Sidney Pollack, the director of Havana (and numerous, not to mention, better movies) on Fidel Castro:
Castro lost his mind a long time ago. He’s a dictator. He started out like a lot of them with probably genuinely good impulses to create a revolution that was fair and then he got in power and look what he did.
Or as fellow Hollywood denizen Peter Mehlman wrote over the weekend:
You could argue that even the world’s worst fascist dictators at least meant well. They honestly thought were doing good things for their countries by suppressing blacks/eliminating Jews/eradicating free enterprise/repressing individual thought/killing off rivals/invading neighbors, etc. Only the Saudi royal family is driven by the same motives as Bush, but they were already entrenched. Bush set a new precedent. He came into office with the attitude of “I’m so tired of the public good. What about my good? What about my rich friends’ good?”
How can anyone not see it? It’s not that their policies have been misguided or haven’t played out right. They. Don’t. Even. Mean. Well.
Fortunately, the Daily Gut has a running tally, “For those of you keeping score at home, here’s a partial list (in no particular order) of leaders who have meant or mean well“:
Big Kim and Li’l Kim
The Khmer Rouge
I’ll take an incompetent leader over one who means well any day!
The thing about Mehlman’s column is it lays out the central tenet of lefty thought: All that matters is that you mean well.
In the 1940s and ’50s many lefties (including some if not all of the Hollywood Ten) were apologists for Stalin? Who cares – they were “idealists” who meant well.
Decades of welfare programs actually hurt the already poor and and caused more to join them? Doesn’t matter – we meant well.
Ted Kennedy is directly responsible for a young woman’s death? Water under the bridge – he means well.
Carter’s weakness made the US a laughingstock and emboldened the Iranians to kidnap Americans? Hey, c’mon, the man’s practically a saint – he meant well.
Clinton’s lack of response to terrorist aggression laid the groundwork for 9/11? That’s okay – he meant well.
The UN is a corrupt friend to dictators that does nothing to stop mass slaughter, human rights abuses, and genocide? No biggee – it’s a noble ideal and we support it because we mean well.
Pretending there are two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when one side glorifies suicide bombers, rejoices when America is attacked, and can’t even keep from fighting and killing amongst themselves? Sure – because we mean well.
Amnesty International equates Gitmo with Soviet-era gulags? Why not – they mean well.
Giving credence to nitwits with double-digit IQs who think the Bush administration had a hand in the 9/11 attacks? Of course – they’re just “questioning authority,” which makes them patriots who mean well.
Mao obviously meant well, especially when he has Hollywood admirers ranging from the Godfather-era Francis Ford Coppola to Shrek’s sweetheart, Cameron Diaz.