Anatomy of a Hit-Piece

This article below serves as an apposite follow-up to Thor von Waldstein’s speech and the discussion about “moderate” vs. “extremist”. It highlights the repeated attempts to force Björn Höcke, the popular German politician from the AfD party, to jump over the “distancing stick” held out for him by leftists and their cowed accomplices on the Right. JLH has simultaneously translated and fisked an MSM article that makes a blatant effort to marginalize Mr. Höcke, and with him the possibility of any real political alternative in Germany.

Anatomy of a Hit-Piece

Introduction by JLH

As a result of coverage by Gates of Vienna, Björn Höcke is already known to some here as an Ossi who is attempting to move the AfD toward an immigrant-critical position. However, other than some dramatic moments, we do not know that much about him, so when I came across an article in the FAZ with what appeared to be a neutral title and promise of a look behind the curtain of his facade, I decided to translate it.

How wrong I was about its intentions, as you will see. But nothing in politics goes to waste, so read along with me and we will learn a little about Höcke, and possibly even more about the Left — its presumptions, its bêtes noires and its techniques.

My comments are interpolated within the text in square brackets. The original piece was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Björn Höcke — Propagator and Place-Holder

[At first, this seemed like a harmless title, but on reflection, what does it describe? First, the town-crier figure who is spreading the word, and disappears around the corner as the more important people show up. Then, somebody who is just important enough to hold a place open until the real hero arrives to take it. Just a loud guy with no substance who thinks a lot of himself.]

by Friederike Haupt
December 22, 2015

Björn Höcke will have to be careful for a while now. This is clear from the way he talks about his party, the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland/Alternative for Germany). Last Thursday, when he wanted to describe what it is, he was still using some of the original Höcke turns of phrase: “For me, the AfD is the last evolutionary chance for this people. Our substance is being consumed in every area.” If the chance is missed, will that necessarily mean revolution? How else can you understand the sentence? Höcke has predicted that Germans will have to pass through a “ vale of tears” before the AfD will save the democratic nation of laws.

[“How else can you understand the sentence?” Perhaps as a reference to electing a more responsive government??]

On Friday, at Höcke’s behest, his spokeswoman authorized the quotation, with an emendation, which was as perfect as though it had been worn smooth and round by a river flowing over it for a thousand years: “The AfD is a modern liberal-conservative party. It fills the vacuum left by Merkel’s social-democratized Union. We want to win back those who have turned away from politics in recent years, because they missed the ideas of the AfD in the political offerings.”

In the interval between the two quotations, the AfD had conferred about Höcke. Or rather, argued fiercely. Frauke Petry, the federal chairwoman, was in favor of disciplinary measures against Höcke, in fact, because of a claim he had made shortly before in a speech: that Europeans and Africans had different reproductive strategies.

To Africans, he attributed what the biologists called the r-strategy. According to Höcke, Europeans followed the K strategy. In the English-language Wikipedia, this “r/K selection theory” is illustrated by two photos, according to which the r strategy is represented by rats and the K strategy by whales. Höcke’s comment was widely perceived as biological racism.

[What Höcke said is not that different from what others have said. Other Europeans have remarked on the likelihood that they will become a minority because of the drastic difference in birth rate. Muslim immigrants themselves have bragged about the same phenomenon. So what makes this so dramatic?

The graphic pictures. Rats — those companions of cockroaches in all the worst places to be, biting babies in their cradles. Versus the noble and endangered giant mammals of the sea.

But wait. Didn’t Friederike take her pictures from the English language Wikipedia? And the same reference exists in German. With one difference — the German page, typically, has no dramatic pictures — just graphs and formulas and explications.

So what if we alter the illustration a bit. How would you react to hundreds of tiny, newly hatched turtles toddling toward the safety of the sea, as most are gobbled up by the predators that have been salivating for this moment? Or a very large litter of cute little kittens? And imagine the opposite for the K strategy — a ferocious wolf staring balefully at a terrified lamb. This may be the alpha male who is the only one in the pack who mates, and has as few as 2-4 cubs a year. May not even do that, if food is short and it will be hard for the pack to keep itself fed. Think of it as responsible parenting. Does it change the theory, or just the emotional impact?]

Petry’s plan failed with the majority. The party leadership managed only to produce a sterile press release. Höcke should examine “to what extent his positions were still in accord with those of the AfD.” But why should Höcke be concerned about his agreement with the AfD, instead of the other way around?

