Category Archives: Merkel, Angela

Another in a long line of autocratic German leaders

Screenshot 2020-01-25 at 15.33.27Dalrymple observes that Angela Merkel’s sudden acceptance of a million migrants

was an authoritarian decision that made Viktor Orbán look a model democratic ruler. For when Merkel said, ‘We can do this,’ what she meant was, ‘You can do this,’ or rather, ‘You must do this,’ and all without the semblance of a consultation of the wishes of the German population in so serious a matter. She had nothing to lose herself but her polls, and she was near retirement anyway.

Her unilateral decision

must surely have deepened divisions in German society, between the better educated who were the least affected, and the worse educated who were the most affected by her decision. The former would be more concerned with feeling good about themselves—a specially urgent desire in Germany, for reasons I need not explain—than with the effect on those who would bear the brunt of the consequences of the decision. Voilà the rise of populism, that is to say of popular opinions that some people don’t like and think despicable.

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.

Europeans fear for the future

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-23-19-21The people of Europe, says Dalrymple (from 30:19),

are not just nostalgic — they’re worried about the future.

They see themselves

as being part of a vast experiment.

Experiments

have been tried on the population — experiments over which they have not been consulted.

For instance, Angela Merkel’s acceptance of a million refugees:

She didn’t consult any German people.

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

Bad old habits of the Germans

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 07.16.57Dalrymple writes that a common European identity

has to be forged deliberately and artificially, and one of the imperatives for attempting to do so is the need of Germans for an identity that is not German. And since the Germans are very powerful in Europe, by weight of their economy, their need to escape from themselves by absorbing everyone into a new collective identity will sooner or later be perceived in the rest of Europe as the need to impose themselves— as a return to their bad old habits.