When circumstances change, it is easier for people to change their ideas than to change the circumstances. I am not hopeful about avoiding a major confrontation with Islam especially when creating a fissure appears to be the goal of Jihadists and would grant political power to assorted nationalistic extremists. We will all be damaged and degraded in such an eventuality.May God have mercy on us all.
This is also my impression of contemporary Germany, gained in several trips there in recent years. But I share you sense, Peter, that it all could change, all could flip, fairly quickly were some catalytic event — like a major terror attack — to occur. The German sense of self and the world is, in my view, inherently unstable, for it seeks a moral high-ground so divorced from reality (I am thinking of its factless pacifism, which, in a blind vote for Churchill or Chamberlain a la 1938 would choose the latter every time, despite what they all know about 20th century German history) as to be untenable. There is much to admire about Germany in 2010, particularly in contrast to 1910 or 1940; but I just have this feeling, deep down, that it’s not going to last very long. Early evidence: a reinterpretation of Adenauer as having been “too soft.” That’s a very bad sign.
As always an interesting commentary. I have nothing to add except that I wait with bated breath to see what the next 20 to 30 years hold for Europe.
One of the dangers of secularization to my mind has always been that it has a diminished ability to unify disperate groups. We talk about the great melting pot of American society, but the reality is that in many ways, America is still a very segregated place. Religion has in many ways provided a tool for cultural assimilation and removing that tool from the public sphere introduces a number of problems like we are seeing now in Europe. Although perhaps I’m just a grumpy old man that mourns the loss of religiosity and looking for negatives where none exist.
Ursula van der Ley is NOT federal minister of family affairs. She is federal labour minister. Someone who knows so many about the german society and its problems should-at least- know that. By the way many germanys think about the US as a very anti-muslim country as well. Especially because of the whole debate about the ‘ground zero mosque’. I know that this is not true because I try not to have prejudices.
Ursula van der Ley is NOT federal labour minister.
Ursula von der Leyen is.