October 19, 2009
[Peter Brimelow writes: Nearly forty years ago, I was immensely impressed with The New Totalitarians a brilliant study of Swedish political culture by Roland Huntford, making the point that totalitarianism, in the sense of complete political control of society, can be brought about by bureaucracy as well as brute force. (To my amazement, this book's influence on my own book on Canada, The Patriot Game, is cited—currently—in its Wikipedia entry.) This continues in Sweden to this day—while editing Rafael Koski's article today I read that the leader of a Swedish political party may be prosecuted merely for writing an article critical of immigration—and it is plainly what is now happening, with regard to immigration and much else, in Europe at large. Indeed, the British government's current drive to force the anti-immigration British National Party to admit immigrant minorities to membership is the very essence of totalitarianism: no private sphere can be allowed; in Mussolini's words "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state". But nothing grows to the sky, and Koski here argues that the New Totalitarianism is running into trouble both in Scandinavia and its ground zero, Germany.)
Germany is one of the most politically repressed countries in Europe when it comes to debate about immigration. Titles like The Death of the West appear only in underground publications, not in best-selling books by TV personalities like Pat Buchanan.
But recently there has been a sign that political correctness is relaxing of: Thilo Sarrazin, a former Social Democratic Party politician who is currently an officer of the central bank, launched a deliberate and successful challenge in a September interview in the left-wing Lettre International. [Thilo Sarrazin im Gespräch]
Mr. Sarrazin took up many themes that are uncomfortable to the PC regime: the unwillingness of immigrants to learn the language or seek work, high criminality, open hostility to the native people—he even spoke about the inherent qualities of the immigrants, comparing the I.Q. of Turks or Arabs to that of Jews from Eastern Europe, a wave of whom came to Germany after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Of course, the R[acist]-bomb was immediately used against Sarrazin. But this time it didn't really work. The leader of the Jewish Council of Germany had to back off his statement comparing Sarrazin's mindset to that of Hitler's because of criticism from other Jews. Der Spiegel, the leading weekly magazine and a bulwark of political correctness, had to acknowledge last week that the debate opened by Sarrazin's provocation was "long overdue". Needless to say, the Spiegel article didn't really consider exactly who was responsible for the delay in the immigration debate.
"The alternative media of the internet have revealed the discrepancy between public opinion and published opinion that is so wide it can no longer be ignored." So says André Lictschlag of the German libertarian journal eigentümlich frei in an interview appearing in Junge Freiheit. ["Wie moderner Terrorismus" October 17, 2009]. [VDARE.COM note: See Paul Gottfried's 2002 article on Junge Freiheit here).
Lictschlag sees the Sarrazin case as a sea-change, because this time Germany's PC regime did not succeed in destroying Sarrazin's career (although he has lost some of his functions at the central bank), and he received a lot of public support.
This is not just an isolated occurrence in PC-paralyzed Europe. In Finland, Helsinki University Professor (of Russian studies) Timo Vihavainen, the author of an essay collection entitled The Death of the West, was recently (October 4) interviewed in depth by Helsingin Sanomat, the leading newspaper in the country. The theme of this interview, which generated a lot of discussion, were the dogmas of multiculturalism and the impoverishment of Finnish political culture under this secular fundamentalism.[Professor Timo Vihavainen: Finnish intelligentsia silent on immigration issues, by Jaakko Lyytinen, Helsingin Sanomat, Finnish Original]
The concessions made by Der Spiegel in the Sarrazin case and by Helsingin Sanomat in the Vihavainen case, show that the European Main Stream Media, which has enjoyed hegemony over public opinion building and wants to retain it in the future, now has to accommodate these viewpoints and try to neutralize them by citing so-called expert opinions, rather than just ignoring or demonizing.
I believe that this development is not simply a reaction to mass, non-traditional immigration. In Finland, the number of Muslim immigrants is under one percent of the population, but in the recent elections to the European parliament, an anti-immigration party received 10 % of the vote. In contrast, Germany has an estimated 5–8 % Muslims in its population, but there has been no organized political voice against immigration (yet). So it is simplifying to speak only of an anticipated backlash.
Rather I'd say that it is the 2008 financial crisis that is discrediting the current Establishment. The legitimacy of Western social democratic regimes after WWII has rested to a large extent in the advancement in material well-being of the people. Now that the financial crisis, still without end in sight, has shown that the advances in wealth of the last 20 years or so have been illusionary, the legitimacy of the whole political system is in question.
Europeans are opening up to debate, challenging what they thought was self-evident. They have less to lose—and therefore can challenge political correctness.
Rafael Koski (email him) is a Ph.D student living in Northern Europe