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Doctor Schäuble’s governmental neuroses

by Manfred Kleine-Hartlage, first issued in German, October 1, 2009: Doktor Schäubles Staatsneurosen

If you want to know which ideology is the basis of this country’s immigration policy, it is illuminating to examine carefully what the responsible persons say about themselves. Wolfgang Schäuble, [then] Minister of the Interior, had recently in  „Welt am Sonntag“ a dispute with the immigration-critical Dutch sociologist Paul Scheffer. This debate deserves an extensive analysis. I concentrate on what Mr. Schäuble said, however I recommend  to read the whole discussion, not least because of the critical objections worth reading of Professor Scheffer:

Welt am Sonntag: Mr. Schäuble, since the fifties labour migrants came to Germany to a large extent. Is this immigration a success story?

Wolfgang Schäuble: Predominantly yes. One must realize, we recruited these people. Germany is, by the way, the country of Europe with the highest rate of population growth since the Second World War. On the one hand because of the refugees from the east and from the parts of Europe in which Germans had settled in former times. And then we received many refugees from conflict areas, more than other countries, for which the UN’s refugee agency praises us. We recruited the immigrant workers. Without them the economic development would not have succeeded at all at that time. Most are well integrated, but there is a not insignificant deficit in the third generation. Fighting this is an emphasis of our policy. But altogether it is a success story.

Paul Scheffer: (…) There is a consent in many countries that the immigration of immigrant workers was actually no success story. Neither for the receiving society nor for the immigrant workers themselves. (…) Also the migrants regarded themselves as immigrant workers and just not as migrants.

Schäuble: I must raise an objection. We have recruited the immigrant workers …

In these short both statements, Schäuble stressed three times that „we“ have recruited the immigrant workers. We will still see that this is so important to him because it means that „we“ are responsable for the consequences.

Moreover it is untrue (and promptly corrected by Scheffer) that without immigrant workers „the economic development… would not have succeeded“. Although untrue, it will be an important component of the self-description and the view on history in a future Islamic Germany:  We do not owe our economic development to the technological and scientific performance of Germans, nor to centuries of educational tradition, nor the high and consciously maintained qualification of our craftsmen, let alone all the sweat that the industrialization of Germany, starting from the 19th century, and the reconstruction after 1945 had costed. We owe it to the immigrant workers, who are so well integrated that one wonders why they did not manage to put this integration also into the hearts of „the third generation“, and why we suddenly have to deal with „not insignificant deficits“.

The concern about this is certainly more than balanced by the fact that „the UN’s refugee agency praises us“.

What does it actually mean that Schäuble regards the first generation as „well integrated“? This means that „integration“ to him does not include to raise one’s children in the spirit of a positive relationship to Germany and the Germans: If the first generation had been, in this sense, well integrated, the „deficits“ of the third would be hardly explainable.

I assume, for Schäuble, being „well integrated“ means not to become an extremist or terrorist. „Integrated“ is who does not cause trouble to the government. The trouble some migrants, particularly Muslims, cause to the native citizens don’t interest the government, as long as it does not feel the consequences itself  at the election day.

(…)
Schäuble: (…) We know that there are problems today , we know the deficits. Therefore our policy is completely clear: We will repair first the deficits of integration and afterwards open the job market more  if necessary .

Now he has used already three times the word „deficits“. We do not know yet which deficits he actually means, but we know that at least he knows them – how reassuring -, and that he (with „our policy“) is going to „repair“ them: the megalomania of a technocrat who it does not realize that humans are no machines and „integration deficits“ are no engine damage to be „repaired“. He ignores the fact that 67 million native Germans, four million Muslims and eleven million non-Muslim migrants and migrant children are no orchestra, waiting for being conducted by Mr. Schäuble, and that society is not an automat, into which one puts empty phrases (like coins) to see „ integration“ roll out.

In addition, and just by the way, we learn that thereafter, if something like integration will thus halfway have succeeded, one learns from the errors of the past not to avoid them it in the future but, on the contrary, to open the job market, i.e. to repeat them at the first opportunity . „Integration“ of the ones is thus just the preliminary stage to the immigration of the others. The Minister tells us officially, although just en passant, that he intends to make mass immigration permanent, and that he pursues a policy to urge the Germans in their own country into a minority position.

Welt am Sonntag: All migration processes of history show that the circular model does not work. If humans go elsewhere, then many of them stay. Did the problem in Germany not arise because we thought too long, the migrants would go back?

(…)

Schäuble: I found an understanding which corresponds to my own, of what immigration countries are,  in a book of a Dutch professor (laughs): countries which select immigrants. In this sense, Germany is no immigration country. I have always said so. This does not mean that we haven’t many immigrants. And therefore I rather talk about integration, because this is what we have to  manage. We had for example substantial problems with the integration of the [German] refugees at the end of the 40’s. 1949 96 percent of the refugees said that their relationship to the local population was not good. This integration has succeeded today. But with respect to the immigrant workers later we surely failed  to reflect sufficiently.

