Who benefits when “impudence wins”?

by Karl-Jürgen Müller

Luisa Neubauer is considered the “German face” of “Fridays for Future”. She was born in 1996, has been a member of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen since 2016 and is currently being courted by the “mainstream”. On 9 May 2021, she could appear on “Anne Will” on German television as a counterpart to the CDU candidate for chancellor, Armin Laschet. Afterwards the “Frankfurter Rundschau” titled: “Luisa Neubauer is taking Laschet to task”. On the same day, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung headlined: “Luisa Neubauer from Fridays for Future is a stroke of luck for the climate protection movement with her oratory talent.” And as a footnote it reads: “Luisa Neubauer will be a guest at ‘NZZ Unplugged’ at Kaufleuten Zurich on 6 June on the topic ‘Climate reality – are politics failing?’ In a personal conversation with Peer Teuwsen, Head of Culture of the NZZ am Sonntag, she talks about the most pressing questions of our time.” [emphasis km] And, finally: The German  Wikipedia entry on her person now runs to 13 pages with 56 footnotes – as of 10 May 2021.
    On “Anne Will”, Ms Neubauer distinguished herself above all by one thing: polemical, unsustainable and above all sharp attacks on Armin Laschet. This is probably exactly why she was invited by Ms Will, who obviously has little sympathy for the CDU’s candidate for chancellor and knows very well what “cheeky brats” can achieve, even if they are already over 20. “Inpudence wins!”, one could indeed get this impression; for it was obvious that all the participants in the talk show made an effort for the young lady, aligning themselves with her the more the sharper her attacks became.
    One might dismiss all this as an anecdote from a media world gone mad. However, all this is somehow symptomatic of a disintegration of what should characterise a political culture oriented towards the common good and a culture of discussion: namely, a common search for realisable solutions to concrete problems, approaching the other opinion and the other person with respect. Have people already got used to the idea that in all areas of life – from family to world politics – it should always be a question of victory or defeat? That presenting oneself as “good” should always be at the expense of others? And that almost any means should be allowed as long as they lead to a success?
    Getting used to that would not do any country any good. The public and private complaints about increasing polarisation have increased sharply in recent years. There are also people who are actually doing something about it. But Germany is now permanently in state of election campaign. Ms Neubauer’s appearance on “Anne Will” gave a foretaste of what the country can expect in the coming weeks and months. The German Greens have posed the question of power. They are seeking power by any means necessary. – Until someone shouts “Hold on!” decisively enough.
    PS: One of Luisa Neubauer’s unproven claims in her war of words with Armin Laschet was that Hans-Georg Maaßen, CDU candidate for the Bundestag in a Thuringian constituency and President of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz until 2018, was spreading “anti-Semitic and racist content”. Ms Neubauer did not provide any evidence for her vehement claim. In the days that followed, however, numerous mainstream media jumped to her rescue with constructions, some of them crude. 
    The fact is that Hans-Georg Maaßen had tweeted on 16 November 2020: “Interesting book by MrSchwabon the ‘Great Reset’. I have doubts that his dreams can be realised based on the GG [Basic Law]. A ‘Great Reset’ that ignores democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights is likely to be anti-constitutional, even if it is well-intentioned.” Add to this the fact that Maaßen had judged Germany’s climate policy by saying that Germany had “already tried twice to save the world – and it went wrong each time”. All this will not have pleased Ms Neubauer and her party. 
    By the way, Ms Neubauer has already been a guest of Klaus Schwab in Davos. And until recently her party’s candidate for chancellor was listed as a member of the WEF’s “Forum of Young Global Leaders”.
    In Germany, one hears more often now that the country needs a breath of fresh air and that it would therefore be good if Ms Baerbock became chancellor. Surely it would be good to also think about whence the air is blowing and, above all, whither it wants to blow.•



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