Friday 24 November 2017

Raising Hitler's Ghost.

Another Wild Ride Through Germany? As Germany struggles to construct a government, Eastern European nationalism, the nationalism of Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Ukraine, is having its revenge. The unabashedly white supremacist and Islamophobic populism that has taken hold in the lands to Germany’s east, is summoning from its grave the ghost of Hitler’s psychopathic god. (Painting: "The Wild Ride", 1889, by Franz Von Stuck.)

GERMANY’S TROUBLES always blow in from the East. Unsurprising really, since, geographically speaking, there’s not a lot to stop them. Those fastnesses of steppe, plain and forest, home to all manner of divine scourges, have haunted the Germanic imagination for centuries. Indeed, “guarding the borders” against the ravages of barbarian Lithuanians, Poles and Russians “from the east” has proved to be one of the most consistent themes of Germanic history. Teutonic Knights and Prussian grenadiers; the warriors of Empire and Reich: all have braved the dragons of the East, until, as Germany’s poet-philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, rightly predicted – they turned into dragons themselves.

What began as a mission to protect the volk, eventually morphed into a mandate for conquest. For a thousand years, Germans have inflicted upon their neighbours the very horrors they feared their neighbours were conspiring to inflict upon them. Germanic culture’s unrelenting Drang nach Osten (drive towards the east) stirred up a witches’ brew of ethnic and cultural resentments which continue to trouble the dreams of Europe. The nations born out of the bleeding corpses of the Hohenzollern and Hapsburg empires were never able to transcend the circumstances of their post-World War I creation. Eastern European nationalism remains as extreme in its expression as the German chauvinism which gave it birth.

And now, as Germany struggles to construct a government, all that Eastern European nationalism, the nationalism of Russia, Poland, Hungary and the Ukraine; is having its revenge. The unabashedly white supremacist and Islamophobic populism that has taken hold in the lands to Germany’s east, is summoning from its grave the ghost of Hitler’s psychopathic god. Is it possible that these populist regimes actually believe that a reanimated German fascism will be their friend and ally? That the political genes of the beast which laid waste the physical and human infrastructure of their homelands 75 short years ago, have somehow been altered?

It’s as if the populist governments of Eastern Europe have somehow been persuaded to take seriously Joseph Goebbels’ last ditch propaganda campaigns of 1944-45 – in which the same German armies that had slaughtered millions of Jews and Slavs were re-presented as Europe’s last, best hope against the Asiatic hordes of the Bolshevik East. Are the populists hoping that, in 2017, Germany can be persuaded to undertake another racist crusade: this time against the “Islamisation” of Europe?

Sadly, the unintentional author of this hellish narrative is Germany’s moderate and motherly Chancellor, Angela Merkel. It was she who metaphorically spread wide the arms of her prosperous, post-fascist/post-communist Germany to receive the anguished victims of the Syrian civil war. Upwards of a million refugees poured across Germany’s borders – initially to a warm welcome from tens-of-thousands of generous German citizens. But, even as the new Germany welcomed them in, the flood of Arab refugees prodded awake some of the German nation’s oldest fears. For many of Angela Merkel’s compatriots the refugees represented the archetypal “other”. Syria may be located to Germany’s south, but in the volkish imagination of millions of older Germans they will always be “Easterners”.

Small wonder, then, that the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is so determined to avoid another federal election. Unike Chancellor Merkel, Steinmeier, the Social-Democratic Party and the Greens, are terrified that if another election is forced, the authoritarian populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) already Germany’s third-largest party – will take even more votes off Merkel’s Christian Democrats and its Bavarian sister-party the Christian Social Union.

In the days following the 24 September federal election, it was hoped that a black-yellow-green “Jamaica Coalition” (after the signature colours of the Christian Democrat, Free Democrat and Green parties) could be cobbled together. This ideologically implausible combination of conservatives, neoliberals and ecologists was required because the Social-Democrats had already ruled themselves out of another “Grand Coalition” with Merkel – in part because they did not want to cede the AfD the status of Germany’s largest opposition party.

So corrosive has the anti-immigrant, Islamophobic atmosphere in Germany become, however, that large numbers of rank-and-file members of the leading right-wing parties are falling into step with the AfD’s ideological drummers – forcing their leaders to follow them. The AfD may have secured only 12.6 percent of the Party Vote, but its sympathisers are estimated at three-times that number.