Compared to the magnificent achievement to integrate Germans in Germany the integration of Turks should be a children’s game – provided that one „reflects sufficiently“.

Above all, however, we did not well enough in the task to integrate their children and grandchildren adequately – this is where I see the large omissions of the German society.

Integration is not something the immigrants owe society, but the other way round – probably because „we have recruited the immigrant workers“, and owe them „our economic development“.

If I, however, say: The balance is bad, it was not worthwhile, then I strengthen those who tell me at the Stammtisch [the pub where normal people talk about politics, M.K.-H.]: „We always knew, out with the foreigners.“

In plain language: He cannot admit that the balance is bad, because otherwise he would strengthen those at „the Stammtisch“, i.e. simple people, who indeed always felt that immigration does not enrich anybody but the immigrants themselves. These simple people must not be „strengthened“, and therefore one must declare the truth they see a lie. One notes that the Minister does not even refer to his allegedly superior insight (what rulers normally do, if necessary to justify their rule). Thus he doesn’t claim to be right, he only wants to hold down those who are.

Welt am Sonntag: What was made wrong, and when?

(…)

Schäuble: … Since the 70s, we do not make immigration, but  integration policy in Germany. Good or bad, one can argue. We had a debate over the right of asylum, but that is something else. I also think that we must pursue, in the future, a more purposeful policy. But before doing so, I must do away with the deficits of the past years. In this respect, I do not push away the guilt from us at all .

„We“ – and one may assume that this „we“ does not mean the political class but the German people – are guilty to have caused the „deficits“ mentioned for the fourth time – he really speaks of „guilt“-, and therefore „we“ must do away with them, approximately like a dog owner has to do away with the small pile. The same people whose opinion is ignored have to lie in the bed that  the Schäubles made for them.

World on Sunday: Where do you see successful examples of immigration policy?

(…)

Scheffer: It must concern…  what Sarkozy calls “immigration subi” and “immigration choisi”, an only suffered or an immigration that one deliberately chooses. On this one must reflect.

Schäuble: Of course we think about it! But I am against wishful thinking. And before we think too much about selected immigration , we should concentrate on repairing the deficits. (…)

For the fifth time „deficits“ are „repaired“.

(…)

Schäuble: (…) I as a Minister of the Interior must prevent – that is reason of state of Germany – that new xenophobia develops.

The Minister of the Interior believes it is a duty of the state to forbid and/or prescribe  its citizens their feelings, for example hatred of foreigners. Such an attitude is not pre-democratic – no absolutist monarch would have considered himself to be his people’s teacher -, it is totalitarian. The citizens are to be made want what they have to do. And that is not only a governmental goal – which would be bad enough  -, it is reason of state, i.e. the state must „prevent that xenophobia develops“. Why?

I cannot bear, as one week ago in Vorarlberg [Austria], 25 percent for a right-wing extremist a party.

The Minister of the Interior, member of a „conservative“ party is not familiar with the difference between right-wing conservative and right-wing extremist parties. To consider the FPÖ extremist is obviously grotesque. To declare it extremist may be smart tactics – though not the tactics of democrats, but of autocrats who use the apparatus of the state to muzzle dissidents.

Anyhow one should listen attentively when a Minister of the Interior, head of a highly organized armed power structure, says he cannot  „bear“ an election result, brought about in a perfectly democratic way.

So high numbers approximately for Le Pen were the starting point for Sarkozy to concern on immigration. I cannot bear also the development in the Netherlands.

In plain language the message to the German voters is: Don’t imagine that you are allowed to vote as you want – certain parties offend what I, Schäuble, define as „reason of state“. How the hell does he come to believe it is „reason of state“ to weaken the predominantly loyal state people in favor of  migrants whose  loyalty to the state is pretty often doubtful?

Germany would  immediately be suspected not to have learned from the experiences of the Nazi period. We are, more than anyone else, a burnt child.

If I do not want to impute the USA to have threatened Germany with a military intervention in the case of a right-conservative electoral success: Soberly regarded, the suspicion Schäuble fears is no more than an image problem, i.e. nothing that would affect seriously the „reason of state“, if one understands „reason of state“ in its traditional meaning.

Schäuble: We had – and I am proud of that – with the European election on 7 June the smallest success of xenophobic groups in Europe. Our efforts on improved integration are thus not completely futile .

One could suppose with better reasons that less the efforts on improved integration were successful, but rather those on criminalization and slander of the dissidents, and that they were so because a great many Germans internalized that strange ideology according to which not loyalty for the own nation, but the self-dressage in favor of others is a reason to be „proud“.

