What began as a peaceful protest ended in a riot. Leftist demonstrators threw stones and bottles during protests against a march by the NPD (neo-Nazis). Police officials felt they had been “massively attacked.” The police fired one or two warning shots.
Of course, the level of mayhem wasn’t in the same league with our town hall meetings here in the US, but things do seem to be heating up over there.
The Rainbow Group fights for AIDS prevention. In its current ad campaign, “AIDS is a Mass Murderer,” the male party to a sex act turns out to be Adolf Hitler. The calculated provocation is running up against heavy criticism – especially outside of Germany.
I can see Adolf as a poster boy for AIDS, but what’s with the face lift, the macho man body, and the hot chick? A fat lady with a Viking helmet would have been more appropriate. Spiegel informs us that Stalin and Saddam Hussein will also get a turn.
Just when I thought the “progressive” boycott of Whole Foods took the cake for stupidity, these pinheads show up at an Obama event.
Pinheads, that is, unless they are agents provocateurs. In that case they are brilliant, because it’s hard to imagine a more effective way of dealing a blow to gun rights and private health care. As an added bonus, they played nicely into the hands of European hatemongers, who can be relied on not to miss such a golden opportunity to feed the anti-American stereotypes of their readers.
In 1976, Robert Ardrey published the last in a series of books about the evolution of human nature, entitled “The Hunting Hypothesis.” Ardrey was one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. Unfortunately, his thoughts were not politically correct at the time. They posed a direct challenge to any number of the ideological sacred cows of belief systems ranging from behaviorist psychology to Marxism. They implied that human nature was not infinitely malleable, but based on innate predispositions that rendered mankind unsuitable for the various and sundry utopias the ideologues were cobbling together. In a word, Ardrey had positioned himself squarely in the out-group of all these ideologically defined in-groups. A great collective shriek went up. As usual in such cases, Ardrey’s challenge was not met with dispassionate logic. Rather, he was vilified as a “fascist,” ridiculed as a “pop ethologist,” and denounced as a dilettante playwright who dared to invade the territory of “real scientists.” One would do well to go back and read his books today, because, as it happens, Ardrey was right and the ideologues posing as “scientists” who vilified him were wrong.
In particular he was right about the hunting hypothesis. The best argument his opponents could come up with against it was the absurd claim that, other than a few tortoises and other slow-moving animals, our early meat eating had been limited to scavenging. The idea that the rapid growth of brains with ever increasing energy requirements could have been fueled by the scavenging of four-foot tall, slow moving creatures who had somehow managed to beat sharp-eyed vultures and speedy hyenas to their feasts was really as absurd then as it is now. Ardrey demolished the notion in the first chapter of his book, but, like a dead man walking, it staggered on for years, propped up by the bitter faith of the ideologues.
I suspected at the time “The Hunting Hypothesis” was published that Ardrey and thinkers like him would eventually be vindicated, assuming free research could continue without ideologically imposed restraints. I never imagined it would happen so soon. It’s still hard for me to believe that we’ve passed through such a thorough paradigm shift, and I’m continually surprised when I see articles such as this one, entitled “Pre-humans had Stomach Cramps,” that appeared on the website of the German magazine “Der Spiegel” today. Among its matter-of-factly presented paragraphs regarding the meat eating habits of Australopithecus afarensis, a hominid that lived more than two million years ago, one finds,
The question of when meat consumption began is important because of its association with the development of a larger brain in pre- and early humans. In fact, the human brain is three times as big as that of a chimpanzee. In order to build up an organ of such dimensions, a very large and continuous supply of nourishment must be guaranteed, and that requires meat.
Hunting is the only way of systematically bringing down animals, and this, in turn, assumes a bigger brain. As with the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, one can’t be sure what came first, meat eating or a larger brain. However, anthropologists assume that, in the beginning, there must have been at least occasional consumption of meat, because, without it, the brain could not have expanded in volume for purely physical reasons.