Those rising winds from the East are laden with ashes and tears.

This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 24 November 2017.


Nick J said...

Some things never change. Whole armies of post modernists tell us that tribalism, xenophobia and cultural preferences are not innate. Behavioural psychologists working on observation tell us the opposite.

German politics offers the observation that to ignore your own culture and history in favour of some higher goal such as humanitarian assistance to refugees is extremely dangerous. When a nation has practiced extermination and persecution of "outsiders" for two millennia might it not be reasonable to assume there may be something in the national psyche / "DNA"?

There is a common factor to immigration into Europe. It is that across the continent leaders assumed they could just do it, allow it without the explicit consent of the people. Now we see the chickens come home to roost. We in NZ are not immune. We still haven't reconciled the Maori Pakeha colonial issues, and we have overlayed more issues with huge and diverse immigration. I'm not against it, I am an immigrant, but I do understand that without consent you store up dissent.

David Stone said...

The movements being demonised by terming them nazi now are not bent on re-opening Auschwitz and making war on their neighbours. They want to retain their national identity and their various countries' sovereignty.
What is threatening these things is American belligerence, interference and warmongering in the middle east, and push for economic domination and hegemony everywhere.
The USA has become the greatest threat to wold peace and security now. A nationalist reaction to globalism and global finance harvesting the resources of the entire world, and diverting them to serve the avarice of American business , by persuasion or by invasion disguised as "humanitarian intervention" , and the human mass seeking refuge from the resulting chaos is what is inspiring the nationalist movement.
The concept of nationhood is under attack, and people love their national identity and want to keep it. So do I.
Cheers D J S

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Immigration is a fraught topic everywhere. I'm not necessarily against it, but at the moment we seem to have open slather, and we are not getting what we need out of it. I've had quite a bit to do with foreign students in the last ten years or so, and we are in fact not getting the best. In the Anglophone world, it's the US, Canada, Britain, Australia and then New Zealand. Some of them are in fact down as bloody stumps. As are some of our students obviously, but they at least would born here and we owe them something. Particularly as they are paying for their education these days rather than getting it for free – or thanks to that prick Prebble who got his for free. And some of them are quite honest about coming to New Zealand not so much for study but so they can work, and eventually be allowed to stay, and eventually go to Australia. While I commend their enterprise and the sacrifice of their parents, they shouldn't be my problem. My son works in IT. He likes computers and we thought it was somewhere that had possibilities. My first jolt was when I overheard a couple of his lecturers saying something like "in a year's time half these poor buggers will be out of work." Great. It took him six months to get a job. It's in IT but it's a shit job. He gets no training. He works really shitty shifts, and he spends eleven at half to 12 hours a day getting to and from work and working, because the transport and parking system is shit. Sometimes I don't trust him to drive, so I'm up in the middle of the fucking night picking him up and bringing home. One compensation, he's saved a lot of money, because he has no social life. And then all of a sudden I'm out running and listening to national radio and I hear that Wellington is importing IT specialists. WTF? They're interviewing some guy from America who says I'm really glad to be going to New Zealand I'm expecting it to be great. Okay, but why aren't they employing New Zealanders? Why are dairy farmers allowed to import farmworkers? Do we need more taxi drivers? It's these bread-and-butter issues I'm looking for Labour to look at, and I don't give a fuck about the rest to be honest. All I want like most of us is to have our kids happy with a maybe slightly better life than we had, and all we get from politicians is platitudes – which don't in fact pay the fucking rent. And I'm really angry at this.

Unknown said...

A citizen of the anglo-celtic diaspora pointing out the German conquest of the East is hypocrisy of the highest order. I guess white slavs count but first Nations peoples of North America and Oceania don't. You're a racist dude.

Nick J said...

The corollary GS is that if we restrict immigration and where people can work we deny that to ourselves (he said slightly tongue in cheek remembering that a major concern youth had over Brexit was freedom to work throughout Europe). Reality is any sensible country does not allow massed immigration to reduce its employment rate and standards to the detriment of locals. I have been angry that in Wellington every government department is full of "experts" who all seem to have foreign accents. I'm very unconvinced of the veracity of their expertise, very unconvinced that that we could not train Rangi unemployed of Ruatoria to do the same job. Give Rangi and young Kiwis first shot.