(…) We must include in our demographic as our social development all people in Germany.

Except, of course, the native Germans, in particular such which express themselves at „the Stammtisch“.

Otherwise we will be not able to secure a stable, tolerant development. And because of the demographic development we will have probably soon a higher need of immigration.

I don’t remember that the indeed threatening demographic development of Germany ever has been put to the agenda by politicians. There were no election campaigns on this issue, and nobody struggled for solutions. But  the demographic development is put to the agenda regularly whenever arguments for mass immigration are lacking. In other words: Immigration is one, if only apparent, solution, searching for a suitable problem.

Let’s reconstruct now Schäubles ideology from what he has said between the lines:

He worries above all about what others think of Germany, not so much about what is actually the case, or about whether the Germans themselves feel good with his policy; the same orientation at foreign perception, (think of his childlike joy about the praise by the UN refugee organization) can be read off also from its panic, Germany could be suspected not to have learned from the Nazi period, and his “pride” about the lack of success of „xenophobic groups“ .

If an individual made himself dependent on foreign perception and subordinated his own interests to the demands of others, then this person would be said to be neurotically disturbed.

Let’s consider, moreover,

  • how frequently he stresses that the Germans are guilty,
  • his inclination to credit the Germans‘ own successes („our economic development “) to foreigners,
  • his view that political judgment of German citizens is to be controlled by the government,
  • and finally his program aiming at mass immigration as a kind of permanent revolution as soon as the current „deficits are repaired “,

this amounts, in the synopsis, to an ideology, according to which the Germans are evil humans, who, standing on their own feet, could only do mischief; who should be subjected, therefore, to supervision from abroad and above; whose declarations of political will needn’t be respected by politicians; and who are literally to be educated by their government. At least for the transition period up to their scheduled disappearance as a people.

Schäubles „reason of state“ turns out to be a destructive neurosis, and the Federal Republic of Germany to be probably the only state of the world with an ideology, according to which the reason of state consists in the liquidation of the own people.

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7 Kommentare zu „Doctor Schäuble’s governmental neuroses“

  • Unten:

    This is a fascinating article, which I arrived at from your reply to Auster. I am continually struck by the antidemocratic arrogance of the European technocrats and their blind, almost fanatical, obsession with multiculturalism. How much resentment against them is there within the public at large? My general impression is that, right now, most of the anger is confined to traditionalists and nativists who constitute a minority of the populace. To what extent is this resentment starting to permeate through German society at large?

    • If I may reply to that from my point of view: Germany and Germans are no more racist and xenophobic than the next European people. What discriminates them is the bad conscience gone awry and the fact that Germans are idealists. It gives them a feel-good sensation to show how very much they „have changed“, even though the historic burden of the Holocaust has nothing whatsoever to do with multiculturalism. I doubt that at any time in history the elites and opinion makers have been as much out of touch with those they are allegedly serving as they are now.

      • Unten:

        Thanks for this comment. I am an American who has spent some time in Europe and the Middle East but is unfamiliar with the current political dynamics in Germany. I know that holocaust guilt is a pervasive feature of the German psyche, and I think this is unfortunate. My hopes are, with Angela Merkel declaring mulitculturalism a „failure“ of late, that cracks are starting to show in the general consensus. I loathe the EU and all of its anti-democratic utopian ambitions, and I hope that the indiviudals nations of Europe will muster sufficient self-respect and fortitude to stand up to it and eventually cast it aside.

        • I am afraid what Angela Merkel said about the failure of multiculturalism is just tactics to fool conservatives. They just change words: Now they are no longer talking about multiculturalism, but about „diversity“.

        • I am afraid what Angela Merkel said about the failure of multiculturalism is just tactics to fool conservatives. They just change words: Now they are no longer talking about multiculturalism, but about „diversity“.

        • I am afraid what Angela Merkel said about the failure of multiculturalism is just tactics to fool conservatives. They just change words: Now they are no longer talking about multiculturalism, but about „diversity“.

      • Unten:

        Thanks for this comment. I am an American who has spent some time in Europe and the Middle East but is unfamiliar with the current political dynamics in Germany. I know that holocaust guilt is a pervasive feature of the German psyche, and I think this is unfortunate. My hopes are, with Angela Merkel declaring mulitculturalism a „failure“ of late, that cracks are starting to show in the general consensus. I loathe the EU and all of its anti-democratic utopian ambitions, and I hope that the indiviudals nations of Europe will muster sufficient self-respect and fortitude to stand up to it and eventually cast it aside.

