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Covid and the Berlin Wall

How long will Democrat governors tolerate people fleeing their states and taking their money with them?

By Hobbes  |  March 12, 2021

Millennial human nature likes to boil gigantic, world-changing events down into little bite-sized packages - not for them the hours-long Lincoln-Douglas debates.  If millennials have ever even heard of the Berlin Wall, they likely picture a video clip of screaming Germans climbing and shoving on a graffiti-covered barrier while bulldozers roar and floodlights oscillate.  Anyone who's either particularly historically aware or a Tom Hanks fan might have some vague recollection of evil... Germans?  Nazis maybe?... machine-gunning anonymous figures trying to climb over the Wall.

But that's all the ancient past and has nothing to say to us today - anyway, we won, whoever "we" were, right?

The Foundation of Slavery

The origins of the Berlin Wall go back to the end of World War II, as the Third Reich collapsed and Hitler went to meet his Maker.  The Allies invaded Germany from East and West, and met in the middle.

When dealing with genuine Nazism, anyone who is willing to fight Nazis is a good ally.  Other than that, though Stalin's Soviet Russia was about as evil a bunch as can be imagined - he murdered many times more innocents than Hitler ever did, and communism writ large murdered many times more than that.  We won't criticize Churchill and FDR for making the pragmatic judgment that Hitler was a greater immediate threat than world Communism, but as history played out, there wasn't much to pick between the two.

After the war, the Soviet Red Army occupied the eastern half of Germany and the rest of Eastern Europe, from which they'd driven the retreating Wehrmacht.  In like fashion, Eisenhower and his generals controlled Western Europe, the western half of Germany, and West Berlin.

In keeping with their promises, the Allies quickly returned the liberated nations of Western Europe to self-government - France, Italy, the Low Countries, Austria among others.  In keeping with the nature of communism, the Soviets did not: the nations of Eastern Europe endured "free and fair" elections under the watchful eyes of the Red Army, and - sure enough! - Communist puppet governments took power and never bothered with elections again.

Europe had been all but destroyed in the war, so it took awhile for organized government control of any sort to stabilize.  Throughout the rest of the 40s and into the 50s, though, the Communist yoke grew tighter: border controls grew and were reinforced, free movement of citizens was regulated and limited.

What remained of Germany was theoretically one nation, but it quickly became obvious that the Soviets would never allow genuine national elections they'd inevitably lose.  The parts of Germany controlled by the democracies, including West Berlin, became West Germany; the rest was defined as a separate country known as East Germany by the Soviets, though the split was never recognized by the Western powers.

Technically, though, Germans were still Germans, with a right to live anywhere in Germany they wished.  Vast throngs of Germans decided they'd rather live under American or British rule, or even French, than Soviet, and voted with their feet.

The Soviets decided they did not care to rule over an empty wasteland or to repopulate Eastern Germany with Russians; instead, they built first the border wall, and ultimately the Berlin Wall, to prevent their captive peoples from sneaking out and robbing their masters of their forced labor.  As Winston Churchill famously put it:

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.

The Soviet empire was one vast prison camp, complete with prison breaks.  Why didn't the Soviets just let the dissidents leave?  Because like redistributionists everywhere, they wanted to steal the fruits of their labor and didn't care one whit that the people did not wish to live under tyranny.  They would stay, and they'd work where and how they were told - or else.

The Coming Covid Curtain?

Thankfully, even our Democrat governor tyrants, as far removed as they are from anything in the American tradition of liberty, are nevertheless a long way from being Stalin-style murderous psychopaths.  New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo's diktats may have led directly to the death of 15,000 elderly nursing home residents, but he didn't literally order them to be killed outright.  Similarly, the misgovernance of California's Gavin Newsom led directly to the incineration of whole towns and hundreds of residents in forest fires brought about by persistent mismanagement, but he didn't personally set out to incinerate anybody the way Stalin and Hitler did.

Nevertheless, many thousands of citizens of New York and California have decided they've had enough and are hightailing it to Republican states, taking their tax dollars with them.  They, like the East Germans in the late 1940s and the East Berliners in the 1950s, are voting with their feet against governments that can't be repaired via the ballot box.

Will the Democrat mandarins of blue states contentedly let the last one out turn off the lights?  Not on your life:

Unions and their Democratic allies in the [California] state Legislature recently proposed a hefty new tax on people with incomes over $1 million... The tax would also be imposed on former residents who left within the past decade, presumably to catch those who fled the state's income tax rates, which already are the highest in the country. [emphasis added]

What could possibly be more appealing to a tax-and-spend government kleptocrat?  Here's a way to tax people who can't even vote against you!

But aside from questions of the Constitutionality and enforceability of such highway robbery, this could be at best a temporary solution: what do you do ten years from now once everybody with any money has fled?

And even that assumes ten years of patience on the part of Democrats, not something they've displayed much of late.  As in so many other ways, covid panic has allowed them to do things they could not do before.  We wrote previously about Joe Biden's wish to blockade Florida because it rejects his shutdown orders and bogus mask mandates.

The ostensible reason is avoiding contagion, but as Gov. DeSantis tells anyone who'll listen, that's a lie: Florida's covid numbers are no worse than anyone else's and better than many including New York and California.  On top of that, Mr. Biden is letting illegals pour across our borders and transporting them to live with illegal relatives who're already here without testing any of them for the virus.

No, the real reason is found in the fact that, as Bloomberg put it, "Airlines Are Ditching Business Hubs and Rerouting Flights to Florida." The tourism dollars go to Florida and stay there; ever day, so do more businesses and wealthy taxpayers.  Texas, of course, is even more famous for this, most recently welcoming the world's richest man Elon Musk.

It seems far-fetched to imagine New York or California building an iron curtain across their borders to keep taxpayers from leaving.  It probably seemed pretty darn far-fetched to imagine the Red Army building a wall right across Europe - until they did.  Contra Democrat dogma, their wall worked quite well at keeping people both in and out, just like the wall around Pelosi's house and what once was known as the People's House, the U.S. Capitol.

We've just lived through 2020.  Are we truly prepared to say, no, that could never happen?  To say that, would be to say that there is an end to the greed and evil of Democrat government - a line they will refuse to cross, no matter what it costs them.

If you see such a line, please let us know.  Ordinary people, to say nothing of amoral politicians, will do extreme things when there are billions of other people's dollars at stake.