left varieties demonstrate they give a damn about fighting poverty and redistributing unearned wealth in Latin America, people who do give a damn are going to be at least tempted to tip their hats to those who do, no matter how wrong-headed or worse those people are.

Now that the evil Sandinistas are out of power, I'd like to know how many of those who stridently spoke out on the necessity of destabilizing their government in the 1980's give a flying flip over the current pathetic Nicaraguan economy, and its likely further decline, due to the devastating impact of CAFTA on Nicaraguan farmers.

http://www.cepad.info/report/03-09and10/1

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 24, 2004 11:51 AM

>>>"Berman shouldn't expect his fellow lefties to take up arms against the new totalitarians until they stop applauding the old ones."

The only ones who don't know Libs applaud old totalitarians, and now new ones, are Libs obviously.

Old totalitarians were good apparently because they stuck it to "the Man" just where it hurt, and now new ones, because they stick it to "Whitey" real good.

Posted by: David at September 24, 2004 12:01 PM

Markus - how do you think 'unearned wealth' should be redistributed in Latin America - and how should we pursuade the wealthy to share? Can this be accomplished through democratic & diplomatic means, or should we use the tactics used by modern socialists like Robert Mugabe?

In Nicaragua, what should we do about the 'problem' of pharmaceutical companies. According to your links, they're fighting to preserve the rainforests in Central America. Why is this a problem?

While this organization, CEPAD, condemns the preservation of the rainforests and medical research, they offer this alternative to the people of Nicaragua:

We envision creating alternative spaces for transformational experiences, facilitated by a bi-cultural team involved in continuous reflection and self-education. The purpose of our work is to form more just relationships and structures, inspired by the Gospel, as a program which is an integral part of CEPAD’s ministry

This is their plan??? If I were Nicaraguan, I'd ask CEPAD go off to a retreat somewhere, visualize world peace, and leave my economy the hell alone.

Posted by: mary at September 24, 2004 12:07 PM

Markus,

I guess because we don't have some giant give-away program for Nicaragua now, it must mean that the anti-Sandinistas were just hypocrites.

Posted by: David at September 24, 2004 12:12 PM

I have been recently re-reading Isaiah Berlin on the Romantics and their relationship to the Enlightenment(thanks to a recent post on Samizdata) and I am wondering if that is what we are fighting here today. The Left has accepted the Romantic ideal that what they will must be true, while the rest of the country is still following the view that there IS an outside reality that one needs to understand (however much they may differ on the best approach, be it science, religion, whatever.) We see this clearly in the Kerry campaign where he can say anything he wants because if that is what he wants to say it must be true. The question is how do we kill this monstrosity which has eaten the Left: can we defend ourselves against this intellectual invasion of the body snatchers?

Posted by: Oscar at September 24, 2004 12:19 PM

Oscar,

I too feel that the Romantic view was been behind the totalitarian movements of the 20'th century. What could have been more romantic than the Nazis with the Wagnerian music, the exaltation of pagan values, the celebration of racial and national identity, and the exalted view of conflict and revolution. I think the same applies to the Communists.

The US was founded on the ideals of the enlightenment, and we are one of the few countries where those values still hold sway. We are old fashioned. May we long remain so.

Posted by: chuck at September 24, 2004 12:38 PM

Well said, Michael. Down with Che! And I sincerely wish the cult of Frida Kahlo would wither and die, too.

Posted by: Ray Zacek at September 24, 2004 01:02 PM

Saw your photo @ Rogerlsimon.com. Advice: lose the beard and smile more.

Posted by: Zacek at September 24, 2004 01:04 PM

I don't see how The Motorcycle Diaries qualifies as propaganda (from what I understand of the movie in advance). You have to have learned something of Che's biography at some point to have come to the conclusion that you have come to about him—when you read about him, were you falling prey to Che-worship? I doubt it. I don't see how making a movie on some aspect of his life is necessarily any different. It does not strike me that this movie is purported to be a glowing biopic for the left to eat up. There's sort of a use/mention distinction at work.

Posted by: Kriston at September 24, 2004 01:11 PM

Keep the Beard, Tots.

It's sexy.

