Mao Tse-tung (Zedong)
When I was growing up he was called Mao Tse-tung (毛澤東). He was not a warm and fuzzy philosopher. He was not known as a champion of democracy, nor for his respect for human life. One of my better friends is a few years old than I and he was born and raised in Shanghai under the thumb of the man now referred to as Mao Zedong. My friend is not known for fondly quoting heart-warming or cute Mao quotes. No, in fact he recalls Mao as Satan incarnate, a man who had his entire nation gripped in fear. He remembers people afraid of conversing for fear that it might be incriminating. The slightest suspicious move could prove life-threatening.
Mao was the First Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party. But prior to that he was the skillful military leader that overthrew China’s Chiang Kai-shek in 1949. The odds were overwhelming but the mostly rural communists gained control of the world’s most populous nation.
Communism gains its power by promising the lowly people greater power, less poverty, and freedom from oppressing overlords. The pull can be irresistible when the ruling party shows little willingness, compassion, or power to bring justice to the masses. However after every communist revolution, the victory for the peasant-class is short-lived. Lenin, Castro, Pol Pot, Robert Mugabe, and Mao quickly switched from freedom-fighter to persecutor. In each case rivers of blood followed the revolution.
What made Mao even more hideously evil from his ideological mentor, Lenin, was that the killing did not end. It ebbed and flowed until 1965 when Mao launched his Cultural Revolution. Most Americans have no idea the terror and widespread killing that occurred between 1965 and 1969. It all resulted from Mao’s paranoia and his fear that the country had slipped back into the values of capitalism. Thus he encouraged the youth to condemn anyone. They targeted “landlords, rich peasants, counter-revolutionaries, bad elements, rightists, traitors, foreign agents, capitalist roaders and—the Stinking Ninth—intellectuals. In the fight against ‘class enemies’ and ‘bourgeois reactionaries,’ teachers, people with a college degree or relatives overseas, workers, and members of minority groups such as Tibetans, were all targeted.”
Being too intelligent was a guaranteed way to find oneself tortured and dead. By the way, this is not unique to Mao, intelligent people can reason, they can see deception, inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and challenge them. By their very nature, intelligent people make the worst enemies and thus must be crushed for Communism to succeed. We saw it in the USSR under both Lenin and Stalin, saw it in Cambodia’s killing fields under Pol Pot, we saw it in Zimbabwe under Mugabe, and Castro lined people up before firing squads by the thousands.
The torture technique called: Jet-Plane
Mao was openly proud of the torture and death surrounding him. He hated his father passionately and during the Cultural Revolution he commented, “My father was bad. If he were alive today, he should be ‘jet-planed.” (Jet-plane is a torture method where the victim is forced to hold the uncomfortable position (shown right) for hours usually more than 10.)
My point is that Mao was not the kind of guy you look up to. Quoting Mao is really very much like quoting Stalin or that other guy liberal like to compare Bush to. What was his name? Oh yeah Hitler. Although you could quote one of these yahoos without affiliating yourself with them. It’s how you do it. So where am I going?
Glenn Beck v Anita Dunn
Last night I listened to Glenn Beck go on and on about White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn. But before I go into that indulge me for another aside. Since his inauguration, President Obama has been obsessed with Beck and Beck with him. Each calls the other a liar on a daily basis. The administration has even blocked official access to FoxNews largely because of Beck. I decided to begin watching Beck because of Obama’s cry-baby whining about Beck. My initial reaction to Beck was to hang on his every word, but watching him now for nine months I’m beginning to see Beck as a bit of a whiner himself.
Oh don’t get me wrong, when you check his facts, Beck is right or on the right track most of the time. When I check Obama’s facts, I find him wrong or misleading most of the time. Of the two Beck is the more reliable, but Beck drains me with his high caliber emotion and repetition. As a media professional, I call on Fox to shorten Beck’s show to 30 minutes. Lately I can’t stand more than 15 minutes. As for Obama, he needs to grow a pair, buck up, realize he’s the President with the power to lead. If Beck is smearing him then he should honestly refute him with the facts, his perception of the facts, or ignore him. There has never been a more petty, paranoid President, with the possible exception of Nixon. But my Nixon comparison is still in the research phase.
