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Like America, Germany Needs More Sanity, Less Hysteria

I would like to call for a "war on hysteria," if that would not be so hysterical in itself. Where are the German Jon Stewarts, who could restore some sanity over here? The whole debate in Germany about multiculturalism and Muslims, immigration and integration is full of hysteria. It's gotten so hysterical, that this debate now includes Halloween and nuclear energy.

One leader of the conservatives in the German parliament sees Christianity threatened by Halloween. Another one is concerned that protests against nuclear energy and against a train station in Stuttgart could lead to the building of minarets in one's front garden. Alexander Dobrinth of the Bavaria's Christian Democrats is quoted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German): "Wer, wie die Grünen, seinerzeit gegen Atomkraft demonstriert hat und heute gegen Stuttgart 21 agitiert, der braucht sich nicht zu wundern, wenn er übermorgen ein Minarett im Vorgarten stehen hat."

The chairman of the Junge Union, the youth wing of the Christian Democrats, expressed concern regarding the increasing popularity of Halloween in Germany. Philipp Missfelder wrote in Bild (in German) that it is our duty to defend Christian traditions against the Zeitgeist. He also reduced "trick or treat" to children wearing monster masks to beg for sweets.  

Most Americans celebrate Halloween AND Christian holidays. Germans should be able to do both, if they want to.

Christianity in Germany is not under attack by Islam or Halloween. The real problem is that more and more Christians lost interest in practicing their own religion.

There are many more politicians from other parties as well who reinforce the world's impression that Germans are increasingly less tolerant of other cultures and traditions.

Sure, there are many problems with immigration, integration, and islamophobia, but it's not as bad as the media and our politicians make it sound with their focus on anecdotal evidence. As Jon Stewart said:

The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems, bring them into focus, illuminating issues -- or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire, and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic.

Let's counter anecdotes with a survey and restore some sanity: The Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration has published its Integration Barometer 2010 in German and in English:

The native and immigrant populations are, in general, satisfied with the developments in integration policy over the last years, and look towards the future of integration and integration policy with cautious optimism. 50 per cent of all respondents maintain that integration policy has improved the degree of integration in the last years. Nearly as many expect further improvements in the future, while only 10 to 15 per cent of respondents anticipate that future integration policies will deteriorate integration. b) The native and immigrant populations have a shared pragmatic and hands-on approach to integration, and, on the one hand, refrain from demanding cultural assimilation, and from insisting on exclusive cultural privileges, on the other."

To understand the reasons for the hysteria in German politics and additional problems of our democracy, I recommend the NY Times op-ed Leadership and Leitkultur by Germany's most respected living philosopher Jürgen Habermas (HT: Pamela):

The motivations underlying each of the three phenomena - the fear of immigrants, attraction to charismatic nonpoliticians and the grass-roots rebellion in Stuttgart - are different. But they meet in the cumulative effect of a growing uneasiness when faced with a self-enclosed and ever more helpless political system. The more the scope for action by national governments shrinks and the more meekly politics submits to what appear to be inevitable economic imperatives, the more people's trust in a resigned political class diminishes.

The United States has a president with a clear-headed political vision, even if he is embattled and now meets with mixed feelings. What is needed in Europe is a revitalized political class that overcomes its own defeatism with a bit more perspective, resoluteness and cooperative spirit. Democracy depends on the belief of the people that there is some scope left for collectively shaping a challenging future.

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Pamela on :

Exactly who is it exhibiting the hysteria? Rene Stadtkewitz was kicked out of the Christian Democratic Union for publicly hosting Geert Wilders. Whoa. What a bogeyman Wilders must be! Such a threatening person that the Netherlands allowed him to be framed by judges and prosecuted. Even the prosecuters want the charges dropped. Stadkewitz did the entrepenurial thing and started his own party, Die Freiheit. From their manifesto: “The party for more freedom and democracy,” speaks candidly about Islam, Islamism, Islamic law, and Islamization. Starting with the insight that “Islam is not just a religion but also a political ideology with its own legal system,” the party calls for scrutiny of imams, mosques, and Islamic schools and for a review of Islamic organizations to ensure their compliance with German laws, and condemns efforts to build a parallel legal structure based on sharia. Its analysis forcefully concludes: “We oppose with all our force the Islamization of our country.” http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.7820/pub_detail.asp Joerg writes: "Christianity in Germany is not under attack by Islam....." Yes. It. Is. ALL of western civilization is. Are all Muslims radicals? No. But Islam is without question a totalitarian ideology that is intent on world domination. Make no mistake. As for looking to Jon Steward as a fount of cultural wisdom, I would point out one of the entertainers who performed at his 'sanity' rally. One Yusuf Islam. Some of you may remember him as the soft-pop musician formally known as Cat Stevens. Until he converted to Islam. And endorsed Khomeini's fatwa to murder Salman Rushdie. Rushdie actually called Jon Stewart. “I spoke to Jon Stewart about Yusuf Islam's appearance. He said he was sorry it upset me, but really, it was plain that he was fine with it. Depressing.” http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/alana-goodman/2010/11/02/jon-stewart-doesn-t-regret-inviting-fatwa-endorsing-singer-rally

Joerg Wolf on :

"Islam is without question a totalitarian ideology that is intent on world domination." 1. Seriously? How is the world domination going so far? 2. What do you want to do about it? 3. 100 years ago another religion was accused of the intention of world domination. Guess what happened.

Zyme on :

"1. Seriously? How is the world domination going so far?" Precisely because it is going so badly against the Western world, the attempts become ever more radical and irrational. In the muslim society, it is going on rather well I would say. Have you never wondered how these nations could have been so liberal half a century ago and what has become of them? "2. What do you want to do about it?" When it comes to dealing in our countries with the problems resulting of this ambitious attitude, we must not appear weak and ripe for the picking. Instead we must differentiate between those willing to become assimilated citizens and the rest. And then think about what to do with the rest. "3. 100 years ago another religion was accused of the intention of world domination. Guess what happened." According to that logic, are we now bound to tolerate all violent nutjobs who find enough followers to declare themselves a religion?

Pamela on :

1. Seriously? 'fraid so, Joerg. ----------------------- In order to understand the meaning of striving in the path of Allah, we should first have a clear concept of the responsibilities of a Muslim. According to the Qur´an and the Sunnah, the obligations of a Muslim are three-fold: A Muslim is required to become an obedient slave of Almighty Allah (SWT), he is required to mold his life, his values, his priorities, and his ambitions according to the commands of his Lord. Secondly, he must preach and disseminate the ideational and practical guidance of Islam to his fellow human beings, to enjoin all that is good and prohibit all that is evil. Thirdly, he must try his utmost to establish the domination of Islam over all other systems of life, all over the world. http://www.ionaonline.org/Internal_Pages/Articles/Israr_Ahmad/Understandingjihad.html Sucks, doesn't it? Anecdotally, I will tell you how I found this site. I was talking to some Muslims about this and they said, "yes, of course!" - and showed me this link. They're absolutely serious. Oh, and I think you've heard the part about all infidels must convert or pay the jizya, right? And all land that has ever been occupied by Muslims is Muslim forever? Ok, good. ------------------ How is the world domination going so far? Demographically, not well. I'd feel better about that if the majority of Muslim societies would advance to at least the 18th century, but that doesn't look too good either. ------------ 2. What do you want to do about it? Somewhere in the New Testament (Matthew? It's been awhile) there is a lesson about taking care of the beam in one's own eye before worrying about the mote in your brothers. I think the FIRST thing to do is absolutely de-legitimize the aplogists and fellow travelers in Western society. They are functioning as a fifth column. ----------- 3. 100 years ago another religion was accused of the intention of world domination. Guess what happened. 100 years ago? I assume you're referring to anti-semitism? Joerg, you can't POSSIBLY be that coarse in your thinking. There are accusations based on fact and those based on untruths. Nowhere in Jewish canon and in no Jewish society has world domination EVER been a tenent. By your logic, pointing out ('accusing') that Islam's goal is world domination is the equivalent of risking another genocidal Holocaust. Would the same be true of Communism? They were just as transparent about the goal of world domination. Please correct me if I'm mistakenly thinking you are referring to anti-semitism - and if so I apologize. But shame on you if I'm not. ---------------------

Pat Patterson on :

The Mormons?

