Mike Gemmell is the founder and president of Restore Our American Republic (ROAR). Prior to founding ROAR, he was a geologist specializing in groundwater resource development, a technical writer, and a freelance writer addressing environmental and other cultural issues. For more information on his professional background please see: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelmgemmell.
“Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
Why Are We Lionizing Fidel Castro?
I’ve decided to start this post with the following question: Why are political and cultural leaders all over the world fawning over Fidel Castro following his recent death? He is known to have murdered and tortured thousands of Cubans and enslaved the people of Cuba for nearly 60 years, and yet many are talking of him as if he were a giant for the ages. Pope Francis, for example, referred to him as “His Excellency.”
Perhaps Isabel Paterson anticipated my question with her comment in her essay “The Humanitarian With the Guillotine” (https://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/humanitarian-guillotine).
The desire to do good for others can lead people to the conclusion that their concept of the good should be enforced by compulsion.
I think this states the reason why so many commentators and cultural/political leaders make excuses for people like Castro: The belief that his motive was to “do good.” They cite his implementation of universal health care in Cuba, among other actions while glossing over the abysmal state of that health care as well as his murders, torture, etc. It is similar to the kid-glove treatment that many have taken regarding Hillary Clinton. Commentators cite her efforts to overhaul health care while ignoring her criminal actions in Benghazi (http://www.wnd.com/2016/10/checklist-of-hillarys-crimes-all-in-1-case/).
There are far too many demagogues and demagogue-wannabes loose in the world wanting to “do good” who are willing to use compulsion to achieve their idea of what is “the good.” So here is my response to that sentiment:
No matter how well-intentioned your actions are, you will not “do good” if your actions contradict the principles of individualism as espoused in the founding documents of the United States, i.e., the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
I am well aware that these documents are not perfect. There are errors and omissions that I have alluded to in ROAR’s lead essay (www. https://restoreour.wpengine.com/lead-essay-part-1/). When I refer to the foundation of individualism in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, I am referring to the idea of eliminating compulsion and coercion in human affairs which is the spirit in which those documents were written.
The issue of “doing good” has been around for millennia and has caused a great deal of confusion, and great harm has been done by many of those attempting to implement what they believe to be “the good.” My words here today are only my starting point in addressing the issue from an individualist perspective. There will be much more said in The Week in Review column as well as other sections of the ROAR website. I also hope that readers will write in with their own comments. I will give serious consideration to printing those that have articulate insights and/or constructive suggestions and are delivered without profanity and an excess of personal invective. In other words, let’s try to be civilized as we discuss and debate this issue.
Next week I will be discussing a colleague of Isabel Paterson’s, the novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, her seminal essay “The Roots of War,” (https://fee.org/articles/the-roots-of-war/) and its importance today to America’s foreign policy and defense. – Mike Gemmell December 2, 2016.