Officially, Björn Höcke is simply the local and faction leader of his party in Thuringia, which has just 2.2 million residents (and glorious bratwursts). But he is also an enormously popular man in the AfD — you could say in terms of the usual end of December rankings: the parvenu of the year. There are many reasons for that. One is that he is a good public speaker. Another, that he is good at talking himself out of a situation. And a third, that when the chips are down, he does not do the one without the other.

That is the trick that Höcke has been pulling for years. And more and more often recently. In the past week, the show reached its apogee thus far. He has transformed the scandal surrounding his speech into an internal conflict in the AfD, at the end of which he emerges as the victor. How he did that is typical of him.

[“That is the trick that Höcke has been pulling for years.” I guess we’ll have to take your word for that, in the absence of other examples.]

Hazardous pitfalls, Höcke the chicken?

Thursday afternoon, appointments time for Björn Höcke in his legislative office in Erfurt. It is already getting dark outside; the last light is leaking out of the blue evening sky. Inside, the electricity is out. Höcke lights an Advent candle in the seating area. Warm candlelight illuminates at least three German flags: one very big one behind the desk, a smaller one on the desk, one painted on the bulletin board. Hugely, next to it, Bismarck.

From the desk, Höcke is looking him directly in the eye. Maybe that’s lucky. When Höcke spoke out a week ago on Facebook about his controversial appearance at the Institut für Staatpolitik, the accompanying photo showed him in front of a street sign — Otto von Bismarck Allee. Höcke was photographed from below so that the sign would fit into the picture. He is wearing a suit, a tie and a thoughtful expression. Just as now, in the office.

[Is there a hint here of megalomania, of pretension to power? Well, at least we’re not calling him Hitler, or suggesting a Nazi leaning, but wait until the end of the article…]

Höcke’s spokeswoman has said in advance that he is exhausted by what has bombarded him in recent days. It sounds as if he has stumbled into something, as one walks unsuspectingly into a hailstorm. This refers to the reactions to his talk. Now Höcke makes use of the trick that has helped him in similar situations, i.e., when his standpoints are described as in agreement with those of rightist extremists: admit mistakes without accepting guilt. Now, for example, he says: ““I must cover my head with ashes. I still make mistakes and learn from them. It’s a balancing act — trying not to fall into every trap, but also not to lose my spontaneity.” Hazardous pitfalls, Höcke the chicken?

[Translation: I really hate it when we think we have him and he slips away.]

Teacher for history and sport

Höcke passes himself off as politically naive. His transgressions are to be understood as klutzy mistakes. Oops, what did I just step in? And that is how — according to his personal foundational mythology — he became a politician. Not a decision; rather, psychological stress drove him to it. He was once a history and sport instructor. “When I think about leaving the school world, I still get sad. That was my calling.” tempi passati.

At any rate, Höcke was already politically active before he happened onto the AfD. He just had no party. He associated with a network of rightist intellectuals, attended lectures, exchanged ideas on the internet with like-minded people. Höcke’s network includes a man who goes on record: “I invented Höcke, if you please. I discovered his political talent.” This is the AfD member Heiner Hofsommer, 70, from north Hesse[1]. When he comes to the telephone on Wednesday, he is immediately ready to talk about Höcke — He is his friend and a “noble person” who has “intentionally brought four children into the world,” as has he, Hofsommer. They have just finished a half-hour telephone conversation.

At one time, Hofsommer was a CDU member of the regional legislature in Hesse. He left the party at the end of the 1990s. Like Höcke, Hofsommer had been a teacher and was then also a principal, until 2002 when he was forced to transfer to the school authority in Fulda, because of certain comments — among others, “Negroes do not belong in America.” He soon got to know Höcke, who was teaching in north Hesse. Both of them still love meetings which Hofsommer organizes with like-minded people, where they talk politics.

[This may be guilt by association — if there is anything to associate with. A quick look at the incident shows that, despite allegations, there was “contradictory evidence from students” and no case was made. So the authorities couldn’t discern who was telling the truth, but we know!]

