. . . being in the tasting, in evaluating the relative merits of the two visions of the citizen-state relationship on offer this coming Tuesday, might we not with profit ask ourselves: From which of the two systems are people most intimate with it willing to endure the greatest hazards to escape it?
Exhibit A: China is having a hard time holding on to precisely those people which it must, absolutely must, keep as willing participants in the great adventure that is China if it is to continue to flourish.
Exhibit B: The Antifaschistische Schutzmauer, better known over here as the Berlin Wall, which up to 200 people died trying to cross between its 1961 construction and its 1989 breach (this ignores those shot elsewhere along the border between the two Germanies).
Exhibit C: The periodic waves of people fleeing Castro’s Cuba.
You know, I’m not a Deep Thinker, and certainly not one of them Sophisticated Northeasterners, and so I tend to ask real damned simple questions, and to weigh the answers accordingly. But I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say that if large numbers of people are willing to throw everything they’ve ever worked for overboard, if they’re willing to risk being shot, if they’re willing to consign their nearest loved ones staying behind to prison (if they’re lucky), just in order to escape your system . . . then you might ought to think real hard about whether you need to change how you do things.