SHAPIRO: The Worship Of Dictators
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Commentary by Ben Shapiro
This week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the socialist Democratic presidential front-runner, made waves when he merely reiterated his lifelong warmth toward the viciously evil Cuban communist regime. Brushing off the human rights violations of Fidel Castro -- a man whose revolution ended with the murder or imprisonment of tens of thousands of his countrymen, and decades of impoverishment and repression for millions -- Sanders explained: "We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. ... When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?"
But, of course, Sanders hasn't merely praised Castro's literacy programs (which, by the way, were propagandistic exploits. Cuba had an 80% literacy rate before Castro's coup). Back in the 1980s, Sanders explained that he was "physically nauseated" by former President John F. Kennedy's "hatred for the Cuban revolution." In 1989, Sanders stated after visiting Cuba: "I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people." He said that the Cuban people "had an almost religious affection" for Castro.
As it turns out, there is hardly a single communist regime of the past half-century for which Sanders has not expressed some level of moral support. This week, Sanders went out of his way to praise China, explaining: "It's is an authoritarian country. ... But can anyone deny -- I mean, the facts are clear -- that they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history?" Naturally, Sanders neglects to mention that China's embrace of free trade and profit margin in the 1990s was responsible for that rise from poverty. That would cut against his socialist worldview.
Then there's the Nicaraguan communist regime of Daniel Ortega, which murdered thousands. Sanders celebrated the Sandinista revolution in the 1980s (he attended a rally at which protesters chanted, "the Yankee will die"), visited Nicaragua and returned to tut-tut Ortega's human rights abuses by citing Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus. It's no wonder Ortega has endorsed Sanders for the presidency.
Or how about the Venezuelan regime? Sanders refused to call socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro a dictator as late as last year, and refused to call opposition Juan Guaido the legitimate leader of the country. The Sanders Senate website carried an editorial for years that favorably compared the regime of Hugo Chavez with the poverty record of the United States.
And, of course, there's Sanders' long record of propagandizing on behalf of the Soviet regime. Not only did Sanders visit the Soviet Union for a honeymoon/business trip with his new wife in 1988; he returned and declared that Moscow had "the most effective mass transit system" he had ever seen. He then celebrated that the Soviets were moving "forward into some of the early visions of their revolution, what their revolution was about in 1917."
Sanders isn't a European social democrat, warm toward Denmark and Norway. He's a lifelong communist -- a man who declared himself fully on board with the nationalization of nearly every major American industry in the 1970s -- and an advocate for anti-Americanism abroad. The fact that it has taken until the verge of his nomination as the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee for members of the media and fellow Democrats to take note of this rather important truth demonstrates that the left's gatekeeping function has been irrevocably broken.
Ben Shapiro, 36, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" and editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com. He is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller "The Right Side of History." He lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles. To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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