Friday, May 29, 2009

A Tale of Two Countries

Happy Birthday, Germany! ....and how this affects the United States


The year 2009 is a big year for Germany – 60 years after the signing of the Constitution on May 23, 1949 and 20 years after the fall of the wall in Berlin on November 9, 1989. Much has been written in Germany about the 60 years of the Federal Republic of Germany, including some characteristic pictures (one good piece is here in Der Spiegel in English:), so I will leave the account of historical facts to others and concentrate on a personal assessment.


My mother fled the Russians with my brother and me in the waning days of WW II. I remember bits and pieces of Germany in rubble after the war, walking to a British soup kitchen with a lunch pail, stealing some coal from the Brits with my little handcart, only having enough to eat because my grandfather bred chickens and we had a big vegetable garden. There wasn't that much destruction in the little town in Northern Germany in which we grew up. We did know, however, about the difficulties Berlin was having with the blockade and the unbelievably courageous effort by the Americans in trying to save Berlin through the airlift („Luftbrücke“ or air bridge).


Two more things I remember vividly: The 2 Pfennig blue stamp we put on each letter and postcard to help Berlin (called „Notopfer“ or emergency help) and the care packages which were part of the Marshall Plan (I remember my mother was particularly thrilled with the coffee in the package). It was only much later that I understood the full scale of the destruction of the war, including the personal tragedies due to the loss of relatives and being driven from home towns or regions („Vertriebene“).

While we did not have an abundance to eat, we did not go to bed hungry, unlike the people of Berlin, who would not have survived at all if the Americans hadn't started the airlift with the help of the Brits. Amazing and appreciated to this day were the actions of Gen. Clay in pursuing the airlift against all the odds and the humanitarian efforts associated with it, such as the dropping of sweets for the kids of Berlin, an idea conceived by Col. Gail Halverson. These people will never be forgotten by the Germans, especially the people of Berlin. (A really excellent read on this subject is The Candy Bombers)


Germany was effectively governed by the Allied Forces USA; Great Britain, France and Russia. Very soon after the war, it became clear that Russia did not want to cooperate with its Western Allied partners and looked for confrontation in securing their sphere of influence, and they captured one Eastern European country after the other, with Czechoslovakia, in the Spring of 1948, being the one which woke everybody up. The blockade of Berlin by the Soviets in June 1948 was a logical consequence of their previous actions. It was a scary time.... for the Germans, and particularly the people of Berlin, not knowing whether they would be protected against the communists, and for the Americans, because the fear was that of a third world war.


One of the reasons for the action of the Soviets was that the Western Allies (the Americans, for that matter, represented by Gen. Clay) were in the process of setting up a new currency system in the Western part of the country and started to establish the rules for a German government. This is how, in August 1948, 33 selected people (lawyers, intellectuals and members of democratic parties) met on the island of Herrnchiemsee on the Chiemsee lake in Bavaria and ironed out a Constitution for Germany, the so called „Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch“ (BGB, or common law). They did that in only 13 days of seclusion, despite minimal provision of food and drink, in an effort which some people have compared, because of its significance, to the generation of the Constitution of the United States. In the months to come, it had indeed become, under discussion with the Allies and respecting their demands, a very even handed document. This document was then ratified by the Federal Convention, incorporated by the Allies, in the Spring of 1949, and signed by the head of this Convention, Konrad Adenauer, on May 23, 1949. Later in that same year, Theodor Heuss was elected by the Federal Convention to become the first President of the newly founded Federal Republic of Germany and, in Autumn, the people elected a conservative government and Konrad Adenauer was elected the first Chancellor of this new State by the „Bundestag“ (Parliament). By that time, the blockade of Berlin was broken down and West Germany started a new beginning, as did, under pressure by the Soviets, the East German country of „German Democratic Republic“, implementing a communist government.


This was, therefore, the starting point for two German States, established under very different sets of rules. And exactly here lies a very interesting point in study: What happened to these two States which started from the same German people, but implemented with opposite political systems? We saw the results almost 40 years later.


West Germany had undergone what we called the „Wirtschaftswunder“ (economic wonder), achieved by Ludwig Erhard through his „social economics“ – which is a capitalist system with social attributes (as opposed to a socialistic system). The social attributes came from the aftermath of WW II, where every individual helped everybody else, in the sense of „if we do it together, we will succeed“. It is,at least to me, unbelievable what really was achieved in the 50’s and the 60’s, building Germany up from unbelievable destruction to a powerful economy. A symbol of this will to succeed is represented by the „Trümmerfrauen“ (rubble ladies) who collected the stones out of the rubble, cleaned them by knocking off the old concrete, and prepared them for reconstruction.


Because of the rapid build-up after the war, Germany became increasingly

wealthy and prosperous, life was excellent. The country grew and flourished until, after about 25 years, and because of a creeping social system which finally went too far, it became rather complacent. When I came back to work with a German company in the 90’s after 15 years of working in foreign countries, I couldn’t believe what I saw – the drive and productivity exhibited by the people during those great years after the war was replaced by an entitlement mentality. If government pay for unemployment is of the same order as a normal salary, the system goes bankrupt and morale suffers. In addition, the burden on companies became so large and employee 'protection' so far reaching, that companies avoided hiring additional personnel and started to relocate company headquarters and production. What

had happened? The conservative government had been replaced by a socialist government, and the subsequent conservative government failed to turn these policies around. The subsequent socialist/Green party government made matters worse, and Germany is now in the process, under conservative leadership, of trying to turn some of these „social achievements“ around for the better again.


At the same time after the war, East Germany implemented the communist system under pressure and direction by the Soviets, where everything was owned by the State and planned through a central government organization, and everybody was „equal“, except, of course, the government and party officials who had all the nicest amenities in life. But the rest of the population was suppressed, spied upon (even for trying to listen to Western radio or TV to find out about the West), and had to eat or consume only what the planning department made available, after the officials had been served, of course.


After the wall opened in 1989, the people of the West were stunned to see the results of 40 years of communism. East Germany was an absolute mess on all levels, personal, infrastructure, government, everything. West Germany has since spent trillions of dollars bringing that part of the country up to the same level as the West. Vast improvements have been made, particularly in infrastructure projects and in support of the industrial basis, but it's not over yet. The main reason is the mentality of some people in the East. There are still some 30% of the population in the East who vote for the ex-communist party – they prefer a government taking care of them rather than a competitive working environment.


Here are lessons for the current situation in the United States:


1. The difference of the social and economic situation between East and West Germany provides clear evidence that the free market system is far superior than a state planned economy or, as otherwise expressed – communism/socialism don’t work.

2. A free society like West Germany, where the economy works because the people take personal responsibility, is far more successful than a system which is built on the suppression of people and opinions.

3. As can be recognized from the evolution in West Germany, a sliding transition toward excessive social benefits has a negative effect on companies which consequently must compensate for that by outsourcing to other countries. The consequence is that the country becomes less competitive.

4. The effect of communism takes at least two generations to reverse.


While Germany is working hard to re-unify the country and to bring increased individual responsibility back to the country through a reversal of excessive social benefits, the United States is doing exactly the opposite under Obama. Each and every one of the actions of this government goes in the direction which East Germany took after WW II, and that does not only include economic actions, such as the nationalizing of companies and putting companies at a disadvantage relative to the unions, but affecting society through trying to suppress civil discourse through the help of the mass media as the fifth column.


While Germany would not have survived the pressure from the Soviets without the unbelievable help of the United States after WW II, maybe the time has come that the U.S. should look back to Germany to see how the West prospered under conservative direction and how the East ruined itself under the Socialist/Communist regime. Same people, same genes, same history; but what a difference under two distinctly different ideologies. America, please benefit from Germany's past. We owe it to you.


By Mr. Z

38 comments:

christian soldier said...

WOW-I'm sending this to my German friend--He does not understand how 'a socialist-communist' like BHO could have been voted President of the US...I told him about the slow slide via moderate Rs and the increasing 'victim' mentality perpetrated on the US...
Thank you Mr Z-
C-CS

The Merry Widow said...

AOW, has a link to a PRAVDA article about america...the writer nails it beautifully!
He even used the term, "sheeple"!

Mr. Z-Thank you for this excellent post!
G*D bless and MARANATHA!

tmw

mksviews said...

It's funny how tyrannies and commies insist on calling themselves democratic. Such arrogance.

"The effect of communism takes at least two generations to reverse."

Some would argue that the effects of communism cannot be reversed.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mr Z.

LASunsett said...

Having seen the drive and energy of the West German society first hand in the late 70s, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

During my two years there, I was able to spend some time on the border with East Germany near Hof. Just one look at the contrast caused me to call it, A Tale Of Two Nations". Despite the fact these were two groups of people with the same heritage, their conditions were completely 180 degrees apart.

I saw villages split in half. Roads came to an abrupt halt. They were separated by a crater and massive amounts of barbed wire, only to pick right back up on the other side.

On the Western side, children played, flowers were everywhere, and you could hear the bustle of traffic and other activities. On the Eastern side, it was dismal, gray, and virtually lifeless. Only occasionally would you see a car moving, buildings were run down, and activity was at a bare minimum.

This was interesting in that, this was the best picture the East could paint. Every 100 meters was a guard tower. The occupants had to be 100% politically reliable and no two were ever paired together more than once, so as not allow them time to build enough trust in each other for escape purposes.

In addition to the observation towers with the ever present eyes watching us, there were countless billboards facing the West with propaganda messages (e.g. DDR building better world for all nations, etc.)

On one occasion, we happened upon an area that had some kind of a small place of employment, immediately on the other side of the wire. As we were observing, the people came to the windows and just stared. Having binoculars, I could see the sad looks on their faces. And remember, this was the best face of the DDR, these were the people they could most trust with a promotional PR image.

So, I can attest to the stark contrasts of the era I was there. And I have no trouble believing that the East has not been able to make the transition to free market and personal responsibility.

But as you have so said and I am re-emphasizing, the West could have only been built because of the hard work, determination, and will of the people. This was voluntary, you cannot legislate nor proclaim by decree the deep desires of a people to succeed for the right reasons.

Again, good job sir.

FJ said...

That was worth waiting for, Z. A very thoughtful piece, Mr. Z.

A side by side comparison of the two Germanies is indeed the proof in the pudding that a competitive privately held economic system is infinitely more productive and contributive to the health and well being of its' populace than any public-socialist one, despite the best of intentions voiced by socialism's proponents.

A few decades ago, Garret Hardin wrote an essay in response to Thomas Malthus' "Essay on the Principle of Population" entitled "The Tragedy of the Commons" that proposed the idea the communism is the worst means of managing the earth's limited resources, especially since those who were charged with the public responsibility for "managing" the commons would ALWAYS abuse the privilege and through public deceptions direct those resources towards their own personal benefit.

This is called the "Myth of the Public Administrators", which is debunked as follows:

"Indeed, the process has been so widely commented upon that one writer postulated a common life cycle for all of the attempts to develop regulatory policies. The life cycle is launched by an outcry so widespread and demanding that it generates enough political force to bring about establishment of a regulatory agency to insure the equitable, just, and rational distribution of the advantages among all holders of interest in the commons. This phase is followed by the symbolic reassurance of the offended as the agency goes into operation, developing a period of political quiescence among the great majority of those who hold a general but unorganized interest in the commons. Once this political quiescence has developed, the highly organized and specifically interested groups who wish to make incursions into the commons bring sufficient pressure to bear through other political processes to convert the agency to the protection and furthering of their interests. In the last phase even staffing of the regulating agency is accomplished by drawing the agency administrators from the ranks of the regulated."

FJ said...

For all those who believe that handing over responsibility for managing scarce resources like energy or waterways to public or UN officials is the only way to "protect them", I want them to know that ultimately all such efforts only manage to achieve the opposite result intended. It only makes those who will eventually destroy and abuse those privileges immune from public criticism and correction.

Papa Frank said...

Thank you, Mr. Z, for this incredible post. This is a concise and compelling argument but even more than that it is interesting to view those times and the results through the eyes of someone who was there and who obviously loved/loves Germany. I pray for the best for her and for the best for America which truly is the land that I love.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your comments. It is indeed a compelling story, isn't it.

The additional information by LASunsett demonstrate exactly what I was trying to tell. I might add that this gruesome border through Germany and around Berlin had a very strange purpose: Normally, a fence is built to keep people (or animals) out - in this case it was built to KEEP PEOPLE IN. This is a communist phenomenon which was spread all over Europe (the "iron curtain"), but you find it also in countries like Cuba where they didn't have to build a fence, but severely punished everybody who was (and is) caught in the attempt to leave the country.

The iron curtain in Germany has cost many lives of people who dared to try and leave, but people continued to try. In the late 80's the iron curtain of Czechoslovakia and Hungary started to get holes, and this was the beginning of the end of enclosed prison-like communist countries in Europe.

If communism were such a wonderful achievement, wouldn't you think that everybody wanted to come? The fact that people risk their life to escape that should be enough proof that communism doesn't work.

Instead we are seeing Venezuela destroyed by Chavez in his quest to transform it to a communist country, and Obama is catching up rapidly with the United States.