All this is presented in dead pan fashion, as if no other opinion could ever have prevailed, or the subject could ever have been the subject of the least controversy. Sad, that Ardrey could not have lived to see it.
And the moral of the story? Perhaps we should recall the words of T. S. Eliot from “Little Gidding,”
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
We live too much in the present, breathlessly awaiting the latest news from the worlds of science and politics. Occasionally, we would do well to recall that some very bright people, with a very different perspective, not to mention very different standards of political correctness, actually lived before our time. It would behoove us to learn from them if we really want to understand the time we’re in now. Never accept the moral certainties of today. Go back to the sources, and find out for yourself.
I have to laugh in spite of myself when I read two recent Spiegel articles by German “objective journalist” Gregor Peter Schmitz side by side. In the first, entitled “Germans are America Fans Again,” Schmitz cites a Pew Research poll according to which 64% of Germans have a positive attitude towards the US, as opposed to 31% in the last year of the Bush Administration. Obama’s approval rating is an astounding 93%. So far, so good. After all, German America bashers have always told us that negative attitudes there about the US were “all about Bush.”
But wait! The very next day, we find Schmitz busily reinforcing quasi-racist German stereotypes of Americans in a ludicrously biased article about the Gates affair. We don’t have to wait until the end of Schmitz’ latest fairy tale to find out what the “moral” of the story will be. He spoon-feeds it to his readers in the opening section with the unctuous observation that researchers in Gates’ W.E.B. Du Bois Institute have continued to warn us that, “while open racism in the United States is largely taboo, the hidden variety is still the rule.”
Schmitz’ description of how the affair went down is an admirable example of typical Spiegelesque “modification” of reality to fit the narrative. This involves carefully tip-toeing along the borderline between blatant lies and mere “poetic license.” Here is his version:
The policeman asked for identification, Gates looked for it and, perhaps after raising a protest, showed it. The policeman asked more questions, insistently, at which Gates asked for his name and service number. When the officer didn’t answer, Gates asked, “Are you refusing to answer me while you’re a white policeman and I’m a black man?” Things went back and forth, became louder, one word led to the next, and then the reports of what happened diverge. One thing is clear: The policeman arrested Gates in front of his own house for “disorderly conduct,” meaning resistance against state power (Staatsgewalt).
Of course, Schmitz knows that his German readers aren’t likely to read the police report of the affair, which gives an entirely different version of events. An excerpt, written by Officer Crowley, who made the arrest:
As I stood in plain view of this man, later identified as Gates, I asked if he would step out onto the porch and speak with me. He replied, “No, I will not.” He then demanded to know who I was. I told him that I was “Sgt. Crowley from the Cambridge Police” and that I was “investigating a report of a break in progress” at the residence. While I was making this statement, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?” I then asked Gates if there was anyone else in the residence. While yelling, he told me that it was none of my business, and accused me of being a racist police officer.” … Gates then turned on me that I had no idea who I was “messing” with and that I had not heard the last of it.”… Gates again asked for my name, which I began to provide. Gates began to yell over my spoken words by accusing me of being a racist police officer and leveling threats he wasn’t someone to mess with. Gates continued to yell at me. I told Gates that I was leaving the residence and that if he had any other questions regarding the matter, I would speak to him outside the residence… My reason for wanting to leave the residence was that Gates was yelling very loud and the acoustic of the kitchen and foyer were making it difficult for me to transmit pertinent information to ECC or other responding units. His reply was, “ya, I’ll speak with your mama outside.” …as I descended the stairs to the sidewalk, Gates continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias and continued to tell me that I had not heard the last of him. Due to the tumultuous manner Gates had exhibited in his residence as well as his continuous tumultuous behavior outside the residence, in view of the public, I warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly. Gates ignored my warning and continued to yell, which drew the attention of both the police officers and citizens, who appeared surprised and alarmed by Gates’ outburst.
