I write about the subject in my latest column for the New Ledger. A sample:
On November 9, 2009, the world will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Naturally, in Germany, there will be commemorations of the event, and the collapse of Communism in Europe. For those who lived through the Cold War, and saw the fall of the Wall, it was an extraordinary event; I for one will never forget the images of East Germans climbing over the wall, chiseling and hammering at it to break off pieces large and small, and reuniting with family members they had not seen in decades. I will never forget the helpless look on the faces of East German guards, who gradually realized–in their dimwitted, knuckle-dragging way–that their days of tyrannizing their populace were coming to an end. I will never forget then-former President Ronald Reagan being interviewed by his old sparring partner, Sam Donaldson, on ABC’s Prime Time Live, reveling in the moment he and his policies helped bring about, and reminding people that while it was all right to be amazed at seeing the fall of the Wall and the re-emergence of liberty in Eastern Europe, it was certainly not all right to be surprised by such a sight. After all, Reagan asked, why should anyone be surprised that a downtrodden people would rise up and fight for their freedoms?
So, needless to say, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the end of the Soviet Union, and the complete immolation of the Communist threat in Eastern Europe were all a very big collective deal. It is right, decent, and proper that we should celebrate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years later; indeed, we should make a point of celebrating the anniversary every year, for as long as humankind survives. By doing so, we celebrate the restoration of the human spirit itself, after decades of being stifled by a brutal East German Communist dictatorship that worked hand in glove with its Soviet masters in denying basic aspirations for civil and political liberty among its populace.
And given all of this, it is safe to say that Barack Obama will attend the 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Wall, right?
Read it all. Incidentally, when I wrote that the President didn’t attend the commemorations in Berlin because the commemorations are not about him, I wasn’t kidding. Query: Does Hillary Clinton always suck up to the boss like this?
Happily, the fall of the Wall is worth noting and commemorating, even if Barack Obama didn’t choose to personally participate in the commemorations. Recall, of course, the words of a President who–contrary to the current one–rose to the occasion when the subject was the Berlin Wall:
And Hayek was right:
(Latter two videos courtesy of Don Boudreaux.)