Does Democracy Need to be More Populist: Marc Jongen and Ian Buruma



and I want to welcome up now to join me on the stage mark young'n and Ian varoma the question that who day meant adjust left you with of whether we can or cannot imagine a democracy of without We the People but with we the people's there's a question that I think kept coming up yesterday and I'm Martin Guri talked about the idea of whether there's a public or public's and we said well we like to use the word public as public seems weird I think that's so true it public is a funny word and yet increasingly we live in worlds in which there's publics much of the crises of democracy that we're experiencing around the world is a crisis I tried to express this yesterday and one of my prejudices that we have a prejudice that democracy's about individuals and not Wiis communities and the question one the question that our next speaker very much has occupied himself with is the question of what is a political we what does it mean for Americans to be American or Germans to be German or Indians to be Indian it's an old question it's a question goes to the very foundations of democratic representative democratic nation states and and it is that in many ways one of the rooted root questions of the Democratic crises that are going on around the world a crises in which many people say we want to be X French American German etc and other people say what is that and we live in a multi-ethnic multiracial world what does it mean to be that and and and this is a question in all these countries I think it's a specific question in a country like for example Germany where to be German has had negative conduct connotations for the last 50 or 60 years so um but this is a question that's going on the United States to make America great again what does that mean we need to address that and think about it and so our next speaker is someone who I think has given this question more thought than people I know let's put it that way he recently was elected to the German parliament the Bundestag mark union is of German philosopher essayist and political activist he taught for many years at university of karlsruhe calls her University of Arts and Design the whole shoe Fergus Dalton and he was an assistant to the well-known philosopher patron lotta bike there he emigrated to Germany in 19 in 2001 from from Italy sued to Rome and he has become one of the leading members both in his native Baden württemberg and also nationally in the German party eternity for Deutschland which as many of you know one about 13 percent of the vote in Germany last week in a very controversial election he's going to be speaking about this question of populism but also about belonging and and and and national belonging and what that means in a modern democracy following him to respond will be Ian bruma who many of you here know he taught it barred for I think almost 15 years he's written numerous books I think 17 books what I read and I'm sure it's more by now on including murder in Amsterdam which many of you have read we teach it in our free speech course and in human rights about the available on go classes it's called murder in Amsterdam the death of fail van Gogh and the limits of Tolerance he also wrote a book about well a number of books about world war 2 most recently Year Zero a history of 1945 it's won numerous prizes he's a great friend of the Arendt and bard communities and as I'm sure many of you know was recently appointed the editor of the New York Review of Books excited to have this conversation please welcome mark young I have to adjust this a bit thank you very much Roger for this kind introduction and for the invitation I'm really deeply honored that I can speak here to you today which is not for granted for me anymore to speak in front of such audiences in such conferences since I joined the afte V alternativa Dodger and a party I made the experience that conference is where I should appear where disturbed there was a huge protest going on when I should give a talk in Switzerland in Zurich in the theatre and 400 German intellectuals and people from the art scene protested against that protested against free speech and so the the whole conference couldn't take place so that's the situation in in Germany and in Europe right now and so for me at least in my case America turns out turned out to be the land of free speech and I'm very grateful for that in one sense I'm not going to deliver a free speech here in the sense that I have to look on my on my remarks written remarks here because my English unfortunately is not so fluent that I can speak freely so please be patient with me also afterwards when we go into the debate so our question is populism today does politics have to be more populist in regard to this into this topic I have a big advantage compared with probably all of you and that is I am a populist myself yeah at least if we follow the German media and political observers in Germany so merely by phenomenological inside and careful description of what I found within myself what dark ambitions and motivations I should be able to give you an account of what populism is well I'll do my best you see I'm acting here a bit as an MP beer going from the political realm to the academic and back so being a political activist or even a politician at the same time I try to to observe myself and that's what I'm I'm going to do now well in my case we even have to speak about right-wing populism or even far-right because as you know maybe no the alter alternative a fiddle and out alternative for Germany AFD is considered a right-wing party even for far-right which means the party is largely demonized in my view in a total absurd manner not the specters of Marx as Derrida put it are haunting in Germany at these days but the specters of Hitler politics in Germany has become sadly to a large extent fighting against specters and projecting specters on others in order to exclude them from serious political discussion sort of a ghost busting is going on there so and the notion of right-wing populists is saw the for preliminary state to the often used Nazi maze so I am a bit sensitive towards that term as you can imagine you see I'm going to talk here about the German situation which are evidently know best but from where I think analogous