"While his people suffered, Fidel Castro lived in comfort — keeping everything, including his eight children, his many mistresses, even his wife, a secret," former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sanchez wrote, per the New York Post, in the book, "The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Líder Maximo."
Sanchez's exposé featured an inside look into Castro's "personal fortune offering safe haven to drug traffickers," salacious affairs with "a bevy of women" over decades, and a one-time threat to execute Raul because of a bout with alcoholism in the '90s, according to the Post.
Are you surprised that Fidel Castro the Communist lived as he did? I’m not. Think about what Communism actually is. It’s the exact opposite of individualism and self-interest. It’s all about selflessness. We’ve all known people who try to make us feel guilty by saying, "Don’t be selfish." But there’s a catch: The person telling you to not be selfish wants you to do something his or her way.
Guilt-wielding relatives try to manipulate: "You have more money than I do. I need money. Don’t be selfish. Let me have some." We’ve been brainwashed into thinking that "Don’t be selfish" is the greatest insult you can ever hurl at anyone. People become defensive when accused of selfishness, but if you’re to sacrifice your needs, wants, and desires for the sake of another, then doesn’t the person for whom you’re sacrificing gain something from it? And doesn’t this, in turn, make them selfish and therefore bad?
The attitude of self-sacrifice is self-negating and irrational on its own terms. But when you elevate that attitude to a political and social system, you get … well, you get Cuba. Cuba is what happens when a dishonest strongman finds a population brainwashed and weakened by the idea that it’s wrong to care about oneself. Castro piously rationalized his brutality as "the common good," something all dictators proclaim as their goal. Once people believe they have no right to exist for their own sake, the rest, politically speaking, is easy.
Castro was an especially dark, ugly example of the ideology of self-sacrifice in action. His entire political career was based on exploiting the self-imposed guilt of the population he sought to control. But in fact, he is no more than a cigar-smoking, dictator version of the relative who tells you to not be selfish.
Did Castro personally gain from people’s self-sacrifice of their individual liberty, private property, and economic prosperity that only capitalism can deliver? You bet he did. Just like any other hypocritical promoter of "the common good," he gained handsomely from those sacrifices. He had a lot of help from the fawning and sympathetic left, that for decades has dominated America’s media and academic establishment.
Now more than ever, it’s critical that we learn the right lessons from the wasteland of a country Fidel Castro left behind. It’s not merely that he failed to live up to the "ideal" of socialism. The real problem is with his socialist ideology. Without people buying into the idea of self-sacrifice, they never would have tolerated a strongman who stole their property, violated their rights, and even took their very lives. They would have been far too assertive for that, just as a very slight majority of Americans are today.
Why do you think American leftists like Obama, Chris Matthews, and Jimmy Carter speak in reverent, loving tones about this brutal dictator’s long-overdue demise? Because they are after the same twisted and dark ideals as their bearded hero. They yearn for some form of Communism in America, for a progressive super-state where a political governing board decides everything for everyone. Mercifully, about half the American population still won’t let it happen, and this is a major reason why Donald Trump won the election.
If you are looking to sacrifice yourself, then you can always find a Fidel Castro. Promote individual self-interest and sovereignty over one’s own life, and you’ll get a Thomas Jefferson. It’s as simple as that.
Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., LCSW is a psychotherapist and author with a private practice in coastal Delaware. He is the author of “Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (and How to Tell the Difference).” For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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