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November 08, 2009

"It was 20 years ago today"

November 9 will be the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

From The New Criterion:

Tyranny set in stone

Was there ever a more fitting monument to tyranny than the Berlin Wall? Conceived in desperation, this brutal barrier was erected in 1961 by the state not for the protection but for the incarceration of its citizens. Hold fast to that thought. The Berlin Wall was the stuff of gritty spy novels, the literal instantiation of Winston Churchill's "iron curtain," which in 1946, with characteristic prescience, he saw descending across Central and Eastern Europe. The Berlin Wall was also an inescapable indictment, not just of a particular society but of an entire world view, the world view of Soviet Communism with its rhetoric of justice and class struggle in one hand and its reality of the Gulag and the systematic obliteration of human freedom in the other.

Do we remember that?


From The Washington Post:
Murderous idealism

The Berlin Wall that came down 20 years ago this month was an apt symbol of communism. It represented a historically unprecedented effort to prevent people from "voting with their feet" and leaving a society they rejected. The wall was only the most visible segment of a vast system of obstacles and fortifications: the Iron Curtain, which stretched for thousands of miles along the border of the "Socialist Commonwealth." I am one of those who managed to cross these obstacles in November 1956, when they were partially and temporarily dismantled along the Austrian-Hungarian border. My experiences in communist Hungary, where I lived until age 24, had a durable impact on my life and work. [...]

The failure of Soviet communism confirms that humans motivated by lofty ideals are capable of inflicting great suffering with a clear conscience.


And the Fall of the Wall is the cover story in the November issue of Reason:
The Unknown War
The defeat of communism 20 years ago was the most liberating moment in history. So why don't we talk about it more?

On August 23, 1989, officials from the newly reformed and soon-to-be-renamed Communist Party of Hungary ceased policing the country's militarized border with Austria. Some 13,000 East Germans, many of whom had been vacationing at nearby Lake Balaton, fled across the frontier to the free world. It was the largest breach of the Iron Curtain in a generation, and it kicked off a remarkable chain of events that ended 11 weeks later with the righteous citizen dismantling of the Berlin Wall. [...]

At a time that fairly cries out for historical perspective about the follies of central planning, Americans are ignoring the fundamental conflict of the postwar world, and instead leapfrogging back to what Steve Forbes describes in this issue as the "Jurassic Park statism" of the 1930s.

Posted by joke du jour at November 8, 2009 09:00 AM

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