conclusions can be drawn to four other at least European countries if for the u.s. we have to discover afterwards and to examine the German situation it's useful to look back and see when and why the AFD my party was founded as in other countries in Germany – the foundation of a new and a successful new party is a very hard and complicated thing in post-war the post-war Germany it happened only once before aft when the Green Party was founded back in the 1970s so there must be a lot of suffering and uncontested neskowin on with the existing parties and the existing politics before the hard work of party founding they started so what made the AFD possible the FT I would say was a reaction or a rebellion to what our Chancellor Angela Merkel called the alternative lessness of her politics she so to say the German Tina you know D acronym Tina there is no alternative she quoted that she said that several times no alternative to what first of all the phrase was used in regards to the euro the common European currency and in regards to the euro rescue policy when the Euro fails Europe fails that was Angela Merkel's but in fact from a economic point of view the euro the euro is already and was at that time a failed currency it has it has done an awful amount of harm to the South and European countries Greece has almost become a third world country in economic terms because of that euro rescue policy the situation there is terrible suicide rain rate went up and so on and the euro has led to this totally crazy zero or even negative interest rate interest rate policy by which the savings the wealth of the people are slowly melting away including the pension systems which is a very serious problem so the only ones benefiting from this policy are the big financial Institute's and not the people so maybe you might call this populist but I would say so I don't have to time to go into the depths here despite the fact that I'm not financial expert as I must admit but my important point here is that this euro rescue policy had led into a post political and even post Democratic situation as if Colin Crouch the author of post democracy had written the script to this development in 2012 without any discussion in European Parliament's at least in Germany there was none the ESM mechanism the so-called European Stability Mechanism in Brussels was established with 700 billion euros starting capital it's a monster by rock by rock bureaucracy with the right to take as many financial means from the national budgets mainly from the German one as it holds for necessary in a state of emergency in fact we are I would say since then living in a permanent state of emergency or state of exception and if you follow Karl Schmidt's famous saying sovereign is who decides over the state of exception Angela Merkel turned out to be sovereign in this sense of the term but can she still be called a Democratic leader then anymore Carl Schmitt wrote the quoted phrase in an essay called on dictatorship maybe we should call Democratic what is going on right now or Democrat or in in German against this post democratic form of government which on the surface is still liberal it's it calls itself democratic after the election of Donald Trump Angela Merkel has even been called the leader of the free world which in my ears sounds like a total mockery so against these elites detached from the people's and not only in my view not representing them anymore as they should the AFT has since 2013 since it's since the beginnings demanded that in such issues of crucial importance for the whole country has to introduction all the maintenance of of a new currency of the Euro against all economic logic the people has have to be asked in a referendum and it's quite sure that back then when the euro was introduced Germans would never have voted to create the German mark well you can call that populistic but then I mean introducing more referendums and so on you can call it pop allistic but then you will also have to claim that Switzerland is a populistic country where such referendums are the common form of political decision-making since a long time I would rather call it democratic in fact popular populist the Latin word where populism derives from and damos the Greek word within within the term democracy mean exactly the same namely the people so a democracy without any populist aspect is an unthinkable thing but let me come back to the state of emergency a significant and alarming deepening of the state of emergency occurred in 2015 when the Merkel government again in a sovereign decision against any law explicitly against article 16 a of the German constitution decided to open the borders and let in the country first ten thousand and hundred thousands and at the end far more over than 1 million mainly young mainly male mainly Muslim immigrants some of them real refugees persecuted in their home countries and legitimately looking for for shelter in Germany but with them in their shelter suits in their shadow also to say also many of the persecutors came and even criminals and many soldiers of fortune attracted by the German welfare state you cannot blame them for it if there is the possibility to come maybe we would also come in in their position Donald Trump in his not so polite manner has called his policy insane and even if I'm critical towards the the personality of Trump in in this case in the in the core I think he was he was right since we have been since then in Germany we have been experiencing a tremendous loss of inner security we have experienced a new kind of terrorism formerly unknown in our country a rise of crimes committed by new immigrants also if it's not political correct to say so but it's it's the truth proven by the statistics namely severe crimes like robbery rape even murder and the climate in the country has completely changed and this climate is totally opposed to the official slogans of the government namely to Angela Merkel's other famous mantra via chiffon das so it's the German version of yes we can yeah we can integrate all these people and our answer to this is no we cannot and even those who are full of goodwill will fail to integrate not to speak of assimilate all these culturally alien people for the simple reason that they are too many and even more so as the example of France