Texas Sen. Ted Cruz implying on social media that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a “young socialist” due to the latter’s warm remarks on the passing of Fidel Castro is both funny and tragic.
Funny because Trudeau’s actually only one year younger than the 45-year-old Cruz. That’s right, our hip young progressive PM isn’t all that young. While he’s kept in shape and is blessed with great hair, Trudeau is middle aged.
It’s tragic though, because it shows being a “young socialist” clearly has more to do with state of mind than actual age.
As a teenager I was far more sympathetic to socialism than I am now. Why do we have poverty, I pondered? Why do some have so much and others so little? Can’t the government just force society to be more fair and equitable?
Then I acquainted myself with the earlier history of the 20th century and realized not only was it not this simple but sometimes, often times, communism was deadly.
In 1949, six famous ex-communists explained, in an essay collection, why with their forsaken ideology was “the god that failed.”
Several years later, Alexander Solzhenitsyn began exposing first to his fellow Russians then to the West the brutality of Soviet forced-labour camps in his book The Gulag Archipelago.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 26, 2016
French philosopher and former socialist Bernard-Henri Levy, embittered by the exploits of his comrades, explained to us in 1977 that the far-left was “barbarism with a human face.”
Then, slowly but surely, millions of people in China benefited from their country’s flirtations with capitalism and European countries one by one threw off the yoke of communism. The future was friendly to free markets, economic liberty and democracy.
By the time Fidel Castro visited Canada in 2000, to be an honorary pallbearer at Pierre Trudeau’s funeral, the communist perspective was something for the history books. Cuba was mostly a sad living relic of a broken past.
Politics had moved on and leaders like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair aimed for moderate “third-way” politics – where social progressivism marched hand-in-hand with fiscal conservatism.
But who’s studying history now? Canadian history is mandatory in only four provinces. Western civ is optional.
These days the online world, the only town square millennials know, is composed of echo chambers that shield us from diverse perspectives. That’s the trouble with “young socialists” today. If they’re not learning from the past, they might force us to repeat it.
Observers are trying to figure out why Trudeau made his cringe-worthy statement about Castro that was so out of step with mainstream Western opinion. Trudeau was given the chance to walk it back. He did not, aside from acknowledging Castro was indeed a dictator.
A gaffe is excusable. But this wasn’t a gaffe. These sorts of statements go through multiple approvals before they’re fired off. This was on purpose.
A few years ago, Trudeau said he admires China’s “basic dictatorship.” He also thinks – contrary to the view of even many liberal economists – that you can successfully spend your way into prosperity outside of a recession. He sees no problem imposing a national carbon tax that will, no expert has disputed, make life more costly for millions of regular Canadians. And then this happens. Notice a trend?
A couple days before the last election I made the humble observation that we might come to regret electing as leader of a G20 nation a man whose main pre-Parliament experience was dropping out of grad school multiple times.
Let’s hope Trudeau’s glossing over of Castro’s legacy hasn’t