Next time some complains about Disney World being too commerical or corporate, point them to this photo:
This was a T-shirt sold in the China pavilion at Epcot.
If you have trouble reading it, this is what it says:
Poet, revolutionary, genius, and bumbler, the founder of the Peoples Republic was an icon to tens of millions and to a close few, a very human figure.
Of the thousands of people who walked past this display, I doubt if more than a few batted an eye. They should have. Mao was probably responsible for the deaths of more people than any single person in human history.
Consider your reactionion to the following t-shirt:
Artist, revolutionary, genius, and bumbler, the founder of the Third Reich was an icon to tens of millions and to a close few, a very human figure.
I judged a college debate round the year after I graduated at Heart of America. One team ran a Maoism case. Everyone thought it was cute. I wrote the longest ballot of my life, and thankfully the affirmative bungled Topicality. What pissed me off, is that for all the high and might moralism you find with people running critiques, something like this can pass without comment.
I have a random quote on the side of my webiste from George Orwell that summarizes my thoughts very succinctly:
All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.
70m people dead is guess is a “unwelcome fact”.
To a certain extent I can understand why we put Hitler in a special category that we don’t put Mao, Pol Pot, or Stalin in. We fought a war with Hitler, and we didn’t with Stalin or Mao. Moreover, Hitler lost.
Nonetheless, there is a difference between holding someone a particular level of disgust and out right celebration.
So much political discourse today is determined not by what people advocate, but rather by the side they are on. People loathe George Bush, not so much for what he does, but because he’s on the other team. The same was true with Clinton. Some policies advocated by the current administration (warrantless wiretaps) rightfully deserve scorn, but passed without comment in the previous administration. Likewise, those up in arms about lies and scandal in the Clinton adminstration and willing to lie down and let the current overlords do as they please.
Too many people suffer from such an intellectual gridlock, that they cannot bear to admit that there is fault in their side least it be used to advance the cause of the other side. It not so much about advancing an idea, as destroying the other guy.
Take it far enough (and it has gotten this far) and one result is you get Chairman Mao t-shirts at Disney World. There are lots of other examples on both sides, but I don’t think anything else quite makes the point like this t-shirt does.