A Conservative Owns Up to Mandela Mistake

While most conservatives outside of the really far right fringe are publicly celebrating Nelson Mandela without acknowledging that they opposed him in the most grandiose terms when it actually mattered, Deroy Murdock owns up to it and admits that he was completely wrong.

In one particular case, however, I really blew it very, very, very badly. But I was not alone.

Like many other anti-Communists and Cold Warriors, I feared that releasing Nelson Mandela from jail, especially amid the collapse of South Africa’s apartheid government, would create a Cuba on the Cape of Good Hope at best and an African Cambodia at worst.

After all, Mandela had spent 27 years locked up in Robben Island prison due to his leadership of the African National Congress. The ANC was a violent, pro-Communist organization. By the guiding light of Ronald Wilson Reagan, many young conservatives like me spent much of the 1980s fighting Marxism-Leninism — from the classrooms of radical campuses to the battlefields of Grenada, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, both overtly and covertly. Having seen Communists terrorize nations around the world while the Berlin Wall still stood, Mandela looked like one more butcher waiting to take his place on the 20th Century’s blood-soaked stage…

Nelson Mandela was just another Fidel Castro or a Pol Pot, itching to slip from behind bars, savage his country, and surf atop the bones of his victims.

WRONG!

Far, far, far from any of that, Nelson Mandela turned out to be one of the 20th Century’s great moral leaders, right up there with Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also was a statesman of considerable weight.

That’s kind of refreshing to read. And it’s published in the National Review. It would be nice to see the editors of that magazine own up to its own past in this regard. This is, after all, the magazine founded by William F. Buckley, who wrote in 1985, “Where Mandela belongs, in his current frame of mind, is precisely where he is: in jail.”

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  • colnago80

    Speaking of the Mandela funeral, the following should make Joe Farah totally lose it. Billo the clown and Sean Schmuckity on the fascist news channel will jump up and down in rage. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will immediately drop a bill for impeachment in the House hopper.

    http://goo.gl/tLxpY4

  • Chiroptera

    Like many other anti-Communists and Cold Warriors, I feared that releasing Nelson Mandela from jail, especially amid the collapse of South Africa’s apartheid government, would create a Cuba on the Cape of Good Hope at best and an African Cambodia at worst.

    Jesus Christ! How could a “Cuba on the Cape of Good Hope” have possibly have been any worse than apartheid? Or was the fear that white people might have ended up in a “Cuba on the Cape of Good Hope”?

    I think he needs to keep rethinking the morality of his beliefs. I don’t think he quite gets what the problem was.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Jesus Christ! How could a “Cuba on the Cape of Good Hope” have possibly have been any worse than apartheid? Or was the fear that white people might have ended up in a “Cuba on the Cape of Good Hope”?

    yeah. This is the part that most needs examining.

  • CSB

    Personally, I’m a fan of Newt Gingrich’s response to the right wing’s freakout over him saying something nice about Nelson Mandela:

    So let me say to those conservatives who don’t want to honor Nelson Mandela, what would you have done?

    Mandela was faced with a vicious apartheid regime that eliminated all rights for blacks and gave them no hope for the future. This was a regime which used secret police, prisons and military force to crush all efforts at seeking freedom by blacks.

    What would you have done faced with that crushing government?

    What would you do here in America if you had that kind of oppression?

    Seriously, how big of an asshole do you have to be when NEWT FUCKING GINGRICH is telling you to dial it down?

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Having seen Communists terrorize nations around the world

    At least now it’s just the capitalists terrorizing nations, as the gods intended.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    By the guiding light of Ronald Wilson Reagan, many young conservatives like me spent much of the 1980s fighting Marxism-Leninism — from the classrooms of radical campuses to the battlefields of Grenada, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, both overtly and covertly.

    By the guiding light of Ronald Reagan!? Wow! I can haz hyperbole?

  • Michael Heath

    Deroy Murdock:

    By the guiding light of Ronald Wilson Reagan, many young conservatives like me spent much of the 1980s fighting Marxism-Leninism — from the classrooms of radical campuses to the . . .

    This yahoo’s alma maters are Georgetown and NYU. He received degrees in business from both. Am I supposed to believe those schools advocated for the destruction of regulated capitalism to be replaced with a Maxist-Leninist type government?

