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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 19, 2010/ 11 Tishrei, 5771

Cuba's Castro learns what most of us already knew

By George Will



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Fidel Castro, 84, may have failing eyesight but he has noticed something: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore." So, the secret is out. And there is no joy among the alumni, if any still live, of the golden days of Les Deux Magots.

That Paris cafe, now a tourist magnet, was where, before and after World War II, Jean-Paul Sartre and kindred spirits compared notes on life's emptiness and the American menace. Of the latter, a major newspaper, Le Monde, editorialized on March 29, 1950: "Coca-Cola is the Danzig of European Culture." (Ancient history: Danzig was the Polish -- Germany thought German -- city that was a flash point in the approach of the war.)

For advanced thinkers, Castro was a happy harbinger of, among much else, "direct democracy." He came to power on Jan. 1, 1959, and the next year Sartre arrived to explain, in the manner of Parisian intellectuals, the Meaning of It.

As everyone attuned to the Zeitgeist then was -- college students who owned black turtlenecks; aficionados of foreign films (not "movies," heaven forfend) -- Sartre was an existentialist. A critic called existentialism the belief that because life is absurd, philosophy should be, too. But Sartre's pilgrimage took him, with Castro, into Cuba's countryside. There they stopped at a roadside stand for lemonade and an epiphany.

The lemonade was warm, so Castro got hot, telling the waitress that the inferior drink "reveals a lack of revolutionary consciousness." She said the refrigerator was broken. Castro "growled" (Sartre's approving description) that she should "tell your people in charge that if they don't take care of their problems, they will have problems with me." Instantly Sartre understood "what I called 'direct democracy' ":


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"Between the waitress and Castro, an immediate, secret understanding was established. She let it be seen by her tone, by her smiles, by a shrug of the shoulders, that she was without illusion."

Half a century later, Castro seems to be catching up with her. He who proclaimed at his 1953 trial that "History will absolve me" may at last have lost the most destructive illusion of modern politics, the idea that History is a proper noun.

The idea was that History is an autonomous thing with an unfolding logic that, if served by a vanguard of a discerning few who understand its workings, ends in a planned paradise. Hence, as Czeslaw Milosz wrote in "The Captive Mind" in 1953, communists believed that the job of intellectuals was not to think but only to understand.

By saying what he recently did about the "Cuban model" (he said it to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic), Castro seems to have become the last person outside the North Korean regime to understand how statism suffocates society. Hence the Cuban government's plan to shed 500,000 public employees.

This follows a few other measures, such as the denationalization of beauty parlors and barber shops -- if they have no more than three chairs. With four or more, they remain government enterprises. Such is "reform" under socialism in a nation that in 1959 was, in a variety of social and economic indices, one of Latin America's five most advanced nations, but now has an average monthly wage of about $20. Many hospital patients must bring their own sheets. Many thousands of Cuban doctors are working in Venezuela, which is supporting Cuba much as the Soviet Union did.

After the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 -- perhaps the most feckless use of American power, ever -- President Kennedy's brother Robert called Cuba "the top priority in the United States government -- all else is secondary -- no time, money, effort or manpower is to be spared." Ever since, the rhetoric has been fierce as both parties have competed for the votes of the 1.6 million-strong Cuban diaspora in America, especially in Florida, the largest swing state in presidential voting. For example, in 1992, candidate Bill Clinton promised to "bring the hammer down" on Castro, who has survived the disapproval of 11 U.S. presidents.

Today, the U.S. policy of isolating Cuba by means of economic embargoes and travel restrictions serves two Castro goals: It provides an alibi for Cuba's social conditions, and it insulates Cuba from some of the political and cultural forces that brought down communism in Eastern Europe. The 11th president, Barack Obama, who was born more than two years after Castro seized power, might want to rethink this policy, now that even Castro is having second thoughts about fundamentals.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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