VIEWSnForeign Policy for the Post-Cold War WorldnNineteen eighty-nine was a year of great joy for lovers ofnfreedom everywhere. For it was the “revolutionary”nyear in which totalitarian communism, throughout EasternnEurope and perhaps even in the Soviet Union itself,nsuddenly collapsed like a house of cards. Many of ournpundits, equating complexity and permanent quasi-gloomnwith profundity, sternly warned us all through the year thatnwe must avoid “euphoria” at all costs, and concentrateninstead on the grave problems ahead. Well, of course therenare problems, but we may be pardoned hosannas at a trulynwondrous event. I have not often agreed with Mrs. JeanenKirkpatrick’s view of the worfd, but I salute her willingnessnto admit that her famous distinction between authoritariannand irreversibly totalitarian regimes did not in the end holdnup, and that a seemingly impregnable communism, thoughnheld together by systematic terror, can crumble, perhapsneven more rapidly than authoritarian states. She was alsonwilling to be euphoric. Shortly after the collapse of thenBerlin Wall, I was struck by Mrs. Kirkpatrick’s reply to angloomy interviewer on CNN, who characteristically asked ifnshe weren’t troubled by the “destabilizing” effect of the endnof the Wall. Puzzled, she replied: ” ‘Destabilizing’? I thinknMurray N. Rothbard is a professor of economics at thenUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas.n16/CHRONICLESnby Murray N. Rothbardnnnit’s wonderful!”nAnd so in almost one stroke our world has totallynchanged, and the old verities that we were all raised on,nabout monolithic communism and all communists everywherenbeing robotic agents of the Kremlin, appear now tonapply only to an earlier age almost impossibly remote fromnour own.nHow could it happen? Everyone stresses the palpableneconomic failure of communism, and there is no questionnthat this played a large part in the process. But thisnconclusion, like all economic determinism, is far too simplistic.nThe economic failure has been evident for a long time;nwhy did the collapse of the regime take so long? Andnbesides, the economic devastation wrought in Cambodia bynthe Pol Pot regime was horrendous, and yet it was onlyntoppled by invasion of the less rigorous communists fromnVietnam.nFrom Etienne de la Boetie to David Hume to Ludwignvon Mises, political theorists have demonstrated that governmentsnare kept in power not merely by force but also, andnultimately more importantly, by ideology. It is ideology thatnfuels the enthusiasm of the ruling elite and engineers thenconsent, if only the resigned acceptance, of the governed.nEven the Marxists, materialists though they may be, havenshrewdly recognized that a ruling class can,keep itself inn