The Price we Pay
In 1989 millions of people were suddenly freed from socialist oppression when most of the communist world collapsed because of the failure of their socialist economies and the firm military pressure of the United States under the leadership of Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush. Yet virtually no media acknowledgement has been made of the twenty year anniversary of what might arguably be called the most important year in modern history. The only commemoration I've seen locally is a display in the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College.
How did we win the Cold War, and yet seem to have completely forgotten the lessons of that victory? Part of it is due to the domination of our higher education system by leftists, who at the time of the socialist collapse were still preaching about the "historical inevtablity" of socialism. The fall of the Berlin Wall should have been followed by the mass resignations of the heads of the humanities departments of nearly all our leading colleges and universities. Instead, they stayed on and pretended the fall of the socialist world had no significance. Therefore most Americans have never been properly educated about the Cold War, what it meant, and the important lessons to be learned. While the rest of the world is embracing free markets and enjoying the prosperity it brings, ironically the United States is trapped in a leftward drift with fading freedoms and a government crippled economy. Reason magazine helps to explain what went wrong.
November 1989 was the most liberating month of arguably the most liberating year in human history, yet two decades later the country that led the Cold War coalition against communism seems less interested than ever in commemorating, let alone processing the lessons from, the collapse of its longtime foe. At a time that fairly cries out for historical perspective about the follies of central planning, Americans are ignoring the fundamental conflict of the postwar world, and instead leapfrogging back to what Steve Forbes describes as the “Jurassic Park statism” of the 1930s.
In the long fight between Karl Marx and Milton Friedman, even the democratic socialists of Europe had to admit that Friedman won in a landslide. Although media attention was rightly focused on the dramatic economic changes transforming Asia and the former East Bloc, fully half of the world’s privatization in the first dozen years after the Cold War, as measured by revenue, took place in Western Europe. European political and monetary integration, widely derided as statist by the Anglo-American right, has turned out to be one of the biggest engines for economic liberty in modern history. It was no accident that, in the midst of Washington’s illegal and ill-fated bailout of U.S. automakers, Swedish Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson, when asked about the fate of struggling Saab, tersely announced, “The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories.”
When Western Europeans are giving lectures to Americans about the dangers of economic intervention, as they have repeatedly since Barack Obama took office, it’s a good time to take stock of how drastically geopolitical arguments have pivoted during the last two decades. The United States, at least as represented by its elected officials and their economic policies, is no longer leading the global fight for democratic capitalism as the most proven path to human liberation. You are more likely to see entitlement reform in Rome than in Washington where, against the global grain, the federal government is trying to extend its role.
This commerical from Alabama is a masterpiece of reverse psychology.
One good way to decorate this abandoned storefront in downtown Amherst is to let kids paint Halloween pictures on it.
The UMass Chess Club holds its meetings in the Blue Wall, the better to attract new members.
I was walking past the headquarters of the UMass Cannabis Club and saw that libertarian activist Terry Franklin was hanging out. I stopped in and took his picture.
Then he took mine.
Across the hall I saw this safe sex bulletin board decorated with drawsings of vaginas. Click photo to enlarge.
Wow, I remember just a few years ago there was a big stink at UMass about a public display of the image of a cock in a condom with a mouth near it. There was even a decency rally. Click photo to enlarge.
Personally I do not find images of genitalia offensive. But why the protest by some over the male anatomy display but not the female? Is there a double standard?
This coffeshop on King Street in Northampton is very popular.
Walking past it the other night after it was closed I saw this sign in the window that no doubt thrilled some anxious biker.
A beautiful performance by Storm the Ohio in Northampton last week.