And so on. There were many witnesses to the affair, including numerous officers who were not white. None of them has disputed Officer Crowley’s version. Obama obviously realizes it’s accurate, because he’s in full damage control mode, furiously rowing back on his comment “that the Cambridge police acted stupidly,” and inviting Gates and Crowley to the White House for a propaganda photo op. There was definitely racial profiling going on here, but by Gates, not Officer Crowley. Needless to say, Schmitz is still playing dumb. After all, he has to play to the quasi-racist anti-American stereotypes of his newly baptized “pro-American” audience. Continuing with his pious morality play, he lugubriously informs us that,
“This brings back memories that are easily repressed in the Age of Obama: Of black fellow students at Harvard who tell of how security often required them to show identification on the university grounds. Of a female friend in Harvard Law School who came from a simple black family in Philadelphia, and hardly dared to report to classes in the elite university. Of the fact that even in the U Street clubs in Washington the lines in front of the clubs are still often divided according to race – even though almost everyone in the district voted for Obama.”
Coming from a German, this is really enough to choke a camel. I regularly work with talented young black professors who have received government research grants. I know for a fact that they’re favored in getting those grants, because I’ve personally taken part in the selection process. They aren’t chosen over more qualified whites, but they’re invariably given the benefit of the doubt if the competition is close. As for the U Street clubs, I don’t frequent them myself, and suspect the many German tourists one encounters around the Mall don’t get up there very often either. If they did, I strongly suspect they’d find that Schmitz’ yarn is complete bullshit. I challenge him or anyone else to document racial prejudice at the clubs.
Meanwhile, as Schmitz sheds crocodile tears over race relations in the US, things aren’t exactly rosy back home. I’ve personally read the caveat “For Germans Only!” in German classified ads for apartments. I personally know of Russian acquaintances who have called about apartments and been rejected, and then learned that the apartment was available when a native speaker with no accent called the same number. Walk the streets in any large city in Germany and you’ll see plenty of black people. Where are the black university professors in Germany? Where are the black CEO’s in Germany? Where are the influential black politicians in Germany? For that matter, where does one find representatives of Muslim or any other minorities in important positions in Germany, other than in sports or entertainment? How is it that it never occurs to Herr Schmitz’ colleagues to chronicle the pervasive racism in German society, when they’re obviously so concerned about any apparent occurrence of it in America, whether bogus or not? Articles about racism there in the mainstream media are as rare as hen’s teeth.
So you think German anti-Americanism has disappeared in the brave new world of Obama? Dream on!
Apologists for German America bashing were fond of informing us during the last administration that the routine hate mongering in their media was “all about Bush,” and would go away if Obama were elected. Well, soo-prise, soo-prise, Bush is long gone, but America bashing is alive and well in Germany. I will occasionally chronicle some of the more amusing, appalling, and/or egregious examples. Today, Der Spiegel is wringing its hands about prison conditions. Where, you ask? Were they concerned about the routine torture and killing that goes on in China’s jails? Were they upset by the routine police brutality in prospective EU member Turkey? Were they disgusted by the notorious prevalence of torture in Iran’s jails? None of the above! No, as usual, they were striking pious poses about Guantanamo. The headline reads, “Matreatment of Prisoners at Guantanamo Continues.” It seems one of the prisoners’ lawyers was upset by his client’s unpleasant cell conditions.
There’s been little change in the incidence of anti-Americanism in the German media since Obama took office. In fact, it was a great deal more subdued at the end of the Bush Administration than it was back in 1999 under Clinton. As in this case, it often took the form of the classic double standard, so it could be fobbed off as “objective criticism,” that had merely been “reprinted from the New York Times.”
