Column by Alex R. Knight III
Exclusive to STR
Fidel Castro is one of the only personages within recent memory--and this was while talking to a host of news reporters back in the 1990s--who repeated the Marxist myth that ideally, Communism would eventually make governments disappear. Of course, when then asked when the world could expect to see the Cuban government disappear, Fidel went curiously mum, for a change. The content of all those eight and ten hour-long speeches seemed to suddenly abandon him.
This is not to say that, for all of his dogmatic socialist stupidity and barbaric tyrant tendencies, there is not a great deal to admire about Castro. He was, after all, a child of privilege: the son of wealthy (even by mid-20th Century American standards) sugar plantation owners, a graduate of the University of Havana law school, he was even offered a major league baseball contract in the U.S. (though in those days, professional sports paid an upper middle class living--not the astronomical multi-million sums of today). He could’ve kicked back, taken the easy road to an easy life, and sipped rum and Cokes by the pool.
We know, however, that this was most certainly not his choice. Instead, Castro chose--at the very real risk of not only losing all of this, but of losing his life--to grab reality by the throat and shake it mercilessly until it gave him precisely what he wanted. That, or death. With the all-probable outcome being that he and his comrades would end up this way--or at the very least captured, tortured, and sent to languish in prison cells for the rest of their days--Fidel Castro nevertheless chose to pick up a rifle and get out there in the streets and fields and jungles of Cuba in an all-or-nothing bid to overthrow the government he despised with such a burning, unquenchable passion. Marxist or not, future despot or not, it matters little to me where you happen to see yourself within any political or philosophical spectrum when considering Fidel’s stance. The raw, existential leap-of-faith Castro made in this regard commands respect. He did so with the “official” backing of no established government. He did it all on his own, him and 80 other compadres, brazenly sneaking back on rafts under cover of darkness from exile in Mexico.
Compare this to the history of almost any American politician. Castro is not some blow-dried, pampered, Ivy League baby, groomed from the time he was in elementary school to assume any mantle of power. He hasn’t been a lifelong bureaucrat. He has variously been a revolutionary, an intellectual, an orator, an author, a soldier, an athlete, a ladies’ man. He has, no doubt, like all political figures, committed acts of great evil. He’s also been somewhere and done something, and in doing so, has evinced unparalled tenacity.
The allegory is fairly clear: The entitlement mentality of Statism, the abdication of personal responsibility in exchange for one’s liberties, is not a lasting proposition. Happily, this observation is not lost among an ever-increasing segment of the population. Opinion of government is at an all-time low, as the evidence against government itself continues to mount. Perhaps paradoxically, Castro serves as an example (though by no means perfect) of how steadfast commitment to ideals can overcome even the most seemingly insurmountable odds. Of course, Fidel’s socialist ideals have wrought destitution, injustice, and misery of every conceivable stripe. For all of his zeal, the underpinnings of Fidel’s philosophy were constructed on wholly false premises. They were doomed to fail. As is every endeavor which involves the force, violence, and micromanagement inherent to all governments.
Every version of this same song has been played over and over and over again, only to arrive at the same end result: moral and economic bankruptcy, tyranny, implosion. Thousands of years of genocide and impediment to human progress serve as undeniable testament to this. It’s time for something new. It’s time to stop being afraid to live without precisely that which we should all fear: The unending existence of a murdering, thieving, monopolistic cabal of bureaucrats and their armed underlings.
Like slavery, inequality for women, the suppression of scientific knowledge by religion, government is an obsolete, preposterous and outright evil idea. It has no place in a civilized world. Indeed, the world can only be civilized without it. That time is here (and if not now, when?). Fidel Castro, for all of his inexcusable flaws, made a conscious decision to set his cap for a meeting with destiny, come what may. Even a fraction of his courage, with the summary end of government in view, can catapult us all into a far more equitable future.
A quote from the Cuban dictator: “A revolution is not a bed of roses. It is a struggle to the death between the past and the future.” I hold this statement to be absolutely true, all the more so since it comes from someone who knows precisely what he’s talking about. But ours is a revolution that seeks not to supplant one ruling oligarchy with yet another, but the end of all such constructs, and hence, should require no violence. We need only walk away from the leviathan in sufficient numbers, and it will fall, never to return.
Put your shoes on then, if you will. Liberty, our destination, awaits.