    This guy doesn’t just behave like a chicken hawk, but one that’s fought battles that never occurred. He should commiserate with Ted Nugent, they could swap war stories.

  • colnago80

    As predicted, Congresscritter Ros-Lehtinen was less then thrilled with the handshake between Obama and Raul Castro.

    http://goo.gl/reO6GF

  • Pen

    In the face of what is basically a pro-capitalist commentary, I feel obliged to point out that whilst apartheid is gone in South Africa, and theoretical equality of opportunity now exists, not much has actually changed for a large proportion of people, nor is there a system in place that makes change likely. Indeed, optimism in South Africa seems to be decreasing (it may get a little boost of communal spirit around Mandela now). I gather there are still the same number of places at the top (very few), admittedly different people filling them, but getting there on the basis of cronyism instead of racial selection. Frankly, it’s a very similar thing, but less visible.

    Sorry to be pessimistic at a time of … you know, whatever people feel when a much admired leader dies, but Deroy Murdock brought it out of me.

  • pacal

    Yes it is nice of this guy to admit that he was wrong. But then he goes on to justify his wrongness with a whole string of dubious comments. My favorite is:

    “The ANC was a violent, pro-Communist organization.”

    Really!? The ANC was more violent than the Apartheid regime!?. More violent than the various South African supported, and US conservative supported movements in neighbouring countries like Mozambique and Angola!?

    Finally his past fantasy that Mandela would be a Pol Pot, or Fidel Castro and “surf on the bones of his victims. Aside from his feverish imagination just where did that piece of drek come from? Mandela’s speeches and various writings were available to read by 1980 and in fact much earlier. Obviously this person ignored all that and swallowed a political rape / murder fantasy based on nothing more than ideological fanaticism.

    Yes it is weird when Newt Gingrich says something, well so sensible. As for that last appalling quote from William F. Buckley. What can you expect from someone who supported segregation in the South and the Civil Rights movement. But then William F. Buckley was often one to support tyranny and oppression if done by the “right” people.

  • pacal

    Opps I meant to say What can you expect from someone who supported segregation in the South and opposed the Civil Rights movement.

  • colnago80

    Relative to Mandela’s funeral, here’s the latest in assholery from Bibi Netanyahu. What a maroon.

    http://goo.gl/nZvK9o

  • colnago80

    Of course, Bibi could have asked his pal Obama to make a stop at Ben Gurion airport and given him a ride to Pretoria on Airforce One.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, shitfuckhellgoddamn!

    I just googled Deroy “Murdoch” to find out which one of Rupert’s asshole sons he was. Turns out that it’s even worse than I thought. He’s one of those people I can NEVER understand, a black Republican.

    Makes.NO.Fucking.Sense.

  • Childermass

    My Facebook newsfeed is just polluted by attacks on Mandela from racist websites thanks to my family being on the extreme right wing of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party.

  • David C Brayton

    Betting that South Africa would become even worse with Mandela was the smart bet.

    Just look at recent revolutions. Egypt is hardly going well for human rights and Libya just instituted Sharia law. The USSR devolved into many other dictatorships, Russia being the biggest. Ukraine is having a helluva time breaking free of of Russia. Mugabe’s revolution in Zimbabwe is a human rights nightmare.

    Actually, other than South Africa, I can’t think of any revolutions in Africa that have turned out well for human rights and democracy. Revolutions, not just in Africa, tend to result in dictatorships or they devolve into intractable civil wars between different races, ethnicities and/or religions.

    On top of all that Winnie Mandela was hardly a saint and seemed to actively work against her husband’s objectives.

    Nelson Mandela’s success is astonishing.

    Sadly, my point is this: Revolutions rarely improve human rights. Most often lead to miserable conditions even worse human rights abuses. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss (and often worse).

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    …many young conservatives like me spent much of the 1980s fighting Marxism-Leninism …to the battlefields of Grenada, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, both overtly and covertly.

    By fighting on the “battlefields”, I assume he means that he remained comfortably in the US and maintained his privileged lifestyle, occasionally denouncing some liberal or other of being a secret communist.

