Salvo 06.05.2024 8 minutes

The Deutschen Disillusion

New German Government Official Transfer

German elites are putting their ideological commitments above their own citizens.

“Wir shaffen das!” (“We can do this!”) The words of then-Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel ring out from the distant political past of 2016. They refer to Germany’s ability to absorb millions of newcomers—which mostly wound up being single men of working age—flowing into the country from the Middle East and North Africa.

2024 thumps back: “Auslander raus! Deutschland Den Deutschen!” The video of upper-class German youth singing “Foreigners out, Germany for Germans” to the tune of Gigi D’Agostino’s Y2K dance banger “L’Amour Toujours” at a club on the island of Sylt made a definite stir on social media.

Not surprisingly, the outrage among the German establishment was instantaneous. What really set them off was that one of the young men in the video sort of made a Roman salute, almost fully extending his arm and holding up several fingers to simulate a Hitler mustache. He then flicked his wrist up and down while swaying back and forth.

Judging by the hysterical reactions, you would have thought that a newly formed platoon of SS officers had goosestepped through the Brandenburg Gate on their way to vandalize a bunch of kebab stands.

“Anyone who shouts Nazi slogans like ‘Germany for the Germans, foreigners out’ is a disgrace to Germany,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. Declaring Germany to be for Germans is the equivalent of a “Nazi slogan” according to the individual responsible for safeguarding the interior of Germany—which one would presume is filled with Germans. The contemporary neoliberal understanding of the nation-state is puzzling.

“And I thought it was just a phenomenon of the right-wing fringe. Apparently it’s back in fashion in the upper classes. Disgusting,” commented Nabard Faiz, a doctor and prominent voice in Germany originally from Afghanistan. In addition to being a cardiologist, Faiz is a leading advocate in Germany for “culturally sensitive healthcare.” Imagine emigrating to another country to preach about cultural sensitivity and then calling its native-born citizens “disgusting” for saying that their country is exactly that—their country.

The song and video even elicited a response from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who stated that “such slogans are disgusting [and] unacceptable…that’s why everything that we’re doing is aimed precisely at preventing this from spreading.” Are German political authorities working as hard to stop the booming crime spree, particularly among the immigrant population?

German MP Johannes Wagner announced that “when right-wing slogans or even criminal acts such as a Hitler salute become ‘pop culture’, there is a lot wrong in the country.” Mr. Wagner is correct: there certainly is a lot wrong in the country—it just doesn’t have anything to do with kids dancing to a techno song and making playful hand gestures.

Germany’s economy contracted by about 0.4 percent in 2023 and is expected to grow at a measly 0.1 percent this year as the country self-sabotages its industrial sector due to the twin ideological pillars of green energy transition and punishing Russia (it’s not working). On the latter issue, Germany, as well as the collective transatlantic world, is also being dragged closer to war by a leadership that is willing to commit its citizens to global catastrophe so long as Vladimir Putin is defeated in Ukraine (he won’t be, barring world conflagration).

Meanwhile, there were about 215,000 violent crimes reported in Germany last year, almost six percent higher than the previous year and ten percent higher than 2019. Violent crime has subsequently reached a 15-year high in the country. About 41 percent of suspects in those crimes “did not have a German passport,” according to DW; 400,000 were classified outright as “refugees.” Unauthorized entries in 2023 were likewise 40 percent higher year on year at about 100,000, while unauthorized stays increased by about 30 percent to nearly 200,000.

The stabbing death of a police officer by an Afghan immigrant in Mannheim this past weekend has been yet another stark reminder of the burgeoning crime epidemic in the country. The knife attack took place at an event organized by the “Pax Europa” group, which works to inform the public about the threat posed by political Islam. Five other individuals, including a leading figure in the group, were also wounded.

The danger is becoming impossible to ignore, even for the least politically aware. And yet that is exactly what the authorities expect the general public to do. A weird German Footloose scenario has subsequently formed in which the moral arbiters of the neoliberal world have determined that the singing and dancing must end, lest the ethical underpinnings of the modern German state come unraveled with it. “L’Amour toujours” has even been banned from Oktoberfest in Bavaria out of sheer panic that people might start joyfully belting it out.

