In the 1950s, Kroc visited a small hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino, California, which had bought some ice cream mixers that he had been selling. The restaurant intrigued him, and he bought the rights to open new restaurants using the same name all throughout the country.
He opened his first McDonald’s in Illinois in 1955. He risked a lot of money and put great care into his business, which grew rapidly. Before long Ray Kroc had made McDonald’s into an international food empire. He pioneered the use of the restaurant franchise and developed business methods and models, including drive-through service, that have resulted in one of the most profitable enterprises in history.
McDonald’s has given job opportunities to millions of people all over the world, training them in efficiency and customer service. Thousands of people have owned individual McDonald’s restaurants to earn a living and provide for their families.
Kroc, of course, made millions, and his wife inherited billions. Joan Kroc donated most of it toward the end of her life to such charities as hospitals, animal shelters, and the Salvation Army. She helped establish the Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, and helped flood victims in Minnesota. After her death, her estate donated $200 million to non-profit public radio stations.
Of course McDonald’s actively supports its own charity, Ronald McDonald House, which helps kids in need all over the world.
About the same time that Kroc was opening his first McDonald’s franchises in the Midwest, a man named Ernesto Guevara was building his own reputation in Cuba. In 1956, Fidel Castro and a band of communists set out to overthrow the Cuban dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Guevara, known by his comrades as “Che,” joined the rebels and by 1959 they had successfully overthrown the Cuban government.
Che was a doctor by trade, but established himself within the revolution as one of its most ruthless warriors. He was known for executing accused traitors without a trial. He spoke of his “unbending hatred of the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine.” After the takeover of Cuba, Che was put in charge of the prison where enemies of the revolution served their sentences. In the six months that followed, some 200 political prisoners were executed on orders from Guevara.
Che was a brutal killer, bent on imposing his will of a socialist way of life all over the world. In Cuba, the revolution that he helped to win has resulted in poverty and isolation for millions. For decades, the people he said he was trying to help have suffered under a totalitarian police state.
After Cuba, he went to Africa, then to Bolivia to foment violent revolutions. In Bolivia, he was captured and executed.
Since his death, Che Guevara has become a favorite symbol of the left and of liberalism’s goals. Liberals have elevated him to hero-status.
Instead of praising Ray Kroc and the innovative empire he built, liberals attack men like him and McDonald’s as profiteers and ruthless capitalists who prey on the young and poor. Meanwhile, they promote the popular image of Che Guevara as a hero of the masses, when in reality he was a two-bit killer, who caused untold suffering.
The two men are different in so many ways. Liberals want you to think that Che is cool while Ray is lame. But Ray Kroc benefitted humanity more in a single day than Guevara could have ever hoped to do in his lifetime.
Liberals hope that you never hear that part of the history.