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Waking up to the language of dictatorship

"Bismarck reflected that the supreme fact of the 19th Century was that Great Britain and the United States shared the same language. And surely future historians will note that a supreme fact of this century was that Great Britain and the United States shared the same cause; the cause of human freedom." (US President Ronald Reagan welcoming British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 1988)

Who can explain the fact that while millions of Brits and Americans lost their lives to defend other people's freedoms, some people living in America and Britain tout the tyrannies of Castro and Chavez? Are they so free they just can't understand the language of dictatorship?

I had a wake-up call I needed when I visited Communist Czecholslovakia. It's easy to swan through a dictatorship and miss how awful it is - certainly it appears easy to Michael Moore. Hearing my grandmother whisper about the government in the dark, walking through once-beautiful crumbling towns, meeting the anxious, envious, hopeless eyes of everyone I met on the street, I gained a different impression of those "workers' paradises" where everyone had free health care but no one wanted to live.