Thought Control Instead of Debate

The following op-ed about the retreat of critical discussion under the intensifying pressure of political correctness was published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

Thought Control Instead of Debate

Have the Germans Forgotten How to Argue?

By Cora Stephan
August 19, 2017

The country is the middle of the biggest crisis of the post-war era, yet the stillness of a graveyard lies over the land. Anyone who calls the problems by their names is quickly sent to stand in the right(ist) corner.

Oh, it just looks that way from outside. Just because Ralph Giordano and Günter Grass are no longer able to comment on the times, that doesn’t mean “the intellectuals” are remaining silent. They express themselves mostly elsewhere than in the traditional media, i.e., in blogs such as Achse des Guten or Tichys Einblick. At least Maxim Biller (in the Zeit) and Wolfgang Streeck (in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) have raised their voices — one of them is not a leftist and the other is no dummy. Both of them complain that moralizing and banning have taken the place of weighing the options.

The crisis resulting from mass immigration casts doubt on everything that has seemed dependable in recent decades. The Schengen Agreement on which freedom to travel within the EU is founded? Whittled down, like not a few other rules and treaties. Sovereignty, in the sense that a state should be able to determine who belongs to it? Problem resolved. To this day, no one knows who came for what reason and where he is now. Yes, “he”: Because it is mostly not women, and children who need teddy bears and toys, but young men. And often it isn’t Syrians or people with qualifications that would be passable in an industrial country like Germany. To say nothing of cultural differences — not just in terms of how they relate to violence and to women, but also to a work ethic and the rule of law. Meanwhile, realistic estimates suggest that taking care of the immigrants in the coming decades could cost billions of euros. Always assuming that those who have come will stay, even though only temporary asylum and protection are offered.

Relegated to the Rightist Corner

At any rate, we could talk about open borders attracting people who see Islam as an invitation to terrorism. Couldn’t that have been foreseen? Of course. But the people who — in the autumn of their euphoria — dared to pour water into the wine, may not now expect to be honored in retrospect for their vision. From the beginning, critical voices were relegated to that place in Germany that is escape-proof: the rightist fringe.

A recent study by the Hamburg Media School, which evaluated 34,000 press reports on refugee policy in the years 2009-2015, concluded that 82% were positive and only 6% found refugee policy problematic. The leading media ignored the fact that accepting immigrants “in great numbers, as well as the policy of open borders, would create new problems for society.” As Wolfgang Streeck says, they acted “as cheerleaders for a wave of charitable enthusiasm.”

Why? Did, as Maxim Biller thinks, a collective of 68ers[1] and their ‘70s successors vent their “totalitarian, undemocratic idealism” here? Anyone who remembers the 1970s and the time of the communist cults in Germany is acquainted with that ruthlessly prosecuted battle against any deviation from the correct line. Highest priority: Never inspire “the approval of the wrong side.” That is doubly true today. Anyone who says anything that might please the AfD is a class enemy, no matter how pertinent his argument may be. The primary solution here is said to be the “fight against the right” — a rather vague objective which, at any rate, includes white, German men and women. That people from Arab areas tend to have a fanatical hatred for Jews is downplayed as a “cultural idiosyncrasy.” The preference of German leftists for “Palestinians” and their resentment of “Zionism” has, after all, some tradition behind it.

The “battle against the Right” bears strange fruit. One of the glitziest is the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, financed by, among others, the Family Ministry. Government money and government approval support moves against everything that has gone before and is not in line. “Reporting” [to the authorities] is the citizen’s highest duty. Reading the unsavory brochure affords the astonishing revelation that even a conversation among women about children and sexuality can be a rightist recruitment attempt.

Even the use of certain terms or phrases such as “economic refugee” or speaking of “ we and they” exposes your conversational opposite number as “rightist” and demands “reporting.” An absolutely unmistakable hallmark of rightist thinking is satire. In this, the foundation is right in step with the government. The Ministry of the Interior is assisting on Twitter: “We are speaking out against hate speech, whether criminal or not. Everyone has the right to voice an opinion, but objectively and without aggression.” Satirists, put away your pens! The arm of the people’s pedagogues is long. Down with Karl Kraus![2]

The fight against the Right has, for a long time, not been restricted to those familiar bull-necked neo-Nazis in their jackboots who are suspected to be in the German provinces — especially Saxony, which is notoriously under “general suspicion.” Not enough there. Except for propagandistic offenses, like swastika graffiti and such, rightist extremism in Germany is no more noticeable and violent than leftist extremism. Which, however, many people think is just great and say “Thank you, dear Antifa” when autonomous violence against the “rightists” strikes. “If it weren’t for the Antifa, there would be many more Nazis in my life.”

