Features November 2009
Tyranny set in stone
Why we must not forget the lessons of the Berlin Wall.
It is in the moment of defeat that the inherent weakness of totalitarian propaganda becomes visible. Without the force of the movement, its members cease at once to believe in the dogma for which yesterday they still were ready to sacrifice their lives.
The inevitable never happens. It is the unexpected always.
—John Maynard Keynes
Was there ever a more fitting monument to tyranny than the Berlin Wall? Conceived in desperation, this brutal barrier was erected in 1961 by the state not for the protection but for the incarceration of its citizens. Hold fast to that thought. The Berlin Wall was the stuff of gritty spy novels, the literal instantiation of Winston Churchill’s “iron curtain,” which in 1946, with characteristic prescience, he saw descending across Central and Eastern Europe. The...
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