Thilo Sarrazin, “Gushing Philosemitism”, And The German National Question
The Sweden Democrats—Alone Against Establishment Extremists]
It all began on a
warm August day.
Sarrazin, a former Social Democratic Party elected
official and a board member of the Bundesbank, the
German central bank, had been
controversy with statements on
Muslim immigrants in Germany. Then, in an interview,
he used the
the same sentence. This led to not just an ordinary
anti-racist witch-hunt, but one more like exorcising the
denunciations from Chancellor
Angela Merkel and other politicians and by the
Central Council for Jews in Germany.
Sarrazin had been giving interviews to various German
newspapers to promote his new book,
Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab ("Germany
Abolishes Itself"), in which he discusses the
breakdown of German society and the threat from
immigration. The public denunciations and his
dismissal from the
Bundesbank seemed like a concentrated effort by the
powers-to-be to shut him up.
But it hasn`t worked. Sarrazin has forced himself
back into public debate by his book sales.
sold out its first print run, over 200,000 copies, the
week it was published. (I had to buy the downloadable
version). Sales are now reported to be over 650,000—in a
country of 82 million.
So the treatment
of Sarrazin moved to the next phase, familiar from many
European countries where
opposition to mass immigration has grown so large that the
can no longer pretend it doesn`t exist: the call to
"open up a debate
integration without taboos" (Merkel
in Der Spiegel). Suddenly,
all journalists talk like the problems have been
discussed for years.
But the main theme
"official" debate: Germans must look into themselves
what has gone wrong with the
"integration" of Muslims. It`s blatantly an attempt to
control the damage caused by Sarrazin by turning the
discussion to favorite
liberal themes like education—instead of asking whether
Middle Eastern and
North African peoples have the capacity to support a
prosperous industrial society.
the single most politically explosive claim in
Sarrazin`s book is that the immigration of Turks into
Germany (there are now about 3-4 million) has economically
been only negative for Germany. The
first Turkish Gastarbeiter came
to work in German factories—but their progeny have
drawing in welfare benefits much more that what the
"cheap labor" was worth.
are taken very seriously in Germany. After
World War II, Germany has had no other (positive) national
identity than being a prosperous, tidy country that
best cars in the world. If the economy does badly—like
now—Germany faces an existential question.
political elite has already experienced one popular
uprising this year. Despite explicit provisions in the
Treaty of Rome, Germany and the governments of the
European Union decided to create
a huge 950
billion dollar rescue plan to bail out member states
that had adopted the Euro and
now faced bankruptcy. This bail-out was hugely
unpopular in Germany. German citizens questioned, quite
rightly, if their politicians were cared about Germany`s
national interest at all or were just trying to keep
their beloved EU from dissolving. Many Germans decided
to just bail out of the Euro themselves and
Germans, this was a unifying experience. Everybody in
Germany knew that everybody else was mad as hell about
the bankster-bailout of 2010.
could spark an awakening of the German right. The major
themes of his book—national dumbing-down due to
natural inequality of man; the
alien character of Islam; the sexual behavior of the
underclass; German national self-hatred; the
fatal influence of the
"Class of `68" radical generation—are themes
that could be used to launch a new nationalist party.
According to a
recent poll, a Sarrazin party could gather 18 % of
the national vote. (Most Germans also told the pollsters
that Arabs are Turks are
"not willing and
not capable of integrating" into German society.)
This would only bring politics in Germany closer to
those of other European countries, where
anti-immigration parties of the right have blossomed
So what is in
Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab?
The first thing to know about Thilo Sarrazin is that he
is in no way a radical. Like any normal person who has
lived a prosperous life, he presumes the
society he grew up in is good and worth
preserving. But he is a conservative only in a relative sense.
He was, after all, a member of the center-left Social
introduction, Sarrazin speaks of
years" after WWII, where a national pride grew
based on the continuing rise of the standard of living,
the industriousness of the people, and the successful
welfare state. His book should be seen as an attempt to
wake the ruling elite to desperate problems in the wake
of those Golden Years.
Germany is still a
very successful society, with beautiful cities and
world-class industry. But the Germans are not
reproducing themselves. The numbers of births has sunk
from 1.3 million in 1965 to just 650,000 in 2009.
Further generations will likely be even smaller. At
present trends, Germans will become a
minority in their own country during this century.
For Sarrazin, the national question is whether in 100
years Germany will exist at all.
Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab is very personal. Sarrazin is an economist and loves numbers and
analysis, but he is also a man with an axe to grind. He
has been known for many years in Germany because of his
outspoken comments on the
and cost of welfare. (Like the Charles Murray of
The Bell Curve.) He gained
international attention when he was interviewed on
immigration and answered in the same frank manner as he
had on welfare. His book shows that he refuses to be
intimidated by the resulting controversy, but wants to
prove in 400 pages that he has the facts to back up
everything he has said.
introduction, Sarrazin reviews the
development of societies in history. He looks for
some way to measure
which society is better and why, irrespective of climate, some
countries are more agreeable to live in than others.
that various political orders can be successful, but
that all require not merely economic security but also
something beyond the individual, whether a religion or
ideology. Here Sarrazin shows some kind of rudimentary
conservatism, understanding that political order based
on pure self-interest tends to chaos or tyranny, and
rights" as a rallying cry is hopelessly vague.
The success of
West has spread itself to all parts of the world,
leading to higher living standards and an explosion in
global population. The big question for
Europeans: will the social systems that have been built on
Western prosperity now endanger that prosperity?
Sarrazin is worried about
economic competition with Asia. He sees the German demographic
trends in Germany as the biggest problem.
even think Germany is doing that well right now. German
household incomes have stagnated and even sunk over the
last 20 years. German worker productivity and living
standards are now below neighboring countries.
argues that German innovation in mathematics, physics
and engineering will probably wane in the future. The
younger generations of students will be smaller, there
won`t be enough talent around. German students show a
decreasing interest in the hard sciences.
see a bright future for German education. His main
diversity is weakness. He notes the recent worldwide
PISA study, which was a national shock for Germany.
Three of the test winners,
Finland are ethnically very
homogeneous. Canada also did well, but it is known for its
skill-oriented immigration policy which favors
high-achieving Asians. Sarrazin says that Germany is not
ethnically homogeneous anymore and it cannot expect
immigration of high achievers: Eastern or Southern
Europe do not produce children, and
Chinese won`t come because of the
language. All that Germany gets are
immigrants who come mainly to live on welfare.
that cost the most, do the worst in school and
cause the biggest social problems are also those
that proliferate the most. This means that Germany will
in the future be less competitive in science and
technology. It will also develop a permanent underclass.
Its meritocratic education system will pick the high
performers from all social classes, leaving the working
class poor with less intellectual capacity in the next
generation. The underclass will lose faith in social
mobility and be more inclined to cause problems.
Sarrazin to the topic of the
dysgenic dynamic of modern societies. Differential
birth rates cause either eugenic or dysgenic effects, as
intelligence is between 50 and 80 percent hereditary.
Currently, conditions in Germany are dysgenic.
German educated women are well known to have
fewer children than the rest of the population. The biggest
families are also the poorest.
Sarrazin notes the
case of Protestant clergymen breeding the German
scientific elite of the 19th century. He also
notes the scientific achievements of German Jews. At 0.8
percent of the population, they received 10 of the 32
scientific Nobel prizes
granted to German citizens until 1931. Contrary to his
media image, Sarrazin`s book is marked by what
Paul Gottfried has
called "gushing Philosemitism" and urges more Jewish immigration to
feels obliged to show that
inheriting intelligence is not a Nazi idea. He cites
the Berlin-born Jew Wilhelm Stern as the inventor of the
concept of Intelligence Quotient. He notes it was
disparaged at the
1938 Congress of the German Society of Psychology as
intelligence test" that was
to an intelligence type strongly present among Jews".
And he points out that that the Soviet doctrine of
Lysenkoism proscribed any discussion on hereditary
traits in the
Soviet empire until the 1970s.
Sarrazin says he
has to use the rhetorical trick of the
denial of hereditary intelligence with totalitarian regimes
because the prevailing egalitarianism is so emotionally
resistant—it insists on looking for the causes of
inequality in social and political conditions. He
advocates policies to encourage academic achievers to
Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab also includes a thorough critique of the
welfare state. Some of
comments were ridiculed in the German media: now he
shows with statistics that, for example, the German
welfare recipient has easily a remarkable half of the
purchasing power of the average German worker.
Ironically, you get the impression that Sarrazin`s main
concern really is the welfare state and its unexpected
consequences—just as Murray`s
Bell Curve was
really more about
intelligence than race.
education is another topic that gets Sarrazin really
excited. He criticizes of education optimists who think
human beings are malleable—that
No Child should be Left Behind. These optimists believe that,
by educating everyone, social problems will go away.