Under Clinton, Spiegel went off the deep end with foaming-at-the-mouth attacks over such cause célèbres as the US Echelon System. There was big dough in promoting anti-American hate in Germany, and the rest of the media soon followed the money trail. Quasi-racist Amerika bashing could be found everywhere, from the sensational tabloid headlines of Stern to the stuffy feuilleton columns of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. International leaders like Tony Blair, who seemed to support us, were berated as “poodles” and “vassals.” Eventually, decent German citizens began pushing back. I will always be grateful to these people. I wish more Americans knew about them. If nothing else, it would show them there’s a lot more to Germany than the Third Reich. Some of them were very articulate, and they condemned the pervasive hate peddling where they could, in blogs and Internet forums. Their only reward was a torrent of abuse from the anti-American zealots.
Finally, a few Americans started to notice the anti-American tirades as well. They were hard to miss. One occasionally had a difficult time finding any news about Germany on Spiegel’s website among the anti-American rants. Eventually, the editors realized that, lucrative as it was, they couldn’t keep up such blatant hate peddling if they wanted to win any more international prizes for “objective journalism.” The allergic reaction in Germany and the US to the “wretched excess” of the last years of Clinton and the first of Bush was growing. The tone of the propaganda became more subdued. Eventually, it took the form we see today. It’s now just a shade of what it was in days gone by.
Still, as today’s zinger shows, the narrative still lives. Spiegel and the rest will occasionally throw out bits of red meat to the America hating crowd. Money talks, anti-American propaganda still pays in Germany, and they don’t want their circulation figures to drop too low. They try to cover their tracks, but, like the racists in the United States, their stench is unmistakable. One can still smell them. I will continue to draw attention to their antics as I see them.
I had to laugh when I saw this less than subtle image of an evil corporation draped in American flags in an article about those naughty boys at Goldman Sachs at Spiegel Online. Alas, the editors can’t throw out the kind of in-your-face red meat to the legions of Amerika haters among its readers that they used to rake in the coin with a decade ago. Times have changed, people across the pond are watching, and one must keep up at least some threadbare remnant of the appearance of respectability. Don’t worry, though. Its readers get the drift, even if Spiegel now has to leave the blatant hate mongering seen in these images to the lesser rags.
The apologists told us that German anti-Americanism was all about Bush, and would disappear as soon as Obama became President. Dream on! Here’s a charming example that turned up on Spiegel’s website yesterday. In her unctuous opening sentence, the narrator provides the proper “context:” “Here’s a video of the sort that we’ve become all too familiar with from America.” The German media never fail to take advantage of such incidents to throw out some anti-American red meat to the legions of haters in their audiences. I helps the bottom line.
Meanwhile, today we learn that a witness was stabbed to death in a courtroom in Dresden. Can anyone find a holier-than-thou dig about how this is “typical of German conditions” in the US media? I didn’t think so. One would have thought that, by now, the Germans, of all people, would have learned the drawbacks of smearing a whole people for the actions of a few.
An interesting article appeared in the German news magazine, “Der Spiegel,” recently. It was entitled, “How Mankind Learned Humanity,” and discussed recent developments in the field of evolutionary science relating to the evolution of morality in human beings. Why was it interesting? Well, there was a time when the appearance of anything of the sort in a left-leaning publication like Spiegel would have been virtually unthinkable. You see, back in the day, Marxists, socialists, and dwellers in various other ideological straightjackets found such notions politically unpalatable. They were in conflict with the preferred version of human behavior as infinitely malleable, and determined entirely by environment and learning. Creatures possessing such ideal characteristics were indispensible if the various utopias then under construction for us were ever to work as planned.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, a brilliant thinker named Robert Ardrey and others like him began publishing books, such as “African Genesis,” and “The Territorial Imperative,” pointing out the rather obvious absurdities of such notions, and reviewing studies of animal behavior and other research that pointed to the conclusion that our capacity to act as moral beings had evolved, along with the rest of our characteristics. They were promptly demonized as fascists, racists, and “pop ethologists” by the puritan ideologues. Notions to the effect that there was any genetic component to human behavior became distinctly politically incorrect. References to such ideas in the popular media became few and far between. When they did, it was usually to the accompaniment of some slur about the moral turpitude of those harboring such notions.
