Simon Black: Vilnius, Lithuania - One of the things that’s really unique about this part of the world is having access to so many people with first-hand experience of living under Soviet rule.
It’s a bizarre thing to say, but the stories they have to tell are extraordinary.
Last night I had dinner with some friends, including one woman who was just a child at the end of World War II.
She explained to me that her family had been wealthy landowners near the capital city… until the Soviet-controlled government came in, confiscated all of their property, and shipped the adults off to Siberia.
“There were so many opportunities to leave beforehand,” she explained, ”but they just never thought things would ever get that bad here. Everyone saw what happened in other countries, but my family never expected that it would happen to them.”
While most people probably aren’t going to end up in Siberia anytime soon, the lesson is still valuable.
It’s easy to look around the world and think “It can’t happen here. It won’t happen here.” But this is really foolish thinking.
Governments steal, then spend, other people’s money with reckless abandon. They conjure paper currency out of thin air, rob the future earnings of generations which have not even been born, and create mind-numbing barriers to real growth.
These are not people who can be trusted to do the right thing.