Joe Noory on :

I forgive you the parallel you've drawn, but Islam HAS and DOES suffocate other faiths where they are a minority in any muslim-dominated society. They HAVE in the name of God, murdered, roited, deported, intimidated and so forth. Just look at Europe's near-abroad: the Jews of Algeria, Tunesia, and Morroco, the Christians of Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, India, the Armenian genocide, etal. To draw an analogy between that and the experience of European Jewry is forgivable if you were actually aware of the differences. If you maintain that factually incorrect position out of pure political bombast, then it would be very hard to take any future assertion you make seriously. Wake up and smell the Semtex and Gelignite, Habibi.

Zyme on :

On the other hand I have to admit Joerg that you got a point here. There are striking similarities between the anti-Islam movement in Europe today and the way fascism developed in Europe some 80 years ago. In both cases it was first our neighbouring countries where the movement becomes prominent and established. Charismatic leaders enthrall the masses and activate a deep rooted feeling of fear and contempt for those who belong to a specific religion. When I first read about people here ripping headscarves off of women and telling them that this way to dress doesn't belong to Germany, I had to think of the 20s. In both cases it is a small number of people who actively break conventions, but an overwhelming majority which stands by and silently or openly applauses. If I was a muslim, the fact that no other book sold better than Sarrazin's in the last decade (given the fact that it has been released a mere two months ago), would worry me. If the development continues at the same pace, it is up to the Muslims to prevent harsh results. They must either assimilate or leave in time.

Joe Noory on :

So much for the {url=http://www.nisnews.nl/public/101110_1.htm]armies of the aggrieved[/url] remaining politically useful to empty-headed "Gutmenschtum". They have more immediate problems.

Zyme on :

"Christianity in Germany is not under attack by Islam or Halloween. The real problem is that more and more Christians lost interest in practicing their own religion." Joerg are you serious?? Care to elaborate where the problem is in that? "There are many more politicians from other parties as well who reinforce the world's impression that Germans are increasingly less tolerant of other cultures and traditions." Well I don't believe it has changed so much. We have never been a tolerant people, as Germany is no traditional immigration society. This simply has only become evident now, after Sarrazin opened the box of Pandora. Now it is possible to openly speak your mind, while political correctness goes to hell. If this opens the eyes of people elsewhere, so be it. It never was any different here.

Joerg Wolf on :

Sure, I am serious. Do you seriously think Halloween is a threat to Christianity? Well, the "problem" is that some folks make Halloween (or Islam) the scapegoat for a situation that is caused by Christians not practicising their religion. The churches aren't empty because of Halloween but because more and more people don't care about religion.

Zyme on :

"Do you seriously think Halloween is a threat to Christianity?" Joerg you misunderstood me. I don't care whether it is a threat to Christianity - and I don't think so either. What you said, was this: "The real problem is that more and more Christians lost interest in practicing their own religion." And now I am curious: where is the problem in that?

Joerg Wolf on :

I wanted to address the "problem" that Missfelder wrote about in Bild. (Did you read it?) I think the cause of "the problem" is not Halloween, but the lack of interest in Christanity.

Zyme on :

Now we have reached a common ground :-) Of course Halloween cannot be responsible for such deep rooted developments as the reduced religiousness of the Christians.

Pat Patterson on :

Jon Stewart damaged his reputation immeasurably by inviting Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) up on the stage and then airly dismiss Salman Rushdie's concerns about cozying up to someone that has no problems with killing the author.

