A Pretend Democracy is More Dangerous Than a Dictatorship

The following essay about Germany’s pseudo-democracy was written by Ester Seitz with an introduction by Michael Mannheimer, and was originally published at the latter’s website. It serves as a fitting counterpoint to Michael Stürzenberger’s recent essay.

Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

Why Horst Seehofer Is Allowed to Bluster, Why Die Welt Now and Then Writes About An Over-Extended Merkel — And Why All That Nonetheless Has Nothing to Do With Freedom of Expression

“The quality of a democracy is shown above all in a crisis.”

If that is true, then our democracy has failed miserably.

As in the well-known film, 1984, I sense the situation we are hastening toward in Germany. The film describes a regime which acts totalitarian and executes resisters. Thank heaven, we are not yet that far. But the beginnings of parallels to 1984 are already visible, if you know where to look. And the dire fact is: The German citizen is not looking.

Ask the people on the street if we are living in a democracy, and the overwhelming reply will be an astonished: “Of course.” Ask among the Islam-critics, and your survey looks different. But then ask those who are also critical of the system, and you will hear a unanimous: “No, of course not.”

This is because critics of Islam and the system display radical opinions or an inability to make judgments. As the brilliant Enlightenment philosopher, Voltaire, knew in his day:

“If you want to know who is ruling you, you must only discover whom you may not criticize.”

A completely independent democracy — whether direct or parliamentary — reveals itself not in peaceful times, but in a crisis. And the victims of a loss of democracy in the state are first and foremost its critics in this crisis. So long as the people does not defend itself and is content, what government would be so tactically inept as to swing the totalitarian club anyway?

Even a dictatorship survives on the voluntary or involuntary support of the masses. Much simpler than controlling these masses by force and compelling their involuntary allegiance is to convince them that their silence and cooperation or active support is a good thing.

That is what is presently happening in Germany. And that is what makes this system so dangerous.

— Michael Mannheimer

“Happy slaves are the fiercest enemies of freedom”

by Ester Seitz
January 2, 2016

Another quote — this time from Marie Baroness Ebner von Eschenbach, an Austrian writer known for her psychological stories — which has a definitively timeless validity and comes horrifyingly close to a politically pragmatic description in the politically absurd year of AD 2015.

The hope of many political activists acquainted with the facts, that people would wake up and rise up in 2015, that there would be a widespread popular resistance, has been disappointed. Neither the change in law of August 1, 2015 — according to which judgment would no longer be based upon the deed but on the mindset (keyword “hate criminality”) — nor the massive immigration wave of September, nor the attack in Paris, brought the “German Michel”[1] onto the streets in resistance.

Why this was so cannot be explained with numbers, data and facts, but with simple psychology. The great majority of people prefer to believe the comfortable lie rather than the uncomfortable truth, and preferably the simple explanation — even if false — rather than the complicated reality. Add to that there is a certain framework, a boundary, a distinction between truth and lie, which must not be overstepped. In brief: if the sun is yellow and the newspaper says it is green, no one will believe that — but if it says that it is orange, possibly even red, that is within the realm of the possible for the man-in-the-street newspaper reader.

Of course, that interpretation could be in error.

As close to the truth as possible, without actually saying it

Now, if the system is interested in keeping the people as calm as possible by preserving the appearance of democracy, then it uses the old technique: As close to the truth as possible, without actually saying it.

If the media reported nothing — absolutely nothing — about the problems with asylum-seekers, then everyone who could find out about it on the Internet — which is not all that hard — would be out on the barricades. If no politician contradicted Merkel, then it would be much simpler to “deliver the consumer” the news that the black-red-green unity party of Germany actually exists.

Of course, this net is not 100% leakproof, as slipped out of the mouth of former Munich mayor Christian Ude recently in an interview:

Merkur.de: “So there is no difference anymore between the CSU and the SPD.”

Ude: “That is a big problem in the city council, which both parties will feel in the next election.”

But by and large, the most important tendency of the system seems to be to give the people the perception of a perfect democracy. Nothing tamps down resistance so well as “happy slaves.”

Why Horst Seehofer is allowed to bluster — and Die Welt now and then writes about an overextended Merkel

The citizen loves nothing more than feeling represented. Even more, having the feeling that others care about his concerns. A people that knows in its heart that something is drastically wrong in this country is happy to hear Horst Seehofer at the CSU convention humiliate the chancellor, and Peer Steinbrück saying that Merkel has lost control of the refugee wave. A person feels represented — no way is this a one-party system.

