There is something rotten in the core of liberal democracies. The erratic behavior of Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, is a case in point.
The most powerful leader of Europe has suffered a setback in domestic politics with her Christian Democratic Party (CDU) doing badly in two out of three states as per exit polls. The reverse is being attributed to her deleterious pro-refugee policy, which is beneficial primarily to the Muslims escaping the depredations of the Islamic State in the Middle East. Yet, she remains inflexible in her controversial “open-door” policy, the success of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party notwithstanding.
Merkel’s new-found love for Muslims is baffling. On September 8, 2010, she had defended Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, whose cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad had incensed the Muslims all over the world in 2006. In fact, she presented him with a press freedom award, saying, “Europe is a place where a cartoonist is allowed to draw something like this. We are talking here about the freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press.”
Merkel, who grew up in the pro-Soviet East Germany, spoke in glowing terms about the majesty and magnificence of European, Western values. “It’s about whether in a Western society with its values he [Westergaard] is allowed to publish his Muhammad cartoons, or not. Is he allowed to do it? Yes he is,” she said. She was proud of this.
It was bold on her part to have participated in the event, which a newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said was “probably… the most explosive appointment of her chancellorship so far.” Expectedly, Germany’s Central Muslim Council (ZMD) criticized her for attending the award ceremony.
That was then. But today, given her Muslim appeasement policy, one wonders if Merkel would even like to be seen in the company of Westergaard.
So, whatever happened to her? Is it the old German guilt of World War II and holocaust that has found an expression in her pro-refugee stance? Or, as The Telegraph of UK says, have “unsavory elements” infiltrated the Centre-Right CDU? Or do the opinion makers in Germany, as in other democracies including India, goad the powers that be to treat evil, be it that of communism or Islamism, with kid gloves?
It looks like all the above-mentioned factors are at play in Germany. It is the decency of Germans that they accepted that Hitler and his Nazi thugs perpetrated unspeakable atrocities; unlike the Arabs and Muslims, Germans carry this guilt as their cross. But then guilt also becomes, in the words of historian Paul Johnson calls, “the corrosive vice of the civilized.” Corrosion seems at work in Germany politics.
The bigger culprits than politicians like Merkel are the mainstream media and intellectuals in general. Consider the Cologne incident. As many as 1,000 women were sexually assaulted—groped, robbed, and molested—at Cologne’s central train station on New Year’s Eve. Many of the attackers were of North African or Arab descent, and for this reason the mainstream media was unwilling to report properly lest it be accused of racism.
Public broadcasters slavishly toed the government line. They are running a “cartel of silence,” said Hans-Peter Friedrich, a former interior minister under Merkel. “There’s suspicion that they believe they don’t have to report on such assaults, especially involving migrants and foreigners, for fear of unsettling the public.”
Fifty eight people were arrested, of which three were refugees from Iraq or Syria. But most suspects were of foreign origin—Algerian (25 people), Moroccan (21), and Tunisian (3). The real culprit, however, was not the misogyny that has entered Germany with Islamism, said the Left-leaning daily Süddeutsche Zeitung said; it was “failed integration.” The victim is the villain.
It is not just the German journalists that have been tendentious in reporting the havoc wreaked by the mindless opening of borders; the international media has been little better. Anna Sauerbrey, a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times who specializes on German politics and culture, recently wrote that “the success of the AfD, and its accompanying polarization, do not necessarily indicate an epochal drift of German society toward the far Right. The results express a state of fear and exasperation in German society: It is an emotional reaction, rather than one grounded in political reasoning.”
So, those opposed to Merkel’s irrational refugee policy are demeaned as the beneficiaries of fear and exasperation in German society, of emotional reaction. Also notice the ideological bias: the Right cannot be grounded in reasoning, political or otherwise.
Apparently, the climate of opinion at home and elsewhere has influenced Merkel’s meandering into the deserts of multiculturalism and political correctness. And it has surely proved that all comparisons with Margaret Thatcher are misleading, for the Leftist fads never swayed the UK’s Iron Lady.