The “inventor” of Björn Höcke

Everyone agreed: the middle class is going under. Something has to be done in Germany. Hofsommer claims that he put Höcke in contact with the former CDU Bundestag representative, Martin Hohmann, who had been expelled after a speech in 2004 criticized as anti-Semitic, and was now an AfD candidate in Fulda. Höcke and Hofsommer are also privately acquainted; they have been introduced to each other’s wives.

[The sentence makes it sound as if Hofsommer’s reason for the introduction was because of Hohmann’s unfortunate speech. (Oops, did Friederike say that?)

A later interview points to the ARD[2] report as the real source of the scandal rather than anything that Hohmann said. One of the fearless few who spoke up was CSU representative Norbert Geis, who said “Hohmann is not an anti-Semite and he said nothing anti-Semitic.”]

Hofsommer is happy with the way in which his friend has developed. He has given him tips on making a good speech. On his internet site, Hofsommer offers rhetorical coaching and seminars for confident public appearances. He had, in fact, criticized Höcke in their telephone conversation for mentioning the business of the Africans and reproduction strategies.

“In presentations like that, he should not go into detail.” It is misunderstood. But all in all, Hofsommer estimates: “He is on the way. He knows that he has a historic mission to carry out.” Unlike Höcke, who must be cautious, Hofsommer can let loose when it comes to the AfD leadership. They are not in the same class with Höcke. The fact that Frauke Petry is separated from her husband is a manifestation of that. And he adds meaningfully: “Panta rhei — everything is in flux.”[3]

Contention within the AfD

Höcke himself says that he does not live for the banalities of Thuringian local politics, e.g., the salt content of the Werra river: “Actually, my place is meta-politics, The history of ideas.” He is notorious in the legislature for preferring to speak of Germany and Europe rather than the appointed topic. Thursday, the two-year budget for 2016/2017 was being discussed. Höcke listened closely for a while, took notes, now and then did some stretching exercises in his seat, and seemed in good humor talking with his colleagues.

He fills his speaking time with comments like: “What we want in this country is a goodbye culture.” And a lot about Merkel. At one point the legislative president reminded him that this was the budget debate. Höcke was undeterred. And the Höcke trick also works in the legislature. Recently in the assembly he referred several times to a Green representative whose name is Rothe-Beinlich as “Rothe-Peinlich” [“-awkward”]. When the president called him to order for that, he said nonchalantly, “Madame President, I guess I have a P-B problem. That could be.” He would try to work on that. “Thank you for pointing it out.”

[Nobody likes a wise-a**. Especially if he’s a radical right populist wise-a**. Let’s keep all this snarky name-calling where it belongs — on the left.]
There is disagreement in the AfD as to whether Höcke has become extremely influential. Both within the party and in his public image. His style and his opinions are well received by many in the base. Furthermore, former party friends from the Thuringian state association describe him was an affable person, who moderated conflicts instead of dividing, was calm and patient. Others recognize a “new Höcke” whose success has gone to his head, and is now “addicted” to more and more attention; to some, it is not clear what he stands for politically.

An impeachment proceeding had already concluded

In May, the then federal executive board of the AfD had concluded an impeachment proceeding against Höcke. He had said in a newspaper interview that he did not assume that you can judge every single member of the NPD[4] as an extremist. In the view of party head, Bernd Lucke, and others, he had not sufficiently distanced himself from that. The undertaking [to impeach Höcke] collapsed when the executive board changed during the summer.

Lucke remembers an incident that he thinks fits into his picture of Höcke. When Lucke was still party head, Höcke had given an interview to the magazine Zuerst! “I spoke to him about it and asked if he knew what kind of a magazine it was. I would put it in the right-radical spectrum. Höcke said that he was acquainted with it. But he gave everyone interviews. For him that was a part of freedom of expression. He gave the impression it was a one-time thing. But a few months later, it happened again.” In the end, it did him no harm. And that is how it turned out this week too.

On Friday afternoon, Heiner Hofsommer calls the editorial office. Just to say he hopes the article on Höcke will be fair.

[Good luck with that!]


1.   Including, inter alia, Kassel and Fulda
2.   German broadcasting pool
3.   Attributed to Pope Simplicius (468-483 AD)
4.   National Democratic Party, seen by some as having much in common with the Nazi party

21 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Hit-Piece

  1. To follow along in both languages, I went to the original article at
    and was struck by the photograph that begins it. It reminded me of another photograph I had seen recently:
    The photo caption reads: “Any conservative who raises his arm above the shoulder in public will be photographed like this.” See also: Jihad by camera angle.