Social Exclusion

All of that — “exposing,” “convicting,” “apprehending” — does not exactly facilitate the free exchange of opinions. Where does that come from? What will it lead to?

I’m still vacillating between the available conspiracy theories. One seems to me to make sense. In Germany, the charge of being rightist or radical rightist leads to social exclusion. So it is always a good idea to denounce your opponent, e.g., the AfD, as rightist or radical rightist (in this case, the party cooperates). Both former parties of the people, CDU and SPD, are right to fear this new competition. As concerns Die Linke (the Left), as Maxim Biller so caustically remarks: Their legalistic milieu may see the “refugee” as a substitute for the long absconded proletariat. Or better expressed: For that underclass that politicians like to call the rabble or the mob. It is no longer a privilege to speak publicly. Anyone can mouth off on the net — even the intellectually challenged.

Following the money is also interesting. The flow of immigrants is a true blessing for the aid and relief industry — one of the country’s growth areas. Immigrants create employment opportunities for social workers, interpreters, language teachers, caregivers, psychologists and security personnel. Just the care of unaccompanied minors — 42,000 last year — in small groups or homes costs between 40,000 and 60,000 euros per capita annually. The Munich social consultant Brigitte Meier (SPD) estimates that 40% or so are not even minors. The attraction of the generous offers of the welfare state.

No one who acts meritoriously shall be vilified. But it would be underestimating the vision of the powers-that-be to think that they do not count on the loyalty of all those who owe their jobs to the state.

Taxes and Debts

And who is to pay for that? Tax receipts are bubbling up, is the saying, as if the money flowed from a spring. But it is coming from those who have work and pay taxes. So the taxpayers must be invited to pay again, because in times of cheap credit, acquiring debt is attractive. But this bucket will only go to the well so many times before springing a leak. Growth on credit causes social dissatisfaction.

In the big picture, all of that expands into an overload that affects the texture of the community. Why doesn’t the simplest approach succeed: “Consideration and discussion and then do something — a little bit wrong and a little bit right”? [Maxim Biller]

This has to do with more than just Germany. So we should “in the interests of neighborliness, work on a lasting expansion of the spectrum of subjects and possibilities of debate, and with pronounced disdain for the thought prohibitions imposed by the appointed distributors of pious PC thinking, and for the defamation they employ in their own defense. Europe is worth the risk we take in doing this.” [Wolfgang Streeck — once a leftist, he has nonetheless not stopped thinking.] Praise be — not all the intellectuals are silent.

Photo [not shown]: Anyone nowadays who does not silently bend over coming problems, but speaks publicly, risks acclamation from the wrong quarters.


1.   [19]68ers — Authors of the leftist “march through the institutions” — cf. the Frankfurt School.
2.   Karl Kraus (April 28, 1874 — June 12, 1936) Austrian writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright and poet. He directed his satire at the press, German culture, and German and Austrian politics.

It is also worth noting that some of the funniest and sharpest satire of the established order occurred in East German cabarets. Comrade Merkel learned her lesson.

15 thoughts on “Thought Control Instead of Debate

  1. I have no ill will to the many good people in Germany, similar to how I don’t think I would have had ill will to any people living as subjects of Ghengis Khan, but the German government is has done everything in its power to destroy Western Civilization three times in the last 100 years. Churchill was right when he said “the Hun is either at your throat or at your feet.” We would have been better off if Germany never reunited as it would only be half insane today. Where is the happy ending here? Ugh, time for an Oktoberfest lager

    • As they cynically say in Germany, “Y0u are looking for a happy ending? Then go to the Reeperbahn.”

      (Reeperbahn–the main street in Hamburg’s notorious red-light district)

      They don’t actually say that in Germany; I just now made it up. 😉

    • Who created the largest empire on earth? Was that done by peaceful means?

      Germany in WWI was not the problem and they didn’t attempt to destroy western civilisation then either.

      Who is responsible for all the freeloaders who’ve poured into Europe over the last couple of years? Germany laid out a welcome mat for sure, but it was the Greeks and the Italians who’ve let most of them in by opening the borders. Now the Spanish are bringing them in, even the British sent navy ships to bring them in.

      Even before this happened there were dire warnings about how several major western European cities were facing futures where the majority would be non-European, let alone whatever the native population is.

