One political curse from the twentieth century that continues in this one is the praise from self-described progressives for demagogues whose policies can, in advance, be predicted to hurt the poor and destroy their freedoms.
Such “useful idiots,” as Lenin described them, were thick on the ground in the last century. Walter Duranty, a New York Times reporter, covered the Soviet Union in the 1930s and parroted the official line about Stalin’s agricultural “reforms”. Duranty wrote his dispatches just as millions were dying from Stalin’s forced collectivization in Ukraine.
In Canada, the best example of left-wing praise for poverty-creating regimes was Pierre Trudeau. He lauded multiple communist governments—the Soviet Union, Mao’s China’s and Castro’s Cuba—before, during, and after his time as prime minister.
The curse continues. Recall radical praise for the late Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan autocrat who died in 2013 and whose anti-entrepreneur policies and attacks on civil society were obvious from the start. His destructive policies are again relevant given current Venezuelan protests against his successor, Nicola Maduro, and the government-induced poverty and repression which stem from Chavez-era policies aped by Maduro.
To wit: In 2004, Linda McQuaig glowed in her picture with and praise for Chavez. Arguing he redirected “vast sums of national wealth to the swollen ranks of Venezuela’s poor” McQuaig mourned his passing in 2013. She called it a “sad milestone.” Likewise, Naomi Klein wrote of how Chavez left behind “the most democratic country in the Western hemisphere.” One current Alberta NDP MLA, Rod Loyola, pre-politics, praised Chavez. And in 2013, Loyola was listed by the Marxist Leninist Daily as the media contact for an Edmonton “tribute to Chavez”...
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