Samuel Gregg: The Left Resumes Its War on History

Roundup: Talking About History

Samuel Gregg is Research Director at the Acton Institute. He has authored several books including On Ordered Liberty, his prize-winning The Commercial Society, and Wilhelm Röpke's Political Economy.

What does an Argentine-born Cuban Communist revolutionary executed in the Bolivian jungle 45 years ago have in common with a small town on Ireland's west coast? Apart from tenuous ancestral connections, the answer is nothing. Recent attempts, however, to manufacture such an association have provided yet another illustration of the left's on-going determination to whitewash history.
In February this year, Galway City Council announced plans to build a statute of Che Guevara to "honor one of its own" (one of Che 's grandmothers was born in Galway). It wasn't long, however, before several Irish business leaders, journalists, and eventually the Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee vented their outrage about the council's decision. Why, they asked, would Galway erect a monument to someone who had personally killed several people without even the pretense of trials? Why would they honor a man who oversaw one of the Castro regime's most brutal periods of oppression -- including arbitrary imprisonments and summary executions?
The Irish left's initial reaction was to deny these facts and launch ad hominem attacks. When that failed, they produced extraordinary rationalizations which bordered on the absurd. One columnist, for example, wrote: "Yes, Che was ruthless and fanatical and sometimes murderous. But was he a murderer? No, not in the sense of a serial killer or gangland assassin. He was one of those rare people who are prepared to push past ethical constraints, even their own conscience, and bring about a greater good by doing terrible things."
Apparently murder isn't really murder if it's justified by "a greater good."
We shouldn't, however, be surprised by such responses. They reflect a pattern...

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