Che Guevara channels Hannah Arendt

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Hannah Arendt describing “the totalitarian personality” in her book The Origins of Totalitarianism published in 1951:

“the completely isolated human being who, without any other social ties to family, friends comrades or even mere aquaintances derives his sense of having a place in the wolrd only from his belonging to a movement, his membership in the party.”

Che Guevara describing himself in Socialism and Man in Cuba published in 1965:

“I have no home, no woman, no parents, no brothers and no friends. My friends are friends only so long as they think as I do politically. Our revolutionaries, have children who with their first faltering words do not learn to call their father; wives who must be part of the general sacrifice necessary to carry the revolution to its destination. Their circle of friends is strictly limited to the circle of revolutionary companions. Theirs is no life outside the revolution. A father who devotes himself to the revolution cannot be distracted by the thought of what his child needs, of his worn shoes, of the basic necessities which his family may lack.

In her book Hannah Arendt was dissecting the most loathsome and murderous ideologies yet devised by man by equating German Nazism and Soviet Stalinism. Ernesto Guevara was very well-read (if not much of anything else) and was probably familiar with Arendt’s work. So wittingly or not Che Guevara was auditioning for the poster-child of this totalitarian personality.

Subsequently this poster child for totalitarianism was hailed as Hero and Icon of the Century by Time Magazine ( alongside famous victims of totalitarianism Andrei Sakharov and Anne Frank.)

In addition, the poster-child for totalitarianism’s very poster is regarded as the most reproduced (in laudatory form) image of the very century during which those totalitarianisms murdered the most human beings of any ideologies in human history.


In an intellectually sane world the above sequence of events would be impossible.

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1 thought on “Che Guevara channels Hannah Arendt”

  1. I seriously doubt Che read Arendt; he would have considered her bourgeois, not to say degenerate. And by the way, being well read is not the same as being intelligent, let alone enlightened. Also, for someone who saw himself so far removed from normal men and who made such a big deal of his “revolutionary” purity, it’s rather pathetic that he was such such a lousy “guerrillero” in practice, as opposed to in his head. He was, in fact, delusional, which ultimately cost him his life.

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