Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I had the great privilege of being stationed as a United States Army infantry officer in the former West Germany on that date. My unit‘s wartime mission, should it have come to it, was to slow the advance of Soviet infantry regiments that would have crossed the border at the Fulda Gap. We went about our business at the barracks during the day on November 9. I only learned what had happened upon returning to my apartment and turning on Armed Forces TV to the Today show (it aired in the afternoons in Germany).
To many of us, the Berlin Wall was so fixed a reality that its fall stunned us. But it did not surprise Ronald Reagan, who in 1987 had challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” And in the months and years that followed, as we learned more about the internal condition of the Soviet empire, the collapse looked more inevitable than shocking.
On November 8, 1989, we had no idea, as we trained and prepared for the worst, that the West was about to prevail. But if we, as a society, had not trained, prepared, and dedicated ourselves to that fight, we would not have prevailed.
This is also why we at Pacific Legal Foundation bring the legal battle to the federal government in courts across this nation everyday. We fight for limited government in an era that seems to want the feds to do everything. We fight to limit the Congress to its Constitutionally enumerated powers in an era that assumes the legislature to be omnipotent. We fight to limit executive agencies and the administrative state to their Constitutional and statutory authority, in an era where both major parties prefer that the dirty work be done by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. We fight for property rights when many think of private property as a quaint, old-fashioned concept.
Some wonder if our Constitutional order will ever be fully restored. Our answer: only if we continue to fight for it. Contemporary big government is similar to the Soviet Empire in at least one fundamental way: it is too big to succeed. And we will be there when the courts finally (and probably suddenly) decide that the Constitution is a better framework than the administrative state.