The German Festival of Madness

Below is an excellent op-ed by Henryk Broder that was published on December 20 in Die Welt. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

The German Festival of Madness

At the most recent protests, what does not belong together grows apart. On one side, politics which decree what a person here is allowed to think. On the other, the allegedly “stupid” people.

by Henryk Broder

[Video caption: In Dresden, the PEGIDA alliance gathers for the 10th time. 10,000 demonstrators come — more than ever before. The alliance gives itself out as sophisticated. But their statements sound different. (Source: DIE WELT)]

Oh, how we puffed up and trembled with superiority when the election results came in from other countries. These Dutch with their Geert Wilders! The French with Marine Le Pen! Beppo Grillo in Italy, Pia Kjærsgaard in Denmark, Nigel Farage in Great Britain, the Sweden Democrats in Sweden, Vlaams Belang in Belgium. Golden Dawn in Greece — right populists moving into power everywhere in Europe. And we… we could not fathom it.

More — we were outraged, horrified, shocked and repulsed, And when the Swiss voted on a ban on minarets and a limitation on immigration, we called out to the Swiss across the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen: That’s not the way, dear comrades; you are destroying your democracy.

We acted like a nun preaching morality to the whores on the Reeperbahn. We told them all how to act — like us! But now the bloom is off the rose. First the AfD, then PEGIDA. As if Godfrey of Bouillon were risen from the dead to lead his armies to Jerusalem.

“Neo-Nazis in Pinstripes”?

“Of course there is a right to demonstrate in Germany. But there is no place for baiting and slandering people who come to us from other lands,” says the Chancellor. Everyone should “take care that he is not being used by the instigators of such an event.” The party leader of the SPD in the Bundestag, Thomas Oppermann, says “These are not patriots; they are nationalists and racists, who are fanning people’s fears and want to divide society.” The North Rhine-Westphalia interior minister, Ralf Jäger — also SPD — sees “Neo-Nazis in pinstripes” at work here.

That is to say: the chancellor will decide where the freedom to demonstrate ends and persecution and slander begin, just as she has already classified a certain book as “not very helpful.”[1] As for the SPD, who in their long history have been called “vagabonds without a country,” they have developed a litmus test to distinguish patriots from nationalists and racists. Anyone who fails this test is relegated to “Nazis in pinstripes.” They are, as Wolfgang Schäuble says, “a disgrace for Germany.”[2]

What we have been witnessing for several months in Germany is a festival of madness, whose protagonists are not crazed petit bourgeois, not nationalists or racists, not even Nazis in pinstripes, but serious, pillar-of-the-state politicians who are acting like feudal princes at the end of the 18th century, and do not want to share their power and privilege with anyone.

No Stupider Than Augstein and Todenhöfer[3]

The understanding of democracy they reveal is static, not dynamic. Democracy not as a “work in progress” but as finished, and to be preserved as-is. Not a workshop with its activity, with sparks flying, people hammering, sweating; rather a neat little boutique with its wares perfectly aligned on the shelves. And a sign on the door: “All prices as marked. If you wish to bargain, try somewhere else.”

We haven’t seen such paternalism for a long time. Not only are more and more projects declared indispensable[4] — the euro, the change in energy source, the climate — politicians are also competing for mottos: “pick up the people where they are”[5] as if they were invalids or convalescents who cannot walk on their own or are too stupid to get a train ticket out of a ticket machine. But if these people get up and walk on their own and demonstrate, then they are “panic merchants,” “nationalists,” “racists,” and “Nazis in pinstripes.

It doesn’t matter what they are going into the streets for or against, or whether their fears are real or imagined. The only thing that matters is that they are availing themselves of the right “to gather peacefully and unarmed, without prior notice or permission” as guaranteed in the constitution. And the mottos uttered by these “panic merchants” are also not illegal. So far no proceedings against rabble-rousing.

The opinions of the demonstrators may be considered silly, stupid and exaggerated. But they are no stupider than the views given by Jakob Augstein or Jürgen Todenhöfer at Illnjer and Plasberg.[6] Or by the followers of the peace movement in their processions. If only moderate and sensible and correct opinions were allowed, that would be the end of freedom of expression. Everything else is covered in the criminal statutes on verbal abuse, slander and defamation.

What so enrages the elite that they forget their duty to serve the people and instead demand obedience from them? It is the arrogance of the guardian toward the ward — a bottomless contempt for the “people out there in the country.” The people who are constantly exhorted to become engaged, but woe betide them if they do.

The people out there in the country are not stupid. They may never have seen a film by Steven Soderbergh or read a book by Richard David Precht, but they have an instinct for the false, the pathetic, the fraudulent. They sense that something is not right when they are told over and over again that there is no “poverty immigration” but they also hear and read daily that communities are still wrestling with their non-existent problems.

