Some Good Germans On The National Question
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The cover story in the German weekly Junge Freiheit, "The Debacle of the Union," was as predictable as it was elegiac. The center-right Christian Democratic-Christian Social Union coalition under Edmund Stoiber had botched the September 22 national election. It lost by two points when, given every economic indicator and the widespread dissatisfaction with immigration, it should have won. Stoiber had actually allowed the German nation-hating German Left to win by raising the nationalist banner against his coalition and against the Americans.

(Contrary to the Wall Street Journal Edit Page's typically mendacious account, Stoiber shrank from the immigration issue – until the closing days of the campaign, when it helped him.)

Readers of Junge Freiheit were hardly surprised by the result.  Throughout the summer into the fall, the paper was full of provocative commentaries about the electoral campaigns, stressing the timidity of Stoiber. Junge Freiheit described the difference between the two candidates on the projected American war against Iraq as the distinction between someone who has already become "the bed-mat of President Bush" and someone who intends to return to that role immediately after the election. By the weekend before the election, the paper's editors expressed more or less equal contempt for both sides. On October 4, the paper ran on its cover a similar jeremaid, coupled with a review of the historic failings of the German Center-Right, with the Spenglerian title "Vor dem Untergang [Before the Decline]."

Junge Freiheit (for which I write regularly) celebrated its fifteenth anniversary this summer. That the weekly and its thirtysome chief editor, Dieter Stein, are still in business is astonishing in view of the outrages committed against it. These include the burning of its offices in 1994, the five-year-long public warning issued by the provincial government of Nordrhein-Westfalen for "intimations of a disposition sympathetic to the far Right," and its being ostracized by German newspaper and magazine magnates.

The German federal state and its provincial counterparts maintain a constant surveillance of those allegedly "endangering the liberal democratic frame of the German constitution." A vast judicial apparatus that functions both federally and provincially, the Verfassungsschutz, monitors "extremists" and brings criminal charges against them. German legal scholar Claus Nordbruch, who is himself under judicial investigation for investigating these abuses, has shown how V-men have been recruited from former Nazis and East German Communist secret police. This expanding surveillance and government-sponsored intimidation runs counter to the Basic Law of the German state, which in Article 5 affirms the right to express opinions freely. During the early Cold War, the main targets of the V-men were Communist agents and front organizations. But since the mid-seventies, as German governments have veered leftward and as the effect of post-War "anti-fascist" German re-education has made itself felt, the targets have been overwhelmingly on the right.

While impenitent Communists fill the ranks of Germany's present Red-Green coalition, right-of-center parties, like the National Democrats and the Republicans, are about to be banned. German Communists, who have entered the  government under the assumed name of the Party of German Socialists, now sit in judgment over right-of-center German organizations. The National Democrats, who openly oppose Third World immigration, would already have been banned – except for the embarrassing revelation that V-men had infiltrated the party cadre and planted the incendiary statements that were cited by the government and the courts to ban it. 

Junge Freiheit has annoyed both the political Left and the bogus Right-Center, both of which endorse the curbing of "fascistic" publications. In Germany and in other European countries, "fascist" means that which the Left does not want said.  Enlightened Germans hurriedly bring up the Nazi past whenever conversation turns to a politically-unfashionable topic. 

Junge Freiheit repeatedly raises such unfashionable questions, e.g. the difficulty of assimilating large numbers of Third World Muslims into German society, the moral and psychological value or harm of German attempts to repudiate the national past, and whether leftist thought control is compatible with an even minimally free society. (It never ceases to amaze me how Freedom House, a neocon-funded outfit, considers Germany a thoroughly free society. German jails are full of those who have made objectionable historical or scientific statements, and not only about the Holocaust. Teachers are under constant scrutiny to make sure that none of them utters anything "extremist.")  Junge Freiheit says that "extremist" actually means "rechtsaussen [anything thought to be right of right-center]." Needless to say, journalists who call for revolutionary leftist programs do not get judicially investigated; their organizations remain free of infiltration. The "Anti-Fa Autonomen," the anti-fascist thugs who assault politically incorrect intellectuals while the police turn their backs, are free to range the streets—like the Brown Shirts in 1933.

To its credit, Junge Freiheit has responded to this anti-fascist bullying by seizing the banners of freedom and German national dignity both at the same time. In issue after issue, it hammers on the restraints imposed on non-leftist opinions and calls attention to PC lies and distortions intended to degrade Germans, Christians, and Western societies.

Junge Freiheit is defending itself by retaining a distinguished jurist and longtime public servant, Alexander von Stahl, and by launching a heavily-subscribed affirmation of support, attracting the names of over 2,700 dignitaries. Dieter Stein has made the baseless attack on his publication the main reason for its continued existence. His website,, supplies the evidence of his weekly confrontation with the judicial thought police. His motto is "Demokratie braucht die Meinungsfreiheit" - democracy requires freedom of thought.

Stein's weekly never displays the slightest sympathy for the Nazi regime (from which my own family fled). But it does make the distinction between opposing the Nazis and turning Nazi crimes into an excuse for denigrating German culture. Stein rejects equally the view that every German patriot should be evermore browbeaten by self-appointed victims of the Holocaust and that Germans must open their countries to Third World colonization as expiation for Hitler.

J.F. would not even step back when it came to Ignaz Bubis, former chairman of the Central Committee for Jews in Germany, who died in 1999. Like others in his post, Bubis ceaselessly accused the Germans of anti-Semitic tendencies (usually any deviationism on immigration elicits this charge). Bubis also resembled recent American black leaders by enriching himself as a designated victim. But he accepted kickbacks for helping misrepresent Russian Jewish "refugees" who wished to stay in Germany. Bubis, in return for demonstrable favors, would help these putative refugees from Soviet anti-Semitism misrepresent themselves as German Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. Junge Freiheit helped to expose this practice, precisely the kind of wrong that guilt-obsessed Germans would never touch.  Stein and his colleagues are  justifiably sick of the Central Committee, which goes apoplectic over any expression of German pride. In this, they enjoy the support of less Teutonophobic German and Austrian Jews, like Peter Sichrowsky and myself.

Junge Freiheit is prevailing by not dodging difficult issues. Its treatment of immigration has been thorough and reinforced by statistical research. Clearly, the editors are not concerned (nor should they be) about boring their readers with detail. And they are unbeatable on another timely issue: the war within democracy between the advocates of global homogenization, for example Wall Street Journal Editor Bob Bartley, and those who defend the right of Western nations to their historic identities - what VDARE.COM calls "The National Question."

The fact that Junge Freiheit relentlessly criticizes American imperial overreach reflects a proper understanding of where the U.S. now stands.

"The Debacle of the [center-right] Union," Junge Freiheit believes, came partly from too much adherence to the American global democratic model – on imperialism and on immigration.

Paul Gottfried is Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of After Liberalism and Carl Schmitt: Politics and Theory.

October 09, 2002

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