Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby comments on the acceptability of Communism to a liberal world.
IF JOSÉ Saramago, the Portuguese writer who died on Friday at 87, had been an unrepentant Nazi for the last four decades, he would never have won international acclaim or received the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature.
But Saramago wasn’t a Nazi, he was a communist. And not just a nominal communist, as his obituaries pointed out, but an “unabashed’’ (Washington Post), “unflinching’’ (AP), “unfaltering’’ (New York Times) true believer.
Without a hint of irony, AP’s obituary quoted a comment Saramago made in 1998: “People used to say about me, ‘He’s good but he’s a communist.’ Now they say, ‘He’s a communist but he’s good.’ ’’
But the idea that good people can be devoted communists is grotesque. The two categories are mutually exclusive. There was a time, perhaps, when dedication to communism could be absolved as misplaced idealism or naiveté, but that day is long past.
Communist regimes have murdered, according to Jacoby, 100 million men, women and children. And Communism is still a horror to those who live under it.
Anyone who imagines that the horrors of communist rule is a thing of the past ought to spend a few minutes with, say, the State Department’s latest human rights report on North Korea.
Jacoby's position, and it should be ours, is that there is no such thing as a good Communist. Read the full column - There is no ‘good’ communist