Quote note (#153)
The Cathedral, masterfully delineated (and in NRO, too — but it is Williamson):
Celebrities came to sit at [Hugo Chavez’s] feet, with Sean Penn calling him a “champion” of the world’s poor, Oliver Stone celebrating him as “a great hero,” Antonio Banderas citing his seizure of private businesses as a model to be emulated in the rest of the world, Michael Moore praising his use of oil for political purposes, Danny Glover celebrating him as a “champion of democracy.” His successor, Nicolás Maduro, continued in the Chávez vein, and even as basics such as food and toilet paper disappeared the American Left hailed him as a hero, with Jesse Myerson, Rolling Stone’s fashionable uptown communist, calling his economic program “basically terrific.” Some of the more old-fashioned liberals at The New Republic voiced concern about Venezuela’s sham democracy, its unlimited executive authority, political repression, the hunting down of government critics, the stacking of elections and the government’s perpetrating violence inside polling places — but Myerson insisted that Venezuela’s “electoral system’s integrity puts the U.S.’s to abject shame.” Never mind that opposition leaders there are hauled off to military prison after midnight raids. […] There is never a reckoning for the Left. An entire generation of American intellectuals found itself enraptured by the brutal, repressive, terroristic political apparatus of the Soviet Union — not only journalistic enablers like Walter Duranty of the Times and the various Hollywood reds and Communist party operatives, but the purportedly enlightened liberals at The New Republic, who were consistent apologists for Soviet brutality at home and abroad at the height of Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror. Scores of Americans, some of them in high government office, were working on behalf of one of history’s most murderous and repressive regimes — and the bad guys in that story are, in the popular imagination, the people who worked to expose that conspiracy, rather than the people who worked to advance it.
Even if Williamson is working for the false opposition, he’s making the case for counter-revolution.