Free Markets, Free People
You have to read this one to believe it. Bruni de la Motte, a child of the GDR, tells us how hard life has been for her since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The irony is that while she tries to convince of all that was good and wonderful about her former homeland, she never mentions the fact that if she’d have written a whine like this while a citizen of the GDR we’d most likely not even know she ever existed. Nothing like romanticizing a terror state.
On 9 November 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down I realised German unification would soon follow, which it did a year later. This meant the end of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the country in which I was born, grew up, gave birth to my two children, gained my doctorate and enjoyed a fulfilling job as a lecturer in English literature at Potsdam University. Of course, unification brought with it the freedom to travel the world and, for some, more material wealth, but it also brought social breakdown, widespread unemployment, blacklisting, a crass materialism and an “elbow society” as well as a demonisation of the country I lived in and helped shape. Despite the advantages, for many it was more a disaster than a celebratory event.
The demonization of the country? It had demonized itself for decades. It had to build a freaking wall to keep people in. Not only in Berlin but around the entire country. But of course the political elite suffered far fewer depredations than did the rank and file citizenry. They could complain about the West’s “crass materialism” because, for the most part, they could get most of what they wanted. For the rest of the citizenry, not so much. However, there was no “blacklisting” in the GDR – she’s right about that. Instead, people just disappeared. And I’m sure she was very pleased with the order brought by the Stasi and the fact that spying and reporting on your neighbor was a national pass time.
Ah the good old days.
She rambles on for a number of paragraphs ending with this:
Since the demise of the GDR, many have come to recognise and regret that the genuine “social achievements” they enjoyed were dismantled: social and gender equality, full employment and lack of existential fears, as well as subsidised rents, public transport, culture and sports facilities. Unfortunately, the collapse of the GDR and “state socialism” came shortly before the collapse of the “free market” system in the west.
Of course there was no social equality – Ms. de la Motte belonged to a powerful elite. Gender equality still exists but you’re graded on your merit, something she appears not to appreciate at all. And full employment was a farce to say the very least. If they lacked “existential fears” then they must have been members of the Stasi because the rest of the country had an abiding existential fear of the state secret police. And of course, not understanding that the “free market” hasn’t “collapsed”, one can’t expect her to understand that her “subsidized rents” etc, are precisely what led to the collapse of “state socialism”.
Yes, the late and unlamented (except for the elite who benefited from its existence) GDR is dead.
Cry me a river.