"The State of The World" Number 8
Complete Index Of All Issues
When Do Liberals Become Conservatives?
The photograph below shows victorious Cuban revolutionary leaders Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfuegos entering Havana in January 1959 after overthrowing the CIA and Mafia-backed (the Cuban Revolution scenes in the movie Godfather II are historically accurate) Cuban President Fulgencio Batista and defeating the leadership of the Cuban army.
Does that mean that Castro and Cienfuegos were against political presidents and government military leaders? No. Upon their victory, Castro became the new President of Cuba and Cienfuegos became the new commander of the Cuban armed forces (Castro is much more famous than Cienfuegos because Cienfuegos mysteriously died in a plane crash only a few months after their victory).
Castro turned out to be a communist, but what he did has been done by all sorts of people, from both extremes of the political and economic spectrum. To a capitalist government, communists are the "liberals," while to a communist government, the capitalists are the "liberals." Liberal or Conservative isn't about economics - it's about political power.
A characteristic that all victorious revolutionaries have in common is to quickly outlaw any further revolutions. Former rebels proclaim the importance of patriotism and loyalty to their regime. Historically, rebels that come to power tend to be more brutal and intolerant of political opposition than the government that they (a clue) violently overthrew. They often become more corrupt as well, as portrayed by George Orwell in his Animal Farm.
"Conservative" means to conserve. Politically, conservative means to maintain what has been established.
"Liberal" means to liberate. Politically, liberal means to reject what has been established.
When do liberals become conservatives? When they become the government and finish tearing down whatever was established before them.