Ozzie Guillen And Our Strange Double-Standard For Communists
The Florida Marlins, excuse me the Miami Marlins, have gone through an intense effort to liven up their franchise. They’ve got a flashy new ballpark. They went out and hired a high-profile (if often controversial) manager. They spent a lot of money on acquiring players over the off-season. All seemed set for a rebound for a club that had won a World Series in their first years of existence but had fallen on hard times since.
Then Ozzie Guillen said he loved Fidel Castro. Literally. “I love Fidel Castro,” is the exact quote attributed to him by Time.
Needless to say, this hasn’t gone over well, especially with the Cuban community in Miami who know exactly through first hand experience what a monster Fidel Castro is.
The comments inspired protests, and a significant suspension for Guillen, and the Marlins organization is no doubt hoping it will all just blow over so that they can get back to marketing their upgraded team and their new ballpark.
But Guillen’s comments do, I think, illustrate a strange double standard that exists in our society. Because many, those outside the aforementioned Cuban community, are wondering what the big deal is. He said he loves Castro, so what?
At the risk of descending into political cliche, let me ask what the reaction would be if Guillen had blithely announced that he loved Adolf Hitler? I don’t think a suspension would have been enough of a punishment for Guillen. Of course, Castro isn’t Hitler, but they are monsters cut from the same cloth. They are (or were, in Hitler’s case) cruel totalitarians who believed the state was preeminent to the individual, and were willing to enforce that doctrine with force up to and including wholesale murder.
Hitler may have had a bigger body count, but given Castro’s willingness to slaughter in the name of his cause, that seems only a matter of circumstance and opportunity.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” wrote George Santayana. That quote is often paraphrased as, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” It seems as though vast swaths of our society are incapable of remembering the monstrous realities of socialism, or learning the history of that cruel ideology.
Again, Hitler has become a boogie man in our society. One we’re fascinated with given the endless movies, books, television shows and video games focused on Hitler and Nazism. Yet, both Stalin and Mao had much bigger resumes of cruelty both in terms of oppression and body counts. Yet, neither Hitler nor Mao not their less-accomplished ideological brethren like Castro, Che Guevera or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela carry with them the same instantaneous revulsion that Hitler does.
This is a symptom of a society that hasn’t yet learned it’s lesson about the dangers of socialist/collectivist thinking.
The folks at Reason produced a great video a while back focusing on Hollywood’s fascination with one of these monsters, Che Guvera: