Europe, Politics, Security

The German Election—A Conservative Analysis

The Germans have a word for everything, as they say on this side of the English Channel. The German word, for the leader of opposition is Oppositionsführer, and suddenly in a strange twist of fate seems surprisingly apt. After 60 years of post-Cold war consensus, the far-right is back in German parliament in a poll defying show, scoring 13.5% of the vote. The unlikely Oppositionsführer however, is a lesbian West German single mother, academic and former banker, who is fluent in Mandarin, and whose partner claims Sinhalese heritage. Unusual for a far-right party in Mittel-Europa, whose standard demographic is anti-immigrant, primarily East German males, and who are instinctively opposed to LGBT rights.

Germany is a country which takes politics seriously. Chancellor Angela Merkel is an academic herself. So is Alice Weidel, the unlikely star leader of AFD. Yet, for a nation which is so thoroughly qualified and post-modern, and regarded the most stable in Europe, Germany proved once again, that even in 2017, it has not bypassed the golden rule of classical Burkean conservatism. For every forced social engineering and revolution, there is and always will be, a spectacularly large, disproportionate, and often asymmetric reaction.

‘Reflections on the Revolution in France’ is a political pamphlet written by Edmund Burke and published in November 1790.

There’s no question that AFD is a reactionary party—it is not conservative by any stretch of the imagination. Merkel’s Christian Democrats are still officially the “conservative” force in Germany. And yet, the signs of this upcoming shift were always there while often ignored by pollsters.

After a thorough drubbing in midterms, Merkel’s conservatives aimed to unify the country with what could be seen by some as a political gimmick—the introduction of gay marriage laws. Germany is not a country which persecutes gay people. So it was a calculated risk (as savvy Merkel knew) that the country would naturally vote in favour, while she could vote personally against—thereby playing both sides—and bolstering her personal credentials as a social conservative. Unfortunately for her, Weidel took this opportunity to highlight the logical contradiction of modern day mainstream conservatives. In characteristic Teutonic seriousness, she barked, “…[CDU]…is pushing through ‘marriage for everybody’ legislation, while the mass migration that has swamped the country over the last two years considers homosexuality a crime.” The emperor’s visible lack of clothes were observable for all.

Now, let’s be clear about the AFD. The majority of the original party members were hardcore anti-Semites. Numerous Jewish leaders, among  many others, have repeatedly sounded the alarm.

That said, this time, the most extreme members of the AFD formed a minority and the surge in the party’s popularity appears to be due to the swell in the ranks by ordinary Germans who are simply fed up with mass immigration. The reason for AFD’s inevitable rise is due to Merkel’s slaughter of traditional conservatism in Germany and Europe more broadly, and her misguided plan of opening up the gates to millions of people, without any consultation with any other member countries of the EU. AFD scored more votes from past non-voters (1.2 million) than from the ruling coalition (1 million) or the traditional center-Left SPD (500,000). And there’s a simple reason why.

The massive increase in total crime, violent crime and crimes resulting in grievous bodily harm—including sexual assault and rape—when divided in three distinct categories of German suspects, Non-German suspects, and asylum seeker suspects displays a massive spike for the third category for all crimes reported:

Incidence of violent crime committed by Deutsche (German), Auslander (Foreign) and Asylbewerber (Asylum seeker) suspects. See more at: https://www.bka.de/EN/CurrentInformation/PoliceCrimeStatistics/2016

Even with the highest employment in Europe, immigration overtook employment as the key concern among average Germans just before the election. The severe backlash against mainstream parties is primarily due to cultural anxieties and a reaction to forced social engineering. Contrary to what the liberal Euro technocrats and media pundits preach on both sides of the Atlantic, humans don’t necessarily vote on the basis of economic prudence when they perceive that their way of life is threatened. Germany is a country which in the last two years alone has absorbed over a million of mostly military age male migrants, has witnessed mass sexual assaults and murder and an increase in Islamic terrorism. Anyone who could not foresee this backlash has been deluding themselves.

As traditional European conservatives were pushed Left-ward by media and academic communities on immigration and social and religious rights, the vacuum was filled by the rise of blut-und-boden far right parties all across Europe. In a Sophoclean twist of fate, the European political center and center-Left is now dying, thanks to the very person that liberals like to portray as the “new leader” of the free world.

