Breaking a Few Eggs for the German Omelet

In the following op-ed from Die Welt, Henryk Broder weighs in on the recent reassurances given by politicians and the media that being a victim of a terrorist attack in Germany is really, really unlikely.

Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

These Are the Collateral Damages of Integration

Don’t panic, they tell us. The chances of dying in a traffic accident are much greater. Did anyone say that to the victims of Nazi terror? Or of the Duisburg Loveparade?[1]

by Henryk M. Broder

Last Monday, less than 24 hours after the explosives attack of Ansbach (fifteen wounded) and the “relationship” action of Reutlingen (one dead), three days after the “rampage” at the Olympia Shopping Center in Munich (nine dead) and six days after the axe and knife attack in a local train near Würzburg (five injured), the general secretary of the CDU Peter Tauber was heard from with an interim appraisal of the refugee crisis.

He tells us that the chancellor’s much-mocked phrase — “We can do that!” — has been “partly realized.” “Those who are coming for us to care for, to give them a roof over their heads, something to eat — we have done that” according to the CDU general secretary in his slightly unfortunate German. Cities, communities, aid organizations and volunteers have accomplished a “logistical masterstroke.” And the “lasting battle against the originating causes of the refugees’ flight” will occupy Germany “for years if not centuries.”

Long-term visions, after all, are commonplace in German politics.

By 2020, a million electric vehicles should be on the road in Germany, says the chancellor, but at the beginning of 2016, there were just 25,500. She also proclaimed the “de-carbonization of the world economy” by the end of the century and the “energy change” is to be compete in Germany by 2050.

It is not surprising for the general secretary of the CDU to dare a glance into the future and declare that “combatting the causes of the refugee crisis” could take decades. No one will hold him or his boss responsible if it turns out in several decades that the prophecy is wrong. It is only surprising that — after a week characterized by news of horrors — he acted as if nothing had happened that contradicts the chancellor’s statement, or at least detracts from its force.

Everything is “Lone Wolves” — All of Them Were “Radicalized in a Flash”

Peter Tauber was not the only contemporary denying reality. There were the usual warnings against a “general suspicion” of refugees and a demand for a strengthening of gun laws. As though an axe, a machete or a rucksack full of explosives were weapons in the sense of the law.

The central question always asked was: Did the perpetrators have a terrorist background? Were they acting on orders from the Islamic State? Or were they “lone wolves” who had — as determined by the president of the federal police — “self-radicalized with lightning swiftness,” as in the time between two pulls on a bong?

Summoned experts and commentators were unanimous. “We” — i.e. the folks out in the country — must not allow ourselves to be demoralized. That is the aim of the perpetrators, whether they are terrorists or just spontaneously running amok. To demoralize us.

Herfried Münkler, professor of political science at Humboldt University, reminds us in an interview with “Theme of the Day” moderator Caren Miosga, that “we live with the most diverse dangers — we become infected, we get hurt by household appliances, and much more” and we don’t panic. Statisticians know “that the such risks are much greater… than the risk of falling victim to a terrorist attack.” His recommendation for an “appropriate reaction” is “stubborn indifference.”

More Likely to Be Killed by a Mushroom Dish Than Terrorism

Thomas Baumann of Middle German Broadcasting — also on “Theme of the Day” — counsels “defiant calm,” while Arno Frank in Die Zeit thinks “heroic composure would do us good.” The comparison to traffic accidents was made repeatedly. Michael Strempel of West German Broadcasting pontificated, “…dealing with this kind of danger which, ultimately, is much less than the likelihood of a fatal car crash.”

Christian Bommarius played the same tune in the Frankfurter Rundschau, only louder: “In spite of the most recent attacks, the risk of being killed in a terrorist attack is — at least in Europe — extremely slight. Experts assure us: less than that of dying from a bad dish of mushrooms. Also, the likelihood of dying in a German traffic accident is considerably greater than of being blown up.”

How can it be that reasonable people, who ooze empathy over an endangered hermit beetle, can make such calculations, which may be technically correct, but bespeak disdain for the victims who had the bad luck to be at the wrong place at the wrong time?

