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Artillery Row

The German disillusionment

Germans have lost faith in the political establishment

A popular German talk show recently used the #MeToo allegations against the lead singer of the Krautrock cult band Rammstein as an occasion to raise the question: “Men, haven’t you come farther?” Asked by the talk show host about her own experiences with sexual harassment, the young CDU (Christian Democratic Union) politician Lisa Schäfer replied that she had never been physically molested. Walking through certain neighbourhoods in bigger German cities, however, she had experienced a sense of insecurity when men whose languages she did not understand were catcalling her. After the talk show host saw fit to retort, “Don’t you understand English?” and another guest immediately tried to turn attention away from migration hotbeds back to more politically correct targets of criticism, a storm of social media outrage against the host and his ally ensued. Schäfer later told the liberal-conservative newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung: “Of course, the perpetrator was pictured as the old white man. It clearly did not fit into their world view that other experiences were reported.”

The outrage demonstrates, however, that the patience of Germans for this underreporting or even suppression of the dark side of migration has run thin. This, in turn, has led to a growing panic on the multicultural Left. In the past, the strategy of calling everyone who pointed to statistically significant differences in crime rates and crime types a “right wing populist”, “racist” or “Nazi” had worked pretty well. This blade has blunted, however, as Germans have become increasingly indignant or often simply bored by its being brandished in their faces.

Given that many Germans have had their own experiences with the downsides of migration, or know people who have, they need not rely on media coverage (let alone mainstream media coverage) to get the picture. Outdoor public pools were once very popular in German cities, for example. Now, however, aggression from men of migrant heritage has become rampant. Certain media prefer not to report this at all — or, if they do, just vaguely talk about “men” as the perpetrators. One TV station even claimed that climate change is responsible for the violence.

Many influential media outlets initially tried — and then spectacularly failed — to conceal or downplay the hugely disproportionate involvement of migrants or “people with migration background” in events including the infamous mass molestation of women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve in 2015, the riots and vandalism in Berlin at the most recent New Year’s Eve and mass brawls in Essen and Castrop-Rauxel just a few days ago.

Likewise, knife attacks in German cities have become an almost daily occurrence. As an experienced German pathologist matter-of-factly states: “Killing through knives increased enormously. This is so because in certain cultures a ‘real man’ must have a knife in his pocket. There is also a cultural background in affect control” (kulturellen Affekthintergrund). The German Left continues to call such statements “racist” or “culturalist”, but many Germans are unfazed. On any plausible definition of “racism”, a statement of facts cannot be racist.

Afghan suspects in Germany are far more inclined to commit homicide

Official statistics also bear out how dire these facts of migration are. The German Bundeskriminalamt (roughly the German equivalent to the FBI) publishes crime statistics several times a year. Since 2015, it has also published a yearly report detailing the statistics on crime in the context of migration. The 2015 report states: “With the increase in case numbers comes an increase of the absolute number of suspected migrants in the category of crimes against sexual self-determination. This number increased in 2015 by 76 per cent to 1,548 suspects (2014: 879 suspects).” The category of “crimes against sexual self-determination” includes rapes. The number of migrants suspected of rape increased from 322 to 456 in the years from 2014 to 2015. The report further states: “In 2015, most migrants suspected of sexual offenses came from Afghanistan (189), Syria (171), Kosovo, and Pakistan (101 in both cases).” One year later, the number of migrants suspected of sexual offences committed in 2016 went up to 3,329, which is a further increase of 115 per cent. Most of the suspects came, again, from Syria (716) and Afghanistan (679), this time joined by many Iraqis (313). Recent information disclosed by the government on a request by the opposition also showed that gang rapes are at an all-time high in Germany, thanks to the massive overrepresentation in these crimes of Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and Turks.

To be sure, non-Germans in general are disproportionately represented (as measured against their proportion of the population) as suspects of crimes committed in Germany, namely twice as often. Comparisons between groups of migrants and types of crimes are nonetheless worthwhile. On the basis of the BKA’s general crimes statistics of 2020, one can compute that Afghans, Syrians, Albanians and Georgians make up 1.47, 2.55, 0.68 and 0.44 per cent of the suspects of all crimes committed in Germany respectively, but 2.21, 3.22, 0.17 and 0.04 per cent of suspects of crimes against sexual self-determination, and 2.66, 4.52, 0.60 and 0.41 per cent of homicide or attempted homicide suspects. It follows that Afghan and Syrian crime suspects in Germany are on average far more inclined to commit homicide and multiple times more inclined to commit crimes against sexual self-determination than Albanian or Georgian suspects.

Some on the Left simply deny the statistical facts. After all, the radical Left always knew that two plus two is five if the Party says so. That, however, does not impress anyone outside of its own bubble. Alternatively, Leftists try to at least block any interpretation of these statistical facts in terms of culture or religion. Even if that were to work, it would hardly be an argument against migration restrictions. Whatever the explanation for the patterns of criminal behaviour of certain migrant groups, the crimes would not have been committed in the receiving country if the migrants had not been allowed to enter in the first place. That is not an argument for closed borders. It is an argument for not ignoring statistical facts about groups and group differences when making decisions about migration control, however.

Second, this downplaying of cultural differences is somewhat amusing coming from the Left. Normally, the Left likes to sing the song of nurture over nature. Even differences between the sexes, and often the sexes themselves, are deemed to be “socially constructed”. When it comes to explaining the proclivity of certain groups to certain crimes, though, any reference to culture is suddenly not only rejected but deemed “racist”. If this is not logical confusion, it is certainly hypocrisy.