      Let’s be clear here. Germany wasn’t defeated in 1945. It was crushed. It’s future was placed in the hands of Britain, America, the USSR and France.
      It recovered under the steam of those who had lived in a free country and even under their children.
      We’re now in the era where all those in power are the result of allied propaganda upbringings or those known to have opposed the nazis – who were mostly communists.
      Germany is the creation of the allies, it is a child of NATO now that the USSR is no more.
      No point blaming Germans for the decades of development under NATO. Put the blame where it belongs – America, Britain, France. They created modern Germany and look at those nations today. They all are suffering the same mass immigration of low skilled people that Germany is.
      It’s only been recently under Trump, a man with German ancestry, that America has tightened its borders. Neither France nor Britain are doing anything other than welcoming more in and attacking those speaking out against it.

      Nearly every European country has played a part in opening up the external borders to mass immigration. There are currently only four opposed to it, representing around 12% of the population of the EU.
      So not much point singling out Germany when it’s population is only around 16% of the EU.

      14 slaughtered in Barcelona, dozens injured and a campaign was started to replace images of the brutality with cats! Can’t have people see what is actually going on and social media jumped on it. Another win for the moslems and their useful idiot friends in Spain. Not Germans this time.

      • I understand what you describe.

        However you are falling into the trap of apologism, of shifting blame.

        If I am British for example, I won’t blame the Germans or WW1 or Greece or EU for migrants. I will hold my own country, its leaders, responsible for what happens in my country.

        Germany is its own country, so why do you make out it isn’t?

        Are you really going to continue to forge its identity based on a reflection of everything but itself?

        How about a little national, and hence international, order, instead of the hypothetical single order people, especially progressive politicians and globalists, hide behind.

        Though nwo is a reference for opposition, it is supra legal and supra national, and in my opinion you will get nowhere confronting it directly, as it ” doesn’t exist” anywhere.

        So your only real choice might be to concentrate on your own national definitions. That is your home, that is where people of your makeup and language reside and still, for now, hold outright power and sovereignty. It is not good enough just to move away from whatever, you have to stand your ground and establish what you are where you are.

        It is too easy to just pretend to establish what you are by trying to paint those outside as different or at fault. In fact it leads to excuses for wider control and aggression outside of your own country, which by customary law and good ethic, is not to be welcomed.

        Admit truths and the existence of differences, but get your focus right.

      • That German social engineering is being perfected as we watch.
        O.K, they failed in the past; but they will get it right this time!

    • Please do not smear Hungarians… 🙂 I know the nickname given to the Germans as “Hun”, but they were never in relation with the people of Attila the Hun. In Hungary still a popular name: Attila.

      • Germany in WW1 WAS the problem, they CHOSE to support Austria in their illeagal and unprovoked invasion of Serbia (there was no proof that the assasination of the Archduke was and act of the Serbian Government or people), which was just the product of the Austrian elites not letting a good crisis go to waste.

        Lets also not get too simplistic about post WW2 Germany either

    • “Mr. Gorbachev – tear down this wall.” – Ronald Reagan, Berlin, 1987 .

      If Germany had not united then who would address the mobs demagogically clapping the actor in a frenzy. In the west we care about current fanfare, reelection and to be famous for something. We never think about the consequences: Remove shah of Iran. Remove Gaddaffi and flood Europe with invaders. Remove Saddam and gift Iraq to the Mullahs. Carry a cheque for $200 m to Muslim Brotherhood and install them in Egypt. Invite invaders to commit atrocities and blame anyone who loves his country and people.

      If you have no G-d worship the followers of allah.

  2. If you keep turning left you just end up pointing to the extreme right.

    National socialism where the term nation includes anyone socialist.

    Freedom though?

    Well you can never escape it or contain it, so no one should be surprised when a population decides it is time to express theirs. Probably going to be a trial and error event given how little real practice is encouraged… doesn’t follow someone else’s agenda ever, just ricochets around between whatever walls are there to ignore it.

  3. Strange fruit?
    The Amadeu Antonio Foundation was always anti-western. It was set up by a former Stasi agent whose jewish parents were involved in communism agitation in the 1930s and who fled Germany when the nazis came to power, but moved to East Germany after the soviets took over.

    The problem people have today is accepting that communists have large sums of money at their disposal. The true leaders of communism were never poor people, they always came from the middle class. They just lacked the political power they desired for their time so took it by force.

    • According to Wiki: “It was founded by Karl Konrad Graf von der Groeben (de), with Anetta Kahane appointed as its chairwoman and Wolfgang Thierse, the former president of the Bundestag, named as its patron.”