After the disaster at the 2010 Duisburg Loveparade, did anyone tell the friends and families of the 21 dead: “Don’t get so worked up! The possibility of getting killed in a traffic accident is much greater than of being trampled to death at a techno-festival”? Not even the most insensitive thug would have dared to compare the nine victims of the Nationalist Socialist Underground terrorist cell to traffic accident casualties. And if so, would have deserved being shot down in flames.

Sahra Wagenknecht, of All People, Enters the No-Go Zone

The commitment with which the irrelevant details were discussed — was the weapon in Reutlingen a machete or a kebab knife, were the perpetrators on the IS payroll or were they inspired by IS — served a purpose. If at all possible, not to have to talk about how it could go so far that “refugee” could become a synonym for “danger.”

Of all people, it was leftist Sahra Wagenknecht who dared to step into the no-go zone: “The events of recent days show the acceptance and integration of refugees and immigrants is at the least accompanied by considerable problems and is very much more difficult than Mrs. Merkel tried to convince us last Fall with her ‘We can do it!’”

There is a quantitative and a qualitative aspect to the problem. Quantitatively, it may be quite small. Presently, according to Interior Minister de Maizière on Monday, there are 59 investigations of refugees on “suspicion of involvement in terrorist structures. And that is out of many hundreds of thousands of newly arrived people.”

On the same day, Berlin Interior Senator[2] Frank Henkel said that no one should deceive themselves. “We have apparently imported quite a few brutalized persons, who are capable of barbaric crimes, such as have never before been common in this country.” He simultaneously warned against this subject being “manipulated” by rightist populists.

Abuses? Collateral Damage of Integration

Neither de Maizière nor Henkel mentioned the “bagatelle crimes” under the threshold of terrorism — mass groping, sexual abuses in public pools — which have now become commonplace. This seems to be a question of the collateral damages of integration which have now become so common that they are no longer mentioned.

The price of the policy of open borders will not be paid by the natives, but by the new arrivals. Every warning against “general suspicion” creates exactly the opposite of the desired effect. Every reference to the statistical improbability of becoming the victim of an attack simply confirms the suspicion that the danger is not calculable but nevertheless ubiquitous.


1.   Cracks in display window of a shop in Ansbach: “Defiant calm”?
2.   “People’s fears are not unjustified.”


1.   Loveparade 2010, during which a combination of planning and other errors led to an uncontrollable massing of people and widespread panic, leading to 21 dead and 541 injured.
2.   Equivalent of Interior Minister in one of the three German city-states: Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg.

10 thoughts on “Breaking a Few Eggs for the German Omelet

  1. Our governments dont want the people to overreact to the Muslim threat, after all the risk of being overrun by a car is much greater. Maybe so, but why limit the comparison to that? If you compare the risk of a Muslim attack to environmental risks (nuclear power plants exploding, cancer causing chemicals, climate, radiation) the Muslim threat is HUGE. Environmental risks are extremely small and they were already very small before we spend billions and billions to manage them. In those areas overreaction is the standard, even though no dead bodies can be found, And now that the corpses lie in the streets we should not overreact?

    • Apart from the dangers that the actuarial types dismiss as trivial, there is the “new experience” of the Euro-caliphate: Public transportation is filthy and crowded. Petty crimes – that have always been bad – have likely not decreased. Security theatre becomes old and irritating at airports and other control points, and the staff there almost all have names found in the Quran. As a traveller I am expected to contribute to the payment for the farce and the inconvenience.

      Here is a site to a famous landmark in Rome:

      Don’t let the pictures fool you. During the day it is a “mall” where people-who-do-not-need-a-tan peddle knock-off junk. You’ll need a strong stomach to cross it without retching. I’d rather save my shekels, stay home and clean the cat’s litter box. Realists do not expect the product to match the pictures . . . but these days even the most hardened realist will be deeply disappointed. Euro-tourism is done!

  2. Erdogan may very well be just ahead of his time. We will soon find out. Something akin to but far worse than the Stockholm Syndrome has taken hold western Europe wide. Pass the bucket.

  3. Peter Tauber is using pseudo-science and sleight-of-hand to convince people they shouldn’t believe their own eyes.

    His argument has roots in the well-known psychological phenomenon of reacting to your last experience rather than to what your rational thinking tells you. An example is that when the stock market takes a dive, your first impulse is to sell your stocks, whereas all studies of stock behaviors dictate that you do not sell stocks on a market downturn unless you are a professional trader.