Anonymous said...

Islamaphobe? Is it now a requirement to love Islam?
That will please the Wahibists!

Honesty Chris, I respect your writing, but in my experience use of the word Islamaphobe nearly always indicates that the article isn't worth bothering with.

Inviting in a million (!) people from a wildly different culture, mostly young men, with very different social morals - what could possibly go wrong? Couple this with the fear of criticizing them, for fear if being seen as 'racist' or 'Islamophobic'... I'm amazed there hasn't been a revolution.
There HAS been rioting in the streets.

Why DO the left ignore Islamic views on women and homosexuals?
And, for that matter, religion, and it's separation from politics?
Compare and contrast with the the leftist treatment of American Republicans, and their views on the same topics!
How do you respond to this, Chris?

If history teaches one thing, it is that culture (and Nationalism) trumps other politics every time.

Victor said...


I don't want to minimise the grave dangers currently facing Germany or Europe.

But the surprising and admirable thing about the Federal Republic is that it's taken so very long to reach a point where the hard right even makes it over the 5% mark and into the Bundestag.

"Mutti" clearly played too confident a hand over the refugees. But all the Germans I'm in contact with these days (a small and, no doubt, unrepresentative sample)only regret this offer because of the way AfD has profited from it.

Indeed, far from seeing the refugees as a threat to their identity as Germans, they took pride in their country's openness and generosity, seeing in it final proof that they'd overcome the terrible ghosts of the past and that they would be able to pass on a legacy of decency to their children and grandchildren.

Be that as it may, German voters, having been severely burned by the flames of recent history, tend to be highly risk-averse. So my guess is that a second election would see increased numbers of them flocking back either to the CDU/CSU or to the SPD, thus vastly altering the configuration of the next parliament.

But none of us can be sure of this. And the experience of 1932 (the final year of the Weimar Republic) suggests that a mood of constant electioneering might serve to further ignite the extremes.

David Stone

Yes, of course, all the real evils in the world stem from the wicked Americans and their infernal neo-liberal grab machine. Everyone else is just harmless and misunderstood, largely as a result of being pilloried by the dreaded neo-liberal MSM.

I better add "irony alert", just in case someone agrees with the above paragraph.

David Stone said...

Nobody can disagree with any of that.

Victor said...


I do hope things work out well for your son and that he ends up with a job that's satisfying, well-paid and less of a strain. I'd like to add "secure" to the wish list but that's probably a bit too much to ask for these days.

No-one should have to put up with the circumstances you describe. But your lad sounds like a grafter and he's lucky to have you minding his back. I hope 2018 will be his year!

On the basis of past discussions, I suspect that I'm more pro-migration in principle that are you. But, undoubtedly, part of our current malaise is that we've been letting kids in to take courses of little inherent value to themselves and none to our economy and then allowing this to count towards residence status. That's just madness and the new government is right to target it.

Medium term, I suspect our immigration figures will come down dramatically, less because of anything we do than because of a change in the comparative attractiveness of other possible destinations. But all bets will be off if, as is far from unlikely, the global economy takes another tail spin.

countryboy said...

Ahh the flat footed masses. The Grunters and the Squeakers. The rooters and the brawlers. They're no different, where ever we go on our long suffering little space ship... there they are, braying for an opportunity to hate, fight and spite.
Any excuse will do. A Gay person,a black/brown/white/greyish/pink/yellowing person, a person who wears their table cloth over their head and pronounces it to be a symptom of their religion while others still hobble de gobble and prance about in pompous absurdity as they swing smoke about and whisper to their invisible, yet all-knowing gods in hideously ugly buildings built to shun the natural beauty just outside.
The moron class with which we must all rub shoulders are the powder in the breach of the musket. Give them an excuse to fume and loath and they will. And usually highly profitably, for their masters. They're too stupid, and/or distracted by day time TV, to see what's right in front of them.
And how about them Masters then. While we're at it. The Trumps. The Rothschild’s. The Monarchs. Inbred, and thanks to that, a highly evolved cunning-as-a-shit-house-rat DNA. Many years ago, I was at a baby christening. A little riche-brat-to-be that'd fallen out of some high society type. There they were... All the rounded vowels one could wish for.Think Big little jimbo bolger after a triple whisky? They downed snifters of alcohol and as their plump cheeks reddened, both sets, they ran about the designer kitchen that'd never seen a sausage like demented baboons having just discovered cocaine. I got the impression they were cunning yet dumb. Thick as a plug of clay.
Our Upper Class is a lower class somewhere else in the Universe, never forget that. The Der Upperzingerflashputingzealglespoutengroiten German Class is just the same as Her eastern cuzzies. Puffing her Chest out and gagging for a stoush, then when a stoush is imminent, She will shoot at her ' trading partners' with the soon-to-be dead bodies of Her own people.
In short, it's all wank. I'd suggest Elon Musk crop dust the mad bastards with Ecstasy Powder then send in armies of drone sex-bots to take their minds of things before they fuck it up for everybody.... again.

