Today is the much-touted 20th anniversary of the fall of The Wall, the Berlin Wall. At the time it was celebrated as the end of communism, the fall of Democracy's arch-enemy.
What many thought was that the world would move forward into a free-market democratic utopia, finally the enemies of rational progress had been defeated.
For over 40 years after World War II, we in North America saw the world as polarized between Good Free-Market Democracies and Evil Communist Tyrannies. Those evil tyrannies were hell-bent to destroy us, we had to be on our guard constantly, to preserve our democratic freedoms. And then in 1989, it suddenly came to an end, our enemies were vanquished.
Sadly we have not given up the habit of seeing the human world divided into Good and Evil forces. We continue to exhort each other to be on guard against Evil Enemies, whether Al Queda, Taliban, nuclear terrorist countries, Somali pirates or what-have-you. The lessons of fear and paranoia have been thoroughly learned and internalized.
At this point in human history there is a certain urgency to come together to solve daunting problems facing us all---poverty, overpopulation, climate change, environmental degradation, the end of cheap energy to fuel our technological societies, and so on. None of these problems will be solved by conflict and confrontation, all of them require unprecedented cooperation amongst us humans.
It is disappointing that twenty years later we have made little progress in that direction. But the urgency grows.
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