Free Markets, Free People
The cult of Che and the horror of the “greater good”
Matt Welch at Reason puts me on to an incredible quote that I’ll share in a moment. First a little back story. Apparently Argentine Che Guevara has some Irish roots. So a few not so notable town council members in the Irish town of Galway had decided to honor Che’s roots and, as it turns out, that developed into a plan to erect a memorial to him (the Cuban embassy planned on paying for it).
That, as you might imagine, sparked outrage from around the world when word finally leaked out. And so now it appears that the memorial won’t be built.
Che Guevara was a ruthless murderer. Most sane people, who’ve taken the time to research him, know that. So why does a communist mass murderer remain so popular?
Well there’s an element of the left so immersed in advancing what they call the “greater good” that they’re willing to forgive or overlook just about anything in its name. If you don’t believe me all you need to read is this quote by Darragh McManus in the Independent, talking about the Galway kerfuffle:
Yes, Che was ruthless and fanatical and sometimes murderous. But was he a murderer? No, not in the sense of a serial killer or gangland assassin. He was one of those rare people who are prepared to push past ethical constraints, even their own conscience, and bring about a greater good by doing terrible things.
Whether morally justifiable or not, there is something admirable in that — pure principle in a world of shabby compromise. Maybe this is why Che remains such an icon, both in image and idea.
The idea? That it is a “good thing” when one “so immersed in advancing the ‘greater good’” is willing to “push past ethical restraints and their own conscience” to advance it.
Of course, I assume you understand that Guevara and apparently McManus’s idea of a “greater good” wouldn’t be something most people wouldn’t agree with. Certainly looking at the Cuba that Guevara helped create few would consider it to be an example of “greater good”. While what existed there prior to the communist takeover was not ideal by any stretch, what replaced it, in the name of the “greater good”, has turned out to be even worse.
And yet apologists like McManus try to make “the ends justify the means” into something to be admired if the “greater good” – whoever gets to arbitrarily define that – is served.
Look at that quote. It is the blueprint for China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba and today’s Venezuela. Certainly Guevara wasn’t a mass murderer on the level of Mao (65 million) for instance. But that’s not because he wasn’t willing to be … its more because it wasn’t necessary to advance his version of the “greater good”.
I still don’t get the Che chic. There’s a video at the Reason site at the above link in which a Cuban exile talks about the irony of entertainment and musical celebrities idolizing Che. He points out the Che hated the music they play and would have moved to shut them down or worse had they been Cubans.
Take a few moments and watch the video. It’s enlightening (and provides even more irony than you can imagine). It truly makes the point that ignorance is bliss. It also wonders why the mass murderers of communism seem to get a pass.
But if you don’t feel a chill reading McManus’s quote then you have no love for human rights and freedom. This mindset still exists. There it is in black and white. I can’t think of a more dangerous ideology than one that tries to justify anything in the name of the “greater good”.
That’s what you should think of every time you see the visage of Che.
It should remind you that many who claim to believe in the “greater good” really mean the ends justify the means. That might makes right. That whatever it takes to put them in power is okay.
And the celebration of a mass murderer’s life should tell you all you need to know about them.