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Friday Ephemera

“They Are Ridiculous.”

Via Dan, here’s an extract from a piece by Michael Totten, in which he talks with Raluca Grosescu of Romania’s Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes:

I’ve always wondered what democrats who grew up in communist countries thought of communists who grew up in democratic countries. Hardly anyone in the West ever voted with their feet, so to speak, by moving to a communist country; but communist dictatorships created millions of refugees who fled their homelands for Western democracies. East Germans were willing to risk being shot to make a run over the wall, Cubans are still willing to risk drowning to reach Florida, yet once in a while I still meet Westerners who have a warm spot in their hearts for regimes like Castro’s.

“What do you think,” I asked her, “of people in the West who think communism is a good idea but haven’t actually experienced it? There are quite a few people who admire the system in Cuba. You know the types I mean. The people who wear Che Guevara t-shirts.”

“Ah, yes,” she said. “They are ridiculous. But somehow I can understand them. Let’s take the example of France. In France they were all socialists when they were young. Sartre was a close friend of Castro’s. Gerard Depardieu was a close friend of Castro’s. They believed in this ideal, but after they saw what Stalin did they couldn’t look to the Soviet Union. So they turned their hopes to Cuba. Then they saw what Castro did. The only one who still seemed to live up to the ideal was Che Guevara. So they turned to Che Guevara. I understand them. They were wrong their entire lives, and it is difficult to admit this.”

“They are ridiculous.” Perhaps some t-shirts could be made. After all, people who wear “Che” t-shirts and peddle communist claptrap presumably imagine they’re signalling how daring they are, righteous even. Some, like the people at 21st Century Socialism, may think of Castro’s chief executioner as “an icon, a means of identifying with the anti-establishment, a unique mix of the revolutionary ideals and pop star celebrity.” Yet it seems to me they may as well be walking around with a big notice saying, “If I had my way I’d control you and ruin the lives of everyone you care about.” Though stated in those terms it could lead to an occasional thumping.

I feel an urge to juxtapose.

“The intellectuals’ vain search for a truly socialist community, which results in the idealisation of, and then disillusionment with, a seemingly endless string of ‘utopias’ – the Soviet Union, then Cuba, China, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Nicaragua – should suggest that there might be something about socialism that does not conform to certain facts.” Friedrich von Hayek, The Fatal Conceit, 1988. 

“We’ve had the Soviet experiment. We’ll get it right next time.” Daoud Hamdani, The Guardian, 2010. 

Related: Memorial of the Victims of Communism. And on the “social justice icon,” Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Comments

sk60

""They are ridiculous." Perhaps some T-shirts could be made."

I'll take a dozen.

TDK

"We’ve had the Soviet experiment. We’ll get it right next time"

And the French experiment, and the Chinese experiment, and the East German experiment, and the Polish experiment, and the Romanian experiment, and the Vietnamese experiment, and the Cambodian experiment, and the Cuban experiment, and the Venezuelan experiment, .... politeness forbids a full list.

That's not to mention the dozens of utopian communities from New Harmony to Jonestown

Anna

"After all, people who wear "Che" t-shirts and peddle communist claptrap presumably imagine they're signalling how daring they are, righteous even. Yet it seems to me they may as well be walking around with a big notice saying, "If I had my way I'd control you and ruin the lives of everyone you care about." Though stated in those terms it could lead to an occasional thumping."

Sounds like social justice to me.

Chris S

The thing about Che is that it's not so much the "I’d control you and ruin the lives of everyone you care about". It's the "I'd happily kill children who disagree with me" and "I'll murder your family/entire village".

The part that I find hilarious is the artistic types who sport his face. Che specifically and pointedly killed artists and musicians as they had no place in his new utopia.

A few notes from people who he didn't kill:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/fontova/fontova44.html

David

The irony of musicians and actors thinking of Guevara as hip is touched on in Ted Balaker’s short film:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/12/unrequited-love.html

Spiny Norman

"After all, people who wear "Che" t-shirts and peddle communist claptrap presumably imagine they're signalling how daring they are, righteous even."

I have to wonder if Carlos Santana will be so "edgy and hip" and wear that Che t-shirt the next time he has a gig in Miami...

A Che Guevara t-shirt I have:

http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/yhst-97394442678697_2073_4316464

Spiny Norman

The finest image made of Ernesto "Che" Guevara:

http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/che/che-bolivia-19.jpg

An "improved" version:

http://www.hasharat.co.il/images/news_181_CheTickle.gif

David

It’s the sheer cretiny of the “21st Century Socialism” website fawning over Castro’s chief executioner as “an icon, a means of identifying with the anti-establishment, a unique mix of the revolutionary ideals and pop star celebrity.”

http://21stcenturysocialism.com/article/chelebrate_in_london_on_2nd_january_01795.html

Perhaps their suitably cretinous readers imagine Guevara marching and dancing with them, at least in spirit, on their next “anti-establishment” jamboree. I doubt they picture Guevara’s men hauling them off to prison to disappear mysteriously.

Franklin

http://www.thoseshirts.com/lousy.html

Anna

Now THAT's fashion. ;)

Franklin

I was hoping that there was a Friedrich von Hayek t-shirt out there. There is:

http://www.zazzle.com/fa_hayek_t_shirt-235122398643365281

David

A handsome garment. And it has the added advantage that, to the best of my knowledge, Hayek didn’t murder people because he was bored.

Franklin

And then there's the meta option:

http://store.theonion.com/product/che-wearing-che-tshirt-tshirt,115/

AC1

OT

For friday! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/7421926/Jan-Vormann-travels-the-world-repairing-crumbling-monuments-with-Lego.html

TimT

I like Bureau Crash's work:

http://bureaucrashcontraband.com/tees.html

Simen Thoresen

Franklin,

The Mises-institute also has T-Shirts with Hayek (and the other guys);
http://mises.org/store/T-Shirts-C43.aspx

The shirts themselves are very good.
Today will be a Rothbard-day.

 a reader

Thank you for posting a link to the www.21stcenturysocialism.com website. It's a really excellent source of information and analysis.

Thomas Ryan

“We’ve had the Soviet experiment. We’ll get it right next time.” Daoud Hamdani

I wonder if Mr. Hamdani has a rough estimate of how many people will need to be killed in order to "get it right the next time."

Spiny Norman

In "Prairie Fire", Barack Obama's friends and political mentors Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn estimated about 25 million "diehard capitalists". But that's just in the USA, so we should probably consider that only a starting point.

Jim

Haven't you noticed that socialism is sneaking up on you then? We haven't had executions yet, but they will come.

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