The brutal reign of Fidel Castro strips the mask right off the face of government.
Western “democracies” and “free societies” create the illusion of consent and paint a benevolent face on government. But at their core, all governments everywhere fundamentally operate on the exact same principles as Castro’s Cuba. Those in power and their supporters rely on coercion, force and violence to impose their will on the entire society.
In Cuba, we witnessed government in all of its raw, unmasked terror – the labor camps, the executions, the absolute intolerance of dissent. In countries like the United States, government appears gentler. But every once in a while, the mask slips down and we catch a glance of its ugly, violent nature. We hear its whisper in the last gasp of a man beaten after he was caught selling loose cigarettes. We feel its pinch when the tax man comes a-callin’. And we see it in the eyes of millions locked in cages because they got caught holding the wrong plant.
Cuba allowed us to glimpse the ultimate end when left-wing collectivists employ government power to achieve their objectives of “equality” and “justice.” Ultimately, it requires naked force to keep an entire population in line and moving toward the desired goal. As long as those in power can maintain the facade of consent as they march forward, the citizens willingly live under a soft tyranny. But if resistance from opposing corners grows too stiff, it will require more and more coercion to maintain forward momentum. At some point, the mask comes off completely.
But collectivists are so convinced of the moral superiority of their vision for society, they willingly look the other way and even justify the most egregious violations of individual rights. We saw the ugliness of a left-wing, collectivist worldview in the fawning praise heaped on Castro in the days since his death. Leftists seem to think death squads and labor camps are a fair trade-off for universal healthcare and high literacy rates.
In his classic work The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek argues that Castro-style totalitarianism is the inevitable outcome of collectivism.
“Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarian regimes which horrify us follow of necessity. From the collectivist standpoint intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent, the complete disregard of the life of happiness of the individual, are essential and unavoidable consequences of this basic premise, and the collectivist can admit this and at the same time claim that his system is superior to one in which the ‘selfish’ interests of the individual are allowed to obstruct the full realization of the ends the community pursues…There is always in the eyes of the collectivist a greater goal which these acts serve and which to him justifies them because the pursuit of the common end of society can know no limits in any rights or values of any individual.”
But the left doesn’t have a monopoly on collectivism nor on the accompanying willingness to use violence to impose its will on society. One only needs to see their lusty support for jailing anybody who dares burn an American flag to realize the same urge to use coercion and force motivates disciples of right wing government.
You can paint the mask with patriotic stars and stripes, or in a rainbow of social justice symbols, but underneath you will find the same burning eyes of violence. Regardless of its aims, the nobility of its objectives, or the intentions of its proponents, this is the fundamental nature of government. We saw it clearly in Cuba because Castro didn’t bother with the mask.
This post was originally published at GodArchy.org.