      So, you are putting all the blame on Anetta Kahane, and omitting the other bigwigs who aren’t Jewish. BTW, when I read your first comment, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you delivered. Bravo!

      • Ketzel: I was sniffing along the same trail and did the same investigative work as you. 🙂

        There does seem to be a fascination among the German Right with Jews from the former East Germany who “successfully made the transition from communism” who are leading progressives in contemporary Germany. Such Jews believe that…”the stain on [ex-Nazi] German society can only be removed by the mass immigration of alien hordes from the Middle East…The eradication of White Germany is not their only enthusiasm. They are both tireless defenders of Israel and are quite willing to hound and harass and purge not just their own left-wing comrades, but even other Jews who do not toe the line.”

        Here’s the pernicious article from which I derive the quotes, entitled Stasi Roots of the German-Jewish “Anti-Racist” Left and Its Program of Destroying Ethnic Germany:

        Support for Israel among the left in Deutschland? That’s news to me!!

  4. “An absolutely unmistakable hallmark of rightist thinking is satire.”

    That is so true, every time I read about new social rights I have to try not to laugh. You see, they are so serious about it all that you would not want to upset them, just in case they were being sincere. I suppose that is what respecting the view of the next person means, no ?

    Maybe one day they will respect mine in return.

  5. To Anon
    You forget the principle of causality. You know: From A follows B and then follows C…

    If Germany had not been crushed (Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay was NATO’s first Secretary General: “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”)
    or JCS 1067 (breed the militarism out of the Germans)
    or an article of the WELT where a US General Anderson was quoted as “Germany was hit everywhere and that knowledge will be transferred from father to son to grandson and that knowledge will make sure that the Germans will think at least twice before starting a war”)

    or what about a german 2nd Amendment.

    We should rise up even though you allies did everything to crush us? Sorry, once a spine is broken and you are always told how evil you are and that there can never be forgiveness (Michel Friedmann, anybody?) – how can we develop the spirit of rising up?
    We are always told we are Hitler incarnate – even those who were born long after 1945.

    Nope, at least we have the satisfaction that you will fall with us.
    (And metaphorical speaking: If I am banished to the Dark Side of the force, why should I not embrace it? There is no way for me to join the Jedi, so why not enjoy being a Sith?)

    Remember the article in the Dailymail?

    Sometimes, when I am in a very evil mood, I ask myself how many of those who fought against the Nazis would still be fighting against the Nazis if they had known what happend till today?
    Do you think, that Fogarty Fegen, RN VC, CO HMS Jervis Bay, would accept Sharia Patrols in London or the rape epidemic in Rotherham?

    The Queen is the embodiment of the british People but even she does nothing. Insted her son is dancing the sword dance in Saudi Arabia that celebrates the slaughter of christians.
    I ask myself how Edward I “Longshanks” (yes, the enemy of BRAVEHEART), Henry VIII, Elisabeth I or Thomas Cromwell would have reacted to Rotherham?

    Mass spilling of blood anybody? Going Vlad Tepes?

    But back to the Point:
    I have a leftwing collegue at work. Once I told him that Merkel opened the border because she did not want to have a bad press.
    His answer: FAKE NEWS!!!! Where is the evidence? And no nazi-sites!
    So I looked it up, WELT, Huffington Post, SPIEGEL
    I found one article where it was said bad press was the main Point for her decision, one article with 50% bad press and 50% other reasons and the third article said that bad press was a minor cause for her decision.
    His answer: Then it is not proven. Your Argument is not valid.

    In another case I talked to a leftwing friend about the inconsistencies in the NSU case.
    (Pictures made by firefighters who entered the car of the two Uwes first are disappeared after the Secret Service took them or how can an undamaged plastic bag in a room, devasted by a raging fire, contain a) a CD that is totally undamaged, no traces of heath and b) a gun that was in the same fire exposed to so much heath that the Barrel was warped.)
    Her reaction: NAZI, as it was not written in the taz (leftwing newspaper).

    They dont look at other arguments than their own.

    And to those two inconsistencies: Both SPIEGEL and FOCUS wrote an article where they wanted to rebut those things. I read those articles 5 times. Not one argument was mentioned or rebutted. Their only argument was: The guy who found this is supposed to be a nazi and the german federal police wants to talk to him about who send him the complete copy of the NSU files.

  6. Well Stefan Molyneaux has a new book titled, The Art of the Argument. Perhaps that would help the Germans.

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