For Five Months Elian Was Free (Part 2 of 2)

by | Jun 8, 2000 | Cuba & Castro

The case of Elian Gonzalez is the morality of freedom versus immorality of dictatorship. It is the individual versus the all-powerful state.

Click here for Part 1

It is obscene to argue, as the INS and Reno do, that in the name of a “father’s rights,” Elian should be shipped back to Cuba. There are no rights under Communism – there is only a slow, spirit destroying death. The fact is that once back in Cuba, Elian will be forcibly taken from his father and sent to a Communist “re-education camp” – i.e., to a prison for political indoctrination. If that is to be Elian’s fate, then it would have been less tragic if he had drown with his mother.

For those of you who are still confused about what is the best for Elian, consider this: a 1978 Cuban Law mandates that parents and teachers raise children with a “Communist personality,” and it forbids “influences contrary to communist development.” Castro’s infamous “Code of the Child” – a government mandated handbook for raising and educating children – includes totalitarian passages such as this from Article 3: the purpose of education is to “foster in youth the ideological values of communism.” And this, from Article 8: “Society and the state work for the efficient protection of youth against all influences contrary to their communist formation.” Any adult who violates the “Code of the Child” can be imprisoned.

Hordes of Hollywood actors and social activists protest daily that trees and whales should be free. Why are they silent when the issue is a child’s freedom? If a child in America is killed by a handgun, a “Million Moms” March on D.C. If a child has inadequate medical care or is exposed to cigarette ads or goes hungry – we are deluged with calls for donations, government handouts and regulations. Why is not a finger lifted when the U.S. Government sends an innocent child to slave labor?

Many people do not grasp the life-and-death moral issues at stake. To them, living under communism or in America – i.e., living under slavery or freedom – is just a “lifestyle” choice. You know, I wear blue jeans and drive a jalopy, you wear slacks and drive a Lexus; she listens to country western music, he likes classical.

These same people claim that those fighting for Elian to stay in America are “close-minded” – to which I say: wear your close-mindedness as a badge of honor. To be “open-minded” on the issue of slavery versus freedom is to be an accessory to a crime. If a parent were caught suffocating his child, no one would argue that we should remain “open-minded” about suffocation. Why, then, are we told to remain open-minded about communism – a form of government that suffocates a child’s entire life?

Many people believe that the Elian affair is “just a matter of opinion” because they are infected by an evil idea – one taught to them by America’s universities. That idea is relativism, i.e., the disgusting notion that there are no moral absolutes; there are only individual, group, or social conventions. On this view, freedom and living for your own happiness are neither better nor worse than is totalitarianism. It is relativism that short-circuits a person’s ability to decide which is the right type of life for Elian.

But the fact is that it is morally superior for Elian – and for any man – to live in a country that respects individual rights. It is morally superior to live in a country that defends an individual’s right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. And yes, it is morally superior for a child to live in America – a country where he can enjoy ice cream, Pokeman, a day at Disneyland – and where he can grow up to choose his own career, buy his own house, marry the woman of his dreams.

And yes, it is morally superior for Elian to be raised in America — a country where on some future Mother’s Day, he can lay flowers on the grave of the mother who lost her life bringing him to freedom.

The case of Elian Gonzalez is the morality of freedom versus immorality of dictatorship. It is the individual versus the all-powerful state.

When you return home, convince your friends and colleagues; write letters to the editor; call and write your congressmen. Do so in the name of that which you cherish – your own children, your own property and freedom, your own happiness. And do so in the name of America’s founding principle: the individual’s inalienable right to life.

For five months, Elian enjoyed that right. Please join me in repeating five times – one for each month he was free: Liberty for Elian.

Copyright 2000 Gary Hull. All rights reserved. Not to be republished or reprinted elsewhere without the permission of the author.

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Gary Hull, PhD in philosophy, was a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute from 1997 to 2002. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

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