Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fidel Worship Watch

The Freadom blog notes that former CPUSA archivist Mark Rosenzweig has reassured his fellow "progressive" librarians that their favorite aging Communist despot is doing much better now:

"On his 80th birthday, President Fidel Castro has sent out an encouraging message on his state of health, which has
considerably improved. He confirms that the country is
running perfectly well. "I promise everyone who
has wished me good health that I will fight for it."

In today's Times of London, Stephen Pollard addressed this phenomenon of Fidel worship among western leftists, of whom so-called "progressive" librarians are merely a small subset:

Such hero worship of so brutal a tyrant would seem beyond rational explanation. As Amnesty International puts it in its 2006 report on Cuba: "There was increasing international concern about Cuba's failure to improve civil and political rights . . . Restrictions on freedom of expression, association and movement continued to cause great concern. Nearly 70 prisoners of conscience remained in prison."”

Cuban prisoners are detained under the catch-all peligrosidad predelictiva, defined as "“a person'’s special proclivity to commit offences as demonstrated by conduct that is manifestly contrary to the norms of socialist morality"”. Castro also operates a pretty basic form of censorship: he imprisons journalists to whom he objects. Twenty-four journalists were in prison at the end of 2005. And no Cuban is allowed to travel abroad without permission.

Rationally, those who describe themselves as "progressive"” ought to be campaigning for Castro'’s departure. Instead, when he does die, his image is likely to outsell even that of Che Guevara on the ubiquitous T-shirts. But rational explanation is the wrong place to start. Ever since Robespierre, the original left-wing tyrant, large sections of the Left have allied themselves with oppressors. Even when the evidence of Stalin's butchery was known, for example, George Bernard Shaw continued to praise him, condoning Stalin'’s purges by arguing that he was merely getting rid of those who weren't up to their jobs, and that "they often have to be pushed off the ladder with a rope around their necks".

(Link courtesy of Norm Geras)

At first glance it seems odd that anyone who belongs to a profession that is supposed to defend intellectual freedom would champion the cause of a book burning dictator. However, the goal of the radical left fringe in this profession is to make librarianship into a tool for their own ideology. Intellectual freedom, in their view, is merely a weapon to be used against "The System", not a principle to be defended regardless of circumstances.


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