And if the media, like Die Welt, softly or somewhat more loudly make some criticism of the course of the CDU, then the accusation of a “gleichgeschaltete” propaganda press is off the table. For they too are “reporting critically.”

The fatal result is: This strategy commits the people to sit in front of the TV every evening at 8:15 for Scene of the Crime, because no resistance is necessary — that’s coming from the politicians and journalists.

Signal right, turn left

The concept of “signal right, turn left” has been institutionalized for that purpose. The relevant internal revolts against Merkel in the CDU have flashed through the news reports — but at the party convention in Karlsruhe, the chancellor is re-elected party chair with a vote of 98% — suspiciously SED-like.[2] Summing up — much hot air about nothing.

The system’s greatest weapon proves to be the argument that we are allegedly still living under a democratic form of government. Popular resistance is represented by a pretended closeness to the people. Depending on the mood of the people, more or fewer critical voices are loosed, thrown to the Germans like sweets — to distract from the fact that decisions and actions are, as ever, carried out unchecked.

Why a pretend democracy is more dangerous than a dictatorship

The slaves are happy about the pretended representation of the people. The rulers laugh about their simple but effective strategy. It works because manipulation is so simple and easy to accomplish, with so many available means at hand.

Ultimately, this is all just a delaying tactic to keep the people in the dark as long as possible about what is happening in this country. Because so long as there is no broad resistance, the Germanophobic and destructive decisions can be carried out undisturbed, right in the eyes of the public.

Accordingly, the current pretend dictatorship is probably a still more dangerous system than an open, absolute dictatorship. Resistance cannot be concentrated on one opponent, because the opponent creates blurry lines of distinction and remains surreal, intangible.

The remaining hope is that the German people will wake up and not allow itself to be kept forever in a matrix of pretend realities. It might not even notice its own destruction.


1.   The German Michel — parallel to the British John Bull or American Uncle Sam as a representative figure of the people of the country — also markedly different in being a peasant figure usually wearing a nightcap. He has been interpreted in a variety of ways, from a simple, solid, calm soul to a simpleton.
2.   Soziaistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands = Socialist Unity Party of Germany, German Democratic Republic

31 thoughts on “A Pretend Democracy is More Dangerous Than a Dictatorship

  1. “If you want to know who is ruling you, you must only discover whom you may not criticize.” If that is the case then I am ‘ruled’ by O’bama, LGBT, Islam, Environmentalists, Feminists, and…oh yes, the Main Stream Media.
    The funny part is that these “rulers” do not get along with each other! Isn’t anarchy grand? Just look at Germany. There you even get a splash of Cologne with your anarchy purchase.

  2. There are parallels right across the West. Differences in intensity and application do exist but there can be little doubt about the reality of the culture-wide high treason the ruling classes and their sycophantic beneficial supporters are perpetrating.

  3. Baron! This is a question that I have in mind, and I think it is the burden of the problem. Westerners fall into that trap of thinking that if a ruler is bad, or has a bad ruler during the period of his presidency, just vote for another at the next election, that everything will be smooth sailing. I see it in many groups who call themselves resistant to Islam and Multiculturalism. Some act in a way, going to the streets and showing popular resistance indeed. Others act in a totally casual way, and expect the next election, as if things within the political system would change from night to day, and they do not need to take really renewing attitudes – culturally speaking – to inhibit the political groups to master and deceive the public.

    Pegida started with a good move, but should not think that voting for a Chancellor’s successor will change things for the better, and they can sit back and drink beer in the late afternoon. If the multiculturalism of the problem consists precisely in the rejection of the dominant culture of the country, to impose one for assimilation of natives, then how to vote can change this line of thought, propagated in the media, and imposed by the government in the academies and in decision-making? They are not exactly political systems, or some politicians in specific, but the mechanisms used by them and the mainstream media to stun the masses.

    I hope pegida not stop just because of a political whoever intends to be the savior because the accommodation can bring chaos once again.

    • I am of the general opinion that we won’t ever be able to vote ourselves out of the mess we’re in. It’s too entrenched, and too well-defended by the organs of the media. People believe what the vidscreens tell them them to believe, and do what the vidscreens tell them them to do.

      And that includes who to vote for — you can vote for the best — the one indicated as the most approved of (i.e. the socialist) — or the second-best (i.e. the “conservative”) but you can’t vote for anyone who would threaten the Empire.

      It must collapse before change can take place, and there may be a detour through blatant and brutal dictatorship before the Empire falls.