Posted by: Jaybird at September 24, 2004 01:13 PM

The third-world poor do not need redistribution -- they need security property rights and markets. Redistribution just creates the kind of nightmare that Mugabe is producing in Zimbabwe. Read Hernando De Soto.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 24, 2004 01:15 PM

Markus,so you are saying its the fault of anti-totalilarians that the Left embraces totalitarians such as Che? Wow, those evil capitalists are so evil to use mind control on Lefties to get them to buy and wear Che T-Shirts. Evil, evil I tells ya!

Posted by: Evil Capitalist at September 24, 2004 01:19 PM

Che was a wonderful human being!

"I do have a personal story about Che to relate. In 1973, while in college at Michigan State, I worked at a gas station owned by two brothers named Naum and Pedro Zacks. They had immigrated to the United States from Argentina. They related to me how their family was originally from Russia and moved to Argentina when their father was sent there by the Soviets to help foment a Communist revolution. Once in Argentina, their father decided that life was much better there than under the Soviet system. He turned away from Communism and settled in
with his family to enjoy a comfortable life.

One day, there was a knock at the door, when their father opened the door, he was shot in the face and died instantly.

Naum and Pedro saw this happen and they remembered the assassin. They knew who he was - 15 year old Che Guevarra who was then an enforcer/assassin for the Argentine Communist Party. The party had ordered their father's killing in retaliation for abandoning his mission. I have never heard this anywhere else and I can't` vouch for the story but I had no reason to doubt Naum and Pedro either.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/blog/BlogEntry.asp?ID=346

Posted by: Evil Capitalist at September 24, 2004 01:22 PM

Boy this Kerry is lame. He is on tape arguing for unilateral preemptive action In Iraq On CNN's CROSSFIRE In 1997. Go ahead and vote for you putzes.

http://www.washtimes.com/national/inbeltway.htm

Posted by: David at September 24, 2004 02:00 PM

"One day, there was a knock at the door, when their father opened the door, he was shot in the face and died instantly."

So there ya go, proof positive that you had better have a peephole and a Saturday Night Special if you piss off the people with the guns.

Posted by: Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord at September 24, 2004 02:02 PM

David,

The topic was Che and the Left, not Kerry.

Posted by: Oberon at September 24, 2004 02:20 PM

Stiglitz's Globalization and its Discontents which I have not yet read apparently deals at great length with the effect of trade liberalization on inequality and poverty. Land reform IS often a part of the solution to large social disparities, particularly when you have a few families owning large swaths of undeveloped land. That's "redistribution." It's a detailed and complicated topic, and I'm no expert in it. I simply imploring people to give a damn about the issue. Don't talk about the universal hunger for liberty while ignoring the universal hunger for bread. Or if you do so, don't expect others not to ignore it.

Posted by: Markus Rose at September 24, 2004 02:51 PM

Paul Berman, a man I admire, makes the mistake of allowing partisanship to trump his ideology or he carries a hope the left will follow him to his sane perspectives, a thinking that is not only unrealistic, but risky. If one believes Islamo-Fascism carries with it responsibilities requiring much more then mere police type action, but rather more as a true War situation, then action on many fronts is necessary. First, strong shows of offense at terrorist cells. Second, strong shows of offense at ill-willed State regimes. Third, heavy fighting on the ideological front, attacking the root causes which is not hate of America, but living under hopeless dictator type kingdoms that give little or no hope for the future. These are the three things necessary in the War and why I and other Bush supporters agree to follow his leadership.

First realize nit-picky arguments won't defeat such strong beliefs, in truth the third stated reason is the one most often missing from those that argue against the Iraqi War. People must understand, agree or not with his execution, the ideology being employed if one wishes to truly argue against this President is what needs to be won, Kerry has not convinced people he is more capable, what is the policy difference? To President Bush and his supporters, Iraq is an “Ideological Normandy”. Afghanistan is not enough because Bush wants to establish an ideological beachhead in an ARAB State. Getting even or vengeance is not the end game for Bush, but that is the implication when one says, “Saddam had nothing to do with 911 or terrorism”. Understand that it is not about links to 9/11, Osama, or anything of the kind. Afghanistan was a war against the perpetrators of the crimes of 9/11. Iraq is the place where we take care of two other aspects in the long term conflict and War against terrorism. The Arab world is where the ideology of terrorism most emphatically flourishes. For those that appreciate nuance, Iraq is as nuanced as it gets as it serves multitudes of importance. First, we show a display of strength against a State that has violated treaties, ceasefires and has thumbed a nose at not only us, but the civilized world. We live in time when we could ill afford such nose thumbing to continue. For sure there are other States doing some of this, but plain and simple nuance along with multiple pretexts, gave us opportunity to do what we did in Iraq, but again and most importantly, it is an ARAB STATE, and North Korea and Iran are not. We are talking a world of birds and one stone.