And that has been a pattern since 2016. In America, anyone who was not onboard with transgender pronouns from day one has been smeared as a “bigot”. Anyone opposed to mass migration and questionable foreign interventions have been vilified from both the Left and mainstream centre-Right. The “deplorables” joined the Trump campaign en-masse. In the UK, anyone who dared raise any question about EU human rights laws shielding Islamist terrorists have been described as an Islamophobic racists, even when there are on record over three thousand hardcore Islamists under direct MI5 surveillance.

The reality is that hundreds of second generation British Indians and British Chinese voted for Brexit—not out of racism—but presumably out of fear for their livelihood. Scores of LGBT people went on record to support someone as historically hideous as Marine Le Pen in France—due to their largerfear of Islamism. In New Zealand, far, far away from Europe, the fear of mass-migration has led to a populist party holding the balance of power. In Europe, East and Central Europeans, who are cautious about mass migration, watch as terrorism rips apart London, Paris and Barcelona, while being held under punitive pressure from Brussels and Berlin. The inevitable result is a hardening of far right sentiments in traditional and insular Poland and Hungary.

And now, Germany. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. A phobia is supposedly an irrational fear. Fear of millions of people coming into your land, fear of losing your cultural identity and livelihood, and fear of being killed due to your religion and sexuality, are historically completely rational fears. The sole causal point of the rise of far-right movements all across Europe, is Chancellor Merkel’s willkommenskultur.

If the lesson of 2016 continues to 2017, it is this; as long as conservatives continue to compromise with the Left, the hideous anti-Semitic far-right will continue to encroach upon center-Right space. Hundreds of years from now if humanity survives—we will look back from a historical distance and wonder what kind of hubris drove leaders to experiments of ultra-liberal social engineering and what kind of impotence drove conservatives to be silent.

Sumantra Maitra
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Sumantra Maitra

Sumantra Maitra is Doctoral Researcher on Great power politics and Neo-Realism, with a special focus on Russia at the University of Nottingham, UK. He writes for War on the Rocks, The National Interest, and is a regular analyst for The Centre for Land Warfare Studies, India. He holds a Masters of Journalism and Mass Communication, and a Masters of International Studies, both with distinctions.
Sumantra Maitra
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Sumantra Maitra is Doctoral Researcher on Great power politics and Neo-Realism, with a special focus on Russia at the University of Nottingham, UK. He writes for War on the Rocks, The National Interest, and is a regular analyst for The Centre for Land Warfare Studies, India. He holds a Masters of Journalism and Mass Communication, and a Masters of International Studies, both with distinctions.

7 Comments

  1. “Now, let’s be clear about the AFD. The majority of the original party members were hardcore anti-Semites.”

    That doesn’t conform to my recollection-nor what Wikipedia says:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_for_Germany

    In September 2012, Alexander Gauland, a former State Secretary in Hesse, Bernd Lucke, an economist, and Konrad Adam, a former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from 1979 to 2000 and chief correspondent of Die Welt until 2008, founded the political group Electoral Alternative 2013 (German: Wahlalternative 2013) in Bad Nauheim, to oppose German federal policies concerning the eurozone crisis. Their manifesto was endorsed by several economists, journalists, and business leaders, and stated that the eurozone had proven to be “unsuitable” as a currency area and that southern European states were “sinking into poverty under the competitive pressure of the euro”.[24
    (…)
    The AfD’s initial supporters were the same prominent economists, business leaders and journalists who had supported the Electoral Alternative 2013, including former members of the Christian Democratic Union, who had previously challenged the constitutionality of the German government’s eurozone policies at the Federal Constitutional Court.[29][30]
    (…)

  2. It is spelled “AfD” not “AFD”.

    “The majority of the original party members were hardcore anti-Semites.” – That is not true. The article which is linked here does not even proof that alone Björn Höcke is an anti-Semite at all.

    “Incidence of violent crime committed by Deutsche (German), Auslander (Foreign) and Asylbewerber (Asylum seeker) suspects.” – That doesn’t make it clear that this are relative numbers.