      • Most people are simply incapable of assimilating extra-vidscreen data. I was not subjected to wall-to-wall television until I was 7/8, and no computer games/videos etc. at all.

        in 1978 we dumped our TV.

        Now that just would not happen, more modern people would sit listless, bored out of their minds, like being on a permanent longhaul flight with a lumpy seat.

        This all makes a difference to my ability to reason independently of the propaganda machine (I hope). I have just been through 6 weeks of wall-to-wall at mother’s place in UK. Every programme shown pushed out a message, the same message, reinforcing the idea that the state can look after me; cradle to grave.

        • Back in the 90s, I was addicted to TV. Now for a few years, mainly due to workload, I hardly watch it – to the point where I find it strange, when I’m somewhere with a TV on. I still keep it on during a big football match, or other similar occasions, but otherwise it’s firmly off. And yes, I’ve noticed that people who watch a lot of TV, especially news channels, tend to display a lot more “correct” thinking.

      • I am currently re-reading Spengler’s Decline of the West. As I am sure you know, his thesis is that culture is organic and as such it goes through the birth-life-death process that every organism goes through. According to Spengler, our culture is in the ‘phase of fulfilment’, its ‘organic destiny’: “We know that the rhythm, form, and duration of the life of every organism is determined by the properties of its species.”

        In order to deal with this predicament Spengler argues that we need a ‘philosphy of the future’ to focus on the ‘morphology of world history’. The clue lies not in historical facts per se but in what they point to by appearing.

        Reminding me of the Lord of the Rings and Gandalf’s words to Frodo about not being able to choose the time into which we are born, Spengler says this: “We cannot help if we are born as men of the early winter of full civilisation (civilisation being the end-product, so to speak, of culture) – we may lie to ourselves about it but we cannot evade it.”

        “The current situation is not a momentary constellation of casual facts due to national sentiment, personal influences, and economic tendencies endowed with an appearance of unity and necessity by some historian’s scheme of political/social cause and effect, but instead a type of historical change of phase within a great historical organism at a point pre-ordained hundreds of years ago.”

        I am aware that this probably sounds evangelical, but we need to take on Spengler’s understanding of world history if we are to deal with our current predicament.

        • from Lord of the Rings:

          Frodo says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.”

          Gandalf responds, “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

        • I can’t help thinking how strange it is that I should happen to live precisely in the gravest moment of this civilization. Is it a curse or a blessing, I wonder. Maybe it is a privilege to live in a time when history at such a monumental level is created, but it is a privilege I really didn’t need. It’s all so unreal. A few moments ago it was all smoothe-jacket while the ship is going down, wondering what happened. And as our ship is plunging deeper into the water the Captain is assuring us that everything is fine, no need to panic.

      • I agree. The political system has been hijacked, and there is no hope of turning things around within the present system. There is no chance at all of avoiding a collapse now, but who knows what will come out of the ashes? Either we survive, create something new, and prove our right to exist, or we are thrown on the rubbishheap of history. I’m often labeled “pessimiwhere the facts leads me. Perhaps it is a law of nature, as Oswald Spengler once postulated, that civilizations have a life-cycle and in the end will perish as everything else must, but I can’t help thinking it could have been avoided.

    • If what you say is correct, I’ll wager Voltaire would not question the wisdom of that truism.

  4. Interesting read
    Literature, novel
    The Wrong Dinner
    Ismail Kadare

    “The book focuses on an unusual and mysterious dinner. It describes a real event in the fall of 1943 when Gjirokastra was occupied by the Germans. One evening, the German Commander was invited for a dinner by the most well-known surgeon of the south of Albania, Vasil Laboviti, whose house was close to Kadare’s”

    In this novel, Kadare gives a chilling insight into living under totalitarian rule.

    Keeping normality
    in backward times

    “In your view, what is your biggest achievement as a writer?
    It can be easily formulated:

    – I have been a normal writer in an environment and in a time which could violate literature. By keeping the normality of literature, practically I have won over this environment and that backward time. It is difficult to ask for more from a writer. ”
    Ismail Kadare, Albanian

    • Well said. The same goes for all the writers who resisted Soviet Communism, whether in Russia or the satellite nations behind the Iron Curtain. No wonder the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and Hungarians are the only Europeans who can SEE the menace in front of our eyes!

      • The majority of my Czech friends are horrified and see what’s happening…the Brits I know don’t seem to care. My German friend keeps wondering why I am bothered at all, she’d rather pretend that nothing is happening to her country… The Brits, the Germans have had it too good for too long unfortunately.

