The US Bill of Rights explicitly forbids the Congress to make any law abridging the freedom of speech. The German Grundgesetz on the other hand explicitly permits the legislator to create laws restricting freedom of speech (GG Art 5 II). It is difficult to overemphasize just how different US and German cultures are in some aspects, especially politics: individual freedom versus consensus society. If you think the US media is biased against the Republican Party and Donald Trump, you have not seen what is going on in the German media with respect to the rise of a new right wing political movement. Pure witch hunting, apparently there are Nazis everywhere. This even includes blacklisting books critical of chancellor Angela Merkel. In some book chains a bestselling book (No 1 on Amazon.de) is simply not being made available. In the Western world Germany today is ground zero against free speech in the name of PC, even requiring private companies to police user comments.
Yesterday’s federal German elections saw the new party Alternative fuer Deutschland (alternative for Germany) scoop up 13% of the vote, becoming the third largest force in the German parliament behind Merkel’s CDU/CSU (32%) and SPD (20%). The Afd is right of center, nationalist in parts, opposed to mass immigration. The established, nominally right of center, CDU (conservatives have for the most part been cast out) and the (far) left of center SPD both delivered their worst performance since the late 1940’s, or ever. In a stunning show of consensus, representatives of both CDU and SPD (who had formed a governing coalition for the last 4 years) as well as smaller parties represented in parliament: greens, communists, economic liberals, as well as the moderator, piled on the representative of the AfD in a talk show just after the elections. The journalist on the very right hand side seemed to develop foam on his mouth as he used terms like Nazi and racist to describe the AfD representative Gauland who sits next to him. Everyone agreed what a disaster it is that the “stupid” (implied) voters voted in such large numbers for Nazis, racists, bigots, etc. And yes, you heard right, there is a real communist party in German parliament, “Die Linke”, the left in English, formed out of former members of the ruling Eastern German communist party and communists in the West.
It was in part this unison of opposition to the AfD by the more established parties during the election campaign that contributed to the stunning result. The other is likely Angela Merkel. She wasted a total of nearly 20% of yearly German GDP on the so called “Energiewende” (energy reversal), putting up fields of solar cells in cloudy Germany while shutting down profitable nuclear power plants. This achieved no reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, but instead is saddling Germans with energy bills that have risen around 50% since around 2010, to now around 30 US cents per kwH, three times the average US level. The German military is completely derelict and would not be able to defend the country in case of a conflict, but it is busy cleansing itself of “offensive” symbols, including a picture of former social democratic chancellor Helmut Schmidt in a WW2 army uniform (he fought in WW2). The blonde lady on the left hand side in the talk show video, a representative of the CDU, is currently minister of defense. If you understand some German you will gather quickly that her rhetoric is similar to that of left leaning democrats in the US: open society, “tolerance” (of sharia law, not dissenting opinions), multi-culti-kumbaya, spend a Billion here, spend a Billion there, free stuff for everyone. The German education system is mediocre from the primary to the tertiary sector. Yet, the taxation of the population is close to the highest in the world, with federal income tax rates reaching 45%, plus almost 10% for pensions (10% paid by both employee and employer), 7% for the nationalized healthcare system, 2% for unemployment insurance and then a 20% national GST/VAT on the part of the remaining income that is spent on goods and services.
But Merkel’s most damaging action was her reckless 2015 opening of the German borders to around 2 Million (so far) mostly extremely poorly educated immigrants from mostly conservative Islamic cultures. A recent story in a German magazine explained how every person crossing the Brenner checkpoint on the way South to a holiday in Italy is checked and made to pay a toll. At the same time the German government seems unable to collect any identifying data on many migrants entering the country. There is a total loss of control, the authorities literally have no idea who enters and lives in the country. It has led to a massive rise in crime (from rape to terrorism) and expenditures that in some places dwarf those for education because every migrant is immediately eligible for a basic income paid for by the tax payer funded German nanny social welfare state. It appears that around half of all recent migrants are in fact collecting government welfare. The (perhaps naïve) hope that the new arrivals would vitalize the tight German labor market (the heavily taxed people don’t have enough money to raise children and so the German population is declining, similar problem as Sweden and other European countries) has been completely shattered.
On the European stage Merkel has been like a wrecking ball. Instead of letting Greece leave the Euro, she decided to use German money to prop it up in deal after deal, allowing the debt crisis to fester and hold back economic renewal in the EU. Her migration policies likely pushed the UK to Brexit, severely weakening the EU, possibly dooming it down the road. She alienated a number of European countries over her expectation that they must accept part of the immigrant wave she unilaterally allowed to sweep in. Terror attacks committed by Islamic migrants (in some cases recent, in some not) showed part of the “sleeping” German population just how disastrous Merkel’s policies are. Nevertheless she staunchly refuses to entertain the idea of an upper limit to migration. Her “wir schaffen das” (we can do it) to many has become a tired mantra. Some ask “why must we do it?”
Will anything change? Probably not. Merkel sees herself as winner in this election, her party, much diminished, is still the strongest force, and she will do whatever it takes to form a coalition government allowing her to remain in her job as chancellor. Possible coalition partners include the Greens, a party that specifically seems to work against German interests (destruction of the car industry, climate fascism, open borders, welfare for all comers – ideally all 7 Billion of Earth’s inhabitants). Some commentators doubt Merkel will be able to serve out her fourth term, however, her party internal cleansings have left no obvious leadership candidates with charisma and/or competence. German politics may enter a phase of limbo, with a strengthening AfD that may make the formation of stable coalition governments harder and harder (no established/older party at this stage would consider entering a coalition with the AfD).
Virtually no political or media figure in Germany can imagine a world in which independent nation states trade with each other freely, they instead want a supra-national European state centrally controlled and planned from Brussels. This is also a reason that the more nationalist AfD pulled off such an unexpected and truly stunning upset in Germany, the supposed haven of political stability.