Fall of Berlin Wall anniversary offers lessons for misguided millennials

Blogger next to Berlin Wall slab at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in 2018

By John Ruberry

Saturday was the thirtieth anniversary of one of the most profound events of the 20th century, the fall of the Berlin Wall. What began as a bureaucratic slip became a people power moment as oppressed East Germans stormed the wall checkpoints and with the help of West Berliners, literally began hacking away on what Winston Churchill called “the wall of shame.”

It was also a wall of failure. The smartest and most gifted people of communist East Germany were more likely to seek freedom and prosperity in the West. The brain drain threatened the stability of East Germany, so after receiving permission from his fellow dictator, the USSR’s Nikita Krushchev, Walter Ulbricht ordered construction of the wall in the summer of 1961.

Just a few days ago Dennis Prager explained on his show that there is a difference between a dictatorship and a totalitarian state. Augosto Pinochet’s Chile was a brutal nation in the 1970s, but if you didn’t like it, you could leave Chile. Not so in the USSR, until its final days, where my wife was born, or in the absurdly-named German Democratic Republic. East Germans who tried to escape to West Berlin would have to conquer not just the wall, but also beds of nails, attack dogs, and barbed wire, as well as avoid sharpshooters in watch towers. The number of people killed attempting to escape in the 28-year existence of the wall is disputed–about 200 is a common estimate.

Of growing up in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, Mrs. Marathon Pundit told me this morning when I was discussing this post, “We were slaves, really.”

Meanwhile, a YouGov poll released last week shows that over one-third of millennials approve of communism, which betrays the failure of our schools and universities that seem much more interested promoting the 56 genders and waving their fingers at guys like me over “white privilege.” Oh, the founders of the communist movement, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were white dudes. As were the earliest communists in power, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky. All five of them came from middle class or wealthy backgrounds. They had white privilege.

OK, millennials!

The lessons of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the evils of Nazism obviously should never be forgotten. But what is overlooked by schools and society are the murderous regimes of Stalin (20 million killed, maybe more), Mao Zedong (65 million killed, maybe more). and Cambodia’s Pol Pot (1.5 million killed and perhaps more, roughly 20 percent of that nation’s population).

Another 30th anniversary involving a repressive communist regime passed this summer–the Tianammen Square protests in China that ended in the slaughter of pro-democracy activists. For 24 straight weeks there have been pro-Democracy protests in Hong Kong. The more things change…

Ulbricht and his successors’ East Germany didn’t have the high death count, but it excelled in mental torture. Its KGB was the Ministry of State Security, commonly known as the Stasi, whose goal was to “know everything about everyone.” Two movies are essential viewing for millennials–actually for everyone–to learn more about East Germany. Both of them are available on Netflix, Karl Marx City, a documentary, and The Lives of Others, an Academy Award winner for Best International Feature Film. Fittingly, The Lives of Others is set in the year 1984.

Apologists for communism regularly point out that the reason these Marxist regimes failed is that the wrong people were in charge and “real communism” has never been tried. It is they who are wrong. People in power, for the most part, have one thing in common. They want even more power.

There are exceptions of course. King George III asked an American what George Washington would do now that he had defeated the British Empire. When told that the general would return to his farm, the king replied, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”

Is that lesson being taught in many American schools? I doubt it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Why the Seattle City Counsel Election Result is bigger than the Virginia Statewide Results

There has been a lot of fuss about the election in Virginia which gave the Democrats all three houses in the state and to be sure, they are significant but for my money the bigger story if the city council election in Seattle.

Virginia is propped up by national politics and by Democrats winning despite scandals involving both the Democrat Governor (Blackface business) and Lt. Gov (Sexual Assault). We are already seeing memes of Virginia becoming California west.

But this is still early and if the Democrats majority is not huge. All it will take is a little overreach and there is every possibility that voters, even anti-Trump one will look at these results in four years and decide the left is a bridge too far.

Seattle is VERY different.

We have already seen story after story of Seattle surrendering it’s streets to the mob, of it’s business’ closing or fleeing because of the environment for them and people not being safe in their own city.

Well they had a city counsel election recently, an election where quite a few folks had been crying “enough” and guess what happened?

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has nearly completed a stunning turnaround in her quest for a third term Friday evening, recovering from a deficit of more than 8 percentage points and taking a 1,515-vote lead over her opponent, Egan Orion — putting her up by 3.6 percentage points. 
At that margin, Sawant will almost certainly retain her seat.
After a disappointing result in the initial ballot drop on election night, Seattle’s most famous socialist has cleaned up in the votes tallied in subsequent days, winning around 60% of ballots that were either postmarked or left in drop boxes on election day.
Washington’s vote-by-mail system means some last-minute ballots take several days to count. With the late trend strongly favoring Sawant — part of a pattern in Seattle of late-counted ballots tilting left — and relatively few ballots remaining, her reelection is a near lock.
With Sawant’s apparent comeback win, an election that was cast by many as a referendum on the leftward lean of Seattle politics has almost completely backfired on the business groups and mainstream Democrats who spent millions in their effort to rein in the city’s progressives.

Now I have some shall we say doubts about the mail in systems and their integrity but even given that consider the following.

The decline of Seattle has not been a secret. It’s been a national story and actually reached the point where not just business but even local media had taken sides against the left:

The left loves to make Amazon the face of any opposition but it wasn’t just Amazon and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce pushing for a more moderate City Council. As I pointed out this week, the Seattle Times editorial board was campaigning to oust the far left members as well, including Sawant.

Yet despite all of this Seattle has decided to stay the course.

This tells me that liberalism is such a religion for the People of Seattle that not even the realities of life under liberalism and it’s costs can counter their loyalty to it. They have achieved a San Francisco level of wokeness and will likely have to go far beyond that level of danger and insanity to get out of it. I instantly thought of Bill James description of Hal Chase after managed to get MLB to take his side on allegations of him throwing games.

“He was free, then. It had all be brought out into the open, and he had gotten by with it. This seems to have had a liberating effect on Chase’s activities”

What this means for Seattle in general and Kshama Sawant in particular is that they can rightly claim a licence by the voters most affected by their policies to go farther left. Seattle has gotten the government they deserve and the left is going to give it to them good and hard. If that doesn’t scare the hell out of every normal still living in the city it ought to.