Politieke correctheid ondermijnt een debat in Duitsland

Ik ben het boek van Sarrazin aan het lezen.  Het is allemaal erg boeiend. Zie hieronder een van de weinige positieve  commentaren in de Duitse pers.

09/10/2010 03:40 PM Spiegel

Sarrazin’s Truths

Political Correctness Is Silencing an Important Debate

A Commentary by Matthias Matussek

German central banker Thilo Sarrazin is being pilloried over his polemic chastising of Muslims, but there are a few things his critics clearly fail to understand. You can’t cast away what the man embodies: The anger of a German people who are tired of being cursed at when they offer to help foreigners to integrate.

Nothing is as it used to be. In this season of public outrage, the case of Thilo Sarrazin has grown far bigger than Sarrazin. It’s much bigger than the man or the Islam-critical book he wrote.

The Sarrazin case is also a Merkel case, a case for his party, the center-left Social Democrats, and for the German political and media establishment. Sarrazin has become code for the outrage over how the politically correct branch of Germany’s consensus-based society have dispatched their stewards to escort this unsettling heckler to the door. On their way, they seem to be trying to teach him a lesson, as well: “We will beat tolerance into you.”

Sarrazin isn’t telegenic and he often gets tangled up in statistics. When it comes to styling, he’s at a loss — he is unkempt when he appears on the myriad talkshows that keep our entertainment society going. He slips on one banana peel of political correctness after another, opening himself to attack with his statements about genetics. But his findings on the failed integration of Turkish and Arab immigrants are beyond any doubt.

Sarrazin has been forced out of the Bundesbank. The SPD wants to kick him out of the party, too. Invitations previously extended to Sarrazin are being withdrawn. The culture page editors at the German weekly Die Zeit are crying foul and the editors at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung are damning Sarrazin for passages he didn’t even write.

Technicians of Exclusion

But what all these technicians of exclusion fail to see is that you cannot cast away the very thing that Sarrazin embodies: the anger of people who are sick and tired — after putting a long and arduous process of Enlightenment behind them — of being confronted with pre-Enlightenment elements that are returning to the center of our society. They are sick of being cursed or laughed at when they offer assistance with integration. And they are tired about reading about Islamist associations that have one degree of separation from terrorism, of honor killings, of death threats against cartoonists and filmmakers. They are horrified that “you Christian” has now become an insult on some school playgrounds. And they are angry that Western leaders are now being forced to fight for a woman in an Islamic country because she has been accused of adultery and is being threatened with stoning.

Strangely enough, a good number of our fellow Turkish citizens are more outraged by Sarrazin’s book than they are about those things.

Should those Turkish immigrants fortunate enough to have exemplary careers not start exerting a bit of influence over their fellow immigrants and their neighborhoods, so that the Koran shows its gentler, more charitable face? Isn’t it time for them to stand up and show their backing for plurality and freedom of expression?

That certainly wasn’t the case recently when the Migration Board, an umbrella group for immigrant organizations in Berlin, spoke out successfully against a reading by Sarrazin during the International Literature Festival in the German capital. Bernd Scherer, who heads the House of World Cultures, the venue of the festival, buckled under the pressure and cancelled the event. Now the reading is to be held at another venue on Friday — under police protection.

Protecting the Public from Poison and Temptation

But as a society, we seem content with the fact that our politicians, opportunistic as they have become, are struggling under the same weight. And as far as the politically correct media is concerned, it hardly functions any longer.

Until now, the media was dominated by two archetypes: There was the patronizing governess style, which assumes the public is ignorant and, without being asked to do so, seeks to protect it from poison and temptation. Or there is the energetic denouncing approach, which also assumes the public is dim and focuses on revealing secrets: Mr. Teacher, I’ve noticed a brown spot, you can’t see it with the naked eye, but because I’m so smart I was able to spot it.

Klaus von Dohnanyi, who is to defend Sarrazin as the SPD seeks to expel him, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper how Germany was overshadowed by its Holocaust history and how a culture had developed whereby anyone saying the words “gene” or “Jew” was automatically considered suspect.

He is right to complain that we shy away from debates which “are commonplace in other countries.” Among those is the discussion that “specific ethnic groups” share specific characteristics.

