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A New "Fuhrer?"

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, 13% of Germans would welcome a new "Fuhrer" to rule the country. A decent percentage of Germans think Jews have too much influence in the country and believe that non-Christians have no place in Germany.

Germany's Angela Merkel: Multiculturalism has 'utterly failed' - CSMonitor.com

This surprised the hell out of me. We have an active German member here at GF(Sim). I'm interested to see what he has to say, but I curious to know what the other members think too.
 

Yoshiiiiiiii

Registered Member
This makes me very sad in my conceptual Lederhosen, though I certainly don't judge the people who have replied to that CSM poll. There is no such thing as a Jewish influence, unless you suddenly decide to declassify anyone Jewish as non-German, in which case it's simple immigrant xenophobia as opposed to religious discrimination as well perhaps.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
Sim did touch on the anti-multiculturalism somewhat: http://www.generalforum.com/political-news/controversial-new-book-racist-islamophobic-77435.html

I'd be interested in Sim's thoughts too. I think as Americans we cannot grasp the complexity of the issue. You have a small, proud nation that has been around in some form for 1000+ years and now multiculturalism is threatening the German culture. German foods, German beers, German churches, German architecture, German language, German schools all come in danger of being overpowered or water-down by other cultures.
I mean as an American I can say 30% of us would never call for a Fuhrer, but you know we are a lot more fluid here. Towns in the South get 'mexicanized' frequently and we either adjust or move somewhere else. I can't see that happened in old European communities.

And so then the trick becomes to stay culturally true without being a racist and without calling for extermination of other groups. That's probably not as easy as it sounds.
 
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Sim

Registered Member
My thoughts on the topic is that poll results like these are showing that Germany has become a very normal country:

Authoritarian attitudes and opinions, along with all kinds of chauvinism, be it xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, islamophobia and even the readiness to accept a more authoritarian form of government are unfortunately reality among constantly 10% to 25% of the populations in all modern Western countries. Up to 20% voted for Le Pen in France or Wilders in the Netherlands. Up to 25% vote for Haider's chauvinist successors in Austria. You see similarly hateful movements in Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Italy. Between 20% and 30% of the US-Americans have a rabid hatred against anything Muslim, and a good number of them hate "illegal immigrants" not so much because of rational considerations, but because of racist and xenophobic motives (they'd most likely not complain about them if they were white Protestant people from Western Europe "taking their jabs"). A similar number of Americans can't accept a black President because of deeply rooted, often unconscious racist attitudes and accuse him of all kind of silly accusations for no other reason than because people with his skin color are alien to them.

Obviously, Germany is not an exception: Research has shown that in Germany too, different degrees of authoritarian, chauvinist attitudes are widespread among -- depending on the degree -- between 10% and 30% of the population.

The only difference so far has been that in Germany, unlike in other Western countries, no political party or movement has been able to profit from these opinions (at least on national level; there has been limited success of such parties on local level). That's because of the Nazi past -- all parties that even remotely resemble Nazi chauvinism are instantly ostracized and discriminated by the remaining 70% to 90% of the population, and someone admitting to vote for such a party would face social isolation. He would have to face more hostility than the average immigrant will ever face. Because of that, there has not yet been a German version of the French "Front National", the Dutch "Party for Freedom" yet -- those who tried that were immediately labelled "Nazis" by the established parties, the mainstream media and a huge majority of the population.

This is still consensus in Germany: Anything that even remotely resembles Nazi chauvinism is taboo and the unwritten rules of respect for political competitors don't apply to those who don't distance themselves from Nazism -- they are fair game and will be hunted down without mercy by a cartell of civil society, established parties and mainstream media, and showing them fairness or respect is generally considered misguided, inappropriate and absurd. They don't show respect to human beings, so they don't deserve the slightest respect either.

Some right-wing fringe nut conspiracy theorists thus complain about an alleged "political correctness police" that is after them to get them, failing to understand they themselves have it coming.

Experts are warning, though, that such a populist, xenophobic party might eventually be successful, if two criteria are met: First, it would have to distance itself from hardcore neo-Nazism of any form and give a harmless impression, which would make it impossible for the majority society to destroy it with the Nazi-sledghammer -- if even the slightest clue exists they may hold Nazi opinions, they'd be immediately dead and ostracized. So such a party would have to find an intelligent approach to justify chauvinism -- maybe allegedly "liberal" hate preachers like Pim Fortuyn or Wilders could be an example, who justify their rabid hatred against immigrants with claims like "we hate them because they hate gays and freedom of speech". And second, such a party would need a charismatic leader who manages to appeal to more than fringe groups, someone like Haider in Austria or Wilders in the Netherlands.

If a party manages to fulfil these two creteria, it may win up to 20% of the votes, these experts claim. If that happened, Germany would be in the same situation France, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark are in already.

But so far, the strong consensus against anything Nazi is still holding, so there is no populist party on the horizon that could capitalize on these attitudes. The neo-Nazi NPD never made more than 1.6% in national elections. So if such a party ever came into existence, it would have to tone down a lot, and rather be a populist party than an outright Nazi party (the latter would have no chance whatsoever, unless the sky suddenly falls down on earth, or the four riders of the Apocalypse pay us a visit).

Also, there are legal hurdles that criminalize anti-democratic parties and give the established parties means at hand to crush a rise of an openly authoritarian party: Denying the Holocaust can be punished with up to 5 years in prison. Inciting hatred is a criminal offense and will be punished with 2 years in prison. When a party openly calls for violence against the Constitutional order, it can be banned. Three parties and a few more groups have been banned because of that, in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, among them a Nazi party in 1954, the Communist Party in 1957 and a neo-Nazi group in 1991.


So the short version of my reply: Yes, there are between 10% and 20% of nuts in Germany. That's unfortunate, but obviously not an exception in international comparison, because in most other Western countries, similar numbers of people hold similar opinions.

The chances that an authoritarian party like the Nazi party could ever rise again in Germany are near zero, though: A strong public consensus and legal means can easily keep it down. So if an ugly party ever capitalizes on these 20% of idiots, it will have to be a toned down, tame populist party that makes sure it does not oppose the free, democratic order. That would still be bad enough, but again, no exception compared to other free countries and no vital threat to the free model of society.
 
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