Bush is looking to fight much more then a physical war of vengeance, but more importantly wrest from the Middles East the fanatical Regimes that feed the cause of the Terrorists. Was Iraq the most radical regime? No! But guess what? That is why they are our target, as they are the most ripe for establishing a Democracy in the Middle East! Dubya has rolled the dice and from here we can move forward on the rest. People, calls of failure are as intemperate as the calls of “mission accomplished”. I believe history will vindicate Bush, more importantly the vision behind his policies very much trump the mistakes if we succeed. We can succeed, we must succeed, but success is not defined by body bag counting, that would make the first Gulf War a success, yet it was not a true success because we risked too little and left the Tyrant in power. Those that view the first Gulf War a success to me plain and simple carry an ideology untenable in a post 9/11 world. The first Gulf War was limited to the will of an international community with collective interests very much against our own.

Paul, either you believe or you don’t, I will never allow my former partisan ways to trump the large goals. The fact that the most willing person to carry forward an extreme liberal Foreign Policy happens to be a Republican may be tough to take and if it is more than you can bear, then shame on you Paul, and for opposite reasons I say kudos to Michael J. Totten and others like him. Have a Good Evening.

Posted by: Samuel at September 24, 2004 03:02 PM

Michael, I totally agree with you on this. The left does have too many folks who ignore evil regimes simply because they are socialist/leftist. On the other hand, I think the right would do well to cease their support of oppresive regimes simply because of expediency (Reagan + contras, Bush + Pakistan/Saudis)

Posted by: Oliver at September 24, 2004 03:23 PM

I don't think it was his intention, but Paul Berman managed to make The Motorcycle Diaries seem more appealing as a film than I thought it would be. Berman may be an armchair warrior with leftist economic views, but he still has the same blind spot towards views he regards as politically incorrect, in this case, a film that "humanizes" a Marxist.

Posted by: Steve Smith at September 24, 2004 03:43 PM

Steve,

how does one legitimately "humanize" a Pol Pot, a Fidel Castro, a Joseph Stalin or any other mass-murdering thug?

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at September 24, 2004 04:29 PM

Well, think about this: If Pol-Pot, Stalin, Hitler, and Castro hadn't murdered hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of people... they would still be alive, or their decendents would be alive.

Perhaps the Liberals consider the mass-murdering psychos to be natural social 'herd thinners'.

Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord

and All That Other Stuff I Usually Type

Posted by: Ratatosk at September 24, 2004 04:36 PM

how does one legitimately "humanize" a Pol Pot, a Fidel Castro, a Joseph Stalin or any other mass-murdering thug?

Without conceding that Che was somehow comparable to men who ordered the deaths of multi-millions (and Berman has had the annoying tendency in the past of characterizing every leftist dictatorship as being "Stalinist"), the answer is simple: by being honest. It is no more difficult to "humanize" Stalin or Pinochet than it is to "humanize" Gandhi or Mandela; portray them on the screen as if they were actual, flesh-and-blood human beings. It only serves to put the evil that they do in a harsher spotlight, while forcing the viewer to examine his own conscience.

BTW, MT, I'm with Jay on this one: never let social convention dictate whether you keep your beard. And have a great time this weekend in my fair city; I'd love to hook up with you some time and argue politics.

Posted by: Steve Smith at September 24, 2004 04:46 PM

Oliver: The left does have too many folks who ignore evil regimes simply because they are socialist/leftist. On the other hand, I think the right would do well to cease their support of oppresive regimes simply because of expediency (Reagan + contras, Bush + Pakistan/Saudis)

Agreed, especially re: Saudi Arabia. I don't buy the argument that the House of Saud is the best possible government for that country.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 24, 2004 05:38 PM

Thanks, Steve. I'm keeping the beard. I like it. More importantly, my wife likes it. If she hated it I would get rid of it...eventually.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 24, 2004 05:40 PM

More importantly, my wife likes it.