David on :

As you see, the hysteria is coming exclusively from the right wing. Pamela's talking points are the same as Newt Gingrich's and the neo-Nazi NPD in Germany; animated by hatred of the other (blacks, Muslims, gays, etc.) And where is the evidence that Jon Stewart's reputation has been "immeasurably damaged" other than in the eyes of Tea Party zealots who hated him to begin with?

Pat Patterson on :

Two things, the first obviously being that Salman Rushdie has given several interviews and written about how useless he thinks Jon Stewart is for dismissing Rushdie's complaints. And second that is encouraging that David is back to calling anybody who disagrees with him a racist and the new lame meme of being neo-Nazis. Shoot the only neo-Nazis I see are leftists who have nothing but contempt for their fellow citizens and have no problem expressing the bases canards about them.

Kevin Sampson on :

"As you see, the hysteria is coming exclusively from the right wing." KEITH OLBERMANN 'Nuff said.

Pamela on :

David, you persist in arriving mentally unarmed. Ad hominem arguments are rhetorically impotent for a reason. Here's one of my top 10 favorites of left-wing hysteria, predictably posted at Huff-n-Puffery. Meet Sherman Yellen. Sherman is yellin' ------------- Of course no two madmen or assassins with a grudge against the world are ever quite the same. But the common thread that runs through them is a deep sense of victimhood. McVeigh had it, Hitler had it, Oswald had it, Booth had it, and I can see and hear reflections of that dangerous victimhood in the far right today. The anti-government, in this case anti-Obama rhetoric is hate filled, some of it race based, and contains within it an unappeasable grudge -- the us against them kind that sets off explosions, kills the innocent, and destroys the security of the country it claims to protect. If we sniff we can smell the burning fuse. There is no constitutional right to inflame sociopaths to commit murderous acts. Cool it Sarah, and all you Republican leaders who are playing to your base, using code words that are well understood by many who feel victimized because of the recession (just as Germans became targets for Hitler's rhetoric because of the Great Depression). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sherman-yellen/that-acrid-smell-in-the-a_b_515861.html ---------- Well, that should assuage any lingering German guilt about their Nazi past. Just watch the U.S. slide into fascism before your very eyes! 'scuse me while I finishing rigging the explosives loaded in the bed of my pickup.

Pamela on :

Here's more of that non-existent left-wing hysteria David is talking about. Ted Rall, the left-wing cartoonist. Leftist Icon Calls For Violent Socialist War Against Tea Partiers …Update: Ted Rall Writes In – Lashes Out at Conservatives "We are here because the U.S. is going to end soon. There’s going to be an intense, violent, probably haphazard struggle for control. It’s going to come down to us versus them. The question is: What are you going to do about it?… A war is coming. At stake: our lives, the planet, freedom, living. The government, the corporations, and the extreme right are prepared to coalesce into an Axis of Evil. Are you going to fight back? Will you do whatever it takes, including taking up arms?… The millions of partisans who follow Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and right-wing televangelists happen to be the best-armed people around, and they despise just about everyone who doesn’t think and pray like them. They will see collapse as affirmation of their beliefs that secular liberalism is destructive. They will also see it as an opportunity to create a new, ordered world atop the ashes. They will act to stop teenage sluts from getting abortions, teach n*ggers a lesson, and slaughter those spics, dots, and everyone else who doesn’t fit into their vision of what and who is right… I want to kick people in the ass. To get them thinking. To get you thinking. I want you to understand the situation—your situation. I want you to see that revolt is a good idea, and that it has never been more necessary." Yawn. Here's the link. http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/11/it-begins-leftist-icon-calls-for-violent-socialist-war-against-tea-partiers/

Pat Patterson on :

Rall will probably have a heart attack considering that Joe Manchin, recently elected as a Democrat to the Senate, sent a very strong signal that he is considering changing his party registration. That would mean that the Senate would be 50/50 and Biden might have to read some bills for a change.

