Category Archives: German history

A sure way to revive German nationalism

Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka

Impose redistributive loans on Berlin for Keynesian purposes!

Dalrymple observes that negative-yielding bonds, representing a quarter of debt issued, are

hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the future. They are like an umbrella to protect us from an approaching monsoon.

He points out that economic gloom

is growing in Europe, where growth remains low and youth unemployment in many countries is high.

Yet-lower interest rates, penalising savers,

will not revive EU countries’ economies. Having lost control of their currencies as a result of monetary union, these countries cannot apply a fiscal stimulus.

Lagarde thinks she has the answer

We hear calls, echoed recently by Christine Lagarde, for a large European budget that can apply a stimulus to various countries as necessary. Such a budget, Dalrymple explains,

is seen by some as an antidote to the growth of populist nationalism in Europe, supposedly the consequence of the continent’s economic woes. An editorial in the Guardian, daily bible of the bien-pensants of much of the English-speaking world, was headed: The nationalism that taps into people’s angst and dislocation can be effectively challenged with a bazooka of a eurozone budget. In other words, if only governments of countries in which populism—that is to say, the popularity of one’s opponents—spent enough money to revive their economies, the people would return to their senses and re-enter the social-democratic fold that has served Europe so well—even if it led to the present trouble.

Where will the firepower of the proposed bazooka come from?

There can be only one answer under the present dispensation: from Germany. Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka. They have had some recent experience of large-scale lending, and it was not altogether happy in its results, economic or political.

A genuinely closer political union (the supposed aim of the European Union, but which Europeans have repeatedly said they do not want) might impose redistributive loans on Germany for Keynesian purposes—other countries in the EU outvoting Berlin.

It’s not easy to imagine the Germans accepting this. There could hardly be a better way to revive German nationalism, one of the eventualities that is the target of the proposed bazooka to destroy.

The situation would be even more dangerous because Germany

has achieved its pre-eminent economic position, in part, by not allowing a commensurate increase in the standard of living of its people, who may not be pleased to play the role assigned them by the EU. Polls already suggest that this is so.

The prideful Germans beat their breasts

The doctor-writer’s diagnosis of the deep German psychopathology — and why the rest of us always end up paying a heavy price for it

Dalrymple writes that a healthy patriotism

seems to be denied to Germany. The historical reasons for this are perfectly obvious, of course. But it is more difficult to rid oneself of pride than one might think: one can become proud of one’s lack of pride.

Moral exhibitionism

When Angela Merkel agreed to take more than a million migrants,

it was easy in her gesture to see her desire to restore the moral reputation of her nation.

One motive touted,

that with its ageing and declining population, Germany needed more young labour, is absurd: there are millions of unemployed young Spaniards, Italians and Greeks on its doorstep who could have been absorbed with much less difficulty.

Still the bully

The problem arises when Germany,

newly proud of its openness to refugees, tries to make other countries suffer the consequences of its policy, in the name of some kind of abstract principle. Thus other countries, such as Hungary, are to be bullied into taking refugees or face hostility and ostracism. (No one asks the refugees themselves whether they want to be resettled in Hungary. They are abstractions in the European psychodrama, not people of flesh and blood, with desires and ambitions of their own.)

Uriah Heep

The desire of the Germans

to overcome or dissolve their German-ness in the tepid bath of European Union-ness is the consequence of a certain historiography in which all of German history is but a run-up to Nazism: in other words that Nazism is immanent in the German soul, and the only way to control it is to tie it down as Gulliver was. But this supposed need does not exist to anything like the same extent in other countries, which may nevertheless be constrained by German power, influence and financial might to follow suit. The key to contemporary Europe may perhaps be found in the character of Uriah Heep.

Eure Schuld!

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-02-29Germany’s, ah, particular historical situation

There is, Dalrymple points out (from 1:09),

a particular historical situation in Germany which the Germans have been trying to overcome, unsuccessfully, for the last 70 years.

Taking in a million economic migrants

was an opportunity for the Germans to be better than everyone else.

The Scandinavians, he says, are the same.

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-07-04Dalrymple does not think that Merkel

will take in another million migrants in a hurry.

He examines the argument that Merkel took this catastrophic step

because Germany’s population is declining, so they need workers, they need immigrants. But in that case, why not take in the unemployed of Spain or of Greece? Why not recruit there?

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-08-46No, says Dalrymple, this is not the real reason. The real reason the Germans took in so many economic migrants is that

they still feel tremendous guilt, and are trying to demonstrate that they are not as they were before.

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-10-13