February 17, 2009

What Americans seem to be unable to twig

I am always losing my considerable charm and graces when Americans are wasting the word "conservative" on German circumstances, because they are unable to look beyond their, admittedly vast, borders. This time it was at Gates of Vienna:
A couple of weeks ago I posted a report by our German correspondent Furor Teutonicus about a German conservative movement known as Pro-Deutschland.
Some additional information seemed in order. I am re-posting the gist of my comment here, together with some additional points. As I have pointed out countless times, there ARE NO "conservatives" in Germany. Never were, are not, never will be.

To quote myself:

WHAT we have are brown-painted Socialists, Sacred-Heart Socialists, green-over-brown-painted Socialists, Communists and a tiny, hapless "liberal" party that used to be a receptacle for old Nazis after '45 and which has ousted itself from serious politics by their self-consciously cultivated image of a "fun party".

The staple of all of them is the hatred of America and Jews, which the not-brown-painted ilk insist to call "anti-Zionism" because they are such despicable hypocrites.

The quote can be found here, the bone of contention it that specific case was the fact that well-meaning but -- to put it politely -- slightly one-dimensional Americans threw another heartfelt "he was a patriot" after the deceased governor of Carinthia because, as I put it then, HE opposed immigration and THEY don't know their arses from their elbows, i.e. squat about German history, society and mentality, and were seriously AMAZED that this paragon of anti-immigration principles had rubbed shoulders with Saddam Hussein.

Now it's about the Bürgerbewegungen (civil movements) under the "Pro" label, heavily weighed down by Neo- and old Nazis. Case in point: One of the main backers of Pro Köln, vanguard of the "Pro" movement, is Günther Kissel, an (old) Nazi and wealthy muckshifter, who built the megalomaniac mosque in Duisburg. Pecunia muselmaniae non olet. That is not the only (Neo-)Nazi-connection, by the way. The common staple between left, right and center is hatred of Israel, the Über-Jew and America, the surrogate Jew and as Muslims are always glad to help, they are gladly welcomed, and to hell with "anti-immigrant" principles.

I performed a brief Google search and lo and behold, one of the local "Pro"-branches celebrates Gerard Menuhin, one of those Jews who are always gladly taken into the Nazi-fold and who, I hope, does not need an introduction here. What will one find if a one-minute Google search for "Pro Deutschland" with no other search parameter delivered that?

Vlaams Belang is fine, Partij voor de Vrijheid is fine, even BNP is able to learn. However, dear Americans, you may have noticed that they are not German. But then, you may not. I repeat: You WILL NOT find anything like that in Germany. If THAT is Germany's future, God help us!

Mind you, I am NOT saying that those "Pro" organisations are NOT attracting quite a few wellmeaning, decent citizens who are just desperate because the mainstream parties are exposing them helplessly to the Islamic threat.

I don't know America just from a few visits, have never lived there for any considerable length of time and never worked there. At this end many people like myself, Europeans, even Germans, are labouring to do America justice, reading, talking, thinking, learning about your country. Why do you Americans think you can get away with just grafting your home-made preconceptions on the infinitely more complex European circumstances.

I have written before that it is, albeit difficult, not impossible to understand Germany. To quote myself again:
That it is possible to understand that strange country shows Herman Wouk, who has got Germany's number to a "T". The information on Germany he delivers in his WWII-trilogy ist stunningly accurate and even more insightful. I seem to remember that it was in the first volume of this very trilogy, where a discussion based on the writings of one of the early sociologists (Pareto?) occured, saying that Germany had taken a path different from that of other European countries because of Arminius' victory over Varus in 9 AD. The relative absence of the mellowing, civilisatory Roman influence serves here to explain a cruel and ruthless streak in the Germans that seems to be absent, or not so prevalent, in other European people. Whether that is entirely true or not, it is certainly helpful to at least begin to understand Germany's otherness.

As for a more recent assessment, I recommend The German-Israeli historian Dan Diner's book "Feindbild Amerika", in which he outlines the long history of German antiamericanism as a backward-oriented society’s angst-ridden and contemptuous reaction to modernity. Sadly, there is no English translation available, but I am sure that "America in the Eyes of the Germans: An Essay on Anti-Americanism" contains at least the basics of Diner's theory. Here is a review.
A whiff of understanding of the German language would be quite an eye-opener, then Americans would be able to read (and hopefully to understand), say, the hate-filled, antisemitic comments in a serious Islam-critical and staunchly pro-Israel German blog like Politically Incorrect or the equally hate-filled buckets full of slandering slurry in the leftist blogosphere that is emptied over the PI-team, and maybe, perhaps, hopefully, understand that there is method behind such a mutual stance.

Then they would, too, understand the implications of the fact, that a medium like the Junge Freiheit, the modern, rinsed with demagogic fabric-softener, acceptable face of Neo-Nazism, is hosting interviews with militant Muslims and haters of the Jewish state like Jamal Karsli or Muslim Brother and Hamas-supporter Ibrahim El-Zayat. Soundbite from a recent interview headed "It's seething among the Muslims":
Will the Muslims in Germany thus percieve the Germans as enemies soon?

El-Zayat: No, luckily, we haven't come so far yet.

The reason for possible enmity would be in this case, mind you, Chancellor Angela Merkel's lame-ish support for Israel in the Gaza-conflict. The German people, left, right and center, are quite d'accord with the Muslim hatred for everything Jewish anyway and beware Muslim wrath should that ever change.

But it won't. The stance of the left is clear anyway, and anything with "Pro" connected to "Deutschland" will INVARIABLY end up in an orgy of Nazi-, war guilt- , war crimes- , and Holocaust apology or revisionism, as proven by today's frontpage of Junge Freiheit.

Nationalism has no other face here. A healthy, positive Nationalism is unthinkable. At the end of the day, it's all about war crimes commited with Germans as -- yes -- victims, Holocaust relativism, and the ever-oppressive Jewish lobby. Just as the guilt-ridden sort, this kind of German identifies with the Nazi-aera and the (self-started and lost) war and with the Nazi-aera and the (self-started and lost) war only. Sad as it may be, there is no other Germany.

I am tired of translating. Go and try to get the gist and the spirit of the above precious "German conservatism" yourselves.


Dr.D said...

I can only guess at the meaning of your title, "What Americans seem to be unable to twig." "To twig" is not a verb form that I am familiar with at all.

I only know a little bit of German history, but my impression is that the attitudes you describe did not exist in the 19th century; is this true, or not? They seem to me to be a 20th century phenomenon, and if that is the case, can they not be reset by some means to the 19th century state? I don't have the prescription for just how that is to be done, but that seems to me to be what is needed.

In large part, what I see missing and need in Germany and all of Europe is a return to Christianity. The loss of faith has left Europe, and Germany in particular, with no escape from guilt. Christianity offers absolution and hope, the things that appear to be most needed for the restoration of a healthy psyche for all of Europe.

The_Editrix said...

Ooops... I guess "to twig" is a British-ism. Yes, it means something like "to understand".

Doc, I actually think a lot of the question you ask, whether all this is entirely due to the 20th century and I rather think not. The roots of the German mentality go farther back than the 20th century. John Weiss' epochal book "Ideology of Death -- Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany" is quite an eye-opener.

As for your prescription for a healthy psyche: I couldn't agree more. You will enjoy the writing of Hilmar von Campe, the only German thinker I know who shows a way out of the trap between self-hate and denial.