The freakout of Germany’s ruling class mirrors that of the American press in 2016, when they helped get Donald Trump elected by going apoplectic when he made obviously true observations about things that one is not supposed to notice in polite society. The intense focus and utter derangement over the clip from the German elite has likewise had the same effect, exponentially boosting the song’s popularity. Without their over-the-top reactions, that video may have only been relevant for a few days. Now, the lyrics have turned into a global phenomenon.

Of course, out of pure self-interest the freakout is somewhat justified. Merkel’s decision to open the country to masses of “refugees” resulted in about 1.5 million foreigners pouring into the country in the span of barely two years, a policy that ended up being very unpopular. But she essentially made the argument that if Germany, as large and wealthy as it was, could not handle the refugee influx, then such a Germany would no longer be her country, or the country she thought it was.

Forget about the obvious challenges to assimilation posed by the importation of such an enormous number of foreign-born people at one time. The only defining characteristic that Merkel could attribute to her country was its ability to uphold neoliberal views of the nation as an administrative economic unit among a similar collection of non-descript and fundamentally interchangeable pieces.

Even if crime had decreased instead of increased due to mass immigration, the notion that Germany has a right to prioritize the maintenance of its own distinct culture, heritage, and language was so foreign to Merkel that she could not even countenance it as a legitimate policy option. The irony of a German Germany being antithetical to a neoliberal Germany should be lost on no one. The bureaucratic mold broke with Merkel; it is certainly no wonder that the now retired technocrat is such a beloved icon of the transatlantic elite.

It is also no wonder that the German youth appear to be increasingly open to the Right. A major poll in Germany called “Youth in Germany 2024” showed that 22 percent of people between the ages of 14 and 29 intend to vote for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany Party (AfD). That may not sound like much, but it is consequential since 1) only nine percent said they would in 2022 and 12 percent in 2023, and 2) AfD is systematically demonized in the German (and international) press, to the point that there has been a concerted effort by a significant number of politicians to get the party outright banned. Despite a recent spate of controversies—rather providentially timed for a panicking establishment—the party is nonetheless expected to return favorable results in the upcoming elections for European Parliament, no doubt fueled at least in part by increasing numbers of discontented youth who have grown up under the failed policies of their ideological elite.

Unsurprisingly, legal action is subsequently being sought against some of the people in the video, including the young man who did the half Roman salute, which is illegal in Germany under certain conditions.

This clearly has nothing to do with hate and is certainly not about any far-fetched prospect of a resurgent Nazism in Germany. It is solely to do with the fact that the entire myth upon which the modern German state is erected is being punctured, and the hysterical reaction among its rulers is exposing its moral bankruptcy. Its leaders are right to view such ridicule as an existential threat.

The kids in that video may or may not even be right-leaning, and chances are most of them probably aren’t (or at least weren’t) AfD voters. But they were young, attractive, and—worst of all—having fun trampling on the sacred cows that undergird an objectively absurd state of affairs. Nothing is more dangerous to our physically degenerate, generally incompetent, and spiritually destitute overlords than joy. It holds up a mirror that forces them to reflect on their own miserable state.

Hence, life in Germany may have gotten worse—the internet is inundated daily with footage of grotesque crimes and behavior—and the very character of what it even means to be German fundamentally altered. But what is determined as deserving concerted legal action and public denunciation by the highest politicians is a silly video of tipsy ethnic Germans singing a catchy song and pretending to do a Roman salute.

Such outlandishness is not sustainable. The lyrics are and will continue to grow in popularity, because singing them now elicits such an over-the-top response from the powers that be. Likewise, the latter will continue to thrash against it—because they have to—and embarrass themselves even more.

And while those who sing it may not be very politically conscious at first, this episode will hopefully cause young Germans (and the youth of the West in general) to begin thinking more deeply about exactly what is happening in their country—and why they aren’t supposed to notice.

Ms. Merkel’s words may have been quite prophetic after all, although not for the reasons she or her supporters would like: We can do this.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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