What makes the sins of communists so permanently damning? Yesterday on The Weekly Standard
web site Lee Bockhorn attacked
Ossie Davis for praising the Soviet Union in the 1960s and the organizers of PBS
’ Memorial Day Concert on the Mall
for having Davis emcee the event.
Bockhorn doesn’t think Davis should do this because everyone knew by the 1960s that the U.S.S.R. “had slaughtered tens of millions of innocent victims.”
However, Bockhorn never grapples this aspect of Soviet history not being qualitatively different from the history United States, as genocide against Native Americans was an integral part of the foundation of the U.S. Thus it logically follows that if any praise of the Soviet Union equals supporting the destructive aspects of that now defunct conglomerate nation’s history then any praise of the U.S. equals supporting the genocide of Native Americans, not to mention a host of other atrocities.
That is of course a ridiculous notion. as there are unquestionably many admirable aspects of the U.S. and its history and to deny their existence is to deny reality. I even acknowledge that the genocide against Native Americans, while not justifiable in any way, shape or form, lead to one of the most egalitarian distributions of land ever to have occurred. Furthermore every society when viewed broadly has admirable qualities and yet also a dark side. As Joe Lockard recently put it in a piece for Bad Subjects, “No nation-state exists without an inheritance of pre-foundational violence and a history of violent self-maintenance.”
And yet only certain countries get blamed for this in the popular political discourses of the U.S. In the pages of LA Weekly John Powers recently lambasted leftists in the U.S. who admire Fidel Castro despite that leader’s undisputable legacy of using “police-state tactics to keep himself in power” and “crushing free speech, purging revolutionary allies, imprisoning political prisoners by the thousands, summarily executing ‘counterrevolutionaries.’”
But how far are you going to go with this? As far as I’m concerned what the U.S. has done to Iraq over the last 11 or so years is worse than anything Castro ever did. The U.S. has contributed to the deaths of many thousands of people there for the crime of living in a country with a dictator who has never done anything the U.S. hasn’t done at one point or another. And Castro’s sins are beyond the pale?
The reason for this hypocrisy is the very standard on which it is based. People in the U.S. largely apply different standards to other countries than they do the U.S. Americans think America can make mistakes and/or, or as I argued yesterday, America is justified in doing things other countires should not be allowed to do. Namely dominating the world.