    But, even a little bit of analysis shows that Peter Huber is peddling junk science kool-aid. A small proportion of high-crime individuals may not dramatically raise the crime rate for the whole population, but more such individuals surely will. The more refugees, the more crime, regardless of the particular statistics right now.

    Furthermore, the crime is directed against particular individuals and situations, and so is likely to have a vastly disproportional effect. For example, women dressed in casual clothes walking by themselves in public are likely to be targets. So, the result is an adaptation by women which considerably lowers their freedom of movement. The net result may be a smaller increase in crime, but a huge increase in undesirable, but necessary adaptive behavior.

    Finally, there is the terrorism fallacy we hear so often in the US: as long as Muslims don’t engage in terror activities, they are good citizens.

    In fact, Muslims vote and act as a cohesive group, exerting organized political pressure counter to the traditions of Western culture and liberty. Muslims exert huge pressures to change our identity, culture, and liberties, even without any terror whatsoever.

  4. The effect of moslems terrorism if far greater then the effect of car accidents. After all, car accidents is the price we pay for progress, as the terrorism has a regressive effect on the society. One can see effects of terrorism in many aspects of our lives. Traveling became a nightmare. Security cost is growing. Cultural effect is staggering.
    Rome fell mainly because of welfare and immigration. History repeats itself in Europe now and Europe will fall like did Rome. Car accidents will not throw us into dark ages, moslems terrorism will.
    Dishonesty of European ruling class is as incredible as stupidity of ordinary people. One, who lives and thinks can feel only contempt for the so called masses, who would demonstrate to get couple of dollars raise of their wages, but keep quiet about an assault on their history, culture and future of their children.

  5. There is a respect, not mentioned in the article, in which comparison of terrorist deaths on the on hand to traffic deaths, choking deaths or mushroom deaths on the other is extremely misleading and leads to a false sense of security.

    The latter kind of death statistics are not apt to grow exponentially. The terrorist deaths are.

  6. The chances of dying from Hitlerism were very low in the 1920’s. Not so low in the 30’s & 40’s.
    Moving right along
    …I don’t go picking wild mushrooms, because mushroom fatality is concentrated among those who pride themselves that they can tell the good ones from the bad ones. I wish these people good luck, but I don’t want to eat their salads. Real mushroom collectors do not try to force feed me.
    Politicians by contrast will peddle any product they think is trendy and popular and use a plurality or a majority to force it down my throat. If it poisons me they will stand by my coffin and cry out for veangence against my killers while shamelessly ignoring their own part in it.[*]

    We know less about modern islam than we do about mushroom species, especially here in the west where this invasive species did not take root or was weeded out and has been gone for a long time. Importing millions of wild muslims for consumption by western society as suplementary labor and/or suplementary welfare clients and/or suplementary block voters is like gathering bushles of wild mushrooms without sorting them.

    The results will be fatal to many, many people.

    Islam in high concentrations seems to kill on the same sort of scale as late-stage Hitlerism. The killing goes on at varying speeds until a monoculture–the opposite of “diversity”–is established or islam is thrown out of a territory.

    It took France 2 or 3 generations to completely throw off the muslim invasions of the 700’s. It took Spain 30 or 40 generations.

    This time, who knows? I don’t expect to live long enough to find out.

    [*Literally true of Hillary Clinton, standing by the Bengazi coffins promising parents veangence against the maker of ‘The Innocence of the Muslims’ after breaking Libya to punish Kadafi for cooperating with Bush and after leaving their sons hung out on a limb to die in the resulting fire. Other examples would would include mandating asbestos in buildings and then prosecuting businesses which complied, forcing compact florescent bulbs laden with mercury into homes, and untold other stupidities. Importing millions of muslims to the west is just more tragic because it will create havoc for generations. At Love Canal, politicians engaged in stupid crony capitalism used eminent domain to seize land containing a properly sealed toxic waste dump. They caused housing to be erected on the land, and excavation for the foundations broke the containment barriers, releasing sludge under the houses. When people got sick, politicians demonized the chemical company and the builders and ignored their own part. We are breaking barriers erected by centuries of warfare to contain islam. Not good.]

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