Postcard from the Island of Individual Mandates

Readers may be aware that Pope Benedict made a visit to Cuba last week. It was the first pontifical visit to that island nation since 1998, when John Paul II visited and prompted Fidel Castro to relax his government’s imaginary grip on the faiths of its people. Since the Communist revolution in 1959, Cuba has been officially atheist. It’s just one example, in a place full of them, of an individual mandate that is at odds with reality. Amazingly, when the government mandates atheism, it doesn’t actually create atheists. It only scares believers. Like when the government mandates food. It doesn’t actually create food, just hunger. Or buildings. When the government takes away property, nationalizes it, and tells your family to go and live over in that Spanish colonial masonry pile, you go and do it. But it isn’t really a home.

Here are some snapshots from this wonderfully actuarialized, scientifically perfected, electrically modern people-powered sealed and double-blind picture-perfect experiment in individual mandates, Cuba.