Ed Driscoll

The Limits of Totalitarianism

“Raul Castro Asks: What’s Wrong With You Cubans?”, as spotted by John Hinderaker of Power Line:

Today Cuba’s president, Raul Castro, addressed a session of parliament. His speech was devoted largely to decrying the loss of bourgeois virtues in Cuba:

Raul Castro spent the lion’s share of a prominent speech Sunday scolding his countrymen for all kinds of bad behavior, everything from corruption and theft to public urination and the odoriferous practice of raising pigs in cities.

Speaking before legislators at one of parliament’s twice-annual sessions, the Cuban president railed against decaying morals, a deteriorating sense of civic responsibility and vanishing values like honor, decency and decorum. …

Yes, isn’t odd how bourgeois values run the risk of vanishing in a communist dictatorship. As to the reason why, “let me explain it to you this way, Raul,” John rhetorically responds:

More than 50 years ago, you and your brother Fidel seized control over Cuba by military force. Fidel had two objectives: 1) to enrich your family and a few cronies, and 2) to sleep with as many beautiful women as possible. He accomplished those goals in grand fashion, having perhaps stolen more of his country’s total wealth than any warlord in recorded history. Meanwhile, pretty much everyone else slowly became destitute, an inevitability under kleptocratic socialism.

But it takes a certain amount of chutzpah for a totalitarian who has had total control over his nation’s citizens for years to complain about the manner in which his subjects are behaving. Particularly when the “education methods” he personally decrees are frequently championed by his fellow travelers. The Wikipedia page for “Education in Cuba” begins with the sentence, “Education in Cuba has been a highly ranked system for many years.” And yet its second-in-command doesn’t seem very proud of its results of his system.

Castro’s freakout is very much reminiscent of another national socialist’s meltdown over the poor quality of his subjects just before the end:

While they bled, the Führer decided he had time to do one more big thing before the end. On March 19, 1945, he ordered a massive scorched-earth campaign throughout Germany so that absolutely nothing of value would be left for the victors. This included the complete destruction of all German industry, communications, agriculture, mines, food stuffs, railways, ships, roads, bridges, stores, shops and utility plants.

“If the war is lost,” Hitler told his Minister of Armaments, Albert Speer, “the nation will also perish. This fate is inevitable. There is no necessity to take into consideration the basis which the people will need to continue even a most primitive existence. On the contrary, it will be better to destroy these things ourselves, because this nation will have proved to be the weaker one and the future will belong solely to the stronger eastern nation. Besides, those who will remain after the battle are only the inferior ones, for the good ones have all been killed.”

It amounted to a virtual death sentence for the entire German population who would lack even bread and water after the war. Fortunately for them, the mad directive was never fully obeyed. Using his considerable authority as a Nazi Minister, Speer rushed from place to place, preventing its enactment, aided by sympathetic Army officers, along with the blazing speed of the Allied advance.

As another (albeit much less bloodthirsty) socialist famously quipped, “Wouldn’t it be simpler if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?” 82-year old Raul Castro sounds like he’d concur.