The same is true with Islamization, which is naturally characterized quite differently on the Altona Elbschaussee than the Neuköllner Sonnenallee.[7] Eventually, the willingness to sugarcoat reality, or to allow it to be sugarcoated, is exhausted. Those people out there in the country are not amused by being called “racists,” while a rapper who glorifies violence is being honored for his contributions to integration.

And so, what does not belong together grows apart. On one side politics, which is concerned with such important subjects as the quota of women on supervisory boards in enterprises listed on the stock market; on the other side, the “stupid” people, who demonstrate silently against their disempowerment and thus drive the politicians mad. That’s just crap, one of the pols is heard to say — only 4,000 Muslims live in all of Saxony, just one-tenth of a percent of the population. You can’t talk about “Islamization.”

Buschkowsky: Attempt at an Islamic Land-Grab

Berlin District Mayor Heinz Buschkowsky, SPD, has been speaking for years about what is happening in his district. 320,000 people live in Neukölln — equal to the population of Iceland. “140,000 of them have been swept together here from every corner of the world.” Especially in the schools, there is an “attempt at a gradual land-grab by fundamentalism, with the aim of creating a different social order from what we call Western democracy.”

And when he looks out the window of his mayor’s office “among the passers-by on Donau Strasse and Karl-Marx Strasse, classic, traditional Muslim dress dominates, i.e., “full concealment.” And, he writes in the Capitol City Letter of December 17, “no more than five years ago, it looked very different in Neukölln.”

Is the man a “panic merchant” or a “nationalist” or even a “Nazi in pinstripes?” Or just a realist who tells it like it is? In five years, when Dresden looks like Neukölln and Neukölln looks like Islamabad, we will know more.


1.   Her reference to Thilo Sarrazin’s book as “wenig hilfreich” to the integration of Muslims has now achieved the currency of a much-repeated, -copied and -parodied bon mot.
2.   Said by the minister of finance (a position held previously by Sarrazin) in reference to AfD.
3.   Both called out by Broder as anti-Semites.
4.   Merkel’s use of it has also made the word “alternativlos” into a repeated and parodied catch-word.
5.   Friesland proverb, adapted after WWII in Catholic adult education programs, now apparently adapted by a contemporary politician to describe welfare programs.
6.   Political talk shows.
7.   Altona Elbchaussee = elegant residential area in Hamburg. Neuköllner Sonnenallee — suffice to says that one guide says that “knowledge of Arabic is not essential, but it is helpful.”

14 thoughts on “The German Festival of Madness

  1. JLH, Thanks for the translation, and especially for the explanatory notes (and your reply about “die Wende”). Your note [7] says that in the Berlin district of Neukoelln “Arabic … is helpful”. Am I wrong, or outdated, in thinking that the biggest foreign language there is Turkish, not Arabic?

  2. Another perspective of PEGIDA and a good article, but if you don’t act now you won’t have five years.

    And a nit pick; one cannot be a patriot without first being a nationalist.

    • True points! but you must understand that the politicians totally marinated in Cultural Marxism the word “nationalist” is a pejorative. Of course, they allude to National Socialism, but want to obscure the “socialism” bit since they subscribe to the dogmas of (involuntary, and this immoral) socialism.

      Nationalism is far less dangerous than Socialism is. Nationalists don’t cause wars against foreign enemies, Imperialists do. But Socialists wage “democide” (please Google it, folks) against their own people, and always have since the French Revolution onwards.

    • Turkish before German
      in Germany

      “Recep Tayyip Erdogan told 10,000 in Düsseldorf that children of Turkish immigrants should learn Turkish before German”
      Guardian 2011

      The first Gastarbeiter
      – Guest workers

      How Turkish Guest Workers Got to Germany
      Agreement was signed between Bonn and Ankara
      “A ceremony on Wednesday to mark 50 years since the first Turkish ‘guest workers’ arrived in Germany”
      Spiegel 2011

      – Do not assimilate!

      “Erdogan Urges Turks Not to Assimilate: ‘You Are Part of Germany, But Also Part of Our Great Turkey'”

      “‘I Am Here to Show That You’re Not Alone!’

      The savior arrives almost an hour and a half late. “Turkey is proud of you,” the crowd chants in this city in the heart of the Rhineland. “We are proud of you,” Erdogan replies.”
      Spiegel 2011

  3. For Mark Spahn: Mark, I am as surprised as you are, but I just reported the remark from a tourist guide I came across. Certainly, the guest-worker program agreement with Turkey is what began the mass immigration, which was originally a work-and-leave-program. As I recall, the Germans got a lot of heat for withholding citizenship for many years from those who chose not to go home, and finally “saw the light’ and stopped being so mean to their new legal resident non-citizens and offered citizenship. Unlike Jerry Brown, who is giving his illegals driver’s licenses first, so they will have ID when they vote.