So, even if you didn't like it, you would still keep it, no? I know where the power lies in this situation.

Posted by: chuck at September 24, 2004 05:55 PM

Chuck,

No way. I had the beard when she met me.

My wife doesn't order me around. Nor do I order her around. But, you know, what man wants his wife to think he looks bad? No man I know.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 24, 2004 06:09 PM

But, you know, what man wants his wife to think he looks bad? No man I know.

Exactly my point ;-) I do know a few men who have stuck to their principles in such matters, but it didn't work out well.

Posted by: chuck at September 24, 2004 06:32 PM

This topic reminds me of an interesting profile on C. Hitchens, by MJT blogfan Johann Hari, in today's Independent:

Christopher Hitchens: In enemy territory
http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/story.jsp?story=564559

As for the Che movie, I want to see it, mostly because I'm a fan of old motorcycles and I want to see how the movie was shot. But I feel fairly safe in the notion that I will not leave the theater a fan of Che, communism, totalitarianism, etc...

Posted by: SoCalJustice at September 24, 2004 07:13 PM

Here's how I think Che should be remembered (WARNING, link has gruesome photo):

http://www.celebritymorgue.com/che-guevara/

Posted by: HA at September 24, 2004 07:26 PM

Oliver,

I think the right would do well to cease their support of oppresive regimes simply because of expediency (Reagan + contras, Bush + Pakistan/Saudis)

So if Kerry wins, I suppose he'll take those 40,000 troops he says we need (but not in Iraq mind you) and invade Pakistan and Saudi Arabia? Will he do this with or without French assistance? And will he do this before or after he trashes our alliance with Australia and throws Allawi and Iraq to the wolves?

And you guys claim Bush is a dumbass? You should give a little more thought to your naive cynicism schtick.

Posted by: HA at September 24, 2004 07:35 PM

>>>"Perhaps the Liberals consider the mass-murdering psychos to be natural social 'herd thinners'."

Tosk,

you're more correct than your know. Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood said:

“(It) makes possible the spread of scientific
knowledge of the elements of sound breeding. It makes possible the creation of a new race; a new generation brought into this world consciously conceived. It makes possible the breeding out of human weeds-the defective and criminal classes-(and) the breeding in of the clean, strong and fit instruments to carry the torch of human destiny.”

And she had a two-step plan (which she proposed to the U.S. Congress) to establish a
“Parliament of Population” in order to:

1. To “control the intake and output of morons
(apparently excluding Sanger), mental defectives,
epileptics.”

2. To “take an inventory of the secondary group such as illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, dope-fiends; classify them in special departments under government medical protection, and segregate them on farms…”

Libs, through Planned Parenthood, kill millions of undesirables every year.

Posted by: David at September 24, 2004 08:50 PM

Michael, I have a feeling NOONE orders you around, wife or otherwise. My husband had a mustache for years. One day I talked him into shaving it off. He liked it being gone, I hated it, I should have kept my mouth shut.

Posted by: Cathy at September 24, 2004 11:51 PM

Cathy,

You're right. No one orders me around. I reciprocate by not ordering anyone else around. I don't have any kids. I don't have a day job, either. I take freelance writing jobs. The people who pay me never even meet me, so they don't exactly give me orders. It's a nice way to live. I'm about as free as I could be without being independently wealthy and single. (Not that I want to be single, you understand.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 25, 2004 12:31 AM

It's strange, whenever I read a reviewer who really blasts a film I generally want to go and see the film for myself more than I would after reading a good review. This applies for all sorts of films, not just documentaries or biopics.

Posted by: sam at September 25, 2004 02:00 AM

Markus & Mathew, good points both.

Land reform and a (Henry George style) Land Value Tax would be a big help throughout Latin America, but DeSoto is very right, too. They need property rights and enforcement of contracts. Especially enforcement to support the poor when the rich cheat them/ violate contracts (as is done routinely).

What the poor need are jobs. Leftists who "care" should be starting businesses, and offering a few people a job. If you don't care THAT much, OK; neither do I. [I did care enough to leave the US to "help" Slovakia] But don't expect giving power to some revolutionary is a good substitute.