This is how a growing number of Germans see it, including influential politicians on the liberal-conservative side and, indeed, on parts of the Left — namely of the Left that is more in line with Marxist materialism than with woke identity politics. There are fissures within the Green party itself, which is usually the advocate of uncontrolled migration and multiculturalism. To be sure, the party’s leadership in its “Berlin bubble” (as disillusioned Germans call it) can still hardly see, or at least depict, migration as anything but positive. Green grunts bearing actual administrative responsibility in the communal trenches, however, often cannot avoid seeing it as a burden on their finances, housing capacities, school systems, crime statistics and antisemitism rates. When Friedrich Merz, head of the CDU, hinted at cultural differences and remarked that “little pashas” in schools posed a problem especially for female teachers, the habitual accusations of “generalisation”, “culturalism” and “racism” followed as reliably as a conditioned reflex. Yet some Green Party members closer to the not quite rainbow-coloured reality of migration refused to join the chorus. In one of Germany’s most popular talks shows, the Green district administrator Jens Marco Scherf even called Merz’s talk about “little pashas” an understatement. He voiced concerns about imported misogyny and antisemitism. A number of such Green dissidents, including Scherf, have meanwhile published a memorandum in which they call for a change in migration politics.

Green German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock faced notably negative reactions after a comment of hers following the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, who had been arrested by the Iranian “morality police”. Baerbock stated: “When the police … bludgeon a woman to death because in the view of the guardians of public morals she does not wear her headscarf correctly, then this has nothing, nothing at all to do with religion or culture.” Social media sneered at this statement. In a scathing article in the flagship magazine of German feminism, Emma, ethnologist and Islamism expert Susanne Schröter accused Baerbock of making her statement out of a combination of economic opportunism and a “dangerously naive idea of multiculturalism”. To the chagrin of the woke Left — who like Muslims most when they loudly deplore Western oppression, not when they voice criticism of their own lived religion — quite a few liberal or former Muslims likewise rejected Baerbock’s statement in no uncertain terms. In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Masih Alinejad, an icon of women’s protest against the Iranian Mullah regime, called the Green Party’s “cultural relativism” — which tends to denounce Western criticism of misogyny and patriarchy in the Muslim world as colonialist and islamophobic — “treason” against feminism.

Germany’s current migration policies are out of touch with reality

As Germans have learned from the experience of the Weimar republic, culture is not only a factor in the context of crime statistics, but can more comprehensively be a pillar (or wrecking ball) of liberal-democratic institutions. In his famous “Böckenförde-dictum”, Wolfgang Böckenförde, a legal scholar and former judge at the German constitutional court, pointed out that “the liberal, secularized state is sustained by resources it cannot create itself”. The institutional structures of a liberal state cannot survive if there is no suitable culture supporting them, but those structures by themselves cannot guarantee that there will indeed be such a culture. In the light of this insight it would not only be naïve, but dangerous and irresponsible, to simply ignore cultural differences when it comes to deciding on migration regulations. Unfortunately, opinion polls and sociological analysis have shown that support for liberal-democratic values and institutions is disproportionately low amongst the Muslim population in comparison to the general population in Europe. The support for such values and institutions is not higher in the Muslim world outside of Europe.

This kind of information increasingly reaches the German public, thanks in part to the visibility of scholars and authors such as Schröter; Ahmad Mansour, a German-Israeli radicalism expert of Arab descent; Hamed Abdel-Samad, a German-Egyptian political scientist and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood turned Islam critic; and Ruud Koopmans, a Dutch migration and Islam expert teaching and researching in Germany. Their books are widely read and they frequently appear as guests and interviewees on talk shows and in newspapers. The Left incessantly brands them “Islamophobic”, of course. A recent conference on migration organised by Schröter and joined by Koopmans, Mansour and Boris Palmer (at that time a member of the Green Party and notorious for speaking his own mind instead of toeing the party line) incurred the wrath of the Left before it even happened. It then ended in a scandal as Palmer got into an altercation with protesters calling him and other conference participants “Nazis”. Despite all the excitement, the protestors’ attempt to depict the conference as “racist” and “right wing” ultimately failed. It was met with a vigorous defence of academic freedom by a network of German professors, as well as by sundry liberal-conservative newspapers. They pointed out that the defamation of conference participants clearly served no other purpose than to silence people whose data and arguments critics did not like but were apparently unable to refute.

The government itself joins in such defamation campaigns. Oddly enough for a government in a democracy, it levels these accusations against the entire non-migrant population of Germany. To wit, the recent official “Situation Report Racism” saw fit to discover “racism” everywhere in Germany — with the exception of migrant communities. This again backfired, as liberal-conservative commentators gleefully demonstrated that the methodological incompetence displayed in the report was only matched by its propagandistic zeal.

Calling people “racist” for wishing to restrict immigration on cultural or religious grounds (and neither cultures nor religions are races) doesn’t compensate for a lack of argument. In recent years philosophers such as David Miller, Christopher Heath Wellman, Sarah Song, Michael Blake and I have contended that there is a robust (but not unlimited) liberal right to exclude migrants from one’s state. Once there is such a right, cultural reasons are particularly good grounds for exclusion.

One final note in the light of recent events. The party Alternative für Deutschland — which the German Verfassungsschutz, the agency charged with the protection of the constitution, deems to be extremely right-wing — is at an all-time high in opinion polls. A few days ago one of its members was elected administrator of a German district for the first time. Large parts of the Left reacted by berating the voters as “racists”, “fascists” and “Nazis”. Many Germans, however, have come to the conclusion that these terms, if wielded by the radical Left, are meaningless. The thought that such berating will persuade voters discontented with Germany’s current migration policies is as out of touch with reality as these policies themselves.

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