Mr.Z

heidianne jackson said...

what a fantastic piece, mr. z - and so concise too! lasunset, your additional information really puts the nail in deep so to speak, thank you to both of you.

mr. z, in your comment above you say "If communism were such a wonderful achievement, wouldn't you think that everybody wanted to come? The fact that people risk their life to escape that should be enough proof that communism doesn't work."

this to me is the greatest of points. people can freely leave america and go where they will and convert to whatever citizenship they want. no one will stop them - or even try. however, how often does this really happen?

i know there are many, many expats living abroad, but how many of them denounce the united states and leave it emotionally and/or mentally in addition to the physical separation? not many.

thank you again for you insight. have a blessed day!

lovelyprism said...

This was really informative... good post. It's a little bit scary to look into the past and realize we have not learned very much at all. I don't understand why B.O. so badly wants to make us more like Europe. They've proven over and again, that these ideas don't work. How arrogant must he be to believe that he can do it any better? He has a "that won't happen to us because we're so smart" mentality. It will happen and we'll pay for it for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

A simply great piece Mr Z. You illustrate the two Germanys so clearly, and the difference between the vigor of freedom and the resignation of being captive of their peoples.

Having lived this as you did, you are the perfect teacher on this subject, for no one with reason can deny it's truth.

It is a lesson I have always known only through my father who railed against the Yalta agreement endlessly, so that from a child I began to understand what evil and capitulation were.

However Germany was a distant place and the trials and tribulatons that were a daily experience could only be felt by those living it everyday.

The lessons from this can best be learned from a teacher such as yourself, who lived and breathed the realities of freedom while seeing the deprivation of tyranny at your doorstep.

Would that Americans, now, could be spared the hard lesson of tyranny, if they would only listen.

History does repeat itself, but is only possible through complacency and ignorance.

Thanks Mr. Z, for this primer. It's yet another warning which must be driven home to a people who have been unwilling to believe it can happen here, in the land of the free.

Pris

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr.&Mrs.Z, hello everyone. A very brillant piece Mr.Z. The celebration of Germanys new constitution, for all Germans, is indeed something to celebrate. It should signal that the ghosts of the Nazi past are dead and gone and Germany is once again a nation of laws, of equality and oppurtunity for all. I'm curious though in regard to the Germans of the former GDR. Have they and other Germans overcome 'Die mauer im dem kopf'', ''the wall in the mind''. That feeling of still being different or restrained politically, economically and socially? I would hope so. Germany has given so much to the world and its fitting, if not somewhat ironic that now we Americans are being warned of the socialism, a ''wall'' if you will, thats overtaking us. Thank you for this great article. Johnnymac.

Jungle Mom said...

Mr. Z, I am emailing this to many friends! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences.

DaBlade said...

A very thought provoking post Mr. Z, made all the better with your personal memories from this historic time. The parallels are there for all to see, but you know what they say about those who do not learn from history...

LASunsett said...

//Normally, a fence is built to keep people (or animals) out - in this case it was built to KEEP PEOPLE IN.//

Exactly, Mr. Z.

The first thing I noticed the first time I encountered the border was the anti-tank ditch. It faced in toward the East. Any tank from the west could have made it. The same could not be said coming back the other way. Interesting paradox, wasn't it?

Anonymous said...

GREAT writing Mr.Z! Filled with clear examples of why we do not want, what Obama has planned for America. The drum beat is clear.
KEEP AMERICA FREE FROM THE FAILED
POLITICS OF EAST GERMANY.

I am sending your blog to about 20
people who need to understand what is at stake.
Thank you, Matisse

JINGOIST said...

FANTASTIC work! Thank you for that first hand account of the ravages of socialism on a bright and ambitious people. I was on armed watch on my ship in Kiel when the wall came down. We were expecting trouble from the Red Brigade.

sue said...

I can only say that of the five years we lived in Germany (1968-69 and 1978-79-80) we had a great time. The German people treated us first rate and we have so many good memories of the places we visited - especially Southern Germany.

One of my most important memories is of the Berlin Wall and going inside East Berlin.

Gayle said...

Bravo, Mr. Z! I hope you will also read the article The Merry Widow talked about. I saw it too. Here's the url:
http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-1/

It's very insulting to the sheeple of America and the present administration. Except for the fact that I'm not a "drunken Russian" (you'll understand that comment if you read the post) I agree with the author of it, as I do with your most excellent post. Thanks!

The Merry Widow said...

I think one of the most telling photos from that era, was of the young East German border guard leaping to freedom.
To me, that said it all!

