I have written before why I think Glenn Beck is harmful to the conservative movement But this video that he played on his program of Anita Dunn, communications director for the White House, explaining earlier this year why Mao Zedong is one of her two favorite political philosophers, is a public service. The praise for Mao isn’t a throwaway line by Miss Dunn; she actually explains why he is one of the two people (along with Mother Teresa!) she turns to most when it comes to “fighting your own war.” Everybody has his or her own path, you see; you don’t have to accept the definition of how to do things. It’s about your choices and your path. You figure out what’s right for you. Mao did it his way, and you should do it your way. So sayeth Anita Dunn, philosopher.
In his October 2005 essay in COMMENTARY, Arthur Waldron describes the architect of China’s Cultural Revolution this way: “Mao was the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century. Much of the killing was direct, as in the torture and purges at Yan’an. After the Communist seizure of power in 1949, the practice became countrywide. Mao set his numerical targets openly, and stressed the ‘revolutionary’ importance of killing.” It is said of Mao — who was responsible for the death of some 70 million Chinese — that he derived a “sadistic pleasure” from seeing people put to death in horrible ways.
All this goes uncommented upon by Miss Dunn. Her praise for Mao — unqualified and without caveats, based on the excerpts of her speech — is quite extraordinary. For a senior member of the White House to hold these views is more extraordinary still. Perhaps Pol Pot will be the subject of Dunn’s next favorable meditation.
You might assume that the White House press corps would think this is a matter worth exploring — but you would (so far) be wrong. I won’t speculate as to why that’s the case; I will only say that its lack of curiosity and interest on this matter is, well, worth noting.