Monday, 11 February 2013

On taboos and political correctness in Germany (and Europe in general)

Focus magazine columnist Thomas Wolf has written a brief, but so true article on political correctness in Germany:

There are taboos in Germany. The person who is against the euro and makes it know publicly, will almost always have a hard time. Do-gooders of all colors denounce people with eurocritical opinions in talks shows as anti-European and revanchist.

Also the person who questions human caused climate change is not likely to find apologists. "Such people do not have any sense of responsibility for the future of our children" is the killer argument. And the person who thinks that the victims themselves are to blame for poverty and social problems, is callous and totally lacking solidarity. You are only allowed to reject Christianity. Because the Pope forbids the pill and priests live a celibate life. However, any criticism of Islam is forbidden. It would be xenophobic. 

When differing opinions are not expressed anymore, because their holders are castigated as immoral, every debate runs dry. 

Political correctness and taboos have created a climate without any alternatives in the German Federal Republic, which the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk describes in this way: "Whether you confess to social democracy or not, has for long ceased to mean anything, because there cannot really be any non-social democrats among us, the society is per se social democrat, and the person who is not, is either in a madhouse or abroad ..."

Wolf's and Sloterdijk's descriptions are, of course, not only applicable in Germany. Exactly the same taboos and political correctness prevent any meaningful discussion and debate in many other European countries. 

1 comment:

A K Haart said...

That's a good quote, although I do wonder if there was ever a golden age of free speech.