Anita Dunn quotes her favorite philosopher. Or was it just irony?
Enough digression! So I watched as many replays of Anita Dunn as I could stomach before deleting the show from my DVR. In fact, while writing this I watched it once more. Anita Dunn did indeed make a terrible judgment error when quoting Mao. But was the quote supporting a communist agenda? Was she quoting political philosophy from Mao’s Little Red Book? No, she was making a point about staying focused on your own agenda and not becoming side-tracked by the critics. In my estimation her biggest error is also Beck’s point, she said Mao was her favorite philosopher. Can you image the response from The Daily Kos or CBS had a Bush official made a similar comment? Or worse quoted Hitler?
Just today Matt Gertz on Media Matters made the case that Karl Rove was encouraged to read a biography on Mao by W the President. In the same piece he points out that a Barry Goldwater adviser once used the Mao quote, “Give me just two or three men in a village and I will take the village.” To both points I respond, SO WHAT. In fact had Anita Dunn simply quoted Mao without honoring him as her “favorite political philosopher” Glenn would have looked like a fool. I know, you libs want to call him a fool anyway, but check his facts. He’s no fool.
That said, I feel Beck made far too much of Dunn’s comments. However, he latched onto these remarks because there is a clear pattern of Communist admirers in this administration. It is amazing and alarming. Acceptance and admiration for communists has traditionally been a political shot to the head in America, but now we are overwhelmed by it. Just 11 months ago we were being called alarmist and kooks for even bringing up Obama’s quote, “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students; the foreign students; the Chicanos; the Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.” Then during a town hall-style debate Obama asked, “Judge me by the people with whom I surround myself.”
Beck has taken that challenge to heart. Meanwhile most of America seems to have forgotten that request and the mainstream media is pretending the President never said it while loudly chanting, “LALALALALALA” whenever an administration official comes out praising a Communist despot.
CNN reports Dunn's response to Beck's attack. Click to read.
Today, Anita Dunn responded to Beck’s attack claiming her remark was “irony.” She based this assertion on the claim that “neither were political philosophers.” Ah, sorry Ms. Dunn, Mao was a political philosopher. Ever hear of The Little Red Book? I think you have.
Rewatch the Beck clip. She’s not the best public speaker. Her speaking pattern is highly distracting and the constant lip smacking makes me uncomfortable. But stripping away my distractions, I still sense no smirking tell or gesture that would suggest she is being ironic. Her defense is weak at best. I think Ms. Dunn should have rewatched her comments as many times as Beck showed them. Her excuse might have had more credibility if she would have directed us to the point at which she said, “…the two people I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point…”
The perfect out was built into her speech. She could have put the remark in context and brushed it aside as being overly dramatic in using a quote, apart from the context of Mao, to make a point. A point. Instead she mounted an elementary school defense. She raised her arm, stretched out a chubby finger, and pointing at Lee Atwater she said, “he said it too!” Well, ok, she didn’t do exactly that. Rather, she told CNN, “The Mao quote is one I picked up from the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater from something I read in the late 1980s, so I hope I don’t get my progressive friends mad at me.”
Minds closed so tight only a progressive would call them “open”
Again, SO WHAT. Did Atwater say Mao was his favorite political philosopher? In the end there is nothing wrong with reading Mao or any other person’s works. There is really nothing wrong with quoting one of them if you qualify it and use the quote to specifically make a point. In The Godfather there is a line, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” (No, it’s unlikely from Sun Tzu.) But here is what hit me from her defensive comments, she is apologizing to the left for having read Atwater. Not for knowing a Mao quote but for reading the writings of a conservative.
What does this tell you about the “open-minds” on the left? Quoting Mao mass-murderer of tens of millions while attributing him as one of your favorites, perfectly fine. Reading the conservative writings of a successful political adversary, something shameful. Sounds like “progressives” have their brains squeezed so tightly between their butt-cheeks they can’t accept any ideas that might come from anywhere else. And that my friend is why she’ll never call Beck and confront him like an adult.