Berlin Walls in America
- 15 November 2009 by Author 0 Comments
Berlin Walls in America
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, Published 11/15/09
This past week not only commemorated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it also marked the 45th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s immortal “rendezvous with destiny” speech. It could hardly be considered coincidental that the most ardent foe of totalitarianism who arguably played the most pivotal role in the dismantling of Soviet Block oppression and totalitarianism would have one of his crowning achievements celebrated in conjunction with his immortal clarion call of freedom.
“I think it’s time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers…The idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election, whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down. Man’s age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.”
Reagan spent his life advancing those founding principles of freedom upon which this country was established, and vehemently decried the oppression of the totalitarian regimes of Eastern Europe. Just two years before the symbol of communist oppression was torn down by freedom seeking Germans, Reagan stood before the wall in Brandenburg and challenged the Soviet Premier, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
Erected in 1961 to prevent the mass exodus of oppressed East Germans fleeing the dismal, blighted, hopeless existence imposed by communism, the Berlin Wall became the symbol of human oppression. It not only physically prevented escape from communist and socialist oppression, it represented the psychological prison of the communist system where individuals and liberty counted for naught, and all that mattered was the state and the masses.
It represented the dismal failure of the promise of communism to the masses: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” an aphorism gaining in acceptability by our “leaders” in Washington. The 1500 souls fleeing East Germany daily for freedom, and away from the “promises” of socialism, clearly illustrated that not everyone was granted according to his needs. Else, why risk life, limb, and family, for the uncertainty and risk-filled existence in the West which had not the “assurances” of cradle-to-grave security communism claimed to afford? They pined for freedom!
Ronald Reagan stood heads and shoulders above all others in articulating the depravity of the communist principles, and extolling the ennobling, enriching, and fulfilling qualities of freedom in stark contrast thereto. And while there were growing socialistic tendencies within the United States years ago when he uttered those inspiring words, his greatest concern was of the growing threat from without our borders: the Soviet tanks, missiles, and nuclear arsenal poised to vanquish freedom from western civilization and coerce upon all flesh, the ignoble, character-killing, meaninglessness of “the common good.”
We have no Berlin Wall now, separating the free from the oppressed. But we have “Berlin Walls” being constructed, even as we speak, which symbolize just as efficaciously the oppression of coercive, totalitarian government on the people. They are symbols of government ascendency and superiority over the individual which curtail liberty. The Berlin Walls now being constructed are not in Europe, for Europeans have learned their lesson, and are moving more and more away from the principles represented by the Berlin Wall. No, the walls are now being constructed in our own country. They originate as pieces of legislation, and then are signed into our legal codex as dictums to the masses. We must buy health insurance, or be fined or imprisoned. We must pay for a bailout of unsound financial institutions. We must pay for failing auto makers to keep them limping along, a mere shadow of their previous greatness. We must declare our firearms on our tax returns. We must allow the use of our money to fund the infanticide of the unborn. We must pay exorbitant taxes on our energy use in order to “save the planet.” We must risk the very future of the nation in order to feed the insatiable spending appetite of politicians seeking to expand their political base.
The Berlin Wall has been dismantled for 20 years, now. Hopefully Americans will not look up 20 years from now realize that we’ve erected our own symbolic versions of the same.
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.