Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Needed the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall provided an omnipresent reminder that life on the eastern side was different from life on the western side. The wall was a tangible symbol that millions of innocent people were being held under oppressive, socialist rule on one side while we on the other side enjoyed life as free (relatively) capitalists. This stark contrast demonstrated the obvious advantages of political and economic freedom every day for the world to see. If only the wall would be torn down then the whole world would rush to freedom!...Right?

In our arrogance, Americans believed that tearing down the Berlin Wall would unleash the capitalist spirit and yearning for freedom upon the crumbling socialist countries of eastern Europe and the USSR. It didn’t occur to us that the evils of socialism, totalitarianism and the desire to be controlled by the government would spread westward even more quickly.

The Berlin Wall represented all that was evil in the “evil empire” and by contrast all that was good in the West. Americans don't shoot innocent civilians in the back as they race to freedom. Now it’s gone and it’s getting harder to see the distinction between East and West, good and evil. It seems America may have needed this cold war relic to continue appearing "good" even as it strengthens government control over its people, strips away fundamental freedoms and marches towards socialism.

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