What Berlin Wall Propaganda Can Teach Us About Freedom

What Berlin Wall Propaganda Can Teach Us About Freedom

In an op-ed in The Hill,  IHS President Dr. Emily Chamlee-Wright examines how East German propagandists tried to convince the world that the wall was an instrument of “true freedom.”

Dr. Chamlee-Wright quotes East German General Secretary Erich Honecker: “Our state is irrevocably anchored in the world of socialism, the world of true freedom, democracy and human dignity.”

In other words, Dr. Chamlee-Wright writes,

Dr. Emily Chamlee-Wright

“…the Berlin Wall — guarded by armed soldiers who killed at least 140 would-be defectors — was keeping East Germans in “the world of true freedom” by forcibly separating them from a less dignified existence in the non-socialist world. It’s as though the General Secretary had mistaken George Orwell’s Appendix to “Nineteen Eighty-Four, “The Principles of Newspeak,” as his talking points.”

– Dr. Emily Chamlee-Wright

The Berlin Wall is long gone; but unfortunately, people around the world are still using the word freedom to rationalize illiberal actions and rail against liberalism. In her op-ed, Dr. Chamlee-Wright points to recent examples and responds:

For those of us who still believe in the liberal concept of human freedom — that is, freedom from coercion, freedom to engage others as they voluntarily choose to engage with us, and the freedom to think for oneself — any attempt to define “freedom” as something entirely different will always ring false.

– Dr. Emily Chamlee-Wright

Read Dr. Chamlee-Wright’s full op-ed in The Hill.

See more posts: Op-ed 

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