Breadline Bernie Makes It Harder for the Left to Hide Its Love Affair with Communism
On a recent episode of 60 Minutes, as Anderson Cooper narrates, a video is shown of Bernie Sanders suggesting, in the 1980s, that the Cuban people didn't help to overthrow Fidel Castro because the Castro regime had "educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society." While it might have been politically prudent to walk that contention back, Bernie doubled down. "We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba," Sanders said, "but you know, it's unfair to simply say that 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?"
That's not a bad thing in Bernie Sanders's estimation. He thinks of "massive literacy programs" much the same as he once described government breadlines: "that's a good thing."
In Tuesday night's debate in South Carolina, he tripled down, telling the audience that, like Barack Obama, he thinks "Cuba made progress on education." This statement was met with loud boos. "Really? Literacy programs are bad?" Sanders asked.
Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald was there in Castro's re-education camps. Her mother was fired from her teaching job for "her refusal to teach Communist dogma to her students." Her father, a "merchant of flour goods," had his business confiscated by the communist regime to pay for that "literacy program," and rather than operate it as "an employee of the state," he was "sent to work in the agricultural fields as punishment."
Sure, people were persecuted and jailed for political dissent, had their property stolen, were paralyzed in fear of government reprisal, and were executed by the thousands to maintain that heightened level of fear. But hey, that Castro fellow started a "massive literacy program," says Bernie.
The New York Times reports that Lourdes Diaz, a Cuban-American and president of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus in Broward County, was "totally disgusted and insulted" by Bernie's comments. "Maybe this will open people's eyes to how super, super liberal and radical Bernie is. I'm not going to defend him anymore. I'm over it."
But is Bernie really a "radical" among progressives for praising murderous communists? Though it somehow has flown under the radar for a lot of Democrats, Bernie Sanders, with his soft criticism and obvious admiration for some features of communism, is just what the Left really looks like without its ultra-thin mask of political moderation.
After all, the same New York Times that quoted Ms. Diaz praised an even more murderous, freedom-strangling communist regime in 2017. The editors gave ample space for Kristen R. Ghodsee's similarly tepid criticism and lavish praise for communism, in an article salaciously titled "Why Women Had Better Sex under Socialism."
Ghodsee's article leads with a picture of a Soviet working woman "on a collective farm near Moscow in 1955." She's clean, smiling happily, and prettily dressed for her grueling day of work in the fields, which means it's all but certainly a Soviet propaganda photo that the New York Times felt obliged to again employ for the photo's originally intended purpose. "When Americans think of Communism in Eastern Europe," Ghodsee writes, "they think of travel restrictions, bleak landscapes of gray concrete, miserable men and women languishing in long lines to shop in empty markets, and security services snooping on the private lives of citizens."
Much of that is true, Ghodsee must admit. But a study of East and West German women conducted after the fall of the Soviet Union, she says, found that "Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women." They may have had to "line up for toilet paper," but their quality of life in the bedroom (which is more important than things like freedom of movement, personal privacy, access to food, or personal hygiene, we are to presume) was far greater than their Western counterparts, according to the one cherry-picked study and a few anecdotes she cites.
Better sex is just one of the ways that East was better than West, she says. Women there enjoyed "major investments in their education" and "full incorporation into the labor force." These women, you see, had the good fortune to live in a nation where "[a]fter the Bolshevik takeover, Vladimir Lenin and Aleksandra Kollontai enabled a sexual revolution in the early years of the Soviet Union." This is in contrast to all those women in the West, who had the misfortune of living there by choice and, rather than being forced into labor, chose to stay at home and enjoy "all the labor-saving devices produced by the roaring capitalist economy."
It is but a sidebar for Ghodsee, I suppose, that the Bolshevik takeover she cites led to the single greatest political scourge against human life and liberty that our world has ever known, leaving over a hundred million corpses in its wake over the last century. Her takeaway from all of the history seems to be that Western women may think it would be a crummy life to not have washing machines to launder their clothing, or to be forced to work long hours in manual labor professions like farming, or have to wait for hours in line for government-issued toilet paper, but think of all the great sex those women could have had under communism!
Think about this for a moment. The New York Times is the most prominent periodical of the Left, and its writers, like Bernie, are plumbing the depths of the darkest and deadliest ideology in the history of humankind to find the good in it. Meanwhile, they are struggling mightily to tarnish the American ideas of free markets and limited government by arguing, via their "1619 Project," that Americans' ancient participation in the slave trade diminishes the copious blessings and human freedom that these ideas have fostered.
This is the kind of "news" that the New York Times sees fit to print these days, unfortunately. It's tough to argue that these pro-communist and anti-American maunderings that have appeared on the pages of the Times for years are any less crazy or radical than Crazy Bernie.
Openly praising Castro on a presidential debate stage hits pretty close to home for many Florida voters, just as I suppose Ghodsee's comments praising communism for fostering a swinging sex life on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain must have been similarly received by women who lived there. Unfortunately for Democrats, millions more Americans heard Bernie whitewashing communism as the likely Democratic presidential nominee than read the New York Times.
Not only has Bernie Sanders made it impossible for Democrats to win in Florida if he is their nominee, but he also continues to expose the Left for what it truly is. While that's a very bad thing for progressives who hoped that the Democratic Party could hide the radicalism of its sharp leftward turn in recent years, it's a very good thing for any Americans who can still recognize that communism is evil to its core and that there are marked similarities between it and the "democratic socialism" now being presented as its less dangerous cousin.