  • magistramarla

    I’m still chuckling at the way that the followers of Ted Cruz showed their true colors when Cruz had the audacity to post a tribute ot Mandela on his facebook page. It should be brought up if Cruz actually runs for President in 2016. Sane voters in this country can get a good look at the fringe crazies who support him.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “Actually, other than South Africa, I can’t think of any revolutions in Africa that have turned out well for human rights and democracy. Revolutions, not just in Africa, tend to result in dictatorships or they devolve into intractable civil wars between different races, ethnicities and/or religions.”

    The stated goals of most colonial powers, in Africa and elsewhere, is to “raise up” the local savages to a level of civilization where they can run their own affairs like white people* do. The methods used to accomplish this transformation usually result in any local savage with sufficient organizational skills, charisma and courage to do such things being co-opted or exterminated. Colonialism begets all of the things that happens when colonies are cut loose after long periods of oppression by their “benefactors”.

    If we did not want their natural resources, captive markets for our manufacture or places to coal, harbor and rest our navies we would have never gone near the Philippines, Cuba, Guam, Hawaii or several other former colonies of Spain or sovereign nations in their own right

    .

    * or maybe only less dark people do.

  • colnago80

    Re David C. Brayton @ #16

    The 1979 revolution in Iran is a casebook example of this where the secular dictatorship of the Shah was replaced by the theocratic dictatorship of the mad mullahs.

  • Nick Gotts

    Betting that South Africa would become even worse with Mandela was the smart bet. – David C. Brayton

    No, it was the bet made by the ignorant, the prejudiced and the privileged, because they wanted to believe it. The ANC’s unequivocal commitment to non-racial democracy, and the already-existing civil society infrastructure made it clear to those of us supporting the anti-apartheid movement that the prospects were reasonably good. Racist scumbags like Reagan and Thatcher supported apartheid because they didn’t give a shit about those suffering under it.

    Just look at recent revolutions.

    Ok, let’s do that, without the blinkers of prejudice in place. What we find is a mixture of results, but I’ll focus on the positive. Most of eastern Europe seems to be rather better off after the overthrow of the USSR’s satellite dictatorships, and that of the Titoist regime in Yugoslavia. Spain and Portugal likewise after the overthrow of their fascist dictatorships, and similarly in most of South America after the fall of military regimes (of course, a lot depends on how you define “revolution”, but then, apartheid was ended by negotiation, as was always feasible if the bulk of the white minority could be brought to see sense). In the rest of Africa, the majority of post-colonial countries are now both more democratic and richer than they were at decolonisation – and this includes some of those where that process was most revolutionary, such as Mozambique and Kenya. Ordinary Cubans, while they lack democratic rights, are much better off than under the Batista regime that preceded Castro. And even in Iran, the average Iranian is far better off than under the Shah (extreme poverty down more than in any other country, literacy up from less than half to near 100% among those born since the revolution, more than half of all university students women, average number of children per woman greatly reduced, six months’ paid maternity leave, and a real though limited choice at elections). As for the “Arab Spring” revolutions, it’s rather early to come to any definitive conclusions, but while Egypt (where there has been a counter-revolution) and Libya don’t look good, Tunisia, although not out of the woods, looks a good deal better.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Seriously, how big of an asshole do you have to be when NEWT FUCKING GINGRICH is telling you to dial it down?

    Wow, Newt Gingrich put on his Elder Statesman hat? I guess that’s his ten seconds of decency for this year, before he goes back to being part of the problem he pretends to condemn.

  • Nick Gotts

    BTW, it’s worth noting that Mandela’s first foreign visit on his release was to Cuba, in order to personally thank Fidel Castro for Cuba’s role in ending apartheid – most notably the role of Cuban troops in defeating the 1975 and 1988 South African invasions of Angola. Defeat in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1988 was the beginning of the end for the apartheid regime. Unfortunately, Angola, where the MPLA regime has become one of the world’s most shameless kleptocracies, is one of those cases where revolution has produced an outcome at least as bad as the pre-revolutionary situation.

  • maddog1129

    @ Childermass #15

    My Facebook newsfeed is just polluted by attacks on Mandela from racist websites thanks to my family being on the extreme right wing of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party.

    My FB feed wasn’t “chock full,” but even one (with numerous “likes” and “yay” comments) was enough. That person was unfriended at once.