25 years ago – the fall of the Berlin Wall

Twenty-five years ago the Berlin Wall was opened, and for the first time in many decades there was free passage between East and West Germany.  Families who had been divided by ideology for most of their lifetimes were able to re-establish contact.  Rejoicing ensued in Germany;  and in other parts of the world, those fighting Communism looked on in astonishment.  Could this be the beginning of the end of their long struggle?

As it turned out, it was . . . at least against the external Communist enemy.  For one thing, the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union made peace possible in southern Africa, and it may be the only reason I’m still alive today.  Many of my friends didn’t survive to see it.

Unfortunately, there are still far too many people who believe that the only reason Communism failed was that it wasn’t properly, or sufficiently, or rigorously enough applied.  As Samizdata points out:

In spite of the claims of apologists, the Marxism that fell twenty five years ago was the true Marxism. You cannot force people to work whether they get any benefit of it or not if they can flee from you, so you have to build walls. The Berlin Wall was not an aberration, it was the the only way to keep the quite literal slaves from fleeing their bondage.

. . .

What is shocking but sadly unsurprising to me is this: after a seventy year experiment that lead to a hundred million deaths, we still have people in our universities and even on our streets who profess to be Marxists.

There are, everywhere, professors who teach a Marxist interpretation of history, of literature, of economics and sociology, and not merely for some sort of historical perspective, but as an actual active ideology they would like their students to adopt. It is, indeed, an entirely ordinary sort of thing, so common it is not even worthy of note. There are people who wear Che Guevara T-shirts in the streets, never mind the people Guevara ruthlessly executed, including children, in the name of Marxism.

Would it be considered equally ordinary for a professor to be out teaching the Nazi interpretation of literature or social interactions, and encouraging their students towards adopting the Nazi point of view? Would people feel equally unmoved by people walking around wearing a Joseph Goebbels shirt?

Note that I do not suggest censorship. That is not the point. What I am instead suggesting is that, to this very day, our culture has not yet absorbed the lessons of Marxism, has not come to terms with the fact that it was not a noble experiment that failed, but rather a monstrous calamity that needs to be understood for what it was, lest it happen again.

There’s more at the link.  It’s well worth reading in full.

In a thought-provoking two part analysis, J. R. Nyquist observes:

America’s old enemy is still there, plotting the overthrow of capitalism. But this is a paradox because communism supposedly died 23 years ago. What died, of course, was something different. What actually died was the practice of admitting to communist beliefs. That is what died! The fashion today – in Russia and China, the U.S. and Europe, Latin America and Africa – is to deny that one is a communist. Thus, Nelson Mandela was not a communist, but a “democrat.” Hugo Chavez was not a communist but a “populist.” President Xi Jinping is not a communist, but a “pragmatist.” Vladimir Putin is not a communist but a “Christian.” And so the game is played, around the world, so that nobody is a communist except those who wear a red beanie, or have a hammer and sickle emblazoned on their forehead.

Again, more at the link, and in the second part of the article as well.

Sarah Hoyt makes a similar point about how the Gramscian ‘shibboleths of Communism’ are alive and well in the left, progressive wing of our society.  She writes:

So I came to doubt all of those shibboleths, which is a good thing because it turns out … that we have proof all of these were dreamed up by soviet operatives (Stalinist) and implanted in our culture amid the idiot fellow travelers, in order to corrupt and destroy the west.

In that sense it is literally malware uploaded to a healthy culture, to destroy it from within.

Those of you who are computer programmers know what must be done with malware — it must be uprooted, root and branch.

Now, the problem is that it resides in everyone’s heads by now, even our own, having been propagated by our art, our culture, our news, even, which we trusted to be neutral.

And we don’t want to trash the infected sectors, i.e. get rid of the people running the zombie program of dead Stalinists.  We can’t, because all of us are infected, to an extent.

. . .

So, our path is more difficult.

. . .

Look at those points above that ESR was so kind as to compile for us.  Memorize them.  Part of fighting the malware is knowing its code.  When you find it in your own head, eradicate it.

. . .

It took over 100 years to come to this.  We can’t recover in a year.  We’re going to have to take incremental steps, with infinite patience.

. . .

It won’t be easy.  I think it’s doable, because their worldview in no way reflects reality and is collapsing in shards all around them.  But it won’t be easy and it won’t be fast and a lot of it will feel like, in Dave Freer’s colorful phrase “Taking on hell with a bucket.”

But then easy battles have no glory.  Go forth.  Fight the lies in your head, so you can fight them in others’ heads.  Write compelling stories and teach your children well.

Our culture can be saved. And we’re the only ones who can do it.

Again, more at the link, and worth reading.  (She’s even kind enough to cite me at the end . . . proof of her sagacity, of course!)

Folks, I’ve seen some of the worst that Communist-inspired terrorism can produce.  I’ve written about it here from time to time.  Try these two articles, if you’re interested:

The fact that Communism is no longer an armed menace looming over the free world doesn’t mean that the menace of its ideology isn’t a constant presence among us.  Just look at how attacks on free speech are designed to shut down ideologies or perspectives or viewpoints that aren’t ‘politically correct’.  Consider the so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine‘ in the USA (which is anything but fair) or the proposed ‘Extremism disruption orders‘ in the UK.  Be in no doubt that these proposals are a statist‘s wet dream . . . a means to silence dissent, to keep the truth suppressed.

We dare not let our guard down.  Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, let’s remind ourselves of what that event meant to those trapped behind it;  and let’s resolve never to allow ourselves to be walled up like that, whether physically, or mentally, or spiritually, or in any other way.  Freedom is worth fighting for.  I know.  I’ve seen what happens when it’s lost.



  1. Hi Peter,
    25 years ago, I was a seven year old boy, living in Nepal in a place called Jumla. It's a beautiful place but cold and unfriendly, and back in the 1980s, the childhood mortality was around 40%. We lived in a mud house with a leaky flat roof in the district center, which had an airstrip and some offices, and even electricity-sometimes. So it was pretty plush compared to the rest of the area. My dad worked at a technical school there. Anyways, one day, in the fall of 1989, some tourists came tramping past our house, trekking off to see a lake. There weren't that many tourists back in 1989, and so my parents introduced themselves, and learned they were Germans. A few weeks later, they had completed their trek, and were walking past our house, returning to the airstrip, and my dad came out of the house shouting "The wall has come down, the wall has come down!" The Germans didn't believe him, but he held up his shortwave radio, and they listened to the BBC broadcast. I still remember their shock and joy and disbelief, all rolled together, although I didn't understand what could make Germans so emotional!

    Since that time, I've lived in the Lao PDR and other parts of South East Asia, and in Africa. I've many South East Asian friends who were imprisoned by communists, or who fled them. (One of my college friends, a Vietnamese American had relatives who stole a C-130 to escape from South Vietnam!) Nepal fought a 10 year Maoist civil war, and I haven't been back since then. It always surprises me how many of my American friends -including Christian ones- love communism. The Bible says that people are blinded to evil, and that is probably what is happening in this case.
    Thanks for your post, and for your blog.


  2. The ideological cancer that is 'Political Correctness, or P.C., is merely Communism wearing a different cloak.
    I have devised a way of viewing P.C, that for me, puts it in the correct perception and context.
    It's this.
    Whenever I encounter P.C. I just substitute the words Personal Cowardice'', and I instantly see P.C. for what it really is.
    Works for me.

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