    For Nemesis: I agree, but I think the tricky thing about “nationalist” in German is that it is the first component in the full name of the Nazi party and makes a good weapon.

    • Would that the name “Communist Party of the Soviet Union” had resulted in a like negative connotation for the word “Communist.”

      For the dishonest, vicious, treasonous left, however, the National Socialists in Germany were “right wing” and the communists in the Soviet Union, the PRC, Kampuchea, Cuba, N. Korea were “socialists in a hurry,” “agrarian reformers,” “liberators,” and avid birdwatchers. Nothing to see there, Comrade.

      “Ah, but ‘national.’ The “n” word, mind you! Is that word in your political discourse, Hans? Well, my stars. Now … NOWwe see the depth of your depravity.”

  4. The bizarre thing is that Mayor Heinz Buschkowsky is an SDP party stalwart and he has been drawing attention to the manifold egregious problems immigrants have been creating in his Berlin district for many years. One would think that the SDP might have paid some attention to him and ameliorated their “see no evil” line on Islamization, but no.

    One study showed that the largely Turkish “guestworker” program fiscally benefited Germany in its early years: as a group they paid more tax than they drew down in welfare payments. (The costs of health care and education of their children weren’t factored into the equation.) By the late 1970’s, however, the guestworkers as a group became a net fiscal drain and it has stayed that way ever since. Whilst the Croat, Italian and Spanish guestworkers for example were genuinely motivated to move to Germany as guests by superior German salaries and largely retired to their nations of origin, the Turkish ones not only didn’t go home, they imported spouses, parents, etc, who then demanded, amongst much else, German citizenship.

    How different Germany would be today if their guestworker program had been confined to other Europeans. What a colossal public policy blunder.

  5. To Moa and jlh. Definitely on the same page guys. Politicians are ordinary folk with extraordinary egos, in most cases, but like ordinary folk they are still subject to the restrictiveness that is political correctness and the subtleties of the Collective mantra, and especially so as politicians.

    The Collective has run a most successful campaign in relieving the masses of their innate ability to think for themselves. However, the campaign of dumbing down the populace is, in my humble opinion, coming to an end as more and more of the populace choose to pay attention to alternative media sources which I believe is reflected in falling newspaper sales and dwindling TV and Radio audiences that the Collective has been able to control for over 50 years. One only needs to pay attention to see how the Traitor Class is now tripping over themselves in an effort to control the internet to realize the effect that the internet has had on the Collective media sources and the maintaining of the status quo. Of course individual and personal experience with ‘cultural enrichers’ has also had its own effect on how the individual now perceives those he has voted into power.

    The Traitor Class’s time is ending. What we need to think about now is what are we going to replace them with to ensure that what has occurred over the past 100 years cannot ever occur again.

  6. “…dwindling TV and Radio audiences…” The Christmas tv audience in Britain dropped by more than 6million over last Christmas.

    • That’s an incredible one year decline. I wonder if it was at least partially due to the secularization/islamization of society. Christmas is (arguably) losing its significance and meaning in the West (so who would be watching, for example, Christmas specials, or Christmas-themed movies?)

      • More likely due to the fragmentation of the audience, Martin G, as increasing numbers catch up via digital media, probably not being included in the viewing statistics. Even in secular Britain, many people remain sentimental about Christmas.

  7. I just got a request from the cousin of my daughter (they both live in Munich) to join a facebook page dedicated to anti PEGIDA. Of course, it is full of the same old nonsense, “Keep Germany safe for refugees” and “Let’s Keep Germany Colorful!” as if the same tolerance the libs want us to show will be returned once the Islamist gain political power. They have no idea that these “refugees” to Europe will be the same as the Christian Missionaries were to the Native Americans. And just imagine what will happen to atheists (like the cousin of said daughter). All I can say is, if England is any indication, I hope the white population of Europe enjoys the rape gangs, because they are coming.

    • I’ve not seen it in so many words but if one is an atheist isn’t one, by definition, not a person “of the Book,” whether or not one is a nice, open-minded, German man or woman who goes into a tizzy to march in solidarity with his or her new Muslim friends?

      Under shariah, “people of the Book” get a slightly better deal after a Muslim takeover (which is to say not much of a deal at all), but the rest of the kuffar get to convert or die, or even be made into slaves. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

      Those anti-fascists need to plan ahead so their transition to a new status in their own country goes smoothly. Being a “native” German slave in Köln could be an exciting experience. A diverse experience, you might say. The highest point of the German evolution from the darkness of the Christian Dark Ages, even.

      Whoever made this plan should be praised.

Comments are closed.