Ernesto 'Che' Guevara

Ernesto “Che” Guevara is seen in this March 5, 1960, photo taken at a funeral in Havana, Cuba.

ALBERTO DIAZ GUTIERREZ/Wikimedia

Fifty years ago this week, Ernesto “Che” Guevara was executed in Bolivia. It was Oct. 9, 1967. Today, you will find his face on T-shirts and coffee mugs. It’s an odd way to recognize a man Fidel Castro once called “an artist of revolutionary war.”

Guevara was a former member of Castro’s Cuban government. During his tenure, it is reported he ordered the deaths of hundreds of Cubans imprisoned during the revolution. He also played a key role in Castro’s rise to power. These Marxists rose to power by taking up arms for their cause. It wasn’t because of their peaceful protests.

After Guevara left Cuba, he eventually was captured by United States-backed forces in Bolivia. He was executed the next day.

There is no doubt that Guevara once believed he was on a mission of good. Born in Argentina to wealthy parents, he became a physician. His family’s wealth also afforded him the opportunity to travel throughout Central America on his motorcycle while studying for his doctorate. It was there that he saw the real disparity between the haves and the have-nots.

On his journey, Guevara saw unfair working conditions, massive poverty and many other “social injustices.” Considering the respect he could garner as a physician to institute change, one would think he could have worked within the institution to initiate change. Instead, he took up arms using guerrilla tactics. In today’s world, we call that terrorism.

It’s difficult to know when Guevara became radicalized, but certainly meeting Castro’s exiled revolutionaries in Mexico had a significant impact. In search of “social justice,” the Marxist movement seemed to provide the answers he thought he was seeking.

The term “justice” reeks of a peaceful means to an end, but it seems whenever that word is preceded with the words “social,” “environmental” or “economic,” peace rarely is the outcome. Many of the violent protests we have seen in recent years were in the name of “justice.”

Men like Guevara and Castro were nothing more than terrorists. Whether it is jihad or socialism, they are terrorists using violence to force their ideology onto others. Whether it is social justice or Sharia law, they desire forced behaviors over basic human freedoms.

To understand socialism, you have to know the Karl Marx in Marxism. “The Communist Manifesto,” which he wrote with Friedrich Engels, became the playbook for the Bolsheviks who created the Communist Party of Russia and eventually the Soviet Union. One might argue his theories were peaceful, but the word “manifesto” has never held up well in history.

In a report called “Death by Government” by R.J. Rimme, and hosted by the University of Hawaii’s website, his research found that 61 million people died at the hands of the Soviet government. This is just a fraction of all of the people murdered by all of the communist regimes around the world.

The problem with Guevara is he is no better than the Soviets before him or the jihadists after him. In his search for “social justice,” his solution was the same — forced acceptance of ideological philosophies through violence, fear and mandatory compulsion.

These same issues also plague the progressive movement today. They may have had a moment of success with the rise of Barack Obama to the presidency, but their radical agenda to force compulsory acceptance of their socialist belief system failed when people later voted Obama’s Democrats out of power in record numbers.

Aside from the terrorist Guevara, they are now faced with the violent tactics of groups like Antifa. While publicly denouncing their actions, Washington’s elitist Democrats know the chaos only can cast deeper doubts against the American system of government. Social compulsion through regulation has become the ultimate response to all behaviors deemed dangerous in the public — whether it is by thought or action.

The left has used its “right to protest” to prevent students from hearing viewpoints that differs from their socialist belief system. Rather than allowing the debate, they use tactics that prevent the opposing viewpoint from being heard. This is why Wisconsin Republicans have proposed rules forcing mandatory expulsion for anyone repeatedly interfering with free speech on Wisconsin’s campuses.

It is odd that American students would wear the face of Guevara on a T-shirt. After all, the original faces of revolution ushered in a new government recognizing their personal freedoms. Guevara’s revolution wanted to create a social equality that would prohibit these same freedoms.

Tim McCumber believes a bankrupt nation feeds no one.