  2. Kind of off topic, but
    is an interesting biological dialog about r/K selection and how it might apply to humans. Unfortunately, it lasts 90 minutes (I’ve only listened to half of it so far).
    Loosely, the r strategy is suitable for an environment of abundance (e.g., rabbits that have all the grass they can eat), and the K strategy for an environment of hardship (e.g., foxes that must struggle to catch rabbits to eat).
    Topic: Why success kills a culture.
    30:00 Europe, alarmed, is going from r to K. (an arguable proposition)
    40:00 brain-structure differences between r- and K-selected animals
    (why a subliminal snapping twig is used for horror-film sound tracks)

  3. JLH, you are wrong about former CDU Bundestag deputy Martin Hohmann, he is an anti-Semite through and through. What got him expelled from the party was a convoluted attempt to absolve the Germans during the Nazi reich from guilt for World War II and the Holocaust. (Not the Germans living today, who are blameless, but the Germans living then.)

    To do so, he first made an argument that Jews were over-represented in the early Bolshevik leadership, which supposedly could make “the Jews” principally responsible for Communist crimes. He then turned around and rejected the argument and claimed that “therefore” neither the German people of the time (who voted Hitler into office and massively supported him for many years and for the most part stood by as their Jewish neighbors were persecuted or even joined in the persecution) bore guilt for Nazi crimes.

    In the same speech, he demanded that the fast-dwindling number of Jewish Holocaust survivors should have the small pensions paid out to them by Germany as “compensation” reduced in order to help out the German taxpayer.

    It is very unfortunate that Hohmann will be standing for election as an AfD candidate in 2016. And it is even more unfortunate that more people besides him who practice a distasteful brand of historical revisionism — trying to whitewash the historical record by diminishing Nazi crimes as unremarkable and ordinary — are found so often among German (and not only German) counter-jihadists.

  4. “For me, the AfD is the last evolutionary chance for this people. Our substance is being consumed in every area.”

    On the issue of whether or not this is a prediction of future electoral success or one of a revolutionary movement, I’d say he just as easily could have been presenting them as an either-or scenario. All of the historical evidence points to that being the case. That said, predicting a particular outcome is very different from desiring it. Just ask Ron Paul.

  5. Gleichschaltung

    Whether it is the SPD, the CDU/CSU, Reds or Greens there is no limit to the amount of self-loathing on the part of Germans and for that matter Western Europeans. Same here with the Democrats and the entire ‘educational’ and media group think (Gleichschaltung).

    Merkel is a traitor. Watch a little segment where she is handed a tiny German Flag and she appears as if she had been handed a Hackenkreuz (Swastika) Flag or a bar of plutonium.

    Just Google: “Merkel German Flag disgusted”

  6. Germans and Austrians – especially the 50+ generations – live in an unbelievable morass of fear of the past (which to them can mean only Hitler, nothing else ever existed) repeating itself.
    The huge mistake they make is thinking that this past will repeat itself in exactly the same way it happened the first time, and for this reason they are willing to sacrifice
    E V E R Y T H I N G – including themselves, their children, their grandchildren, their future, their culture, absolutely everything – at the altar of self-immolating multikulti correctness.
    It never occurs to them that an Islamic Europe would be worse than the Nazis, especially if you’re not Islamic.
    For these reasons, people like Mr. Höcke will be marginalized or even demonized until the last of the baby-boomer transferred guilt-ridden functionaries and journailles from the 1968 destroy-everything-that-came-before-us generation kicks the bucket.
    If the youth of Germany learn self-defense and organize neighborhood watches on a massive scale, there might still be a Germany when that day comes.

    • It’s twue, it’s twue! Cf the late great Madeleine Kahn in “Blazing Saddles”. Herr Hocke looks like a really, really bad person who wants to take Germany down a very bad path. Notice that his surname begins with an aitch! There was somebody else in German history whose surname also began with an aitch. (And it wasn’t Martin Heidegger, though he too was a very, very bad person for thinking incorrectly, or Werner Heisenberg who was okay) QED.

      Priceless analysis: “For these reasons, people like Mr. Höcke will be marginalized or even [sic] demonized until the last of the baby-boomer transferred guilt-ridden functionaries and journailles from the 1968 destroy-everything-that-came-before-us generation kicks the bucket.” I wish the, very plainly, demonized Herr Hocke the best of luck. Regrettably, he’s gonna need it.

