Born and raised in the country, having lived and worked there for decades, I am not indifferent to what happens to Germany. I still feel connected to the country and am concerned about its decline. Even though I have been able to live in Switzerland for 15 years, I am still concerned about what is going on in Germany and what is becoming of the country. But this is not only for personal reasons: Germany’s fate was and is closely linked to the fate of the whole of Europe.
The fact that Germany, against its post-war intentions, is again deeply involved in a war and that the German army, the Bundeswehr, is also to be tuned for war in Europe1 has been a recurring theme not only in this newspaper in recent weeks and months. This disastrous German foreign policy corresponds with worrying internal developments – not only in the field of economy and finance, but also in social and cultural life. The awarding of this year’s “Peace [!] Award of the German Book Trade” to a racist literary propagandist of the Ukrainian war party2 showed how closely the German war and feuilleton operations are intertwined. There is more at stake than subordination to the dictates of “diversity”, “cancel culture” and political correctness. Three other examples from the past two weeks of the state of the country show this.
Cannabis legalised …
Following its coalition agreement, the German government adopted a “key points paper on the introduction of controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for consumption purposes [!]”3 on 26 October. It states: “Cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) [the ingredient in cannabis that is particularly harmful to the brain and other fatty tissue] will no longer be classified as narcotics. Recreational cannabis, medicinal cannabis and commercial hemp will be completely excluded from the scope of the Narcotics Act. […] The production, supply and distribution of pleasure cannabis will be permitted within a licensed and state-controlled framework [the government is thinking of trading places such as “coffee-shops” and pharmacies, although pharmacists’ associations have clearly distanced themselves from the government’s plans]. The purchase and possession of up to a maximum of 20 to 30 grams of cannabis [which is quite a lot] for personal consumption in private and public spaces [!] will be allowed without penalty; private cultivation will be allowed to a limited extent [there is talk of three plants per person]. […] The minimum age for the sale and purchase of cannabis for personal enjoyment is set at 18 years of age. […] Turnover from the sale of cannabis for human consumption is to be subject to turnover tax. In addition, the introduction of a special consumption tax (‘cannabis tax’) is planned.” These few sentences alone give an insight into a brave new red-yellow-green drug world full of Orwellian neo-speak. The fact that the narcotic cannabis is to become “cannabis for enjoyment” is just one example.
The logic of trying to solve drug problems by making narcotics more accessible and removing legal sanctions is still not clear. The mere fact that the federal government’s plans have become known will inspire the habitual pot-head mentality and will certainly result in even more drug victims. What this means particularly for young people does not need to be elaborated here. It is certainly not a contribution to the promotion of community-oriented young people’s relationships and young people’s willingness and ability to perform. The formulation in the key points paper that “the goal is to contribute to improved youth protection and health protection for consumers […]” sounds like mockery.
… and education on the decline
On 19 October, it was reported that 20 percent of fourth graders in Germany do not even reach the minimum requirements in reading, spelling, and mathematics. The primary school pupils were tested in 2021, and the results are once again significantly worse than those of 2016, which in turn were significantly worse than those of 2011. Heike Schmoll of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” rightly commented on 19 October: “Already at the end of primary school these children are deprived of their future.” She thus expressed that this poor state of education is the result of active educational policy failures and wrong decisions.
Not too shabby to misuse the name of Hannah Arendt’s name
On 14 October, the German Foreign Ministry announced in a press release: “Foreign Minister Baerbock and Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Roth are launching the Hannah Arendt Initiative, a programme supporting journalists at risk”. The surprise about something being done for independently thinking journalists who have fallen victim to the Gleichschaltung in the German media world, the increasing restrictions on freedom of opinion in Germany4 and exclusion in recent years, however, lasts only briefly. After all, the initiative is not concerned with these persons, who are mentioned in detail in Hannes Hofbauer’s book “Zensur”5.
Instead, this initiative is part of the German warfare and the information war against Russia and other unpleasant states, and Mrs Baerbock and Mrs Roth, both from Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, do not even refrain from misusing a personality like Hannah Arendt for their own purposes. Where is the protest of all those who have appreciated the life and work of Hannah Arendt and her commitment against totalitarian thinking? A totalitarian way of thinking and acting that is unfortunately also rampant in today’s Germany.
Can Germany still recover?
The German resistance in the years from 1933 onwards failed in preventing the totalitarian expansion of power and the unjust state of the National Socialists. Nor did it prevent Germany’s crimes and the tens of millions of war victims. Germany had to be defeated militarily. A tragedy! But the various resistance groups did something for the time after the nightmare. They were moral role models, laid spiritual and moral foundations for a new Germany after the war.
In 1990, Peter Bucher compiled voices and documents from post-war Germany in the years 1945–1949 on almost 500 book pages as part of the source collection of the Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt. It is worth reading these texts again today. Personalities and associations have their say who did not only start thinking at the end of the war but had numerous references to the German resistance in the years 1933–1945. The world views and political positions were very different and controversial. But what shows through from almost all the texts is a reflection on sound political ethics, a turning away from a thinking along the lines of power and a respect for human dignity.
History does not repeat itself; the Germans of today cannot be like the Germans of yesteryear. But there are still people, personalities in Germany, who are not concerned with power and wealth, but with their fellow citizens, their fellow human beings. People who are not indifferent to the fate of their country. If these personalities set to work, perhaps a little more than they have done so far and also a little more in cooperation – overcoming their differences and concentrating on what they have in common – then Germany can recover and the spook can come to an end. •
1 cf. “Zeitenwende in den Köpfen” (Zeitenwende in the minds); https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/news/detail/9060 of 21 October 2022
2 cf. “Die Russen sind ‘Unrat’: Pamphlet erhält den ‘Friedenspreis’ des Buchhandels” (The Russians are ‘filth’: Pamphlet receives the ‘Peace Prize’ of the book trade); www.nachdenkseiten.de of 24 October 2022
4 cf. also various links on the current tightening of German criminal law (section 130, paragraph 5 StGB) with the resolution of the German Bundestag of 20 October 2022: https://www.bundestag.de/dokumente/textarchiv/2022/kw42-de-bundeszentralregister-915600;https://www.anti-spiegel.ru/2022/still-und-heimlich-eingefuehrt-das-ende-der-meinungsfreiheit-in-deutschland/; https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/437430.justiz-und-grundrechte-enger-meinungskorridor.html; https://www.lto.de/recht/hintergruende/h/volksverhetzung-voelkermord-kriegsverbechen-groeblich-verharmlosen-billigen-leugnen-130-stgb-holocaust/; https://www.nzz.ch/international/leugnung-von-kriegsverbrechen-deutschland-verschaerft-das-strafrecht-ld.1709118?reduced=true; https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/aufregung-um-verscharften-volksverhetzungsparagrafen-weitreichender-eingriff-oder-blosse-formalie-8805754.html; https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=89655; https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=89732; https://rtde.live/kurzclips/video/152733-hannes-hofbauer-zur-anderung-von/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Email
5 cf. book review in Current Concerns No. 14 of 5 July 2022
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