Joe Noory on :

Joerg - I assume that you're saying all of this because you take the Stewart Rally thing was real, and that it sincerely was some screaming plea for sanity. That people will still repeat that it was "all American/non-partisan/non-ideological", even though they subtitled it "a counterpunch against Glenn Beck" says all anyone rational needs to know about them. Here are some of [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnpuEx6bzy4]your "sane" people[/url] As to David assuming that "all hysteria comes from the right", it sounds like he's just hoping to find things that prop up his world view. Ancient man would make up stories about the thunder talking to them, and David repeats his impirically impossible position after the manner of Doctor Strangelove's twitching left arm. By all means, cook up some pathetic "astroturf" thing about "a sanity movement" being non-ideological while peddling the talking points emailed by a narrow wedge of the political spectrum. Germans might actually buy it.

Joerg Wolf on :

"Here are some of your "sane" people" I liked to the same clip in my last post.

Joe Noory on :

Yes, but you didn't make the connection between those inept cows and the "sanity" rally. Don't be duped. If you take at face value, especially from the distance you are, Jon Stewart's contrived crypto-democrat media circus, you won't be able to decrypt real events.

Joe Noory on :

Remember the good old days, when we were all told that the REAL problem we had was [i]Affluenza[/i] ? How same was that?

Joerg Wolf on :

@ Joe Did you notice how Jon Stewart got heavily criticized by the left (Olbermann, Maher, Maddow) for comparing them with FOX News? It's beginning of this show after 1:40 minutes: http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/mon-november-8-2010-rick-perry The right thinks Stewart is too left and the left thinks Stewart is too right.

Joe Noory on :

That's a fig leaf. Just because the left don't think him leftish enough, that doesn't change the scatalogical output of his mouth. As to why people pay such attention to him... you could train a chimpanzee to read his jokes. He gets too much attention for someone that unremarkable, and he gets it "unfunny Margaret Cho" style: by pandering to media types who are crypto-propagandists. He deserves as much attention as an old "Otto" DVD reissue.

Joerg Wolf on :

If you don't like Stewart, you can get basically the same analysis from Ted Koppel: "We live now in a cable news universe that celebrates the opinions of Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly - individuals who hold up the twin pillars of political partisanship and who are encouraged to do so by their parent organizations because their brand of analysis and commentary is highly profitable. The commercial success of both Fox News and MSNBC is a source of nonpartisan sadness for me. While I can appreciate the financial logic of drowning television viewers in a flood of opinions designed to confirm their own biases, the trend is not good for the republic." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111202857.html

Pat Patterson on :

Joerg-The only thing different about O'Reilly and Olbermann is that compared to the 50's when they both would have been heard only on radio stations is that they actually heard by a fraction of the audience 3-4 million daily such as Paul Harvey. Or in the prewar period when the outright anti-Semitic and isolationist broadcasts of Father Coughlin, who was supported by Joseph Kennedy until Pearl Harbor, which a daily audience of 4-5 million as well as founding a political party. While the guys that are supposedly wrecking civil discourse, they are commentators and not news readers, draw 1 million and 250,000 viewers. O'Reilly representing the higher and Keith Olbermann the latter numbers. While John Stewar drew 1/3 million viewers. None really have any affect past their fans and are hardly indicative of any great political movements in the US. And compared to calling Cleveland a rapist, Jackson's wife a whore and all sorts of anti-Semitic slurs against FDR and surprisingly quite a few directed at GWB most uncivil discourse today is mild.

Pat Patterson on :

Stewart has an audience of 1.3 million.

Marie Claude on :

nowadays, the muslims in our western laic societies like to compare themselves to the jews circa the thirties, but they forgot that their behaviour has nothing to be put in parallel, I don't remember having read that jews insulted the populations in the countries they were living in, while it's not rare for a white (and unfortunately blond-haired girl) to be called a whore while walking in a street, and not responding to muslims tendentious jokes, or "dirty french, sale race..."

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