Monday, November 09, 2009
Why people are so 'ostalgic' for communism and why western 'liberals' still don't get it
economic liberalism, a la Professor Hayek, because of its starkness and its failure to create a sense of community, is not a safeguard of political freedom but a threat to it...'
I think Sir Ian Gilmour, the old 'One Nation' Tory, had the answer.
Perhaps if the communism had been replaced with other forms of socialism post-1989 there would not now be so much nostaglia for communism in eastern Europe. But it was not. It was replaced by a system which put the interests of Goldman Sachs and international finance capital above ordinary people. The selfish, individualistic ‘elbow’ society, to use Bruni de la Motte's’s excellent phrase, came to eastern Europe and most people, surprise, surprise, don’t like it.
But of course, eastern Europeans aren’t supposed to say that. For so-called western ‘liberals’, it’s ok for anti-communists from emigre families to pen attack pieces on communism, but not for those who actually lived in the countries in question to write about how much they enjoyed their lives there as Bruni de la Motte does here and my wife Zsuzsanna did here.
As our good friend Olching puts in on this thread in replying to a western ‘liberal’ who castigates Bruni de la Motte for writing positively about her life in the GDR:
How dare they, eh, have any fond memories, when clearly they should remember nothing but the cliches we want them to remember!
Postscript: Isn’t it great to have this article published on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall- to remind people who have been the main beneficiaries of the political changes of 20 years ago.
UPDATE: There's a great post by former GDR citizen 'berlin girl' in the comments section to Bruni de la Motte's piece, which I think says it all.
Our lives in the GDR were not just about stasi and the wall, we had parties, got married had kids and had normal lives as well. We didnt take to the streets so that we could have mcdonalds and starbucks, we took to the streets for autonomy and self-determination. We didnt want to be just another part of West Germany, we wanted our own chance at a fairer society. That chance was taken from us by the likes of Kohl and the Western countries who thought they knew best. And the criticism of nostalgia, well, sorry, but how many of you feel nostalgic for your past? Why is it only the east germans who arent allowed to feel nostalgic? As for leaving in droves, yes, we all wanted to travel. But we almost all of us came back. Who wouldnt want to check out the eiffel tower and piccadilly circus, but it doesnt mean youd want to stay!