Governments don't create wealth, even good governments. The World Bank has long focused too much on big gov't solutions, resulting in big gov't corruption.

But the Che-loving Left of America is infected with the terrible sin of Envy -- a desire to destroy the good things of the rich. "Helping the poor" is a fig leaf, what is really driving the passion of many Bush-haters is those tax breaks for the rich.

The Left hates the rich capitalists. Those greedy, rich, business folk; you know, who already have too much but keep expanding and growing and wanting more and more, and keep hiring those poor workers who they exploit since the workers would have nothing if they didn't work at slave wages ... you know, thos greedy rich guys who offer more jobs.

Posted by: Tom Grey at September 25, 2004 03:19 AM

Right on, Tom.

And free Martha! :)

Posted by: Oberon at September 25, 2004 05:05 AM

Tom,

you're right; it's all about outrage towards "the Man", not compassion for the poor. I've seen Libs step all over the poor to stick it to the Man.

Posted by: David at September 25, 2004 06:55 AM

Excellent post and review of Che.

I hope more people read Paul Berman; he's the last liberal who makes any intellectual sense. I look at the peace marches of today and deduce that the Left has largely become a lifestyle; witness the aping of the '60s by kids in tie-dye shirts (or Che shirts) singing John Lennon songs. It's more like a Star Trek convention than a political statement devoid any real thoughtfulness or compassion for the millions of Afghani and Iraqi lives at risk by their stand. It's more like what Kundera termed "kitsch," pageantry in willful suppression of the reality behind it.

Posted by: Patricai at September 25, 2004 09:27 AM

There is not much liberalism on the Left anymore. The Left is now mostly just a bunch of childish statists, children of the 60s and their spawn who are angry because they did not get their way. The romanticization of people like Guevera and Castro is not surprising. Cognitive dissonance is typical of arrogant types who are too cowardly and self-important to admit they have lost the war of ideas. So they keep on fighting, even after everyone else has moved on. ( see Dan Rather for a living example ).

When much of the Left - which is allegedly a group of people who fight for the rights of women, racial minorities and homosexuals - finds itself on the same side as some of the most sexist, racist and homophobic people on earth ( Islamofascists ) merely because "anyone who is fighting US imperialism must be correct", then you know you are witnessing a brain-dead "movement" that is bereft of ideas and living on the last remaining vapors of its heady but largely wrong-headed romantic notions of a socially-engineered world.

Liberalism is very much alive in our world. But the Left is dead. Most of them just don't want to admit it. There are a few honest former Leftists with integrity, like Christopher Hitchens and David Horowitz, but we should not be surprised by the arrogance and resulting stupidity of most of these people, because they stopped thinking a long time ago.

I must admit though, watching the Left self-destruct is quite entertaining, even downright funny at times.

Posted by: freeguy at September 25, 2004 11:41 PM

I'm not sure you guys have it right w/ respect to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. I agree 100% that both governments need an overhaul at the very least. I struggled to understand our policy towards those countries for a long time, and the whole thing just sucks. The most obvious indicator of why we can't just "overthrow" the House of Saud is the current situation in Iraq. If we opened up a power vacuum in Saudi Arabia right now, today's Iraq would seem like Harry and the Hendersons by comparison. I never like to criticize a policy unless I have a better one. In this case, I hate our policy towards Saudi Arabia, but I can't think of a better one. Sanctions? Sure, as long as we don't mind al Qaeda controlling the world's largest producer of oil. A mob-style CIA-orchestrated regime change? Once again, Iraq times 1,000. I think our strategy here is to keep them close, and allow time (with the help of satellite TV and Internet) to win the day. In the meantime, we know what's happening there, we can nudge the royals when things get out of control, and politely tell them to "fix it" (as we did after 9/11). They're not OVERLY cooperative in the War on Terror- no question about that. They're caught between a rock and a hard place. The USA and the War on Terror is the "rock" and the filthy-rich bin Laden-esque extremists that inhabit the land are the "hard place." As long as the governement continues to favor us over bin Laden and friends, we're on the right track. We'd like them to crack down harder on the extremists and close the madrasses, but I think we determined a long time ago that the best way to get them to do that would be to make them feel obligated to do so (because they like us), not by forcing them to do so. It's not the ideal way of doing business with those clowns, but I do think it's the only way- at least for now.

