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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Think Tank Lineup Nov 10 (Berlin Wall)

THL's last lineup of commentary from libertarian "think tanks" focused on America's military policy in Afghanistan. Today's Think Tank Lineup TM centers on the 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which was yesterday. America's great libertarian think tanks had a lot of important things to say:

The Reason Foundation
Our Dangerous Cold War Nostalgia

Communism was the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, and one of the greatest in human history. Twenty years ago, suddenly and improbably, it fell into its death throes.

It was the most dramatic, life-affirming, and miraculous event of our time. And for those of us in the West, it is one from which we have yet to recover.

The Cato Institute
Celebrating The Fall of the Wall

On Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall, the most dramatic symbol of the most grotesque human tyranny ever to plague the globe, was opened. Free, free at last, shouted residents of half a continent and beyond.

So dramatic was the ensuing revolution that it is easy today to forget that communism ever existed -- or at least what it really meant. Decades of totalitarian oppression were swept away in an instant.

What may be the most important liberating moment in human history should give us hope even if we are tempted to despair about the future of our own nation and of Western civilization.

The Independent Institute
20 Years On

The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall finds millions of human beings still under recalcitrant communist tyrannies that have defied the historical “inevitability” of totalitarianism’s demise. We owe it to the inhabitants of Cuba, North Korea, Laos and Cambodia—not to speak of China and Vietnam, where the ruling party continues to be communist but the beast is of a very different nature—to take a fresh look at what happened on Nov. 9, 1989.

The Cato Institute
Reflections on Communism Twenty Years Later

...there is a remarkable lack of moral concern in the West with the atrocities committed under communist systems, including the tens of millions of people who perished as a result of communist policies. By contrast there has been a great deal of impassioned condemnation of the outrages of Nazism. The most important reason for treating Nazism and communism differently has been the perception that communist crimes were unintended consequences of the pursuit of lofty goals whereas the goals of Nazism themselves were unmitigated evil.

The Ludwig von Mises Institute
The Fall of the Berlin Wall

For 28 years, from 1961 to 1989, it stood as a symbol of the tyranny of the totalitarian state under which the individual was viewed as the property of the state, with no right to leave the "workers' paradise" without the permission of that state. And if you tried, you ran the risk of being killed by the armed guards of the East German communist government.

The Cato Institute
Murderous Idealism

The failure of Soviet communism confirms that humans motivated by lofty ideals are capable of inflicting great suffering with a clear conscience. But communism's collapse also suggests that under certain conditions people can tell the difference between right and wrong. The embrace and rejection of communism correspond to the spectrum of attitudes ranging from deluded and destructive idealism to the realization that human nature precludes utopian social arrangements and that the careful balancing of ends and means is the essential precondition of creating and preserving a decent society.

The Reason Foundation
Remembering the Victims of Communism

The Cato Institute

Why The Berlin Wall Fell

Alas, this equality was a sham: equality is not possible between those imposing the rules and those imposed upon. Eastern Europeans found that the supposed paradise was actually a cage in which they were fed and watered, but denied basic freedoms to speak, act or move. Masses of youngsters began emigrating from the Communist paradises to the supposed hell-holes of the West.

The Acton Institute
Reminiscence and Reflection

The fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of Soviet Communism, was a great triumph, but the danger has been and remains that this grand victory some 20 years ago will render complacent the free peoples of the West. The threat today is not a physical wall through the heart of Berlin but walls no mason ever dreamed about or touched.

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