Whenever I see certain intelligent and honest people intransigently defending this set of events usually called “the Cuban Revolution,” I have the suspicion that they must know some argument that is only accessible to insiders. There exists this secret argument and me? I’m an idiot or a great bastard or both simultaneously.
Clearly I am not referring to what is said in the daily Granma and repeated on the program Roundtable about the achievements in public health, education and social security, nor am I speaking of the vaunted internationalist spirit of the doctors, teachers and coaches who “bring their contribution to solidarity to any corner of the world.” No, I am not speaking of the propaganda appeals, but of a forceful ideological argument to continue supporting this process.
I wracked my brain until I came up with the old tenets of the French Revolution – Equality, Liberty, Fraternity – which, translated into contemporary political parlance, provoke the idea of trying to strike a balance between social justice (equality), and human rights (liberty). But the question immediately arises, where do we put fraternity?
The third leg of the stool was neither more nor less than fraternity, understood as a dose of human generosity that supposedly makes those who, thanks to liberty, climb the ladder economically and socially not crush the less favored. But fraternity is also understood as reciprocity so that the less favored, who would like to be the beneficiaries of equality, won’t try to obtain it by snatching the achievements of the talented ones who triumphed. In order to rely on this component one has to believe in it, and what happens (and here is the secret!) is that these intelligent and honest people have come to the conclusion that man is a ruthless beast incapable of exercising fraternity, and therefore must choose between imposing equality to the detriment of liberty or establishing liberty at the cost of renouncing equality.
Following this reasoning, social justice, education, health care and social security free to all, can only be achieved at the expense of economic and political freedoms, while the realization of civil, political and economic rights for individuals can only come through the exploitation of man by man while the poor sink deeper and deeper. Fraternity, like an harmonious element joining two opposite poles, must be understood as entelechy – an expression of perfection and self-realization – that doesn’t exist. That is the secret argument.
The novelty of this assertion is that we have always heard the opposite, namely that the innocent defenders of utopia are those who believe man is good and generous by nature, while the evil proponents of the market see only a wolf behind every man If the authors of this process had believed in fraternity as a tangible reality in the soul of human beings, everything would have been different.
Eureka! Now I discover the secret argument but I don’t join the chorus of applause.