Posted by: $lick at September 26, 2004 01:33 AM

interesting stuff in some of these varied posts. hey, when i was in high school i worshipped leon trotsky, later wrote a story which to some extent glorified che and fidel. there was not much "thought" involved in any of this. i could in those days stick up for mao too -- and much of this was aesthetic, if i'm honest.

just think how advanced and irrefutable bush-hatred would be now if GWB looked like j. edgar hoover (in other words like a frog) or was as ugly as LBJ.

Posted by: miklos rosza at September 26, 2004 02:34 AM

Keep the beard. But gain a few pounds.

On Che... It's amazing how people who care about the little people hold him up as he sent blacks in Africa into fire and then demonized them when they didn't bring him... uh... the people... the glory and victory that he... uh... the people deserved.

I have to conceed that people who have Che posters, are divided into two groups

1) dumb college students who think he looks cool and know nothing of the man... and

2) that disgusting block of people who want to be The Boot on someone's face... for a good cause of course.

Posted by: Bill at September 26, 2004 06:53 AM

In the meantime, we know what's happening there, we can nudge the royals when things get out of control, and politely tell them to "fix it" (as we did after 9/11)

When their terrorist ‘brothers’ attack in Saudi Arabia, the government forces them to leave. When their terrorist brothers slaughter thousands of non-Saudis, the royals pay them well. Saudi financing of mass murder has not dropped off by much since 9/11. They don’t fix terrorism, they export it, in quantities that match their production of oil.

Saudi government-enforced religious laws are more severe than those of the Taliban. They refer to the members of al Qaeda as their brothers, and they provide for their welfare. The Islamists are already in charge of the oilfields. The ‘terrorist’ attacks we see in the Kingdom are a family argument.

Saudi Arabia is responsible for the unprovoked act of war that was 9/11. They are the enemy that we should be fighting.

Posted by: mary at September 26, 2004 07:36 AM

Evil Capitalist,
I'm no fan of Che, but that story seems highly suspect. By most accounts, Che was far from politically active as a young man. He was a spoiled and sickly child.

He does seem to have been the first to execute a "deserter" during the Cuban Revolution, WAS in charge of the anti-revolutionary trials afterwards and did create Cuba's gulag. The biggest regret in his life seems to have been that he never did much of anything in his homeland.

Posted by: ken at September 26, 2004 09:48 AM

Oscar, I've heard the same argument made against the right. Imagine this being what your post would look like on a liberal board, and it would still be just as pointless:

I have been recently re-reading Isaiah Berlin on the Romantics and their relationship to the Enlightenment(thanks to a recent post on Samizdata) and I am wondering if that is what we are fighting here today. The Right has accepted the Romantic ideal that what they will must be true, while the rest of the country is still following the view that there IS an outside reality that one needs to understand (however much they may differ on the best approach, be it science, religion, whatever.) We see this clearly in the Bush campaign where he can say anything he wants because if that is what he wants to say it must be true. The question is how do we kill this monstrosity which has eaten the Right: can we defend ourselves against this intellectual invasion of the body snatchers?

Yep, just as stupid and just as "We're cool, they suck".

Posted by: Greg at September 26, 2004 12:51 PM

Greg:

I like your argument: white is black, black is white. How cool and profoundly intellectual. The guestion, of course, is which statement is likely true, not whether or not you can make the statement.

Posted by: chuck at September 26, 2004 05:27 PM

Che is adored because he was revolutionary in fighting against Puppet power. He fought against the evil American Puppets!

Bush is the Puppet of Cheney, who is a Puppet of Rove, Allawi is a Puppet of Bush. All of Latin America and the Middle East are ruled by America Puppets. Puppets everywhere, ruling over everyone!!!!

The world is ruled by Puppets power!

Che murdered thousands because of Puppets, if this was not so terribly sad, I'd be laughing hysterically right now.

Who ever came up with the idea of Puppet power in the first place? Kermit the Frog in his youthful, 'revoluntionary' days, perhaps?

Posted by: susan at September 26, 2004 08:25 PM
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Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn