Uncool analogies

Tim Blair is an idiot. You knew that already, of course. But it does take a particularly moronic worldview to equate Nazi Germany with Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

I don’t support Castro; his regime is authoritarian, and disagreeing with him might well land you in jail. However, he’s far more of a Lee Kwan Yew than an Adolf or a Mao – he took control of somewhere absolutely knackered and horrible, and brought massive improvements to its people’s standard of living.

Neither Singapore nor Cuba are places I’d choose to live – I’m quite keen on the whole ‘freedom’ thing. Still, life in either country would be reasonably tolerable, unlike life in Nazi Germany or Maoist China.

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12 thoughts on “Uncool analogies

  1. Hmmmm, from mud to dirt. Basing your morality comparison on the Bastista Regime is a rather nauseous exercise…

  2. Are you saying that you are not a relativist? How do you make moral judgements then?

    As I have argued [http://bartlettsbizarrebazaar.blogspot.com/2004/11/moral-relativism-response.html], there can be nothing but moral relativism.

    This is not to say, ‘this is better, so it is good’, as I also explicitly argue.

    You are one for empty statements, and I fail to see the point of your trolling, unless it is an expression of a particularly unpleasant personality.

  3. Tim Blair is more of a parody of himself now really. Maybe he’s playing to his audience after all…

  4. John, I think he meant that a twenty year old idiot with a swastika armband isn’t as bad as people like Spielberg, who should know better, being taken in by the Castro regime. Obviously you can’t compare Cuba to the Third Reich, but you can’t compare it to Singapore either. Singaporeans can travel to Cuba, but not vice versa. Lots of people want to immigrate to Singapore; many Cubans risk their lives to emigrate. In 1958 Cuba was as rich as Italy; now it is on a level with Africa. Everyone in Singapore is well fed; the Cubans I met didn’t even have any cooking oil. Singaporeans aren’t forced to attend political rallies; in Cuba you get in trouble if you don’t. I am sure there are more prostitutes in Cuba today than there were in Batista’s day. In Singapore University graduates don’t have to whore themselves.

    I take the point that, if you look around the region, there are worse places than Cuba. And it’s true that they have a lot of genuine grievances against the US, which was sticking its nose in long before the Cold War began, and after it ended. And I agree that it was ridiculous American politicians pretending to be upset about human rights in Cuba when their clients were murdering hundreds of thousands in El Salvador and Guatemala. But even so, it isn’t great.

  5. The factoid that "Cuba was as rich as Italy in 1958" is based on Italy still having been in a hell of a state in 1958, plus some really dodgy GDP statistics from that period. I would be careful in using it.

    My view would be that a) in general, people don’t risk their lives on rickety boats to escape from really great places, but on the other hand b) if Cuba was genuinely a hell-hole then there would be Cuban refugees showing up in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic as well as in the USA; the fact that there aren’t suggests that we’re looking at economic migrants here.

  6. dsquared, I don’t think it is a hell-hole. It’s bad, but only quite bad.

    The thing about Cuba is that it sends everyone nuts, in one way or another. It’s like Palestine- people start shaking with rage as soon as you mention it. People like Jesse Helms and the Venezuelan opposition talk about it as if it were the worst tyranny in history and a threat to the whole region, while people like Steven Spielberg and Naomi Campbell seem not to notice that there’s no free speech or that they’ve never held an election.

  7. Cuba? Sorry, I meant to say Singapore. Duh!

    The problem I have is that the most outspoken critics of Cuba tend to be the same people who support pulling out of human rights treaties, emergency laws, restrictions on protests etc., all because we face a terrorist threat that is, even in its most nightmarish conceptions, minuscule compared to the threat Cuba faces just a few miles away.

    They tend to be the same people who supported Pinochet.

  8. Are you saying that you are not a relativist? How do you make moral judgements then?

    I think moral judgements are much easier for these self-proclaimed Libbo types: the single worst thing in the world is tax and anything else is better than that.

  9. Wow – the things they’ll say while attempting to twist the real world into the shape of their funny ideals. It’s like watching one of those contortionists gradually folding themselves into a tiny box.

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