A Change in Tone

The moment you realise that something is wrong with you is accompanied by the awakening to political hatred.

There were times in German political debate when talk shows spent hours and hours on tin recycling regulations, subsidies for solar power, whether or not a tax rate was to rise 1.2% or to fall 0.78%. The Chancellor Gerhard Schröder called out the evil media, particularly of the media empire Springer, and accused them to launch unfair campaigns against his government. If I remember it correctly that was about the lack of GDP growth (at a level of about 2% that was called recession at the time and is called overheating now).

In other words, we were damn innocent. At least that is how I remember it. Political debate was encouraged and even seen as intellectual.

I don’t want to hide the fray. Schröder botched a welfare reform, called “Hartz IV”, and made everything more beaurocratic and less generous at the same time. Disgruntled voters went to the openly Socialist party DIE LINKE.

Then the contempt started. The secret service Verfassungsschutz surveilled the party, even popular, high-ranking party members. The voters, however, were not bullied by the elites. They were seen as stray kids who would eventually return.

Fast forward to the insolvency of the Greek state and Angela Merkel’s rescue efforts. To cut a long story short, the Greek were not happy about it and the conservatives in Germany were neither. Yet, something changed.

The dissent came from the right. Talks about disentangling both countries’ monetary systems, ‘leaving the EURO’, was willingly conflated with hate against the EU, hating Europe, hate for peace in Europe, wanting war in Europe and much worse.

The only reason you could oppose the wish of the German government with their austerity blackmailing credit transfer ideas for Greece was that, you guess it, you were supposed to be a Nazi.

No other explanation was accepted. The media started a witchhunt against newly founded conservative party AfD. They entertained folks with stories about backbenchers who said stuff if twisted like mad could be put into the mouth of Josef Goebbels.

Mass immigration did not help, either. Stories who tried to smear AfD voters (‘Who are they?’) became legion.

In short we don’t argue about privatisation of government services anymore. All German media is reduced now to telling their audiences who to hate and nothing more.

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