David Stone said...

I'm sure there's no need for the irony alert Victor.
I know my comment was pretty "out there" But there are serious professionals , in America , who se it similarly.
For instance...
Cheers D J S

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Thanks Victor. I must say he surprised me by his stickability. He's worked every public holiday going except Christmas and New Year. Nothing like me in my youth I must say. :) Perhaps he's rebelling.

greywarbler said...

If you want to discuss problems which is what is happening here don't go off on some airy-fairy superior line. Just quoting some past bad history and then riticising people trying to unpick it, compare and contrast, get some understanding of cause and effect is not offering anything of value. You are a lightweight, striking a pose and too lazy to discuss the real issue.

Victor said...

Earlier on this thread, I wrote:

"So my guess is that a second election would see increased numbers of them flocking back either to the CDU/CSU or to the SPD, thus vastly altering the configuration of the next parliament."

Latest polling doesn't seem to support this conclusion. But recent elections in France, the UK and here, suggest that support patterns can change rapidly in the course of a modern campaign.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Martin Schulz and the SPD are under pressure to reconsider their rejection of another "Grand Coalition".

As with our own recent coalition dilemmas, I'm glad it's not me who has to advise Shulz of the best path ahead.

Patricia said...

Victor, are you talking about the peace loving Americans. Irony alert?
The New York Times reported on October 22 that the United States has “just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories,” which is a staggering total. But in an intriguing revelation the Times reported that there are a further 37,813 troops deployed “on presumably secret assignment in places listed simply as ‘unknown.’ The Pentagon provided no further explanation.”

peteswriteplace said...

Poor Germany, still has its problems - usually self-inflicted as you say.

David Stone said...


You'r a treasure trove.


greywarbler said...

Your comments are like a wordy Jackson Pollock art work. I think you must find some people to admire and view as worthwhile while you splash your uncomfortable judgments around. We all are flawed in some way, but 'must hang together' with those who try to find a human way of some dignity and humour.

Saws for the modern:

“Our brains are not capable of comprehending the infinite so, instead, we ignore it, sit down and eat cheese on toast.”
-- Jonathan Cainer

“It's easy to feel happy when things are going your way. The trick is to remain inspired in difficult situations. That's where life stops being a game of chance and becomes one of skill. That's when, if you can stay serene in the face of adversity, you get back on track in half the time
it might otherwise take.”
-- Jonathan Cainer

“Passion is essential for a meaningful existence. Life is about what you feel.”
-- Jonathan Cainer

(And humour to keep sane.)
“If life on Planet Earth was really supposed to be a picnic, we would all have been born clutching gingham tablecloths.”
-- Jonathan Cainer

Victor said...


I certainly haven't referred to "peace-loving Americans". I just don't think that the US is the sole cause of the world's ills.

Anyhow, this time last year, you were gung-ho for Trump. How's that working out?

jh said...

Between 1979 and 2006, real wage rates in tourism and hospitality have fallen 24.5%. According to an AUT lecturer on RNZ Insight. He blames a lack of unions, I blame an increasing population in a land-based economy too far away to be a major manufacturing base. Meanwhile Paul Spoonley tells lies about the benefits of globalization and it's effect on society and the journalist coalition are all ears.

jh said...

@ Country
Elites don't share the consequences of the utopian dream
Victor Davis Hansen on The Two California's.

jh said...

Literary skill should not be used to obscure an argument.

jh said...

Labour on Migrant Cool-aid