am i a racist I wrote about the problems with foreigners two weeks ago. Or about why I believe that we don’t have a major integration problem. There is zero hassle with the vast majority of people who come to us. “We have no problem with Chileans. Or Koreans. Or Vietnamese,” I wrote. “We have a problem with immigrants from Turkish, Afghan and Arab families.”
Among the letters that reached me were a number of emails from German-Turks who are tired of being held responsible for people who misbehave. “I wanted to thank you for the text, which I found honest and genuine,” explained a Berlin reader whose name suggested that her ancestors came from Turkey.
One of the few with a decidedly different opinion is the sociologist Oliver Nachtwey. Not only does he see things differently, as he let me know via Twitter. He thinks anyone who sees things the way I do is a racist. Literally he wrote: “There is a word for this: racism.”
Why one group climbs effortlessly while the other falls further behind
I’m rarely speechless. It was me here for a moment. If the man were the leader of a left-wing university group or the editor of a postil like “Jungle World” – fine with me. But sociologist? If there is a science that is interested in what makes collectives different, it is sociology.
Why one group manages to rise effortlessly while the other falls further behind from generation to generation is a question that is one of the classics of empirical social research. Well, Nachtwey is a professor in Basel. That explains a lot. They try to lean particularly far to the left out of the window so as not to be considered backward.
For everyone who has never heard of Mr. Nachtwey: He is the star of a scene that senses right-wing activities everywhere. For Oliver Nachtwey, right-wing radicalism more or less begins with the FDP. This has made him a sought-after podium guest.
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Germany – the only country in the western world where the word freedom falls under suspicion of totalitarianism
Nachtwey came up with the term “libertarian authoritarianism”, in which it is no coincidence that Adorno’s “authoritarian character” as a pioneer of fascism resonates. The term may sound a bit academic, but the catchy idea behind it is that anyone who finds the state interfering too much in the lives of its citizens is essentially a anti-democracy.
We are probably the only country in the western world where the word freedom is suspected of totalitarianism. But that’s the situation. Anyone who allows their children to take the liberty of ordering drinks with too much sugar is already considered a Nazi.
What is the best way to go against the law? That is the question of the hour. With every survey in which the AfD gains another percentage point, the question becomes more hysterical.
I also think the AfD is a pretty unsavory party. Anyone who likes Björn Höcke has left the circle of those who can be taken seriously. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that. I can already see the disappointed readers’ letters in front of me. But that’s how I see things now.
We spend huge sums of money to fight against the right
A politician who talks as if he were memorizing Goebbels speeches at night in order to try them out in set pieces on Thuringian market places the next day is a political harlequin for me. at best. And no, I’m not writing this because my publisher is forcing me to. I am writing this out of conviction. Still, I think we should be more realistic.
We spend huge sums of money to fight against the right. Former family minister Kristina Schröder recently pointed out in an article for “Welt” that financial resources have increased tenfold since she was in office – from 20 million euros in 2013 to currently 200 million euros.
If you take the election results of the AfD as a basis, you have to come to the conclusion that there is no federal funding that is more pointless. In 2013, the AfD was still five percent, now it is 20 percent according to surveys. But of course that doesn’t stop the supporters from demanding more money.
In truth, the fight against the right is a lucrative business model
On the contrary, it is precisely the lack of success that becomes an argument as to why more support is needed. “Apparently 200 million weren’t enough,” writes the former ARD correspondent Christiane Meier under the heading “It can’t be dumber” in a reply to Schröder.
This is also the reason why someone dares to question one of the countless programs. When the Ministry of Justice announced four weeks ago that it wanted to stop supporting the “Hate Aid” advice center, a great deal of lamentation began immediately. “What, right now people are saving on projects that strengthen democracy?” was the tenor.
In truth, the fight against the right is a lucrative business model that not only secures professorships, but also substantial government subsidies.
Only the self-descriptions are even more pompous than the project titles (“Firewall – Countering hate on the Internet”, “Countering anti-feminism – Strengthening democracy”). “As a platform for this, we bring people together who take a radically constructive stand against the political lack of ideas and discouragement and are no longer interested in the escalating social discourse,” said the website of the “Initiative Open Society”, which comes from the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs received funding totaling 1.78 million euros.
When journalists believe that the AfD will be weakened by diligently writing “those seeking protection” instead of “refugees”.
It is in the nature of things that such programs are bound to fail. Only a few ministerials, who haven’t made their way out the door in years, can seriously believe that teaching them the benefits of gender-sensitive language will discourage them from voting for the AfD. Or ask them to report transphobic statements to the “Antifeminism Reporting Office”.
There is much to suggest that the opposite effect occurs. The more money you give to institutions like the “Amadeu Antonio Foundation”, the more people say: Maybe we should try the AfD to put an end to the nonsense.
The Washington correspondent of the “Spiegel” René Pfister pointed out that in America the idea that the enlightened forces just had to join forces decisively enough to ward off the danger from the right failed with a bang. “It borders on magical thinking when journalists believe that the AfD will be weakened if we just diligently write ‘those seeking protection’ instead of ‘refugees’,” he wrote in a widely acclaimed article. “Especially in the East, many have an aversion to language control due to growing up in a dictatorship.”
In the fight against the right, perpetuum mobile has become a reality
But who knows, maybe that’s exactly the purpose of the operation. The worst thing that can happen to a subsidy program is that it renders itself redundant. If the campaign against the right worked as promised, the right would lose popularity, so that funding would have to be gradually reduced. But what should then become of all the anti-racism and anti-feminism experts who have dedicated themselves to strengthening democracy?
Thank God the traffic light doesn’t let anyone down. Therefore, at the turn of the year, the federal government launched the so-called Democracy Promotion Act, the main aim of which is to “consolidate” the funds, as officials say. That’s downright ingenious: you don’t just do without any evaluation of what becomes of the money you use. The recipients are also assured that the funding will remain in place, no matter how the political situation develops.
Mankind has long dreamed of perpetuum mobile. In the fight against the right, this miracle machine has become a reality.
Read all of Jan Fleischhauer’s columns here.