What does a political regime do when its philosophy doesn’t work and is leading to ruin? It can’t scrap the philosophy, which is its raison d’être and the basis of its power. Were it to chuck the philosophy, its core constituencies would abandon it. So instead it blames those who have most cogently pointed out the defects of the philosophy. It calls them liars and haters. The strategy is evidently one of desperation, and a confession of the bankruptcy of the regime in question.
In the waning days of the East German state — the German Democratic Republic — East German Politburo apparatchik Hermann Axen persuaded Erich Honecker to embrace an “our-critics-are-liars-and-haters” strategy. Communism in the late summer of 1989 was a joke, but it was at the same time the raison d’être of the SED, the ruling Communist party. Without it, a lot of bureaucrats would be out of a job. Axen was one of these. “A dirty wave of hate and great lies is breaking over the GDR,” he declared on September 10, two months before ordinary Germans brought down the Berlin Wall in the name of political and economic freedom.
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