Then too, my late was in West Berlin in the '60's, his first wife was thrown over the wall as a baby...by her communist father!

tmw

FrogBurger said...

Wunderbar!!!

My favorite quote:
"everybody was „equal“, except, of course, the government and party officials who had all the nicest amenities in life."

Bravo. That's what the left doesn't get. Big government creates a 2 class system with people working for the public sector and the ones with low wages working for the private sector.

We're seeing it in California with administrators making 300k for their poor productivity.

A great example of why capitalism is best and why expanding welfare is the ultimate end. And the end of true Democracy since votes become a means to buy more benefits and more protection from the gov.

FrogBurger said...

A must read from the Pravda. Please share this with your Liberal and Democrat friends
http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/107459-american_capitalism-0

PS: there's a bit of an anti-gay comment in the article but aside from that, the guy is on target

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
Thanks for the heads-up. I will be glad to give you an email if you provide the format.

Mr.Z,
Phenomenal effort. This is a great primary source. In other words, you lived it. If you would give me permission I would like to copy this somehow and use it in class. We are strong on primary sources. They have the most credibility with the kids and they enjoy reading them. Real life accounts are very effective teaching tools.

I constantly use the statement that the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in. In America we call that a prison. In my opinion, there is no more telling symbol of the bankruptcy of socialism/communism than a wall to keep people from leaving.

In America we need to build a wall to keep people out. All other argument is moot.

FJ said...

The Myth of the Public Administrators in practice.

Pat Jenkins said...

a collective society idea has always tugged on heart strings, yet it has proven repeatedly never to work!!

Always On Watch said...

Mr. Z,
Thank you for this excellent posting. An outstanding job!

There are still some 30% of the population in the East who vote for the ex-communist party – they prefer a government taking care of them rather than a competitive working environment.

This is something important to take stock of -- that some humans, in defiance of the facts and their own well being, continue to wish for a caretaker. The Nanny State, in its many forms, destroys the spirit to work and to be independent.

As for America, I fear that we are sliding to the left so fast there may be no stopping it. Dark days for America now.

The Hermit said...

Mr. Z, you were lucky to get out of the path of the Russians at the end of the war. People today simply wouldn't believe what the Red Army did as it rolled into Germany. I once talked with an old Frenchman who had been a POW and worked on a farm in Germany. When the Russians came, he loaded everybody up in a wagon and they headed West. He said he was never so terrified in the war as when he was afraid the Russians would catch them.
Many of the books I read about the German armed forces in the east end with the writer spending many, many years after the war in Soviet labor camps. People like Eric Hartmann, who had done nothing but their duties as soldiers. All of that has pretty much faded from the collective consciousness these days.
I think your comparison between East Germany and where we are headed now under Hussein is right on the money. I just don't know what we can really do about it.

theotherryan said...

Very interesting. Great post.

psi bond said...

Thus far rightwingers in the U.S., stirring up the ashes and tragedies of the twentieth century, scare themselves by believing and circulating the smear that U.S. liberals are committed Nazis who want to replace representative democracy with a communist regime. No one can deny that Americans are an imaginative people

Z said...

psi bond, don't play stupid.

The point is there; get used to it. People don't do well under socialism/communism in Germany or Armenia..and they won't do well here.

psi bond said...

psi bond, don't play stupid.

Z, don't rely on such unclassy insults to play.

The point is there; get used to it. People don't do well under socialism/communism in Germany or Armenia..and they won't do well here.

You are attempting to obfuscate, for I have no inclination to contest that point, nor do the vast majority of liberals. I am contesting the unacknowledged but heavy-handed point that insinuates an unwarranted link with contemporary American politics ---namely, that liberals today are actually imbecilic neo-Nazi Communists determined to bring our country down. Far rightwingers are raking over the detritus of 20th century history not to innocently remember the tragedies therein, but to berate, tar, and demonize liberals in order to advance their fearmongering, catastrophe-dependent, extremist agenda. For the far right conceives history as a weapon–––easily reshaped and re-purposed.

cube said...

You have provided an eyewitness account of what some of us already know about the ineffectiveness of socialism/commuinism. Thank you for sharing this, Mr. Z.

Z said...

psi bond, you've taken quite an extremist point from this piece.
Actually, I'm glad you do; neither Mr Z or myself would have found it kind to be quite so damning but, as you take it that way, does guilt provide?.. may the shoe fit.
Of course your ilk is aimed at bringing America down; we will not recognize her greatness, the world will suffer for that loss as well, as soon as it stops being thrilled that their jealousy's been mollified by a president who's sunk us into the mediocre abyss he's sliding us into now. misery loves company.
My goodness...that you don't see it says volumes.

