Thilo Sarrazin is the former German Bundesbank official who wrote a book that outraged the liberal establishment by noting the refusal of Muslim immigrants to assimilate to German society. His book, Deutschland Shafft Sich Ab (Germany Does Away with Itself), has been a phenomenal best seller (1.2 million copies sold) and launched a national dialogue about repressed ideas which many Germans have about immigration.On January 18, he appeared on a BBC talk program, Have Your Say, to answer questions and discuss his ideas in English [LISTEN].Sarrazin fears a future Islamic Germany, filled with Muslims who despise Western values. He has no objection to successfully assimilated ethnic groups like Vietnamese and Indians who have jobs and speak German.Der Spiegel thinks that expecting immigrants to assimilate is too outrageous, calling Sarrazin an â€?integration provocateur.â€? The Spiegel scribbler also opined that the bankerâ€™s ideas sounded â€?even crasser in English.â€?Perhaps the elite Spiegelers havenâ€™t heard of â€?When in Rome, do as the Romans doâ€? (which dates to 387 A.D. and is a quote of Ambrose, the bishop of Milan).The idea of social cohesion through similarity is not some new right-wing plot against diversity but has ancient roots and is based in human nature. Our psychology means we are more comfortable among those who share our language and values. â€?Diversity decreases trustâ€? as sociologist Robert Putnam has observed.The liberalsâ€™ war against human nature is doomed to failure, but they keep plugging away nevertheless. Perhaps they hope for an eventual pill to solve the undiverse aspects of personhood that even years of propaganda (aka school) canâ€™t erase.
Germanyâ€™s Integration Provocateur Goes English, Der Spiegel, January 20, 2011Former German central banker Thilo Sarrazin has been touting his controversial book on integration for months. This week, he went on BBC â€” and managed to sound even more outrageous in English than he does in German. His advice? If you are discriminated against for wearing a headscarf, leave the country.It was left up to Thilo Sarrazin to introduce himself at the beginning. â€?Hello, this is Thilo Sarrazin. I am glad to speak to you on BBC â€?Have Your Say.â€™ â€¦ I am the author of a book which can be named in English â€?Germany Is Doing Itself Away.â€™â€?It is a book which has dominated Germanyâ€™s integration debate for months, and one which has generated a passionate response â€” both acceptance and rejection â€” from people across the country. The book claims, among other assertions, that Turkish immigrants in the country have detracted, rather than contributed to, the countryâ€™s prosperity. He also claims, as he said early on in the BBC program broadcast on Tuesday, that â€?the brightest people get the fewest babies.â€? Or, as the idea is formulated in his book, immigrants, because of their lower levels of education and what he claims are higher birth rates, are making Germany dumber on average.It was a tantalizing start to the latest edition of what has become a well-known debate in Germany and abroad. For 50 minutes, Sarrazin â€” whose book has been at the top of Germanyâ€™s bestseller lists for weeks â€” held forth on his opinions about Muslims. He discussed his book with callers from Great Britain, Germany, the United States and elsewhere in the world â€” and didnâ€™t seem concerned that his ideas sound even crasser in English than they do in German. The program can be found here.â€?Care and Deliberationâ€™Most of the callers were much more comfortable speaking English than Sarrazin. But he didnâ€™t let it bother him. On the BBC, he demonstrated the practiced comfort he has won from the dozens of presentations, readings and book discussions he has held across Germany since his book hit the shelves in August. He warned that political correctness is a danger to democracy and rejected accusations that he was fomenting divisions in his home country.Several times, he repeated his go-to argument that he was merely presenting â€?facts.â€? One of those, he made clear on the BBC, is that â€?the Jewish people were overachievers, part of the Muslim people are underachievers.â€? There were some listeners on Sarrazinâ€™s side. A man named J?¶rg from the German state of Lower Saxony called in to say that he would vote for Sarrazin were he to start his own political party.But the majority of the reactions were critical. In response to an accusation that he was a fascist, Sarrazin coolly answered that everyone is responsible for their own rhetoric. He himself, he said, had always striven for â€?care and deliberation.â€? In answer to a question as to why he wrote such a book when he is clearly not an expert for immigration and integration, he claimed to be an expert in statistics.For much of his career, the statistics Sarrazin dealt with related to finance. For years, he served the city-state of Berlin as finance minister before moving over to the German Central Bank in 2009. A member of the center-left Social Democrats, Sarrazinâ€™s blunt statements on all manner of issues (â€?civil servants are pale and foul-smellingâ€?) have long been notorious in Germany. By September 2010, the Central Bank had had enough and pressured him to resign. The SPD is likewise exploring the possibility of throwing him out of the party.â€?You Could Live in the US or Turkeyâ€™On the BBC, the lowpoint came towards the end of the program, when K??bra, the daughter of Turkish guest workers in Germany, asked Sarrazin pointed questions about her own situation. Earlier in the program, he had denied that discrimination is much of a problem for Muslims. â€?In Germany, Turkish and Arab people are not more discriminated against than Italians or Polish,â€? he said. But K??bra, a journalist from Hamburg, told Sarrazin that she had been insulted on the streets because she wears a headscarf and asked him what she should do.Sarrazinâ€™s answer? Itâ€™s her own problem. â€?Well, I want you to integrate,â€? he responded. â€?If you wear the headscarf itâ€™s your own choice but if you wear the headscarf you should not be surprised if you are regarded by your environment as something separate. Those who wear the headscarf in the Germany separate themselves from on their own account from the mainstream of society of their own choice. It is your own choice to wear a headscarf and to live in Germany. You could as well live in the US or Turkey.â€?An odd piece of advice to someone who has grown up in Germany. Indeed, Sarrazin sought to quickly change the subject. â€?In Berlin Neuk?¶lln, girls who wear a light summer dress are discriminated against by the Turks and Arabs,â€? he said. â€?Thatâ€™s a fact in this country.â€?K??bra asked the author if he was aware of the emotional environment that he has created in Germany. Sarrazin coolly replied: â€?A Turkish woman who lives in Germany told me some weeks ago, please donâ€™t take those aggravations too seriously. Oriental people tend to play with their emotions and love to raise guilt in others. This is a quote from a Turkish woman.â€?Does he share this assessment, the BBC moderator wanted to know? â€?This has been my experience over the past five months.â€? K??braâ€™s ultimate question, however, went unanswered: â€?You have just said a couple of minutes ago that we have to do everything to improve integration,â€? she said. â€?But how are you going to integrate people if you always alienate them?â€?
Also, here is a separate clip of Sarrazin, which gives a good overview of his ideas: