Last month Professor David Peterson from Skidmore College stopped by a pro-law enforcement rally. He didn’t participate in any way; he didn’t hold signs or chant slogans, he and his wife reportedly stopped by just to hear what the “Back the Blue” ralliers had to say. Later that night, an email circulated among students calling for both professors to be fired from Skidmore College for the grave sin of casually attending a pro-police rally. By doing so, they “[engaged] in hateful conduct that threatens Black Skidmore students.” Students put up a sign to dissuade people from entering Professor David Peterson’s classroom. It read, “This is not a safe environment for marginalized students . . . By continuing to take this course you are enabling bigoted behavior on this campus.” A student group demanded his firing and recruited students to send a “pre-written email” to college administrators. Although Peterson was not fired, the efforts to destroy his reputation resulted in accusations of racism, sexism, and hate, and caused his class enrollments to plummet. This is just one recent example of “cancel culture.”
Cancel culture is making waves in the West. Canceling someone usually takes the form of a social media lynch mob that pressures the canceled individual out of all business and social interactions. While this may be appropriate in rare circumstances, it is used arbitrarily at a cost to society as we saw with Professor Peterson. Even liberals are subject to a tsunami of criticism if they don’t prescribe to the progressive orthodoxy on every single issue (see J.K. Rowling). What should qualify someone for cancelation? Kyle Kashuv made inappropriate comments as a child and as a result, had his admission to Harvard revoked despite apologizing. What about professor Peterson of Skidmore College, did his actions warrant cancellation? For canceling to have any real meaning it should be reserved for rare use. The threshold for canceling someone should be high. It should be reserved for those who have nothing redeeming about them.
If we are going to cancel someone that deserves it, we ought to cancel Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Che Guevara is adored by college students, Hollywood elites, and hipsters alike. “His image is ubiquitous in the West — adorning the shirts and bags of an affluent but historically illiterate generation” according to the Cato Institute. He’s seen as a macho-role model and gallant martyr to those who proudly wear his face on their clothing, but a deeper look will expose Che for who he really was—a monster.
Che was a Marxist revolutionary from Argentina. He played an active role in communist revolutions in Cuba and the Congo. He burned books and as the legend goes, didn’t bathe. In addition to being a communist, he was also a racist, homophobe, and anti-semite. Despite being romanticized as heroic, he “was a man full of hatred.” “He was responsible for the opening of the first Cuban concentration camp – where homosexuals and Christians were tortured and re-educated.” He was a murderer and torturer who doled out extrajudicial punishment, including execution, to political dissidents.
Che was directly responsible for persecution and violence, but the implementation of his communist political philosophy destroyed people’s lives as well. Prior to communism, “Cuba was one of the most advanced and successful countries in Latin America,” but today it’s desolate and poor. Cuba was no paradise of freedom prior to the revolution, but the system Che introduced was totalitarian to the core. As Richard Cohen put it, “He would not tolerate a free press, and his own political party was the only one permitted. In the end, he ruined his country’s economy while at the same time exporting terrorism.”
Under Castro’s Cuba, Che was made a professional central planner. He played a big part in destroying Cuba’s economy, currency, and industry. His economic policies were strictly based on classical Marxist ideology and included the “nationalization and centralization of the economy.” Che opposed decentralized economic planning like that of the Soviet Union which allowed certain factories and economic centers to be governed locally by state actors. This may seem like materialist damage but it has had a real impact on millions of Cubans since the revolution. It turns out that one central planner isn’t as efficient as an entire capitalist economy at organizing industry. Ironically, Che’s likeness now defaces a variety of capitalist goods including shirts, bags, buttons, and cigarette packages.
Che was responsible for droves of murders during his lifetime. One of the thousands of killings Che ordered or took part in was against a 15-year-old and his family for resisting the theft of their family farm. “Carlos Machado was 15 years old in 1963 when the bullets from a Che-commanded firing squad shattered his body. His twin brother and father collapsed beside Carlos from the same volley.” He didn’t just order killings though, he relished in committing the murder himself. He writes in his diary of killing a man he suspected of leaking information, “I ended the problem with a .32 caliber pistol, in the right side of his brain… His belongings were now mine.” Che even admittedly murdered a passerby on the street for saying he would leave Cuba after the communists took over.
Society should save cancelations for people like Che Guevara, not David Peterson. Che meets the aforementioned criteria for cancelation. His ideology, policies, and personal actions were all terrible. Absolutely nothing he did benefited humanity.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.