For those of us who lived through those times, and witnessed the shameful attempts of scientific poseurs like Richard Lewontin and Ashley Montagu to silence Ardrey and his colleagues with ridicule and spite, the unconscious vindication of his ideas represented by the Spiegel article and many others like it is both welcome and encouraging. I never doubted that vindication would come, because it seemed that, unless the Lewontins of the world were somehow able to cow the rest of the research community into suppressing every “inconvenient truth” that didn’t quite agree with their ideologically conditioned preconceptions, the weight of evidence for ideas that really amounted to little more than common sense would become overwhelming.
In the end, it did become overwhelming. The Spiegel article and the ever increasing volume of others like it are a reflection of that fact. The genetic basis of morality, and of human nature in general, is now treated as a commonplace in the popular media, as it is in the scientific research community in general. To tell the truth, I never thought the day would come as quickly as it has. It’s a hopeful sign. In the end, as long as free research can continue, the truth really can prevail.
While most of you were sleeping, the German media were carrying on a campaign of anti-American hate mongering that made one wonder exactly what they’d learned, if anything, from losing two world wars. At its peak, during the final years of the Clinton and the first years of the Bush Administration, it became incredibly vicious, amounting to little less than racism without the race.
It was driven, to some extent, by the hatred of the German 68ers for the United States, but, more importantly, by greed. When editors who had previously taken a more or less neutral attitude towards the US noticed that Spiegel and its hangers on in the “avant garde” of anti-Americanism were raking in big dough by peddling hate, that quickly jumped on the bandwagon.
There are, however, a lot of decent Germans who were revolted by the shameless America bashing. One of them was David of Davids Medienkritik. Medienkritik is inactive now, but you can still find much of what I’ve alluded to above amply documented there. David and many others started pushing back, in forums, blogs, and wherever they could make their voices heard. Eventually, a few Americans noticed, too, and the word started getting around that what was going on in the German media has nothing to do with “objective criticism,” a favorite euphemism of the hatemongers.
In the end, Spiegel and the rest realized they couldn’t continue the brazen peddling of hate and maintain any credibility or reputation for “objectivity” at the same time. As a result, anti-Americanism in the German media has become a great deal more subdued. However, the bottom line requires that they still occasionally throw out a little red meat to keep the interest of the America haters from waning.
At the moment, “red meat” takes the form of exploiting any opportune accident or disaster to pontificate about how whatever system, infrastructure, or whatever, happened to be involved was “antiquated,” “typical of Third World countries,” “rotting,” “decaying,” etc., etc. You get the idea. The deaths of nine people and the injury of many more in the recent Washington Metro accident gave them a perfect opening. They didn’t fail to exploit it.
An article that appeared in Spiegel, as noted above, one of the most unabashed hate peddlers during the heyday of anti-Americanism, is typical. According to the article:
“Nine people were killed and more than 70 injured in the collision of two subway trains in the Capital of the US. The exact cause of the accident is still unclear, but pointed questions are being raised: Is Washingon’s antiquated traffic net a security risk?”
According to the “zinger” sentence at the end of the article, “‘The system is becoming obsolete, and must be carefully investigated,’ said Peter Goelz, former head of the Transportation Safety Board, to the New York Times.”
Of course, the investigation into the actual cause of the accident isn’t anywhere near complete. Perhaps old equipment will eventually get the blame, and perhaps not. The point is that Spiegel had no way of knowing one way or the other at the time their article appeared. No serious attempt was made to compare the subway infrastructure in Washington with that of any city in Europe, or the United States for that matter.
It doesn’t matter to Spiegel, and it won’t matter in the future. I guarantee you, you will see this pattern repeated over and over again, every time there is a significant accident or disaster in the United States. It’s the current manifestation of the anti-American narrative in the German media. True, that narrative isn’t nearly as “over the top” as it was five years ago, but it’s still there. I will occasionally draw your attention to the most egregious examples.