Debate on Germany

My strongly worded entry last week about German hyper-liberalism has set off something of a debate in the blogosphere. At Gates of Vienna, a German writer, Manfred Kleine-Hartlage, replies to me. I haven’t yet read his article. But for the moment I want to repeat once again the qualifications I made last week. My statements about Germany were not intended as a comprehensive criticism of Germany and Germans, and if I gave that impression I regret it. My argument related to one, narrowly framed, core issue: that just as the German hyper-nationalism of the past sought to crush the nations of Europe, German hyper-liberalism, which arose as an all-consuming reaction against German hyper-nationalism, also poses a danger to the nations of the West, and therefore it is not desirable for Germany, in its present, hyper-liberal state, to dominate Europe.

- end of initial entry -

James P. writes:

Manfred Hartlage writes at GoV: ,

There are some points Mr. Auster doesn’t seem to understand. First of all, the question was not whether Bin Laden’s death was good or bad, but whether one should celebrate it. In Germany, many terrorists have been killed by security forces during recent decades, and some committed suicide in jail. In no single case did a German government express satisfaction or delight about it, and in no single case were there public celebrations of the kind we are now witnessing in America. Celebrating anyone’s death, even that of an enemy, is considered indecent in Germany, and therefore Mrs. Merkel’s statement was at least an embarrassing faux pas, regardless of whether it was illegal or not. It is something that is simply not done in this country.

Despite what he says, I think you understood the issue (the celebration of the death rather than the death itself) perfectly. I agree with you completely that the refusal to celebrate the death of Osama—or any other terrorist—is a sign of spiritual death.

Moreover, he is making a distinction without a difference. If something is good, then you should celebrate it, or at least express satisfaction that justice was done, right? Why would you refuse to celebrate a good thing? The only possible answer is that you do not think it is a good thing. If the Germans are unwilling to express satisfaction at the death even of their own murderous domestic terrorists, then they are spiritually dead, and must not believe their nation, their social order, or even their own lives are good and therefore worth defending.

LA replies:

Also, let us remember that all Merkel said (contrary to the initial, misleading reports that she had “celebrated” the death or expressed “delight” at the death) was, “I am pleased that we [sic] managed to kill bin Laden.” So in the minds of all Germans who think like Manfred Kleine-Hartlage, simply to state—without dancing in the streets and puffing yourself up—that you’re pleased by the killing of an unprecedentedly deadly and wicked enemy who has declared a death sentence on all Americans and who has murdered thousands of American civilians and has been promising and attempting to kill many thousands more, is something that no decent German would do. The Germans are supposed to kill terrorists, but never feel or express any positive emotion when they succeed in doing so. Not only must they not (it goes without saying) whoop it up like low-class people, but they must suppress any normal reaction of pride in a successful mission, or of gladness, or even just being “pleased.” It does sound like spiritual death, doesn’t it? The state of totally bureaucratized man.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 09, 2011 09:57 AM | Send

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