Some of us who have written against Kent’s campaign are lifelong socialists and friendly toward the Cuban revolution. But readers should not conclude from that that any of us deny support to real, homegrown dissidents in Cuba, or deny that more freedom of speech in Cuba would be a good thing, or that there are serious problems in Cuba that are partly the result of failures of Castro’s government. On this side, you will not find anybody avoiding the true complex nature of the question. This side, I argue, IS the middle.That might be the middle position. I don't know and don't really care, and I particularly stopped caring after the phrase "lifelong socialists and friendly toward the Cuban revolution." I stopped caring because I was laughing too hard. Regressive librarians can protest all they want that Kent is some sort of undercover agent or that the librarians aren't really librarians or whatever the arguments are. It doesn't really matter much, since it should be clear to the ALA Council, which occasionally debates this issue, that Cuba is not in America, and thus isn't relevant to the American Library Association.
And why am I laughing at these regressive librarians when I should instead be annoyed at their hypocrisy? It's just because all American communists and socialists and "friends" of the Cuban revolution are so ridiculous, even more ridiculous now that the Cold War is over. They don't care if there's more freedom of any kind in Cuba. For them, intellectual freedom means the freedom to think like them. They're just the same as the pro-Soviet, anti-American communists during the twentieth century. They love the idea of communism and socialism, as long as long as they don't have to live under it.
I can't help but notice that while millions of people under the boot of communist governments over the past 90 years or so tried to escape (that's right, I said escape), very few people from capitalist democracies have been interested in emigrating to communist countries. Oh sure, during the Cold War the occasional traitorous spy would defect to the Soviet Union rather than face execution or prison in his own country, but it was always the communist countries that had to put up fences to keep people in. One didn't see many Westerners braving machine gun fire to move into East Germany
It's the same today with Cuba, especially since it's one of the few communist countries still livin' the dream now that China has become such a global trading power. While there are plenty of Cuban exiles who have escaped from Castro's prison nation, I've yet to read about any American boat people braving the open sea to seek asylum in Cuba, and I don't think it's just because of the American regulations on traveling to Cuba. After all, what do all these communists and socialists care about the laws of capitalist, evil America? And yet, they sit in their comfortable offices at their comfortable computers and write about how great communism is and get friendly with the Revolution. They don't have to worry about their government imprisoning them because they criticize the state or write a blog post poking fun of its leader, if they're even allowed to write blogs.
No free press. No free Internet. No intellectual freedom. No freedom to travel. No freedom to criticize the government. No free elections. No peaceful means of changing regimes. No representation in government. These are the sorts of things one gets with governments like Cuba. Merely to say "that there are serious problems in Cuba that are partly the result of failures of Castro’s government" is to demonstrate that one prefers the dream of (a safely distant) communism to freedom in the lives of individual people. The sham concern with freedom isn't fooling anyone. That's one reason this issue keeps coming up, because no one but a fool would believe that the main motivation to fight Kent and others has anything to do with a concern for complex truths or the niceties of who gets to be called a librarian. The unfoolish all know that it's just this bizarre communist love affair with Castro and the Revolution(!).
Regressive librarians, you may certainly continue to make your arguments and write blogs and emails. After all, you have the benefit of being in a free country that allows for intellectual freedom. But if you want to look less ridiculous and hypocritical, you'll just come out and say you love Castro and the idea of communist revolution and don't care at all about intellectual freedom in Cuba or anywhere else. Who do you think you're fooling?