John K Clark (
Mon, 16 Mar 1998 21:42:20 -0800 (PST)


On Tue, 17 Mar 1998 Alejandro Dubrovsky <> Wrote:

>I don't think this [a quarter of the population leaving] is due to
>just hating castro, but more to do with the fact that the (perceived,
>at least) standard of living of the US is much better than Cuba's

I live in Miami Florida and I've talked to Cubans every day of my life for
years, not thousands but MILLIONS of Cubans live here. Out of all those
millions there must be one that doesn't hate Castro, but I've yet to find him.
Without a single exception in my experience, they hate Castro with an
intensity I can't fully relate to. I've not had as difficult a life as these
poor people and I don't hate anyone or anything as strongly as they hate

By the way, what on Earth were you trying to get at when you said
"perceived, at least"?

>>Castro did not inherit a poor country, in 1959 it had the third
>>highest standard of living in the western hemisphere, only the USA
>>and Canada were higher.

>I would love to see some reference for that interesting bit of
>information, or preferably ten.

Then look up a encyclopedia or almanac from 1959, if you want 9 more then
look up 9 more.

>>The fact that for a few days in 1962 Castro brought the human race
>>closer to the brink of extinction than anytime in the last ten
>>thousand years does not increase my admiration of him.
>I never really understood the problem in there.

The problem was global extinction. The USSR withdrew its nuclear missiles
from Cuba over the strong objection of Castro. Neither side can find much to
brag about in their nuclear policy but the fact remains, if the USSR had done
what Castro was urging them to do there would have been a nuclear war, and
we wouldn't be having this pleasant conversation today, not just because
there wouldn't be an Internet, but because there wouldn't be a you and there
wouldn't be a me.

During the crisis most of the president's advisers, including all the
military ones, were urging the President not to wait and to take action
immediately. For example, Chief of the U.S Air Force, General Curtis LeMay
(a VERY scary man) and the head of the Strategic Air Command, Thomas Powers
(even LeMay called him a sadist) told the president that if we didn't order
the missile sites in Cuba bombed within the hour it would be a blot on the
honor of the U.S.A. Kennedy asked LeMay what he thought the Soviets would do
if he did that. LeMay said he understood how the soviets think and because
such an attack would be bound to kill lots of Russians manning the site they
couldn't let it pass, he said they would probably retaliate by bombing our
medium range nuclear missiles in Turkey. Kennedy asked what we should do then,
LeMay said such an attack would kill American solders and that would have to
be avenged by bombing nuclear missile sites in the USSR itself. Kennedy asked
what the Soviets would do then, LeMay said he hoped at that point cooler
heads would prevail.

Actually it was even worse than that. We now know from recently declassified
USSR archives that the nuclear missiles in Cuba were fully operational in
October 1962 and that the Russian field commanders were authorized to fire
them on their own authority if it looked like the missiles were about to be
destroyed or captured. The field commanders had the launch codes! Castro
knew this, Kennedy did not.

The USA thought incorrectly that the missiles were not yet operational and
they never dreamed they could be fired without a direct order from Moscow.
We also know that the USA was absolutely determined to get rid of the missiles
one way or another, if they were not removed by diplomacy in a matter of days
they would send an air strike to destroy them. As I said, the human race
never came closer to extinction.

I don't often say nice things about Communist dictators but I will now,
Khrushchev had the intelligence to see the insanity in the situation and had
the guts to back down. Castro was absolutely furious at Khrushchev's decision
to remove the missiles and never forgave him for it. Khrushchev often made
bloodthirsty speeches but he really didn't want to be a mass murderer on such
a vast scale, but Castro would rather destroy the world than be embarrassed.
If Castro was the dictator of the USSR and not Cuba, you and I and everyone
we know would be dead.

>Didn't (or doesn't) the US have nuclear weapons pointed at Cuba?

I don't know, it's top secret, but I doubt it, there's nothing important in
Cuba anymore, not militarily or economically or scientifically or
artistically or...

>>Anarcho-socialists, is that anything like jumbo shrimp?

>Not a government but an entity which is designated by some method by
>the voluntary members of the group or commune which the entity is
>going to direct.

I don't know what you mean by "entity" and I don't know how it's "designated"
or who does it, but I think I do know what you mean by "voluntary", join us
or take a bullet in the brain, you're free to choose.

>Anarcho-capitalism is just a special case of this by setting group
>is equal to each indivual.

A government is an organization that claims a monopoly on the legal use of
force and has the power to enforce its claim most of the time. In
Anarcho-capitalism no group has rights an individual does not have. So what
the hell are Anarcho-socialists?

>In the common case, the commune is a group of people that choose to
>live together, and the entity that directs them are the people
>themselves, and usually they don't do any enforcing since there is
>nothing to enforce cos most private property is abolished.

Fine, you have a perfect right to do that and I have not the slightest
objection. I presume everyone on this list believes in the Scientific Method,
so let's put it to the test, start your socialist commune today, I'll stick
with business, and we'll see which one turns out to be freer and more
prosperous. I have no desire to stop you, and anyway I have a pretty good
idea which one of us will win the contest, but by all means, try to prove me
wrong. If you do then you will have beaten me fair and square in the free
market of ideas.

I get the impression that our positions are not symmetric however, that you
do have a strong desire to stop me. If I'm wrong about that then I apologize
and we have no disagreement over morality, only over the technical points of
economics, and there is no need to worry about that, nature will let us know
which one of us is correct, no doubt about it. On Mon, 16 Mar 1998 Wrote:

>I find myself drawn to enter a discussion thread I am sure has left
>it's pertinence to this list behind.

If you believe that then you don't understand what the Extropian list is all

>The politics of cultural arguments are IMHO not resolvable.

Personal preferences is not resolvable, but that's OK, I have no wish to
resolve them, economic prosperity on the other hand is objective.

>I have visited Cuba twice so on my observations Cuba is desperatly
>poor but uniformly poor, as opposed to before the revolution when
>there was rich, middle class and poor.

Well of course you're completely correct. Communism can't make poor people
rich but it can make rich people poor. What puzzles me is why you think
that's a virtue.

>The people I spoke with do not hate Castro per se,

If I was a Cuban in Cuba and a foreigner asked me what I thought of Castro
I'd say he was the best thing since sliced bread. My momma didn't rase no

>The ones I spoke with blame the US embargo

The US embargo is certainly part of Cuba's problem, another part is that
Castro was not smart enough to figure that out. Going out of your way to
antagonize you main customer, the largest economic power in the world and
only 90 miles away, is not the ticket to prosperity, unfortunately for the
Cuban people Castro's IQ is only room temperature so all this came as a big
surprise to him.

On the other hand, the US embargo (which I oppose) performs an invaluable
service for Castro, every dictator needs a scapegoat to explain failure,
Hitler had the Jews and Castro has the embargo.

John K Clark

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