        • Wich shows us that living too comfortably for too long dulls our senses and natural instincts and makes us insensitive to danger.

          • So true.

            Also, as a consequence, this should tell us to make the most of the one life we have. Live it to the full.

  5. “In brief: if the sun is yellow and the newspaper says it is green, no one will believe that — but if it says that it is orange, possibly even red, that is within the realm of the possible for the man-in-the-street newspaper reader.”

    This is the tricky thing about manipulation. Actually, anyone can see that the sun is orange, and also red, at sunset, that is.

    But when we say that the sun is yellow, we mean the color of the sun as it appears to us in daytime, when the sun is shining. So, when the Preachers say it is orange and red, we know they are also right, and we know we cannot say they are absolutely wrong.

    Solution: Taking a significant distance to manipulating Preachers

  6. The day Obama was elected, my husband said – ‘The USA will never recover.’ But I dismissed his prognosis and replied, ‘Don’t worry! He’ll be replaced at the NEXT election.’ My husband was correct.

    Until the Marxist-derived sham – ‘ we are a humane society’ secular, utopian Myth can be bombed to rubble, it will continue to increase its hold on the educational and media institutions, and all the aspects of power which keep it in place, i e the growing Third Estate dependent on welfare, replenished by streams of migrants and refugees from anti-democratic cultures; the Central Banks and global financial cartels which can manipulate the market under the ‘necessities of regulation’, and finally, the ever-encroaching government bureaucracies.

    As under Communism, the Government has swallowed us whole and even our thoughts have become politicized, censored by law and manipulated by the media.

    The comment on citizens ‘feeling’ their concerns have been voiced, (but are in fact ignored) is a relatively new phenomenon of which the Internet is part. Like the ‘selfie’ craze and the pumped up egos we display on Facebook, every one now thinks we have the RIGHT to be heard and have our opinion taken seriously! Respect for authority among the young is extremely low. The police wear targets on their backs and crowd flashing, rent-a-crowd and rebellion set up by texting has become the norm.

    In other words, as the political elite has become more removed from democracy, the (mainly) young have become more strident in their demand for direct power! However, this in turn strengthens the government as they marshal more forces to deal with uncontrollable demonstrations. Soon we will have armed police on ever corner!

    At what point does the tension lead to full scale slaughter? Any incident can be a tipping point once the groundswell has reached a certain level, whether it is the groundswell of Muslim violence, natives fed up to the back teeth or the rabid left wing young who want to destroy their own culture at a faster pace than the Muslims can do it!

    • DiMu, the moment I read your last sentence, why did the initials ‘ABB’ instantly appear to me?

    • The fact that he got elected once didn’t seem that significant to me, but when he was elected again I became convinced that we were living in a sham democracy in which the majority of people are either too distracted to vote or their vote is easily controlled by mass media.

      When the Internet first started to become mainstream (I had been using it for years before anyone knew what it was) I hoped that it would improve the situation, but what I found is that while most people will use the Internet to go looking for a recipe or product they want, they won’t use it to go looking for the truth about anything. I think this is probably because most people aren’t interested in truth, only what is socially acceptable and will get them what they want out of other people around them.

    • I wonder if there will be a “next election”. Perhaps O will find some excuse to impose martial law and postpone elections indefinitely. It could happen this year. All the pawns are in place, only awaiting the right moment.

  7. Sadly as each day passes I feel more and more like ‘Winston Smith’, the main character in Orwell’s 1984.

    • The Baron’s use of “vidscreen” was, I thought, a subtle reference to George Orwell’s novel. But it turns out (after some online searching via my interactive vidscreen) that the word Orwell actually used was “telescreen”, which transmits audio and video in two directions, both for dissemination and for surveillance. See this listing of the uses of “telescreen” in _1984_:

      • No, I wasn’t using it as a specific reference. It just has a retro sci-fi sound, like something out of Flash Gordon or Captain Video.

  8. “Happy slaves are the fiercest enemies of freedom” Also reminds me of all the muslimas on TV shows claiming that they are ‘equal’ under islam and wear their hijabs because they really, really want to…

  9. As of 2013 every German household is forced to pay for their version of “public TV”, even if they don’t own a TV! Basically, the German citizen is being forced to pay for a commercial commodity that receives even more $$ from commercials, selling products and selling their programs and footage throughout the world.

    Germans: Forced to pay for propaganda and nary a peep of protest from them!

    • Almost nobody in Germany is going to question the nobility and moral purity of public money which represents the great noble democratic consensus. Only private money can be evil and morally corrupt because it is “selfish”.

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