We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
November 9 marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, put up by the communist rulers in 1961 to stem the drain from behind the Iron Curtain of those to whom freedom meant everything.There was widespread shock throughout the West at the end of the Cold War, which seemed endless, costly and perhaps unwinnable, and the fall of the existential threat of communism and its terrible toll on mankind, which to some seemed impervious or even eventually triumphant.
As we look around the world today, a melancholy spectacle greets our gaze. The Soviet Union is no more, but a minatory if diminished Russia has taken its place. A possibly nuclear Iran. A confirmed nuclear North Korea and Pakistan. Preposterous anti-American strongmen like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. An increasingly rampant threat of Islamofascism. The enemies of freedom and the West are more numerous than ever. It is here that the two deepest lessons of the Berlin Wall lie. First, that tyranny frankly confronted can be defeated. But, second, that the victory of freedom is never final: it must always be renewed not only through our willingness to acknowledge and struggle against evil, but also through a forthright proclamation of our own founding principles. It is this last requirement of freedom that seems most difficult for Western intellectuals. To quote Kolakowski once more, there is “one Great Cause that has persisted more or less intact throughout the past decades in the Leftist mentality: the loathing of democratic countries. Allegiances changed, but if there was something enduring in Leftist politics, it was this: in any conflict between a tyrannical and democratic country, the tyrants were right and democracy wrong.” One would have thought that the admonitory tale of the Berlin Wall would provide an incontrovertible disabusement. Alas, it is a lesson we have yet to absorb.
President Obama is too disinterested, and occupied accomplishing nothing, to attend the 20th anniversary celebration in Berlin.
P.S.: Here's another rumination on 1989 and another fall.
Those who don't remember, or who never learned about communism, might want to read this short essay.
Interesting. The liberal conventional wisdom making the rounds on this is that people power brought down the wall, that it fell spontaneously.
I was serving at the time. Funny, I don't recall seeing Up With People out on patrols with us on the inner German border, nor do I recall massive cannons with flowers sticking out of their muzzles, ready to shower daisies and rose pedals on the ~90 Russian divisions on the other side of the wire.
I do recall seeing some NATO units and about 280,000 American troops, and some Pershing II missiles, along with a few tanks and a lot of ornery U.S. politicians and generals, and a few ornery western leaders and eastern dissidents.
But what do I know. I'm sure it was hippies brought the wall down. Just ask them.
As I understand it, SecState Hillary Clinton will represent Pres Obama at the ceremonies...That's right, Hillary Rod-damn Clinton will represent the MILLIONS of US service men and women who stood vigil, and died, throughout the Cold War (or as some call it, World War III), on all fronts, to defend our nation and our freedom. That's the SAME Hillary who tried to socialize our medical system during her husband's first term in office. Man, I am depressed...
What appears to be particularly frustrating is the fact that virtually nobody seems to be acutely aware of the fact that the fall of the Soviet Union and all eastern bloc was not the result of some anonymous mysterious forces and processes working autonomously inside the socialist world and causing this enomous empire to crumble as if by itself. In fact, if it was not for a principled unmoving position of Ronald Reagan, if it was not for the unyielding ideological firmness of the conservative movement overcoming the myopic redundant stereotypes of the left (that are being miseably copied by our today' administation), chances are the Soviet bloc would still, probably, be with us.