Next week the YAF (Young America’s Foundation) kicks off their rollicking Road to Freedom seminars at their headquarters in Virginia. Attendees “will be introduced to works of intellectual leaders such as—Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ludwig Von Mises, among others—who influenced President Reagan and the largest peacetime expansion of the economy in American history.”
In addition to this invaluable instruction (or reminder) of the historic role of free-markets with human freedom and of socialism with slavery, this year’s event will feature a methodical, merciless (and hilarious) “deconstruction” of the world’s top symbol of socialism: Che Guevara.
In keeping with the “deconstructor’s” traditional modus operandi and “lecture” style, the fans and acolytes of this worldwide symbol of socialism are also in for some slicing and dicing.
Ironically, the top symbol for history’s most disastrous economic policy (his face pops up everywhere from Occupy protests, to Obama campaign offices, to every street corner in Havana) benefitted from modern history’s most effective marketing/ branding campaign. His face also pops up everywhere from Mercedez Benz commercials to supermodel Giselle Bundchen’s derriere.
What twists history might have taken if the Castro brothers had gone to work on K Street or Madison Avenue, places where their propaganda skills would have quickly made them billionaires instead of mass-murdering terrorists—whoops! Almost forgot. They are billionaires!—along with mass-murdering terrorists!
As in the 1960s, America’s current champions of socialism (Bernie Sanders, for one) are lavishing special plaudits on Cuban socialism, that famous handiwork of the Castro brothers and Che Guevara, which they depict as somehow “cooler” and “hipper” than the frumpy and brutal Iron Curtain variety.
In fact, Cuban socialism has always been a mortal enemy of almost everything millenials claim to hold dear–a more implacable enemy, in fact, than were most Iron Curtain regimes. First off, notice the age of the typical half-dead Cuban rafter who washes up on south Florida’s beaches almost daily, often using his last reserves of energy to kiss the sand in gratitude. It’s rare to see one over 30.
The Castro brothers and Che Guevara often outdid their Soviet patrons in outlawing and punishing typical millennial behavior. While the Rolling Stones were performing for a huge crowd of Polish kids in Warsaw in 1967, for instance, Cuban kids were being herded into forced labor camps for the crime of (clandestinely) listening to rock music, or growing long hair, or wearing blue jeans.
“Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates,” commanded Che Guevara. “Instead, they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service.” “Youth,” wrote Guevara, “should learn to think and act as a mass!”
“Those who choose their own path” (as in growing long hair and listening to “Yankee-Imperialist” Rock & Roll) were denounced by the Castro Brothers and Che Guevara as worthless “roqueros,” “lumpen” and “delinquents.” In his famous speech, Che Guevara even vowed “to make individualism disappear from Cuba! It is criminal to think of individuals!”
Che the Lionhearted's image is still ubiquitous on college campuses. But in the wrong places. He belongs in the marketing, PR, advertising – and especially – psychology departments. His lessons and history are fascinating and valuable, but only in light of Sigmund Freud or P.T. Barnum. One born every minute, Mr. Barnum? If only you'd lived to see the Che phenomenon. Actually, 10 are born every second.
Here's a "guerrilla hero" who in real life never fought in a guerrilla war. When he finally brushed up against one, he was humiliated and routed.
Here's a cold-blooded murderer who executed thousands without trial, who claimed that judicial evidence was an "unnecessary bourgeois detail," who stressed that "revolutionaries must become cold-killing machines motivated by pure hate," who stayed up till dawn for months at a time signing death warrants for innocent and honorable men, whose office in La Cabana had a window where he could watch the executions – and today his T-shirts adorn people who oppose capital punishment!
Here's communist Cuba's first "Minister of Industries," whose main slogan in 1960 was "Accelerated Industrialization!" Whose dream was converting Cuba (the hemisphere, actually) into a huge bureaucratic-industrial ant farm – and he's the poster boy for greens and anarchists who scream and rant against industrialization!
Here's a sniveling little suck-up, teacher's pet and momma's boy who was the constant pride of joy of his teachers and parents (the most obnoxious sort of Limousine Bolsheviks) – and he's idolized by millionaire delinquents such as Rage Against the Machine!
Here's a humorless teetotaler, a plodding paper-pusher, a notorious killjoy and all-around fuddy-duddy – and you see his T-shirt on MTV's Spring Break revelers!
Perhaps competent psychiatrists (if any exist) will explain this some day.
Che Guevara was monumentally vain and epically stupid. He was shallow, boorish, cruel and cowardly. He was full of himself, a consummate fraud and an intellectual vacuum. He was intoxicated with a few vapid slogans, spoke in clichés and was a glutton for publicity.
But ah! He did come out nice in a couple of publicity photos, high cheekbones and all! And we wonder why he’s a hit in Hollywood?
Che excelled in one thing: mass murder of defenseless men. He was a Stalinist to the core, a plodding bureaucrat and a calm, cold-blooded – but never in actual battle – killer. His pathetic whimpering while dropping his fully-loaded weapons as two Bolivian soldiers approached him on Oct. 8 1967 ("Don't shoot!" I'm Che!" I'm worth more to you alive than dead!") proves that this cowardly, murdering, bumbling doofus and swine was unfit to carry his victims' slop buckets.