17 January 2011

Thilo Sarrazin Still Shaking the Continent: 1.2 Million and Counting!

German banker and politician Thilo Sarrazin's book about German immigration policy continues to shake Europe to its foundations. An early offensive by German politicians against Sarrazin failed to stop Sarrazin or shut down book sales. The book continues near the top of best-seller lists in Europe, after 1.2 million books sold and counting . . . It looks as if Sarrazin has triggered a debate which politically correct authorities are unable to shut down.
Sarrazin’s book is no tract. It is a subtle, well-documented, almost literary argument about the failings of the German welfare state by a top-rank labour economist. Inevitably, though, it is also an attack on the political correctness that has constrained German political discourse for decades. Half a century ago Germany’s citizens — with good reason — came to a consensus that they could not soon afford another freewheeling Teutonic discussion on the matter of, let’s say, Lebensraum.

Today, though, this limited scope for public discussion stymies the tiniest steps to fix problems that have been obvious in other countries for decades. You cannot say that Germany’s asylum policy draws idlers as well as refugees. You cannot say, as Sarrazin discovered during his time as a ‘finance senator’ in Berlin a few years ago, that welfare payments are more than sufficient to feed and shelter all but the most extravagant poor person, and ought to be reduced. Sarrazin apparently came to believe his country was dying of its etiquette, and spoke up. ‘I don’t have to respect a person who lives off the state while expressing contempt for it,’ he said in 2009, ‘who doesn’t plan for the education of his children in a rational way, and is constantly producing new little headscarf girls.’

Rough stuff, but really there is little in Deutschland schafft sich ab that has not been said at a respectable free-market think tank some time in the last quarter-century. Two things, though, are new about this book. First, Sarrazin is more comprehensive than his predecessors. Much like the German constitution, the German welfare state is elaborate and complicated by design. So this book is an interconnected discussion, at a very high level of sophistication, of German anti-poverty policy (which has promoted the growth of an underclass), the globalised labour market, the modern education system, the (small) successes and (big) failures of the Turkish guest-worker programme, and the predicament of Germany’s low birthrate.

Second, Sarrazin is not a conservative but a Social Democrat who believes in ‘emancipation through education, organisation and dogged, persistent efforts at reform’. Sarrazin considers the welfare state a mismanaged triumph, not, like most Anglo-Saxon conservatives, a sentimental mistake. Where a conservative would quote De Maistre, he quotes the Indian Nobel Prize-winner and theorist of justice Amartya Sen. Mr Sarrazin does occasionally say hurtful things (in a discussion of my own writing on Muslim immigration to Europe, for instance, he wrongly describes me as British), but never with any glee. This is the work of a social scientist, who happily deploys page after page of statistics and tables that assume you know the difference between Hartz IV and Arbeitslosengeld II unemployment payments, or between Kindergeld and Elterngeld.

‘Poverty’, Sarrazin shows, is a powerful tool of governmental mobilisation even though it does not, strictly speaking, exist. Today’s ‘poverty line’ measures inequality, not want. It is set at 60 per cent of average income — higher than the German average income in the 1970s. If everyone in Germany saw his income quadruple tomorrow, the poverty rate would not budge. And the payments to the poor create incentives for childbearing and against work. _More at Spectator
Sarrazin commits the sin of urging Germany's wealthier and more intelligent citizens to have more children. Foolhardy man! By giving such common sense advice, he offends not only the dieoff.org leftists, but the feminists as well. It's a wonder the man is still walking around in public on two legs.

Sarrazin also offends the growing armies of "diversity opportunists" -- bureaucrats and consultants intent on hamstringing entire societies with their own demented handicapping philosophy of impoverished monoculturalism (which they falsely call "multiculturalism").
So we either “celebrate” diversity, or get put out of business; but if something has to be enforced by law, then it can’t really be called a celebration as such. Is it any wonder people across Europe are rejecting “diversity”, if it comes at the cost of freedom, and requires a standing army of Gutmenschen to govern our lives? And they are rejecting it. As Caldwell writes: “A decade or so from now, Germans will be surprised that they ever looked on Sarrazin’s observations as anything but common sense. And that will be true whether they act on them or not.” _Telegraph
That would be an optimistic way of looking at it. I mean, the part where he assumes that there will be any Germans left in a decade or so . . . ;-)

Of course, the US under Obama has accelerated the schedule for its own train wreck along the same lines. Fortunately for the US, most of its third world immigrants merely want opportunities to succeed -- not opportunities to blow up their host country.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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