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Baseball, Cigars, and Freedom
He has physically outlived seven U.S. presidents and politically outlasted three more. But time is almost up. The triumph of freedom over tyranny is inevitable and it is likely that repressive government in Cuba will begin to die alongside Fidel Castro himself. It is unfortunate that Castro will not live to see his subjects free but for Cubans, Americans, and humanity the freedom itself will be enough.
For Cubans, of course, the fortune of the demise of repressive government is self-evident. Instead of an economy wracked by sanctions, not to mention the inevitable failures and repression of a planned economy, the Cuban people will be able to once again unleash their competitive energies. Instead of being told by the government what to do, with their lives and their earnings, they will enjoy the blessings of freedom. In short, they will be able to live their lives for themselves and their families rather than the state.
Less obvious perhaps are the enormous benefits that citizens of the United States will garner from the fall of tyranny in Cuba. When America finally decriminalizes trade and travel to Cuba we will get more than a glut of major league baseball players and Cuban cigars. Cuba is apparently a beautiful country to travel to, goodness knows the Mets need pitching, and those Cohibas are something special, but they are important also for what they represent: our own freedom.
The ban on anything-Cuban that our government has imposed has come at the cost of freedom of Americans. Currently we cannot trade with, through, or to Cuba. It is not that we choose not to do so for reasons of cost, efficacy, morality, or availability. It is for reasons of politics and it is profoundly antithetical to the spirit and practice of liberty. It is one thing to argument for limits on weapons exports to regimes committing human rights violations, for example. But it is hard to imagine why the same argument should apply to, for example, exporting foodstuffs and importing cigars. I hardly see how we are aiding the cause of Castro ‘s admittedly tyrannical by allowing Americans either to trade or travel. Prohibitions on trade are unfortunate in their own right, they stop people from making themselves better off than they were before.
We can also expect the fall of Cuba to open our collective eyes to the inferiority of authoritarian collectivism. Teary-eyed portrayals of Cuba as a universal healthcare paradise by far left-wingers in our own country aside, an opening up of Cuba will show just how repressive and backwards Castro ‘s particular brand of socialism really is. When the Berlin Wall fell and we could see East Berlin, when the German Democratic Republic fell and we could see East Germany and when the Soviet Union fell and we could see Russia, the evidence was damning. And should it be any surprise? These countries have to use force and coercion to keep their people in, people who are literally dying to get out.
The case against the silly trade embargo (and consequently for the end of Castro) is much larger than the physical products we will gain. Half in jest I point to baseball players, but the freedom to travel and immigrate freely really represents the opportunity to seek a better life. I also point jokingly to the boon to cigar smokers, but this too is merely representative of the ability of trade to provide us with the things necessary for a better life.
So while Castro has remarkably outlived many of America ‘s finest leaders, he will not be able to outlive the ideas of liberty. His downfall will give America and the world, at long last, baseball, cigars, and freedom.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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