Simply Don’t Get It

Debates about identity and cultural dominance are ubiquitous in an increasingly globalized world — in the United States just as in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands or Denmark. Such a debate doesn’t exclude cosmopolitanism in the slightest. It merely represents an insistence on maintaining traditions and values. Religion is one of them and it is not something that people will let go of lightly.

These are the passages of Sarrazin’s book that I find most interesting. Those which melancholically reflect that Germans are not only demographically working towards their own demise, but also that they are bidding farewell to their cultural and educational background. Whoever calls that racist simply doesn’t get it.

But ever since the Sarrazin case, it is clear that intimidation from the politically correct thought police of the media and the threats they issue of casting people out of society no longer work. By now the public has a highly developed instinct for fairness.

The support Sarrazin has received demonstrates this. The Germans are learning. Maybe, one day, the country’s newsrooms will catch up with where British colleagues have long been — a place where debates can be conducted without blinders or language controls.

5 thoughts on “Politieke correctheid ondermijnt een debat in Duitsland

  1. I am half way in Sarrazins treatise now. It is one of the most interesting and knowledgeable books I’ve seen over the past years. I’ve also been reading the comments in Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Die Welt and other German newspapers and journals. One thing that strikes me most in those comments that both the critics and admirers have not really been reading this book, that is, studying this work, but are simply reacting to secondary sources and comments. Internet speak mixed with unrestrained underbelly emotions very similar to those of the Dutch political leasure classes with a Christian-Democratic or Labour Party background – the trumpetting hoard of over-aged elephants suddenly coming out into the wild from their protective enlosures.

    There’s a good reason for critics of Sarazin books to rely on their gut feelings instead of reason. Apart from a few paragraphs of simple text, most of the book is heavy reading. You need to have a well over-average IQ and a considerable knowledge of the scientific literature on macro-and welfare economics, policical, sociological and cultural science, scientific methods and techniques, and logic, to fully comprehend his treatise. You should be familiar with Rawls and Sen and a few other political philiosphers.

    Far from being a populist, Sarrazin is an intellectual elitist. As the German population has been – in terms of IQ-level – rapidly in decline over the past twenty years, his proper audience will be limited. There are now over half a million copies sold, but – unfortunately – for reasons that you may understand by reading the book, only 10% of these buyers (but most of the Jewish readers)will be able to intellectually consume it. German Imams have to wait for instructions from Saudi-Arabia or Cairo and that may take some time.

    One may wonder why the SPD was so quick to decide that Sarrazin should be expelled from this party. Is this sheer stupidity or is there some good reason for this. From what I learned over the years from some German friends close to some of its leaders or at least to their way of thinking, I am inclined to think that Sarrazin’ rise is in fact welcomed as a fortunate event in a time of misery and despair.
    Since the Leftparty robbed the SPD of 10% of its voters it has become clear that the SPD never will be able to return in power, unless a drastic change in the political landscape.
    The real threat of Sarrazin for the SPD was and is that he would eat up another 10% or more of the SPD-left, those unwilling to deal with the consequences of Sarrazins study for the social-democartic policy-making process and its legitimation. By throwing hom overboard, and branding him as a reactionary right-winger, if not a resurrected brownie, he could become for the CDU-CSU what the Leftparty is for the SPD, a death digger for the present electoral supremacy of the traditional right in German politics.

    The concerted actions of SPD-oriented commentators in German newspapers can only be read as political spin, meant to create a virtual but evil public figure, called ‘Sarrazin’ who has little in common with Thilo Sarrazin, the author of that very important book on the rapid decline of that civilized Germany.
    That the real Sarrazin -as is well known by his former SPD colleagues – will never consider any role in a new political party, to the right of the CDU-CSU is irrelevant. There are enough ambitious yet hardly known populist politicians in Germany who will seriously consider to ride the tide of this time irrespective of Sarrazin’s actual message.

    In a way all this is very similar to the present state of the political scene in the Netherlands, or, since this week, in Norway.

    Ad Teulings
    professor emeritus, University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Political and Socio-Cultural Sciences.

  2. Thank you very much for your most valuable contribution to my website. Sarrazin’s book is indeed based on solid research and a deep knowledge of staticsics, economics and philosophy.
    I keep on rereading it. I Hope I will find time to write an essay on this book. It seems to me that Sarrazin’s book has also important lessons for the debate on integration in the Netherlands. It will enable us to overcome both populism and denial.

    Arend Jan Boekestijn

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