  7. Eugene–That you concentrate on this one personality suggests to me that you are legitimately concerned about a false interpretation in this case. In my fleeting background checks, I did see indications that he is a somewhat obsessive Christian, and one of those Germans who is just sick of the universal guilt-trip being visited on the nation. Clearly, you are better informed on his earlier statements and stands than I am, and see evidence of much more. It is not a bad thing to be corrected by a friend, so thank you.

    • JLH, thanks for replying. English Wikipedia has an article on Hohmann and the speech that cost him his party membership, but it’s incomplete and mushy compared to German WP which covers him and the speech in separate articles in much more detail, as well as the responses (including from his defenders). It was a nasty speech filled with quotes from Jew-hating individuals (not only Henry Ford), self-contradictory (German taxpayers being robbed by German welfare cheats equals Germans being treated as second-class citizens? Against a Holocaust museum but for a museum of ethnic cleansing against Germans?), and disingenuous, just an ugly mess.

      In any case, I hope you are not taking this as a criticism of you personally, I think that GoV and its translators are doing a bang-up job and have the greatest respect for your hard work.

      I am well aware that the article you translated and your editorial comments are about Björn Hocke, not Hohmann. However, the question of what to do about historical revisionists like Hohmann is relevant because he is now running for office as an AfD candidate and he is not alone. A fair number of people who are willing to help in combating Islamic encroachment are pursuing a sinister agenda on the side, which is to single out Jews for blame and/or to demand a whitewash of Germany’s Nazi past (usually not expressed as outright holocaust denial).

      I think the Baron has already spoken clearly and forcefully on the “Jews to blame for mass Muslim immigration” accusation and explained how it distorts the real picture, which is more complex. The second point I haven’t seen discussed here on GoV, so with apologies for going off-topic I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

      Hohmann’s premise (that Germans are being painted as a Tätervolk — nation of perpetrators — today and forevermore) is false. Hardly anyone serious levels such an accusation. On the contrary, international opinion is that post-war, the Germans worked hard at coming to terms with the crimes committed under the Nazi regime and that they did a much more honest and creditable job than the Japanese (who just today finally apologized for enslaving hundreds of thousands Korean women into prostitution, seventy years after the fact).

      When I say “international opinion” I expressly include the Israelis, who are generally disposed favorably towards Germans living today.

      However, for Hohmann Germany’s rehabilitation on the world stage is not enough. He expects “forgiveness” from the Jews. But there cannot be forgiveness for a crime on the scale of Auschwitz. There is no expunging the Holocaust from the annals of history any more than there is a chance of Gengis Khan and his men being viewed as benefactors to humanity.

      What Germans are entitled to is not to have Nazi history constantly held up against them. But that is hardly happening at all. Opinion surveys show that Germany is one of the most popular countries worldwide (again, including in Israel).

      History is what it is, attempts to suppress it must fail. But we are living in the here and now, with urgent challenges and threats that must be addressed. Hohmann’s rantings are like a barnacle impeding progress on a ship’s hull. He should have been allowed to live out his retirement peacefully and not invited by AfD to run for office.

      Part of the blame goes to Bernd Lucke, the founder of AfD who split off and started a new party (Alfa). Lucke should have stayed on and moderated between the original anti-euro currency members and the late-joining anti-Islamization wing, helping to weed out undesirables. Instead, he jumped ship and abandoned AfD in the middle of a raging storm.

      • However ‘virtuous’ you may think the modern Germans and their cult of Selbsthass and Dauerschuld (self hate and eternal debt), it is the Japanese and not the Germans who have won the postwar peace in psychological terms. Instead of spending fifty years grovelling, the Japanese told the world to get over it and refused to apologise for anything really–the latest sex slave gesture is not backed by most of the country and was done for practical diplomatic reasons, as all such gestures are. Knowing both Germany and Japan well, I stand somewhere in the middle on war guilt–Germany goes too far, Japan not far enough. However, that is by the by: the point here is that the Japanese have retained their dignity and self-confidence by refusing to say sorry or abase themselves, while the Germans have become a nation of psychological cripples. You don’t have to talk to many Germans before one of them confides that he wishes he had been born in any other European country; you would never, ever get such craven self-flagellation from the lips of a Japanese. And that is why people outside Asia like and respect the Japanese more than Europeans do the Germans. And it is also one reason why Japan remains nearly pure Japanese, while Germany, lacking all self-respect, is simply abolishing itself.
        I do not share the admiration of the right for Japan’s aversion to immigration, because it truly is based on pure racism. However, that is their choice and their concern. I am just glad Japan is not doing to itself what Germany is doing to itself.

