Politicians and their personal stance

by Karl Müller

In a political discussion at an alternative peace conference on 22 June 2018 in Bad Aibling, Bavaria (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BzyxOf79MhI) Willy Wimmer, the former Christian Democratic politician, undersecretary in the German Ministry of Defence and vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, made an interesting remark. As in many discussions, the question of Germany’s sovereignty came up. He responded that Germany was now, after the Two-Plus-Four Agreement of September 1990, formally a sovereign state, something it had not been before. However, this was not the point. Until the 1990s the German politicians of the “Bonn Republic” had shown much more sovereignty than the governments of the “Berlin Republic” of the past 20 years. This was a question of the personal stance of the politicians involved, not of formal stipulations. Willy Wimmer has been criticised heavily for this. But wasn’t he right?

Attempts to institutionally anchor the provisions are not sufficient

After 1945 the persons responsible for Germany had the goal to prevent another lapse into dictatorship. Thus, they arranged for numerous constitutional provisions for the Federal Republic: The constitution containing an “eternity clause”, calling for permanent respect for human dignity and human rights, for democracy, the federal state, the social state and a rule of law and to the division of powers or state constitutions formulating goals for education and even making social studies and religious education obligatory school subjects, which are mainly dedicated to these goals and the corresponding value systems.
But was this of any use? Nearly all constitutional provisions are still valid. But are they also respected? Are these constitutional provisions sufficient if they no longer agree with the “zeitgeist”? And, mainly: What if there is less and less resistance against this “zeitgeist” and if mechanisms prevail which demand assimilation and submission under it?
After 1945 we thought we had learned from the experiences of the Weimar Republic. But have we really? The constitution of the Weimar Republic was also democratic in many ways. There were even referenda and attempts of citizens to bring the constitutional framework to life. But there were not enough of them; they were increasingly attacked, pushed aside and even lost their lives. The ambition to end the republic and to bring about a German dictatorship was too powerful internally and even subsidised from abroad.

The example of 1968

And where are we today? The year 1968, “celebrated” by so many this year, demonstrated how even the best constitutional rules can be unhinged: Because the movement’s protagonists had an absolute unscrupulous will for power, because there was powerful support (also from abroad) – but mainly because there were too few of those who were supporting with their personality, their reason, their lifeblood and commitment to make these constitutional provisions work. The “coup” of the ‘68 generation also was successful because the essence of the coup was misjudged: It was not about revolutionary slogans regarding the ideal state of a society but about so-called “criticism” which in fact meant deconstruction and destruction towards a seize of power. That so many let this happen was sufficient support for the leaders of the revolution of 1968.

’68 generation for German war participation

Willy Wimmer has stated frequently that the Christian Democratic Chancellor Helmut Kohl would never have accepted the German participation in the NATO aggression of 1999 against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This is supported by available documents and statements from other contemporary witnesses including Oskar Lafontaine. While the CDU Chancellors Ludwig Erhard and Helmut Kohl carried a substantial part of the financial burden of earlier US wars – this indeed demonstrated a lack of German sovereignty but also an attempt to express “loyalty to the alliance” – they refused to send German soldiers into the Vietnam War or into the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq.
It took a Red-Green government to change this. The aging representatives of the ’68 generation: Joseph Fischer, Tom Königs, Daniel Cohn-Bendit provided the ideological foundation for the NATO wars since 1999. It was the French leftist politician Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of the “Médecins Sans Frontières” and later for three years French Foreign Minister who phrased even before 1999 the concept of “humanitarian intervention”: “The right for humanitarian intervention (droit d’ingérence humanitaire) will prevail. In case of doubt even over national sovereignty.”

Rhetorical and authoritarian violence …

Only few were able to resist the rhetorical and authoritarian violence of the “anti-authoritarian“ ’68 generation. Their “long march through the institutions” was successful. They have set aside their bogus goals “peace” and “justice” and their “anti-capitalism”.
On the other hand, they have strived for “cultural hegemony”: In all established parties, in the media, in schools and universities, in our ideas about the relationship between the sexes, about marriage and family, about child raising and education etc. etc. ... even in the Christian Churches …
Who was and is really benefiting from this?

… and surprising results

Results are also visible where we hardly suspect them. What does it mean if the current President of the German Federal Supreme Court, Andreas Vosskuhle, waives the constitutional criticism of the German Chancellor’s migration politics coming from two former colleagues at the Supreme Court in a TV discussion (Phoenix, 24 January 2016) with the statement that the idea of a state defining itself through its borders and a constitutive people was “a 19th century idea”. Is it true that the chairperson of the CDU, Angela Merkel, as Vera Lengsfeld explained recently (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgLyxnjJCtA), has done everything in her power to destroy the CDU as it had existed for decades, since the war?
Or what are we to think if – as “Die Welt” reported on 30 August 2015 – the German Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF) [Federal Administration for Migration and Refugees] commissioned in early 2014, that is more than one year before the German Chancellor’s migration political landmark decision, the production of a film that properly advertised for applying for asylum in Germany? In Albanian, Arabic, Russian, Dari, Farsi, Pashtu and Serbian! Or why were there absolutely no consequences when a German Minister-President stated that the Chancellor’s migration politics had turned Germany into an illegitimate state? There could be many more examples like these …

What can be a reference point in times of turmoil?

We are living in times of turmoil. All the more we need people expressing sincerity and candour, who can be a point of reference. Not through lecturing and know-all manners but as humans and co-citizens who are setting a visible example towards humanity, equality and political reason, after all the substance of the still existing constitutional foundation of our community, demonstrating the steadfast personal stance we all urgently need.
And how can we attain this steadfastness?     •