Friday, August 19, 2011

The Berlin Wall - Lest We Forget

It has been fifty years this month since the German Democratic Republic erected the Berlin Wall.

The Wall was the physical embodiment of the Socialist belief that common good trumps individual good. It was built to preserve the Socialist regime of the GDR by physically imprisoning its population, who up until then were leaving for West Germany in increasing numbers. The Communist form of Socialism that was practised in the Soviet block, and that is still adhered to a greater or lesser extent in China, Cuba and North Korea, is the natural extension of all Socialist regimes. Socialists believe they know what is best for all of us and that individuals should not be trusted to make their own decisions about how they live and work. Ultimately this belief must lead to the use of violence by the state to restrain individuals where their individual choices conflict with those of the rulers of the state.

The only alternative to the building of Berlin Walls is a society based on the paramouncy of individual rights. In such a society the only legitimate role of the state is to prevent the initiation of violence by one individual or group against another. In such a society the state rules only by consent of the individual. In such a society, governments and laws are subservient to the rights of the individual, not the other way around.

Unfortunately, such a society doesn't exist in the world today. In all countries there is an on-going battle between those who adhere to the Socialist philosophy that 'might is right' and those who believe that individuals are best able to make their own decisions about how to live their lives.

The Berlin Wall is a fading reminder that, as Wendell Phillips (not Jefferson, as commonly thought) said, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

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