Virtue is Necessary for Democracy
In 1958, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro was asked, “What is your political philosophy? Are you a Communist, or a Marxist?” To which he replied, “There is not Communism or Marxism in our ideas. Our political philosophy is representative democracy and social justice in a well-planned economy.” He told TV personality Ed Sullivan, “You can be sure that Batista will be the last dictator in Cuba.”
He had said this before. In February 1957, he met secretly with Herbert Matthews from The New York Times, who fawningly wrote: “Castro… has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the constitution, to hold elections.” The U.S. State Department believed this and stopped selling arms to the dictator Batista, thus assuring his downfall, even though elections were scheduled for 1958 and Batista wasn’t a candidate. Batista left Cuba on December 31, 1958.
On January 8, 1959, Castro’s army seized power. In February, 1959, Castro wrote to journalist Jules Dubois, “Every person in the society of free nations--- and even those who are opposed under the heels of dictators--- has the right to express his or her opinion…. Only with freedom of the press can there be political freedom.”
This was all a lie. In 1958, Castro’s party, the “26th of July Movement” threatened to kill candidates in the 1958 election. After seizing control, Castro’s army rounded up opposition newspaper publishers, executed them, and then broadcast their executions on television as a way of terrorizing opponents. Soon land and businesses were confiscated; independent unions and political parties were not allowed. Elections were never held. Thousands of political prisoners were arrested, tortured and executed. Castro became dictator.
In 1961, Castro finally told the truth: “If we had paused to tell the people that we were Marxist-Leninists while we were… not yet strong, it is possible that we would never have been able to descend to the plains.” That same year, he closed all Catholic Colleges and seized their property. Hundreds of priests and sisters were exiled. In 1965, Castro’s party was renamed the Communist Party of Cuba. In 1976, Cuba’s constitution declared the country an atheist state.
Cuba became a kind of island prison, which it is to this day. An article in the Miami Herald (5/19/21), says that the Cuban government has threatened to arrest and prosecute any Cuban national living abroad who has participated in “subversive actions.”“This can be anything from merely supporting a street protest on social media to physically attending an anti-regime rally…” It’s not surprising then, that according to the Black Book of Communism, approximately 2 million of 11 million Cubans now live in exile, and a favored destination is the United States. Castro’s sister, who calls her brother a “monster,” and a daughter live in the USA.
Castro knew better. In 1953, at his Moncada Barracks attack trial, Castro criticized the Batista regime and said: “As virtue is necessary to democracy, and honor to monarchy, fear is the essence to a despotic regime where virtue is not needed and honor would be dangerous.” Castro, the despot, chose to rule by fear.
How ironic then, to see statues of the Founding Fathers toppled by those critical of our heritage. Among those criticized is Thomas Jefferson, for being a slaveholder. But Jefferson was a conflicted man. He also wrote the words “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights” into the Declaration of Independence. When a vote was taken cede the Northwest Territory to the federal government, Jefferson moved to vote for it--- on the condition that slavery was not allowed.
Jefferson also recognized the importance of virtuous citizens. He wrote: “The precepts of philosophy… laid hold of actions only… (Jesus) pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man, erected his tribunal in the region of the thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountainhead.” Despite Jefferson’s failings, and those of the other Founding Fathers, they deserve our gratitude. Because of their actions, America is a country that people want to come to, not flee from.
We are so blessed to live in a democratic republic whose founders recognized the principle that the moral law of God is the basis of felicitous individual and civil life and fundamental to a free and just society.
Your station continues to support this principle. Please help the station by telling others, through your financial support, by offering to volunteer, through your prayers, and by asking if you can put our program guides in your parish’s literature rack.
God bless America!