It startles the average person that intellectuals, celebrities and politicians in America are sympathetic to ruthless dictators. In fact, many of them have given public expression of their support and admiration for political leaders like Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and North Korea’s recently deceased Communist leader, Kim Jong-Il.
As regards to Kim Jong-Il, the media and politicians recently eulogized this North Korean leader as “smart and ruthless,” “shrewd and calculating,” “tactically brilliant,” and “profoundly important around the world.”
Former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, in a surprising tone of sympathy, said that “[H]e would really have loved to have been a movie director… It was possible to talk with him. He's not a nut. I think that's the main kind of point.”
Certainly this troubling kind of admiration is nothing new.
Actor Danny Glover has made his affections known for Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Movie producer Oliver Stone said that Castro is, in his own words, "Very selfless and moral. One of the world's wisest men."
Another celebrated movie producer, Steven Spielberg, once spoke in glowing terms of the Communist leader of Cuba: “Meeting Fidel Castro was the eight most important hours of my life.”
And Jesse Jackson took his admiration for the Cuban dictator a step further: “Viva Fidel! Viva Che! Castro is the most honest and courageous politician I've ever met."
It is also important to note that the admiration for dictators found its way into the White House in recent years. Anita Dunn, former Social Communications Director of the Obama administration, referred to Mao Tse-tung, former Communist leader of China, as one of her two “favorite political philosophers.”
Keep in mind that Mao, Castro and Kim Jong-Il, put together, have killed millions of innocent civilians.
Talk radio commentators and political pundits rightly criticize this peculiar trend among intellectuals, celebrities and politicians. However, if Catholics only consider the admiration for dictators in a political context and therefore dismiss it as a mere annoyance to some conservatives, then I am afraid they are missing the bigger picture. In fact, they would be turning a blind eye to a looming threat that will, sooner or later, cause the Church in America much suffering.
This goes beyond what any Republican or conservative might find offensive.
No doubt, this is a spiritual and moral matter which concerns the mission of the Catholic Church. It is important to remember history: dictators have never been friends of Christ’s nor have they been friendly to the proclamation of the Gospel.
What they are known for doing is turning faithful Catholics in martyrs and using repressive measures to silence preaching. And to find that university professors, actors and elected officials in our country are becoming increasingly sympathetic to dictators should be a cause for concern.
What we have observed so far begs the question: Why do some prominent intellectuals, celebrities and politicians admire dictators who have been known for killing scores of people? Mind you, this is not just a twenty-first century phenomenon.
This demographic of elites have been duped by Stalin, Hitler and other ruthless regimes in the twentieth century too (read the “Liberal Death Wish” by Malcom Muggeridge). Wasn’t it Stalin who called liberals useful idiots? It is amazing how secular-liberalism can render intelligent minds and accomplished individuals to be so gullible.
Take for instance the Catholic and the Jewish voting bloc. The majority of Catholics and Jews voted for President Barack Obama in 2008. But, needless to say, his administration has initiated policies that have challenged the Church’s religious liberty in America (i.e. the federal mandate to have Catholic agencies cover birth control and abortifacients in their healthcare coverage) and Israel’s national security (i.e. his call for the return to the 1967 borders).
However, orthodox Catholics and Jews knew beforehand this would be the case if Obama were to be elected. His current policies are no surprise to them! Yes, people are quite capable of admiring those who would do them harm.
In any case, the admiration for dictators goes beyond the day to day scrimmage between liberals and conservatives. It has profound spiritual and moral implications for society. Today this sympathy for evil among intellectuals, celebrities and politicians is more effectively communicated to the people than, let’s say, a hundred years ago.
This is why Catholic Church should have something to say about this growing phenomenon.