The reaction to Thilo Sarrazin's courageous book shows that Germany is indeed abolishing itself
Thilo Sarrazin has left the board of the Bundesbank — “voluntarily”. The pressure was more than he could bear, the highly successful former finance senator of Berlin explained. In fact, the show being staged in Germany in September was nothing short of verbal stoning, unworthy of a free country.
The attack did not mainly come from the Bundesbank, nor from the intelligentsia, which at least made serious efforts to analyse the arguments Sarrazin put forward in his recent book Deutschland schafft sich ab (“Germany Abolishes Itself”). The bottom line: most Germans are well-educated but have few children, while many immigrants, especially the Muslims, are poorly educated, refuse integration, live in parallel communities, reject or fight Western civilisation, live on taxpayers’ money and have large families. This way, he argues, we are bound for cultural disaster.
From personal acquaintance, I can testify that Sarrazin is a provocative but entirely honest intellectual. And he’s not a racist. While his diagnosis rings true and his worries are shared by most of the German public, the problem with the book nevertheless lies in its biological musings, potentially implying — at least for those who confuse ex-post explanations with ex-ante determination — that intelligence is genetically hereditary and education won’t help. When Sarrazin undertook to explain genetic inheritance in an interview, trying for once to avoid any reference to people from Muslim countries, he was imprudent enough to use a taboo word: Jews. He said that they share a common genetic inheritance — which most of them do, and are proud of, like many other groups of people — but by the standards of German political correctness, this was too much.
The main and decisive attack came from the politicians. Even before Sarrazin’s book was on sale, Chancellor Angela Merkel set the tone of the debate by judging it “unacceptable”. Under Germany’s constitution, the Chancellor does not have the power to sack central bankers, but she suggested openly that the Bundesbank should get rid of its black sheep. Germany’s new President, Christian Wulff, explained on TV that the central bank that once had set the standard for Europe’s monetary policy “could certainly do something to prevent the discussion from harming Germany”. The “something” was to fire Sarrazin. The supposedly neutral Wulff would then follow suit and endorse the bank’s decision. In the end, he didn’t have to, given that the Bundesbank and Sarrazin reached a so-called agreement.
Not surprisingly, the Left, the traditional guardian of Germany’s taboos, hasn’t remained passive either: the Social Democrats are in the process of revoking Sarrazin’s party membership. The dishonesty and double- standard of the political class was shockingly displayed when Merkel handed out a-well-deserved-award to Kurt Westergaard, the Danish caricaturist who caused a scandal in 2005 with a cartoon depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Freedom of opinion is “one of the characteristics of liberal democracy”, the Chancellor declared. “The secret of freedom is courage.” This is true — but not in Sarrazin’s case. Here, Germany’s authorities have lapsed into a form of not-so-indirect political censorship which Hendryk M. Broder, a well-known Jewish intellectual, says is “in line with the tradition of the Reichsschriftumskammer” [the Nazi academy of literature which censored writers]. In this way, too, Germany is abolishing itself.
Thilo Sarrazin has been courageous. He has launched a double debate which will benefit Western civilisation: one on the mishaps of integration, another on the road to serfdom down which our political class is leading us. We should thank Sarrazin for the courage that has cost him his job and his membership of a conceited and complacent elite.
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