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  • Still Crazy After All These Years

    Posted by David Foster on April 13th, 2017 (All posts by )

    German Political Thought

    …although, in fairness, the trend toward suppression of political speech that challenges the Official Viewpoint is by no means limited to Germany, it appears to be a Europe-wide phenomenon.  One might have hoped, though, that Germany, given its history, would be particularly aware of the dangers of this sort of thing.

    If this law really goes into force, you can bet that it will be employed largely against those who dare to criticize Islam in any of its manifestations.  (Even without the proposed law, a German satirist has been prosecuted for insulting President Ergodan of Turkey.)

    Prosecutions for blasphemy and lèse-majesté…not just for the Middle Ages!

    (In his memoirs, Kaiser Wilhelm II expressed admiration for the stringent British libel laws and also expressed his regret that a similar level of constraint on newspapers in German had not been possible.  If present trends continue, maybe the German democracy in 2017 will manage to actually become a less-free society than the German Empire in 1914.)

     

    13 Responses to “Still Crazy After All These Years”

    1. ErisGuy Says:

      Can’t a social media company without offices in Germany (or maybe the EU) reply “come and take it?” Illiberal European and British court rulings aren’t enforceable in the US. Or so say US courts so far. Who knows, maybe Poland will find free speech valuable, if only to stick it to Germany.

    2. ErisGuy Says:

      The EU(SSR) is on-track to have its constitutional guarantees be taken as seriously as its predecessor the constitution of the USSR.

    3. Mike K Says:

      This might just give some impetus to a new look at US involvement in World War II.

      Why did 300,000 Americans die to let this generation of Europeans be born ?

      I don’t think we could have avoided the Pacific losses which were about 106,000.

      Europe, I dunno.

    4. Mr Black Says:

      I hope that when the pendulum swings back it swings far enough and hard enough to reverse a lot of the damage done by leftist authoritarians. It will be profoundly disappointing if the swing only serves to halt them so they can recover their breath for the next push.

    5. dearieme Says:

      “Why did 300,000 Americans die to let this generation of Europeans be born ?”

      Because Hitler declared war on the US.

    6. Scipio Americanus Says:

      “Why did 300,000 Americans die to let this generation of Europeans be born ?”

      The probable outcome if they hadn’t would be a Soviet Union that stretched to the Pyrenees, maybe Gibraltar. I prefer this outcome, even though less than ideal.

    7. Grurray Says:

      FDR knew by 1937 that we were on the path to war

      https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-speeches/october-5-1937-quarantine-speech

      This was in response to Japan’s atrocities in China and Germany’s expansionist rhetoric and German air support in Spain. Also, the country had been plunged into another economic downswing that year, so he needed to focus on other issues besides his foolish New Deal debacles.

    8. ed in texas Says:

      Bear in mind that the ‘problematic’ political thought so recently (and still) causing problems in eastern Europe were largely the product of German thinkers (Marx & Engals).

      I’ve mentioned before that a Belorussian acquaintance of mine is fond of the question “Which German political thinker killed more Russians in the 20th century, Marx or Hitler?”

    9. Mike K Says:

      “Because Hitler declared war on the US.”

      So did the Tripoli pirates who had about as much chance of invading us.

      Actually, the better argument was about World War I. Now, I will grant you that the Germans behaved so abominably in Belgium that neutrality was difficult.

      If Hitler had not been so foolish as to declare war, I’m not sure Roosevelt would have been able to get the US to do so.

      Every time the British dragged their feet about Normandy, King would threaten to shift all US attention to the Pacific.

      “The probable outcome if they hadn’t would be a Soviet Union that stretched to the Pyrenees, maybe Gibraltar.”

      A fair point although, without Lend Lease, I’m not so sure.

    10. Ginny Says:

      I’ve heard a German criticize America for still publishing Mein Kampf. I replied, of course, that that was what America did, it believed in the cleansing power of the open market of ideas. He didn’t buy it, saying that I didn’t understand what Germany had learned from WWII; ah, yes, growing up in America in the 50’s and 60’s I would never have heard of concentration camps, etc. (of course, it would have been even better if East Germany had had more of that cleansing open market.)

      It isn’t just Germany – Europe at large hasn’t seemed to learn that obfuscating crime statistics, for instance, isn’t the way to reasoned discourse. This may be a replay of the thirties but I’m not sure how happy America will be to replay the forties. I’m also not sure if Europe (minus the Anglosphere) can ever be drawn to the ideas of individual rights and individual responsibility that might, at some point, be of use to them. And I have my doubts that the infiltration of ideas of hierarchies and expertise and paternalism/authoritarianism has done us much good.

      (There is nothing like reading a Brit like Hannan – I know, it came out years ago, I’m slow – to make us aware of a tradition too seldom taught, thought of, or respected but that still glimmers through our modern cocooning.)

    11. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Ginny Says:
      April 15th, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      The European impulse is to avoid truth. If y’all should run into your German acquaintance again, you might want to remind him that an awful lot of Americans liberated those Nazi death camps, and saw them first hand. And then came home.

      I had a similar encounter with Germans being similarly irrational. I have A LOT of old books. Among which is a leatherbound set of the “Sahib Edition” of the Works of Kipling. This was printed in 1909. At that time, Adolf Hitler was a homeless “art student” in Vienna sleeping in flophouses.

      The edition has 3 gold swastikas in gold circles with a green background embossed on the spine. Kipling was far from a Nazi, this was before there was such a thing as a Nazi, and he and the publisher were open about it being a Sanskrit symbol of good luck and a Buddhist symbol of the cyclical nature of life; both of which were appropriate for literature centered around India.

      A fellow Peace Officer friend knew a couple in their early 30’s from Germany [born post-war], and they stopped in town for a couple of days. I had a good sized yard and a smoker, so we invited all of them to discover hickory BBQ ribs [both beef and pork] and roasting ears of sweet corn.

      Had a good time, until when we were giving a tour of the public areas of the house, they saw those books. They jumped back like a Spanish Jesuit during the Inquisition who had just stepped in Satan’s droppings. The concept of the same symbol having multiple meanings in different cultures, and of time flowing in one direction was totally beyond them.

      Mind you, seeing various things that go bang in gun racks displayed scared them too, because obviously only agents of the STATE could be trusted with firearms [interestingly enough, both my friend and I were such agents]. The concept of self-defense against either criminals or a renegade government was outside their mental and emotional universe.

      I assume that they are busily grovelling to Jihadi terrorists in Germany.

    12. Ginny Says:

      I love that “time flowing in one direction.” And it might be a helpful point of view for those complaining of misogyny in 17th century America.

    13. David Foster Says:

      Subotai Bahadur….the swastika was also used as a symbol by some American Indian tribes, although I believe with the hooks reversed from the Nazi version. In the 1920s, this symbol was assigned to the US 45th Infantry Division, in honor of the many Native Americans in this division. During the 1930s, the division symbol was changed to the thunderbird.