They refuse to take into account that education might
just be correlated with success—that the real reason for
success was there already before education.
philosophy that became fashionable around 1968 is all
about feel-good and egalitarianism. In contrast,
Sarrazin says learning hard and requires a lot of
practice and repetition. Not all have the capabilities
to really learn. But egalitarianism in education means
the temptation to relax standards so that even the
weakest seem capable. Education should be much more
discriminatory and competitive.
Sarrazin another reason to mention immigration. Turkey
was one of the worst performers in the PISA test. Their
Turkish presence might be why big northern cities in
Germany did worse than Bavaria in the test. Sarrazin
shows that the composition of school population explains
the differences within Germany. He actually cites the
Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen on the correlation between
average national intelligence and living standards.
As a good Social
Democrat, Sarrazin still has some statist suggestions
for education reform: special intervention in school or
pre-school for at-risk children. But he also favors more
competition between schools, with private schools
offering an alternative.
all the various social problems in Germany and their
immigration dimensions, Sarrazin has a separate chapter
on immigration and integration. His argument is common
sense: Man is a territorial and group-oriented being.
Claims on territory are the greatest cause of large-scale
violent conflicts. And loyalty to one group excludes
loyalty to a competitor. Group loyalty is the basis of
the ability to cooperate—which, together with
intelligence, is the source of human flourishing.
country has to defend its borders against invaders,
whether in large or small numbers. Sarrazin sees current
European immigration policy as nonsensical. If
overpopulation in the Middle East or Africa causes the
inhabitants to migrate, Europeans will have to defend
their territory—otherwise they will be overwhelmed.
that most of Germany`s immigrants—some 14 million—have
actually been Germans from the territories lost in 1945
and from Eastern European countries from which they were
expelled. (Discussion on the treatment of the Germans by
the Allies in WWII is heated in Germany, and some
aspects of it are simply verboten. German
nationalists generally deem it important to speak of the
atrocities that were
by the Allies—to point out that Germans are not the
incarnation of Evil, as in anti-fascist propaganda.
Significantly, Sarrazin doesn`t delve really far into
this divisive debate.)
After the fall of
the Soviet Union, more people with German ancestry have
moved to Germany from Eastern countries. They have
become productive citizens. Sarrazin also thinks that
Germany has some good experiences of Mediterranean and
Eastern European gastarbeiter, who came to work
and mostly went back home. But Muslims don`t integrate,
but just proliferate and create parallel societies.
that Islam, besides being a religion, is also a
political ideology. This makes it incompatible with
Western European Enlightenment values. In this respect,
Sarrazin is very near to European critics of Islam like
Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab`s last chapter brings together all the various themes. Of demographic
trends, Sarrazin says the most worrisome is the
higher birthrate of people from Middle East and Africa.
These immigrants have currently 13.5 percent of children
in Germany. Although the number of births per woman
falls in the second and third generation, this
demographic effect is neutered by the practice of
importing wives from the countries of origin. On current
trends by 2100, there will be 20 million Germans and
35 million Turks
living in what now is
Sarrazin`s dystopia is where affirmative action to
empower Turks has destroyed what was left of education
and science, where
medieval cathedrals are being "leased" to be
by the Ministry of Culture, and where balkanization has
gone so far that German isn`t even the official language
Sarrazin offers a positive political program that is
quite short: ending immigration; instituting pro-family
policies for the educated; and school reform to favor
hard sciences. Cutting welfare benefits would eliminate
the excessive fertility of the underclass, and Turkish
and Arab neighborhoods would eventually dissolve.
Overall, it`s a
surprisingly moderate and relatively liberal policy to
keep Germany as a serious nation-state.
readily be criticized from the right for his
whole-hearted acceptance of Enlightenment liberalism,
and for his failure to discuss
repatriation of immigrants. His solutions might not be
effective enough to turn the tide. But that he is being
castigated on such a scale for his moderate opinions
means only that Europe`s multi-culti elites are on the
path to the complete destruction of their own
It remains to be
seen what will become of the Sarrazin scandal. He has
resigned from the Bundesbank and there are threats
that he might be kicked out of the Social Democratic
party, although it hasn`t happened yet. He has said he
doesn`t want to leave the SPD, so it`s unlikely that he
will join get involved in a right-wing party, which
anyway would take years to be effective.
But Thilo Sarrazin
is the most interesting political figure in Germany
right now. His book shows that he is not just a flake,
but deadly serious in what he thinks and does. And its
sales prove that, in Germany, he has the audience.
Rafael Koski (email
him) is a Ph.D student living in Northern Europe.