Untimely Observations

Dreaming of a Culture War


Fjordman’s comments about multiculturalism, which were originally published on the website Gates of Vienna, are so full of dubious assumptions that it is hard to know where to start one’s critique. But having produced copious scholarship on the subject of his literary exercise, I feel driven to question Fjordman’s conclusions.

Western societies, he explains, can be divided into PC-pushing elites and a far more traditionalist populace, which is now preparing to go after the seats of illegitimate power. Fjordman quotes the Hoover Institute-resident scholar Angelo M. Codevilla, writing in American Spectator, Lee Harris’s The Next American Civil War, and Christopher Lasch’s posthumously published Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy to prove his contention. He then brings up Thilo Sarrazin, the president of the German Bundesbank, who just resigned his post under pressure, after having publishing what became a politically incorrect bestseller Deutschland schafft sich ab. These authors all putatively prove the same thing, Harris, Codevilla, and Lasch by what they say and Sarrazin by the excitement that his controversial attack on Muslim immigration has aroused in Germany.

Fjordman thinks that a great revolt of the populace is erupting, as they turn ever more indignantly against the “multicultural oligarchs,” who are “actively hostile to the long-term interests of the white population.” Fjordman incorporates into his ominous or cheery prediction (depending on how one reads things) published statements about cultural divisions in the US. He then segues into Germany, where despite the almost universal condemnation of Sarrazin’s candor by political elites, from Bundespräsident Christian Wulff and Chancellor Angela Merkel to the fuming multiculturalists in the Green Party and Party of the Left, the “people” themselves are behind the courageous former Bundesbank director.

Moreover, the Munich tabloid Bild, which is read by millions, devoted its feature on September 4 to a defense of Sarrazin under the title “Wir wollen keine Sprechverbote.” The editors indicated that the vast majority of Germans are behind Sarrazin and tired of the way the political classes “patronize” them by imposing intricate speech taboos in the name of fighting an imaginary fascist enemy. Fjordman relates what is happening in Germany to the rise of the Tea Parties in the U.S., seeing in both expressions of disdain for arbitrary, undemocratic elites, which are practicing multicultural policies at the expense of the “people.”

Allow me as an expert, who is absent from Fjordman’s commentary, to make two germane observations. First, there is no indication that the German “people” are rejecting their “elites.” Almost 80 percent of Germans polled support the two national parties, which are equally antinational, equally antifascist, equally pro-multicultural, and equally hysterical about showing remorse for the entire German past.

Parties of the Right, like the moderately free market and immigration-critical Republicans, and the more nationalist National Democrats, received altogether about 3 percent of the vote in German federal elections. Far more votes go to the passionately multicultural Greens and the Party of the Left than to the utterly marginalized German Right. If Western Europeans are truly sick of anti-Western elites that are riding rough shod over them, why then in almost all Western countries do the voters rally to the multicultural Left, in record numbers? Germans may be buying Sarrazin’s lament about Third World immigration but they are also gravitating toward the other side. They are running in a beeline toward the very politicians who humiliated and brought down their populist hero.

Second, Fjordman seems to be drunk on Republican propaganda when he writes about revolts about to break out in the U.S. One of his star witnesses, Codevilla, is a fixture at the very Republican American Spectator. How much credence should we lend Codevilla’s picture of impending cultural wars? What he is doing is rephrasing David Brook’s well-known thesis about the U.S. being a land divided between Red and Blue states or constituencies, a situation that has resulted in the earth-shaking development that some voters are Reps while others are Dems. Presumably the next time Michael Steele and Karl Rove orchestrate a GOP victory, we shall be witnessing some kind of “counterrevolution.”

As for the Tea Party revolutionaries Fjordman talks up, they are something far less than a counter-revolutionary army. They are predominantly Bush-McCain Republicans, who think that Obama has pushed deficits too far. According to polls, the Tea Party activists love the welfare state, or at least its entitlements. They just don’t want their social programs endangered by allowing illegal immigrants to take public money or by having the government run up unmanageable debts.

If Tea Party leaders like Palin and Beck, who are constantly singing the praises of the civil rights movement and invoking the ghost of Martin Luther King, are radical right-wingers, then I’ve missed this entirely. While Palin could indeed be the GOP presidential nominee in 2012, she would not be offering us any violent break from the past. In all probability this frequenter of Tea Parties would be providing an ideological replay of the presidential campaign of 2008, when she campaigned as McCain’s very neocon-sounding running mate.

Fjordman has a skewed view of political reality because he is ignoring two self-evident truths (all men being created equal is not one of them). One, people live with authority structures, and the “oligarchs,” whom Fjordman doesn’t fancy any more than I, are the ones we are now confronting. Those who are imposing “democracy” as a value-system, as well as a cornucopia of social programs, control their obliging subjects. They educate the young while their allies in the media supervise our entertainment and, to whatever extent they can, our access to information. The bloated partitocrazia, with its overlapping programs and parasitic “public servants” organize elections and keep the system from getting out of hand.

Finally “democracies,” and particularly the ones that look after their “citizens” with tax monies and custodial oversight of behavior, generate widespread loyalty because of their uninhibited paternalism and because the people are made to believe they consent to having their brains laundered. This is a political success story unparalleled in human history. And the fact that some naughty Germans, who live in the most intellectually controlled society in the West, dare to take a prurient glance at Sarrazin’s politically incorrect observations does not mean that the nation of Hitler, Ulbricht, and Merkel has rediscovered its independence. Germans still overwhelmingly back their police-state with votes. Until about a year ago, this was equally true of Sarrazin, who came out of the very politically correct Social Democrats and who seems shocked that the party bosses expelled him.

Two, although the “oligarchs” climbed to power as enactors of democratic equality through public administration, once ensconced with a massive electorate and equipped with public money and a vast welfariate, these pests are damned hard to remove. In fact barring a major catastrophe, it seems inconceivable that they can be driven from power. And under catastrophe, I do not mean having the unemployment rate, including multiple wage earners in families, rise from ten to eleven percent, or having European inner cities fill up with crime-prone Third World immigrants. The populace can live with these discomforts, and since their authority structure is interpreting for their benefit what is going on in their society while providing social programs, the voters will not likely make much of a fuss.

Moreover, even the non-programmed complaining we now hear is being explained by the media as racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. This censure may be enough to force most of the populace to move back into line. In Germany the acceptable Right shows how moderately “conservative” it is by voting for Merkel and other anti-fascist centrists, while in the US FOX-news and the Weekly Standard are leading our so far fictitious counter-revolution toward a return to a GOP Congress. Fjordman may see things differently, but then our purposes are different. While he’s into happy talk, I’m trying to understand why the current oligarchs have done so well for so long. And I find absolutely no evidence that their string of successes will not continue into the indefinite future.