Cube, glad you appreciated it too. We surely do have to keep aware...the article absolutely shoes how a people can be weakened and how being forced to accept mediocrity is demoralizing. I pray we can straight out the country before it's too late...Though I must agree with the Left in that I think our kids are so indoctrinated by the Left that we may not have a generation of great Americans who strongly believe in hard work and self reliance..yes, I think the left's won there. You'd mentioned Mr Cube would like to read this, on my own article's comments, I hope he finds merit in both! Thanks for coming by.

Pam said...

Excellent post! I'm so glad my sister (Jungle Mom) sent me the link.

psi bond said...

psi bond, you've taken quite an extremist point from this piece.Actually, I'm glad you do; neither Mr Z or myself would have found it kind to be quite so damning but, as you take it that way, does guilt provide?.. may the shoe fit.

May you believe you have reason to feel self-satisfied. If the shoe fits, check whether it is sensible: So, twentieth century European history has nothing to teach us about the intent of U.S. liberals? So, you're saying, when Mr Z (who is apparently unable to speak in his own behalf) concludes his epic piece on German history with the emotional plea, “America, please benefit from Germany's past,” he is not suggesting that there is a troubling link between German history, as he understands it, and present-day American politics, as he sees it? Are you telling me he is just saying by way of platitude that, being oppressively tight, DDR shoes won’t fit a free people like us? If that is the case, his earnest plea is unnecessary, and amusing, at best. While Mr Z may choose to be discreet and deny any insinuations, other posters here are not shy in making the connection explicit, calling liberals fascists, communists, socialists, imbeciles, and more. Stereotyping is endemic and encouraged here. Smearing liberals with the revisited dirty past is regularly practiced without apology. Believe it or not, I agree with Glenn Beck when he says (to paraphrase): “We have to stop looking for villains everywhere.”

I did not know, Z, that kindness was a constraint you respected in your behavior here. Thus, it seems you believe that to condescendingly tell someone who disagrees not to be stupid is, in your perspective at least, kind behavior.

Z, whether you think it kind or unkind to assert, as if it were absolute fact, that liberals are aiming to bring America down, that you are convinced of such extremist propaganda speaks volumes––– libraries, actually.

Contrary to the view you confide to the appreciative cube, Americans who acknowledge America’s failures do not bring America down. Rather, they strengthen America as a moral leader in the world. A country unwilling to admit mistakes risks alienating its allies and invites comparison to inflexible fundamentalist foes. We should remember that even one of our greatest founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, said, humbly: The two principles on which our conduct towards the Indians should be founded, are justice and fear. After the injuries we have done them, they cannot love us.

Z’s tip is : “We surely do have to keep aware...the article absolutely [Mr Z’s perspective is absolute??] shoes [sic] [Freudian slippage?] how a people can be weakened [how? by Soviet takeover?] and how being forced to accept mediocrity [totalitarian control and surveillance?] is demoralizing.”

Obama, however, agrees:

It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.
— Barack Obama

I believe pessinistic rightwing extremists who put them and this country down will not weaken the new generation of Americans. Conservatism is predicated on distrust of the people. I believe a country where 45% act as if they’ve received the absolute truth and 53% (as in the last election), voting not like them, are dismissed as “imbeciles”–––that such a country, in which intellectual uniformity proves unattainable, is not endangered–––as the far right indoctrinates and volubly says it fears–––by apocalyptic mediocrity that will bring it down. Which is to say, I believe in America.

Deborah on the Bayside said...

Excellent, as usual, Mr. Z! Human motivations and behaviors spring from a common pool of options shaped by character formation, training and opportunities available in their particular culture/system.

Same sad tale from China after the Chi-coms. Short memories. Long lessons. Thank you so much for so elegantly illustrating the divide between freedom and servitude.

Insightful but not incite-ful, psi bond. If you're a "U.S. liberal" or anyone else who promotes and defends policies of suffocating statist direction and control associated with those of Nazi or fascist bent, then don't whine when others correctly identify your stripes.

psi bond said...

Insightful...

Thank you, Debbie

but not incite-ful, psi bond.

No, certainly not. I don't wish to incite folks to any kind of extremism, like some here on the far right, who find Nazis wherever it pleases them.

Deborah on the Bayside said...

This post is so old -- not sure if you'll pick it up. Just enjoying re-reading some of Mr. Z's excellent material, and touched again by the depth and thoughtfulness of this piece.