      • Unten:

        Thanks for this comment. I am an American who has spent some time in Europe and the Middle East but is unfamiliar with the current political dynamics in Germany. I know that holocaust guilt is a pervasive feature of the German psyche, and I think this is unfortunate. My hopes are, with Angela Merkel declaring mulitculturalism a „failure“ of late, that cracks are starting to show in the general consensus. I loathe the EU and all of its anti-democratic utopian ambitions, and I hope that the indiviudals nations of Europe will muster sufficient self-respect and fortitude to stand up to it and eventually cast it aside.

    • If I may reply to that from my point of view: Germany and Germans are no more racist and xenophobic than the next European people. What discriminates them is the bad conscience gone awry and the fact that Germans are idealists. It gives them a feel-good sensation to show how very much they „have changed“, even though the historic burden of the Holocaust has nothing whatsoever to do with multiculturalism. I doubt that at any time in history the elites and opinion makers have been as much out of touch with those they are allegedly serving as they are now.

    • If I may reply to that from my point of view: Germany and Germans are no more racist and xenophobic than the next European people. What discriminates them is the bad conscience gone awry and the fact that Germans are idealists. It gives them a feel-good sensation to show how very much they „have changed“, even though the historic burden of the Holocaust has nothing whatsoever to do with multiculturalism. I doubt that at any time in history the elites and opinion makers have been as much out of touch with those they are allegedly serving as they are now.

  • Unten:

    This is a fascinating article, which I arrived at from your reply to Auster. I am continually struck by the antidemocratic arrogance of the European technocrats and their blind, almost fanatical, obsession with multiculturalism. How much resentment against them is there within the public at large? My general impression is that, right now, most of the anger is confined to traditionalists and nativists who constitute a minority of the populace. To what extent is this resentment starting to permeate through German society at large?

  • Unten:

    This is a fascinating article, which I arrived at from your reply to Auster. I am continually struck by the antidemocratic arrogance of the European technocrats and their blind, almost fanatical, obsession with multiculturalism. How much resentment against them is there within the public at large? My general impression is that, right now, most of the anger is confined to traditionalists and nativists who constitute a minority of the populace. To what extent is this resentment starting to permeate through German society at large?

  • Bodice Ritter:

    „Welt am Sonntag: What was made wrong, and when?“ I would translate slightly differently as: „What was done wrong“ or „What have we/has been done wrong“.

  • Bodice Ritter:

    „Welt am Sonntag: What was made wrong, and when?“ I would translate slightly differently as: „What was done wrong“ or „What have we/has been done wrong“.

  • Bodice Ritter:

    „Welt am Sonntag: What was made wrong, and when?“ I would translate slightly differently as: „What was done wrong“ or „What have we/has been done wrong“.

  • Manfred, maybe one ought to mention that Schäuble is considered a rightist hardliner in Germany.

  • Manfred, maybe one ought to mention that Schäuble is considered a rightist hardliner in Germany.

  • Manfred, maybe one ought to mention that Schäuble is considered a rightist hardliner in Germany.

  • Bonifaz:

    The simple fact that Merkel had to engage in an exercise of relabelling last year is already significant, but we have a long way to go. Cameron did the same shortly afterwards, and a month ago he followed up on his words by taking some substantial steps to tighten immigration laws. Schäuble’s successor Friedrich also seems to be less neurotic. While paying lip service to the sacredness of the Schengen system, he seems willing to place national interests generated by „exceptional“ circumstances above it. He also spoke clear words on Italy’s treachery of granting Schengen visa to illegal immigrants, but I’m afraid the europeanisation of immigration-related policy areas is continuing, with preparations for EU Asylum System under way in the Council these days.

  • Bonifaz:

    The simple fact that Merkel had to engage in an exercise of relabelling last year is already significant, but we have a long way to go. Cameron did the same shortly afterwards, and a month ago he followed up on his words by taking some substantial steps to tighten immigration laws. Schäuble’s successor Friedrich also seems to be less neurotic. While paying lip service to the sacredness of the Schengen system, he seems willing to place national interests generated by „exceptional“ circumstances above it. He also spoke clear words on Italy’s treachery of granting Schengen visa to illegal immigrants, but I’m afraid the europeanisation of immigration-related policy areas is continuing, with preparations for EU Asylum System under way in the Council these days.

  • Bonifaz:

    The simple fact that Merkel had to engage in an exercise of relabelling last year is already significant, but we have a long way to go. Cameron did the same shortly afterwards, and a month ago he followed up on his words by taking some substantial steps to tighten immigration laws. Schäuble’s successor Friedrich also seems to be less neurotic. While paying lip service to the sacredness of the Schengen system, he seems willing to place national interests generated by „exceptional“ circumstances above it. He also spoke clear words on Italy’s treachery of granting Schengen visa to illegal immigrants, but I’m afraid the europeanisation of immigration-related policy areas is continuing, with preparations for EU Asylum System under way in the Council these days.