German general elections are usually rather boring affairs, with polite debates, disagreements over minor issues and predictable outcomes. The one last Sunday was an exception. It was interesting not because the incumbent, veteran “center-right” Chancellor Angela Merkel (a nominal Christian Democrat), and the “center-left” opposition leader Martin Schulz (a nominal Social Democrat) differ on any major issue—they don’t—but because the cosy bipartisan idyll is over. The barbarians are inside the gates. The AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) has entered the Bundestag with 12.6 percent of the vote, which will translate into over 90 deputies.
This is an immensely important development. The AfD is the first authentically opposition party to enter the diet since the Federal Republic came into being in 1949. It is the first party which represents millions of Germans who are sick and tired of not being allowed to express their views on the meaning of being German, who no longer want to be told how to think about their culture, identity, history, ancestors . . .
For over seven decades since the Untergang it has been first desirable, then necessary, and ultimately mandatory for a mainstream German to be ashamed of his past. De-nazification of the early occupation years had morphed into de-Germanization. An integral part of the final package is to subscribe to the postmodern liberal orthodoxy in all its aspects. It must include the willingness to welcome a million “migrants” in a year (with millions more to come if the Duopoly so decides – and Merkel and Schulz both agree that there must be no upper limit.) The AfD begs to differ, but when its leaders make a reality-based statement like “Islam does not belong to Germany,” or a common sense one like “We don’t need illiterate immigrants,” they are duly Hitlerized.
The result, on September 24, was a revolt of the deplorables. It did not amount to an uprising yet, but nothing will stay the same. The Social Democrats (SPD), having suffered the worst result in history with twenty percent of the vote, will go into opposition. Merkel’s CDU-CSU lost 8 percentage points to capture under one-third of all votes. She will continue to rule by forming an uneasy coalition with the Free Democrats—who are back from the cold—and the Greens (the “Jamaica coalition,” named after the parties’ colors of CDU’s black, FDP’s yellow and green), but her power and authority are fatally undermined.
Merkel has made it back, and she is on track to equal Helmut Kohl’s 16 years in office, but she will no longer be able to act like part-schoolmistress, part-nurse Ratched. She was reelected because most Germans could not see a viable alternative. Schulz is a softer, stupider Merkel with a beard and no clear idea what he or his party stand for. SPD’s standard answer, “social justice and solidarity,” made sense in the days of Willy Brandt, perhaps Helmut Schmidt, but by now the party has metamorphosized into the usual Western-leftist mix of weirdness, invented rights for invented minorities, and morbid self-hate.
Last Sunday Merkel enjoyed the uniquely propitious moment when the Social Democrats were badly hurt, but the AfD was not yet strong enough to threaten her. She has profited, but the country has not, from her “center-right” adopting all the usual migrants-are-welcome, LGBTQ+ marriage-for-all etc idiocies, thus making the SPD look irrelevant and devoid of purpose. To those Germans who lack the cojones to think outside the box, she still offers the pleasing mix of PC platitudes (which Schulz was hard pressed to out-do), and managerial competence (which he demonstrably lacked).
The elephant in the room, all the time, is Merkel’s rationally inexplicable immigration policy. It has inflicted inestimable damage on Germany and Europe. She wants to keep Germany’s borders open to migrants and rejects any set limit on the number of newcomers. To any warning that her approach is untenable she responds that letting millions of people into the country is good for Germany’s reputation (“we can stand by our values”). At the same time she wants to redistribute migrants arriving in Germany throughout the EU through a system of Brussels-imposed compulsory quotas. Her calls for a “joint European solution” are nothing but demands for the rest of Europe to be obedient, say Jawohl! and facilitate the creation of Sharia-based no-go areas in Krakow, Bratislava and Budapest.
With Merkel moving far to the left on this issue of all issues—and on everything else—the AfD has an open field to the right of center-left (figuratively speaking), which is currently unoccupied by any parliamentary party. Their current and future internal divisions notwithstanding (exemplified by Frauke Petry’s resignation), it has a historic opportunity to become a true alternative: nomen est omen.
Merkel’s infinitely wiser and worthier predecessor Konrad Adenauer (Der Alte) had a popular slogan in the fifties, “No experiments!” Her 2015 migrant experiment in vivo was a massive and unprecedented exercise in social engineering, worthy of similar national-socialist and communist horrors. It is not by chance that the survivors of red totalitarianism in the former German Democratic Republic and their descendants are voting for the AfD en masse. They know ideologically driven cretins when they see them, and they can tell who is able and willing to stand up to them. It is ironic that hoi polloi of old Prussia and Saxony may yet prove to be the liberating pathfinders for the ever-so-sophisticated multiculturalists on the Rhine insistent on self-annihilation. There is still hope for Germany.