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March 27, 2011

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John in Michigan, USA

OK I've done a bit of reading about Thilo Sarrazin. My purpose in writing is not to defend him (I am still mostly ignorant of his work), but to understand exactly why he is controversial.

Clearly, he violated the taboo of talking about genetics and Jews, or genetics and intelligence, in the same sentence. I am sympathetic to the maintenance of that taboo. I would look very closely at anyone, even an academic with impeccable credentials, who violates it.

What I would be looking for is indications that his taboo statement is in fact meant as a coded reference, a dog whistle to the faithful, etc. I would look for evidence that he is trying to propagate clear anti-Jewish (or other) bigotry while practicing plausible deny-ability.

Is there evidence?

Perhaps his anti-immigration stance is seen as evidence. But, he seems to be distinguishing between immigrants who come to German and want to embrace German language and culture, vs. those who don't. Again, that borders on a taboo, but does it make him beyond the pale if he favors the former type of immigration and only opposes the later type?

Is there other evidence?

Is there reason to believe that his lawsuit against the NPD is just for show?

Absent such evidence, I would conclude, tentatively, that his thesis requires him to broach certain issues, such as the genetic basis of race or of intelligence. Personally, I am highly skeptical that genetics has much to do with either of those phenomena. But I recognize that in order to advance, academics sometimes have to violate taboos. Exhibit A would be Masters and Johnson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masters_and_Johnson) who massively violated the taboos of their era, but unquestionably helped advanced the study of human sexuality.

How, in broad strokes, is Thilo Sarrazin's breaking of taboos different than the taboos challenged by Mearsheimer and Walt?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Israel_Lobby_and_U.S._Foreign_Policy

Thanks in advance for any help on this.

David

Sarrazin is a former banker, and not an expert in sociology, statistics, or genetics. His book is nothing more than rant against Muslim which he buttresses with fake statistic (he admits) and pseudo-science on human intelligence.

You can't compare him to Mearsheimer and Walt, who are respected scholars.

Strahler 70

J.i.M.
in Germany, 9/11 gave birth to a new wave of racism, behind the mask of solidarity with the US and especially Israel xeno- and islamophobia were quickly spread across the rightwing blogosphere.

(Not only) Sarrazin jumped on that train, where the NPD traditionally has a seat in the first class. Udo Voigt, head of the NPD: Sarrazin's book confirms everything the NPD has always said...

Sarrazin is the first politician from Germany's political establishment who dares to exploit the racist tendencies within our society, with stolen paroles from the neo-nazis and fake stats. Now he recects being embraced by the NPD: The predator won't lie with the prey...

John in Michigan, USA

@David: I agree he isn't as credentialed as Mearsheimer and Walt. That is why I wrote the qualification, "in broad strokes".

Where is it written that only only professional academics can break taboos, but prominent bankers with advanced degrees and decades of experience cannot?

I saw a BBC interview, his opinions about intelligence, genetics, etc. seem old-fashioned and out of date, but that hardly makes him a threat to the constitutional order the way NPD is.

@Strahler:

You've twice linked him to the NPD using nothing but guilt by association. Are your research skills really so poor? Why not provide actual proof that his rejection of the NPD is insincere?

Strahler 70

J.i.M.
you got a point, but it seems you don't really know it. The NPD is a splinter group, but only a minor threat to the constitution. Any parole, any propaganda that comes under the label of that party is disqualified by itself. Now that Sarrazin claims that propaganda for himself, white-washing it from nazi stains, he's paving the way not for the NPD, but for the nazi spirit in general. He, a populist from the social democrats, is making racist paroles more socially acceptable to broader masses than the NPD ever could. Logically he rejects the NPD, he wouldn't give back what he has stolen.

In the 47 years of their existence the NPD never got rid of their notorious Third Reich nostalgy and one could wonder why they don't just simply learn from the Left party by openly dissociating themselves from their past. Seems, the Nazis are unable to make that U-turn, thus generating better results at elections and acceptance by broader masses. So be it.

But it is also only a question of time for an able politician, a smart populist to come and take advantage of that, and take over the potential the NPD has always ignored.

That makes Sarrazin so dangerous, he would be the man of choice to claim leadership in a new chauvinist party to come, filling up the empty space right of the christian democrats.

J.i.M. - Don't take this as a knock-out argument, but you don't live in Germany, you only seem to know what Sarrazin, who rarely makes a mistake in public speeches, is saying, but you don't see how many people are responding and you simply don't seem to know anything of the context he is acting in. By his potential, Sarrazin is the biggest threat to our constitution, bigger, than the NPD ever was.

Zyme

I wouldn't say Sarrazin is a threat to the constitution. He has just paved the road. In fact he simply delivered the materials for the road to be paved.

The one (man or movement) which marches on it will be the threat. But this will take time. The millions of people who bought the book did so not to place it in the shelf and be proud of it (like back then Hitler's autobiography) but to read it. It was constantly printed for months in more than 2 dozen editions due to the seemingly endless demand.

Now those who read it will not only consume the way of thinking and his assessment. They will also spread his ideas in the society. So I guess after 5-10 years, the book will deploy its biggest potential.

Then somebody can take advantage of the fact that no established party took his ideas into account.

David

Zyme,

Just curious. What would a political "solution" for Sarrazin's "ideas" look like?

Mass deportations (Dr. Ulfkotte has proposed)? Detention camps for women who wear Burqas?

The Muslim population in Germany is a fact. Better to find ways to coexist and integrate...

Zyme

There are plenty of possibilities once such a movement takes hold.

A very convenient solution would be to differentiate between native Germans and immigrants up to a certain generation.

The then immigrants would face

- drastic cuts in social spending for those unable to speak the language properly

- being stripped of citizenship after serious crimes

- wearing of burquas forbidden

- tighter surveillance of mosques by security agencies

- targeted killings of terrorist group leaders


None of such measurements would be possible under the current legislation and constitution. All of them would find support among a significant part of the population even today, when no serious terror strike has taken place yet.

Do you see the direction?

David

Indeed I do. We used to have lynchings of black citizens in America. And I'm sure there are many - especially in the south - who would like to see them again today.

Fortunately, we do not have mob rule in the US (yet).

Zyme

"Fortunately, we do not have mob rule in the US"

This very comment seems to indicate, David, that you have not truly understood the German nature.

What I have shown above has absolutely nothing to do with mob rule.

Quite the contrary - such proceedings follow a clearly defined set of rules which are then being looked after carefully by an overly eager but otherwise emotionless bureaucracy.

John in Michigan, USA

@David:

"We used to have lynchings of black citizens in America. And I'm sure there are many - especially in the south - who would like to see them again today. "

Bullsh^it. Name 10 prominent Americans who are on the record in favor of lynchings of black citizens.

Blarg

Lynchings of blacks was dealing with black criminals. The blacks are a very violent and criminal people, they need to be segregated and kept under control.

In these mondern lunatic times we are supposed to be "tolerant" of daily violence towards whites by blacks or mexicans. There is a race war on our streets, it is directed against whites by jews, using their minions the blacks and mexicans and muslims.

Mass deportation is the obvious solution, citizenship is by blood. You cannot be a german without being born a german with german parents.

These sorts who advocate immigration are either wildly clueless of reality, or hostile to the concept of the German People, and the German Nation.

David

@Blarg,

Thanks for the Nazi perspective.

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