  3. Pingback: A conservative analysis of the German elections – FTN Blog

  4. “The massive increase in total crime, violent crime and crimes resulting in grievous bodily harm—including sexual assault and rape—when divided in three distinct categories of German suspects, Non-German suspects, and asylum seeker suspects displays a massive spike for the third category for all crimes reported:”

    These numbers look striking, but here’s the problem with them:
    1. They count suspects, not convicts. In Non-German people are twice as likely to be suspected of a crime.
    2. So why are there less suspects from foreign-Non-Germans compared to Germans? Because foreign criminals often only stay for a short time in the country and then leave quickly after the crime. Refugees are restricted from moving freely on the other hand.
    3. The majority of the refugees are young adult males – the group most likely to commit a violent crime. In fact German men from the ages 14-30 make up 9 percent of the domestic population but are responsible for 60% of criminal acts. In other words, adding the same amount of young Germans to the general population would likely result in similar increases of crime, yet in regards to refugees this is often framed as a purely problem of different religion and ethnicity.
    4. Up until recently the place and victim of violent crime was not captured in crime statistics. More recent statistics found that 60 percent of violent crime took place within refugee homes alone *against other refugees*. This is likely the result of mixing people from conflicting ethnic groups within facilities that are too small. And even outside of refugee hostels refugees are more likely to attack other refugees. E.g. in Baden-Würtemberg 87 of all victims of assault by refugees were refugees themselves.

    “The preconception that the inclusion of asylum seekers leads to an increase in crime in Germany is not to be proven on the basis of the data.”

    https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.merkur.de%2Fbayern%2Ffluechtlinge-asylbewerber-vorurteile-faktencheck-5272361.html&edit-text=

    https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.stern.de%2Fpanorama%2Fstern-crime%2Fwarum-der-anteil-von-fluechtlingen-an-gewaltverbrechen-so-hoch-ist-7421808.html

    • a student says

      1. That’s true and it’s important to point that out. Nevertheless “Tatverdächtiger” means something more than merely being suspected of having committed a crime. It means that the police thinks – after weighing the evidence – that a conviction is likely to follow (Meyer-Goßner/Schmitt, StGB (58. Aufl. 2015) § 170 Rn. 1). It’s a necessary condition for the act of indicting. I would argue that it is not a bad predictor for having committed the crime.

      2. There are no less suspects/per 100.000 among foreign Non-Germans compared to Germans. Look again. The comparison was Germans vs. refugees anyways, wasn’t it?

      3. I’ve never understood this argument. If I were the victim of a crime I would prima facie not care if I my being victimized can be explained by culture, age, ethnicity or whatever. I just don’t want the crime to have happened. The refugees brought with them disproportionate rates of crimes, which led to the crime rate in Germany staying constant – although it has been falling for years due to Germans committing less crimes (see https://www.bka.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/Publikationen/PolizeilicheKriminalstatistik/2016/pks2016Jahrbuch3TV.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=2) (page14)

      I would also venture the guess that crime rates of refugees are higher than for Germans, even controlling for all socio-economic factors – but I would need to look deeper into the data for that.

      4. Fair point, but do you find this unproblematic? I don’t. I don’t want ethnic conflicts to be brought to Germany. Additionally, even if 60% of crimes of refugees are committed against refugees, the disproportionally high crime rates are still disproportionally high, even counting only 40% of them.

      “The preconception that the inclusion of asylum seekers leads to an increase in crime in Germany is not to be proven on the basis of the data.”

      -> This does not at all follow from your argument, please take a look at page 14 of the BKA statistics I linked to above,

      Greetings from Germany

  5. RobH says

    That is a good point but it really reinforces the question of why Germany or other countries should bring in refugees who are the most likely to survive a violent environment. Assuming a limit, you shouldn’t take in any single young men when there are families and others who have also escaped. It’s clearly dangerous for your own citizens and perhaps worse in a global moral sense to take them instead of women, children and families who not only get displaced by the people most capable of surviving but will also face a greater challenge in being accepted into their new country, many of whom perceive the violence of the men as coming from all of them.

    I believe Canada has made that choice. If Europeans want to avoid the ethic of women and children first the answer is simple: assess single refugees according to their ability to survive or fight in a civil war. Most would be men, and that would be ethically irrelevant in a no categorical gender distinction system.

    In fact, if there is a side you want to take in the civil war you could provide some basic training and equipment to the single and fighting age men or women who want to take that side so that you aren’t sending them back unarmed. I assume that would be the Syrian government at this point – the new source of soldiers could enable them to fight more conventionally giving resources and added incentive to fight without chemical weapons.

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