While walking alone along Cuba’s highway, one cannot help but be reminded of John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”, a book highly recommended. And anybody wishing to understand the socialist mindset, should read John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle”.
Steinbeck shows that socialism has a root cause. It is the ruthless exploitation by the rich of the poor. This is intolerable to any person, religious or not, who has some compassion for his fellowmen. And if you then believe that Socialism can change all that, you go for it. It is quite understandable, then, why Fidel Castro and Che Guevara risked all to establish it. Although grievously wrong in believing that the end justified the means, it cannot be denied that they were sincere. And that their goal in itself was noble.
However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was high time for a thorough rethink. The Cuban regime does not appear to have done so. This is reprehensible. When you see with your own eyes that the socialist economic model does not produce the abundance you promised the people, it is your duty to rethink. Could it be that Raoul Castro is in fact finally rethinking? Or are we reading too much into his recent highlighting of Cuba’s poor agricultural output? Cuba has enough arable land to be exporting agricultural produce.
In fact at the moment it imports nearly 80%!
What’s in a title
It so happens that the person to first advocate solidarism, Louis Kelzo, published his first book in 1959, the first year of the Cuban Revolution. It may well be that the title of this book put the Cuban revolutionaries and all other socialist researchers completely off. In hindsight it was a grave error to call his first book: “The Capitalist Manifesto”. We suppose he did it to avoid being accused of advocating socialism, nevertheless, the mistake was disastrous. And his second book “The New Capitalist” did nothing to take away the wrong impression.
It is true that Kelzo called his system “Universal Capitalism” and that real intellectuals may be expected to read more than just the title of a book. In fact, what Kelzo advocates is neither Capitalism, nor Socialism. It is an entirely new system, rightly called a new paradigm. Therefore his first book’s title continues to confuse. The mistake cannot be undone, but “The Solidarist Manifesto” would have been a thousand times better.