The Che Guevara Debate

I recently had this email exchange with a liberal friend about Che Guevara. We try to keep it civilized but we sure are far apart. Read the exchange below.

From Him

I easily found sites that condemn Che as a murderer. But I also found this……

This is what I meant when I said you never budge. Your…”passion” in stating the degree of hypocrisy of those tee shirt showoffs stands as an example of exclusionary justification. There is always more context than “he was a MURDERER” type statements.

You insist on calling me a lefty and after all these years I’m beginning to resent it. You, on the other hand rarely bring any balance to your position. Things are most often very black and white. You use easily identifiable labels for people and ideas. These are ways of oversimplifying your opinions so they have the least surface area for critical consideration.

My position has always been one of balance, well, seeking balance anyway. You can’t honestly say I spout only the most radical left wing agenda. You can’t caste me as narrow minded.

When you have seen passion in me during our discussions, it has most often been in response to a claim of yours, rarely in support of some ideology from the left.

Maybe the world has become too large for people to talk in a balanced way. Conversation is possibly too impregnated with little more than anecdote while the greater context is sacrificed to the epidemic of political alignment by sound bites too many of us excuse as news.

Why else would people, white, middle to lower class, less educated, geographically contained people continually vote against their best interests? What has these people so gripped with the idea that allowing corporations to have control over our government is good for them? That the vast majority of income in this country is going to less than one percent of the population is good for them..? The answer is isolation, ignorance (not stupidity…) and a lack of balance in what they consume as news.

I apologize if this sounds “holier than thou”. I don’t have malice in my position. But you have to admit that more than once I have mentioned that we so easily get off on tangents when what I want to discuss is what you want for the country and how we should get there. Where that interest goes off the rails is usually when you express outrage for the things that the radical periphery of the left pushes. Che Guevara is an example of that.

My Response

My dear friend,

I hate to sort of continue the feud but you are a lefty and I think what you did with my Che comment is a classic example of why no amount of our interactions leads me away from that observation.

I was attempting to show you the differences in how you and I think by offering you the example of the Che t-shirt. My point, since I was talking about people on the left that were spouting a bunch of (in my opinion) nonsense about GMOs, I gave the Che example as a shorthand to illuminate my frustration. I hoped this simple illustration would help you see how frustrating and futile it is for anyone with even a glancing knowledge of Che’s crimes to continue a rational political conversation with someone wearing a Che t-shirt. The equivalent (if one is required) would be a dude with a Hitler t-shirt or trying to talk racism with a guy with a Bull Connor t-shirt. But, remember, I did not bring up Che to change the subject or point fingers at leftists, or disparage your beliefs, or oversimplifying my ideas… I brought up Che as a shorthand to try to explain to you the difficulty one faces on the right constantly plowing over old ground, “settled law” as Al Gore might call it… It was an illustration of something that appeared obvious to me, so obvious that I could share it with you as an example. If you are wearing a Che t-shirt, you have already announced your ignorance (to me) and inability to engage in any serious political discussion, because we are not even on the first square together.

Your response to that is to go FIND AN ARGUMENT CONTRARY TO MINE. Yeah for Google. What did that take you? All of 3 minutes. And, so you managed to pick a Reddit post that was put out by permission from a Marxist historian defending Che. This is beneath you. Stop doing that. Take a position. Right here, right now.

CHE GUEVERA – Murderous, sadistic killer — True or False – Research it, THEN…

PICK. You’ll feel better. But, you can’t pick. Because if you ever picked, you might suffer from the ailments you dislike in me, including being “very black and white,” “rarely bringing any balance to your position” or using “easily identifiable labels for people and ideas.”

But, there are things that are BAD —

Marxism, the Soviet Union, Stalin, Lenin, The Stasi, Pol Pot, Khmer Rouge, Berlin Wall, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Sung (Un) (Il), Sandinistas, Chairman Mao, Communist China, PLO, Yasser Arafat, Trotsky, Jaruzelski, Ceausescu, Das Kapital…

I am black and white on every one of the topics mentioned above and about a hundred corollary items centrally located in the evil history that is communism tried on this planet. I believe that the evidence is incontrovertible that communism directly contributed to the deaths of a hundred million people and what drove those deaths was an ideology that was inhumane and murderous, a reality that was spoken about loudly in conservative circles and was seen quite differently from your side. So, if someone wears a t-shirt with any of the above depicted on it, I shall secretly consider them a complete idiot but publicly I will barely have time for them, because (and on this point you are so right) I CAN NOT BUDGE. COMMUNISM IS THE BLOODY, SHIT-TURD OF HUMAN ORGANIZATION. I HATE IT.

Tolerance is not the only virtue. It’s unfair, you say. My arguments lack nuance. How can you put Che Guevara and Pol Pot in the same category? I say, how can you not?

So, please do your research beyond one Marxist professor, and, at your leisure, please let me know your view of Che Guevara. He may not have been a pedophile (the allegation has multiple sources), but he was a murderous fuck. I look forward to you calling me in agreement when your research brings our points of view together.

Do yourself the favor as a thinker and write down what positions you hold in your heart that are not “in balance.” Do an exercise in “narrow minded” thinking. What things do you hold so tightly out of balance in your heart that you would be willing to sacrifice for them? When you know those things, you will begin to be in true balance.

I know, I know, I’m only pissing you off even more. So be it. What are ruined friendships for, except to bitch about how awful the other guy was.

So, yes, I mentioned the Che t-shirt as an example of why arguing with the left is so exhausting (we share NO common ground on Che) and futile, and you shared a link with me that proved my point. You will never see what you did as a “narrow-minded” gesture. All the “narrow-mindedness” is always one way. You just assume that it never even occurred to me to check my sources in forming an opinion on that murderous prick, so you send me a worthless link to BROADEN my mind. But your link is a piece of worthless journalism. It is one Marxist professor offering to explain the evils of a comrade through obfuscation and weirdly crafted non-denial, denial language. It is as weakly sourced as a puff of smoke and it is not true. But that is all you sent me and I presume it was meant as your strongest argument.

If this is different from how you see it, please illuminate that for me.

As to your second question, about what would I do differently for the country, well, I’ll try to work on that response and ship it as well.


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