Is Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump a greater long term threat to the principles of classical liberalism? Trump’s program is antithetical to classical liberalism. He wants to follow protectionist trade policies. He has disclaimed any interest in reforming the burgeoning entitlements that are the principal engines for growing the state. He seems to quite content to praise authoritarian leaders abroad, like Vladimir Putin. He wants to make it easier for public figures to sue private citizens for their criticism. And he is so vulgar and gratuitously offensive that he undermines the culture of self-restraint necessary to the classical liberal order.
Of course, Sanders is worse on many of these axes. He not only wants to preserve all entitlements but add to social security and to create an entirely new entitlement to higher education. He also is a protectionist. He would destroy the private provision of health care. And he would raise tax rates sky high. As for authoritarianism, he seems to have trouble condemning any regime, such as Cuba, so long as he can entertain the false belief that the regime has been good for the social welfare of its citizens.
Some conservative and libertarian commentators have joined the leftist chorus in blessing President Obama’s moves to “normalize” relations with Castro’s Cuban regime on the basis of hopes that “Trade will lead to freedom.” Unintentionally, Peggy Noonan showed how ill-founded such hopes are: “it wouldn’t be long, with lifted embargoes, before captains of the Cuban army found out what managers of the new Hilton were making and jumped into hotel services” (WSJ December 17 and 20, respectively.) In fact, Cuban regime elites know and control precisely who earns what in the hotels. They alone profit from the nearly $3 billion dollars tourist industry, and from foreign trade in general. Since Obama’s initiatives will channel U.S. money exclusively through Castro regime channels, they can only increase the incentives that Cubans already have to seek their fortunes – most immediately, what they eat – through the clutches of communist tyranny.
Una Noche captures a defining moment in the lives of three adolescents in today’s Cuba. It narrates the existential predicament of Raul and his best friend, Elio, seen from the point of view of the third adolescent, Lila, who is Elio‘s twin sister.
But as the director has pointed out in an interview, there is another main character in the movie: the city of Havana. Una Noche is filmed entirely in Cuba’s capital, and the city functions not only as a space for the story, but as part of it, contributing to the film’s powerful impact on an audience.