        By the way, about Genghis Khan–the brief Mongol occupations brought the Middle East and Far East into direct contact. After the wars, they were a huge boost for international trade, cultural exchange and the spread of Buddhism and .. of course .. Islam.

        • And that is why people outside Asia like and respect the Japanese more than Europeans do the Germans.

          Outside Asia? Not according to the surveys that I’ve seen. And inside Asia? Ask Japanese soccer fans about how they take their lives into their hands when traveling to away games in China. In no European country do German soccer fans face such hatred, not even in Greece where anti-German sentiment is strongest.

          German self-hatred is a real phenomenon, but don’t let people like Hohmann fool you into believing that the culprits are the Jews for not telling Germany “all is forgiven, the Holocaust should never again be mentioned, ever.”

          If you read German, have a look at this article by Gunnar Schupelius in BZ Berlin:

          I’ll translate a few excerpts:

          A Pirate Party city councillor in Berlin named Oliver Höfinghoff tweeted on 7 December: “Germany is vanishing more every day and I think it’s great.”

          I did not understand this, so I asked Mr. Höfinghoff what he meant.

          He replied at length that Germany is “a construct” that arose from a “supposed folk community” as a nation-state. As “more and more people of non-German ancestry immigrate”, he wrote, this “folk community is steadily being eroded”. This, he wrote, was “very good” because it meant an end to the nation-state.

          Hard to understand! This person is yearning for an influx of migrants so that Germany stops existing as a state. But why?

          Höfinghoff was born in 1977, lives in [the SWPL Berlin neighborhood of] Friedrichshain, and identifies himself as the Pirate Party spokesman for “Anti-Fascist Activities”, whatever that is supposed to mean.

          He is part of the classic radical-left scene, a fixture of Berlin life for 45 years. A political ecosystem which also gave birth to Berlin’s Green Party, who proclaimed in the 1980s, “Dear foreigners, please don’t go and leave us stuck with the Germans.”

          This slogan already contained the delusional idea of the eternally evil German and the fantasy of redemption through dissolution into a better community, now being revived by Höfinghoff.

          Claudia Roth, presently deputy speaker of the German parliament, in 1990 marched behind a placard that said “Never again Germany”.

          [Other examples include] the youth organization of the Social Democrat Party, which last month passed a resolution to exempt from prosecution the slogan, “Germany, you lousy piece of [offal]”.

          [Also last month, a Left Party deputy] posed with a placard that read [partly in English] “We love Volkstod” [We love death of the folk/people].


          Our country, which is celebrated worldwide as a poster boy for freedom and tolerance, has done nothing to deserve such hatred.

          End quote. A poll of the article’s readers shows that more than three quarters agree with the author.

          German self-hatred is simply a local variety of the self-hatred that runs rampant in leftist circles throughout the West. In the U.S., they justify it with the treatment of American Indians, the Vietnam war, lies about depleted uranium in Iraq; in the U.K. and France with colonial history; elsewhere with “social justice” arguments.

          I don’t believe any of the justifications, neither in Germany nor anywhere else. In my opinion, this is simply an attempt to feel empowered by those who have been miseducated in “soft” subjects like sociology and therefore unable to be gainfully employed in the free market. Hence the desire to feel empowered by, if nothing else, destroying the society surrounding them. At the same time, they yearn for guaranteed lifetime employment as civil servants with a sinecure in something like “diversity enforcement”, but the illogic of wanting to destroy the state but be supported by it escapes them. Because there are not enough such cushy government jobs for all of them, they need to engage in “virtue” signalling all the time to prove their credentials and out-radicalize their competitors.

          These people are a minority everywhere, but not in the media and in academia. I do not see a quick way to get rid of their pernicious influence.

