(NATIONAL REVIEW) Last month, on 60 Minutes, in a moment that starkly illustrated his worldview, Bernie Sanders repeated his longstanding admiration for Communist Cuba’s education achievements. Though he conceded that Fidel Castro’s “authoritarian” mode wasn’t ideal, he added, “You know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?” And it wasn’t just 60 Minutes. In recent weeks, Sanders defended the comments in a CNN town hall and during a Democratic presidential debate.
Sanders’s defense of Castro was roundly condemned. New Jersey Democratic senator Robert Menendez thundered, “I’m sure all of those who died at Castro’s hands and were shot at firing squads, all those who were tortured, those who live in my state and suffered enormously under the regime, the more than a million people who fled, I’m sure they all think that the literacy program was worth all of that.”
But the responses were so focused on Sanders’s moral obtuseness that they often left his point about the purported merits of the literacy program unchallenged. This is a mistake.
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