          • By way of a post-script, here’s a link to a current blog entry by a sane German:

            It’s long, and translating only snippets from it would not do it justice, so I’m afraid this will be useful only to Germanophone GoV readers. To those, I would highly recommend it. This guy gets it, he should be a widely published columnist but instead he is limited to blogging in his spare time (he’s a crypto / IT security expert) for a small audience. As of now, the internet in Germany is still free enough for him to publish, but the twin drumbeats of censorship and criminalization are moving closer. Read him — if you can — while you still can!

    • From this comment – and from Wolfie65’s photo, I get the impression that Wolfie might be a Holocaust denier, or a Neo-Nazi who thinks the Jews deserved what they got, that Hitler would have been the savior of the white race had he triumphed.

      Nonetheless, what he says _in this comment_ is true, meaningful, and very pertinent. Truth is truth, even when spoken by someone who may otherwise be vile (I don’t know Wolfie, so I am not labeling him as vile). Unless you are a liberal/”progressive” for whom there is no such thing as truth, only what you _want_ to be called “true”.

      • I have a lot more hair now. Which version of me is viler, you will have to decide for yourself.
        Far from ‘denying’ anything, I think it’s idiotic and very shortsighted to judge a nation or a people with a 1,000 year history on 20-some years of the existence of 1 political party.
        The British weren’t very nice to the Boers, either.
        Want to start a list?
        Jewish people persecuted in Spain and expelled from England ring a bell?
        The Middle East is bad news, always has been, likely always will be.

      • My heavens. Vile? Really??

        I’m not often speechless but your assumptions here have left me without words.

        I’m only surprised the Baron let this in since it violates our rules re civil discourse, but he must have missed it…

        I’d put your misery out of our existence myself but since Wolfie has already replied to you, I’m too late for any remedy.

  8. The ongoing exchange here, most recently by Eugene, on Germany vs Japan post- WWII, has prompted new thoughts for me.

    It has been said that the Japanese never really accepted blame for WWII actions (or late and little) while the Germans more than did so. But that Japan also contrasts through its xenophobia–perhaps modified but still evident (as an old student of mine can testify from several years there), and its continued existence as a coherent society.

    Are the roots of this distinction–so much in favor of the Japanese maintaining their society, however you may regard it–in the post-war treatment of the two countries?

    Japan was administered 1945-1951 by one nation (Russia was allowed next to no influence) and indeed by one of the great generals in American history.

    A warrior society democratized by a warrior.

    Germany was divided up like a pot-luck dinner, with each of four parts colored by the particular personality of its particular allied overlord (despite all attempts and pretense of unity among the three Western allies), and lasting until 1955, with absolute sovereignty really delayed until after the fall of the Wall.. Even with three out of the four occupiers cooperating, that is a pretty schizophrenic situation, especially since two of the occupiers were about to be its “partners” in a new Europe.

    And how reminiscent, in its own way, of the long, fractured and occupied history of the German-speaking people, until the rise of Prussia.

    • Surprisingly, most Germans in the U.S. and British occupied zones were unhappy to see them leave (the Brits) or draw down forces (the U.S.) after reunification. Often, mayors of garrison towns would fight long and hard to keep them for as long as possible. Many friendships and marriages were struck up between locals and occupiers.

      Germany’s greatest cultural flowering more or less coincided with the lifetime of Goethe (mid 18th century to early 19th century) when Germany was a patchwork of principalities and fiefdoms.

      Dark times lie ahead for Germany, I see the river Tiber Rhine “foaming with much blood”. However, German high culture and craftsmanship, ordinary German decency, German love of family all have a few more centuries of life left in them, I would wager.

      Fritz Leiber’s 1951 science-fiction short story “A Pail of Air” — — describes a desperate (hopeless, really) situation: Earth has been jolted from its orbit by a passing star and the atmosphere has frozen and crystallized. And yet, even in this environment near zero degrees Kelvin, a nuclear family tenaciously clings to life. It’s both deeply depressing and one of the finest celebrations of optimism in the face of impossible odds. Whatever is going to happen to Germany and Europe, it cannot be as bad as that.

  9. Well, I was going to make a few clever remarks about the Thirty Years’ War and then about Hofmann von Fallersleben, but forget that..Thank you for the really cool link to some of the giants of thoughtful SF.

  10. New York Times published (12-29-2015) an opinion by
    Anna Sauerbrey entitled “New Face of Racism in Germany”
    portrays Dr. Bjorn Hocke as “racist”, ” hater”, “the dark side” etc.

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