shows because their Islamic faith turns out to be a serious obstacle of integration so I don't want to go deeper in this difficult Islam discussion here but rather come back to my point from before not only do we have to say no we cannot but maybe we also have the right to say no we don't want to or to put it in the bottle be way we prefer not to we haven't really been asked if we want to and that's and if we want to this decision to open the borders at this decision to open the borders has been supposed to us and anyone is threatened to be called a racist or a nationalist or even a Nazi who dares to be skeptical towards this no border no policy no no nation policy which only ten years ago also in Germany would have been widely regarded as a dangerous but thanks God unrealistic reverie of the extreme left from a psycho political point of view what has happened with the mass immigration in Germany's installed 2015 is a traumatic experience it was in fact an act of violence in my view what happens here and like with all trauma to the consequences do not appear immediately first on the surface life goes on as if nothing happened but on a deeper level a profound shock occurred that will step-by-step disturb and transform the whole society and the political system or at least the the leading politics already now it is obvious that this state of emergency won't want and want only provoked by the merkel administration led to a messy massive loss of trust in representative representative democracy and not for nothing as I might may say and I'm very concerned about that again the AFD is the political force giving a voice to all all those who feel uncomfortable with this forced transformation of Germany in a country of uncontrolled mass immigration and by that the party has become a sort of a scapegoat make responsible for all the troubles we are going through right now including the traditional violence against the scapegoat also physical violence we are we are suffering well the official official or hegemony –all political narrative goes that the populace are the disturbing factor they are capitalizing politically on the situation they are promoting fears hate against foreigners and so on and so on of course I'm strongly opposed to that narrative and instead I claim that the rise of parties like the AFD is not the cause for our troubles but rather a sign or a symptom that things are going profoundly wrong and it's very dangerous and this destructive for our political debate debate culture calling everyone nationalist or racist or even Nazi who is not willing to accept uncontrolled mass immigration and who insists on container controlled form of limited immigration according to certain well-defined criteria and that brings me to the last and main point in my initial remarks here and and that's the question of the we Roger spoke about it before the question of the we which I think it's crucial when we speak about the future and the fate of democracy who are we and who do we want to be these are the questions that have been posed for us through the mass mass immigration in a in a quite radical manner and we all agree and I explicitly also agree that it would be a very bad idea to build our society in our nations and states on the concept of race of genetic affiliation the horrific experiences to horrific experiences have been made in the 20th century with people trying to do so so that's over and done thanks God but on the other hand I would claim we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bath bill with the bathwater and say that the feeling of the we so it's essential to functioning democracy and a democratic society hasn't got anything to do with parentage and can be easily obtained just by handing out passports to anyone crossing the border with what intentions ever at this point the term populist probably reveals its deeper or deepest meaning for Latin populace the English people and the German Volk the Greeks had two words namely demos the sum of citizens that constitute the democracy to make it very short and the ethnos the people defined by partly genetic partly cultural affiliation now the demos can certainly not be reduced to the Aetna's as said before it's called democracy and not yet not cracy but there is enough evidence I think to suppose that a sufficiently strong consciousness of we for functioning democracy can only be established among a people who share the same values and thus will engaged engage in a common project for the future and for sharing the same values to put it very cautiously it's very helpful to be rooted in a common ground to be united by a common past or history to stress on that in this difficult period of transition we are going through might be the positive and necessary role of those called populist s' if not of all of them so at least of some of them now I'm aware of the fact that the situation in the u.s. is quite different from the situation in Europe and much and much of what I was saying about populism might not apply to the American phenomenon named such other than in other than the European countries the USA have always been an immigration country they they have been the immigration country Multi multicultural and multi-ethnic are but nevertheless I would think that the formation of something like the American nation could only succeed by the shared English language and by something in German is called light cult or literally translated as leading culture namely the strong shared belief in Liberty democracy in equality of all human beings the crisis of democracy in my belief consists in the forgetting of those roots of democracy without which the common we will fall apart in several small wee bubbles or identities each one concerned only about his its own rights its own interests but not forming a common demos anymore so that shows that I'm quite critical towards identity politics as you can guess but that would be another discourse my time I think it's more than over now thank you very much for your patience [Applause] good morning I was asked to respond which I will do I promised that I would not use the mace of Nazism I won't even mention the Nazis I do not think you're a racist we won't be beastly to the Germans at least not more than necessary I've listened to your discourse of great interests and I'm glad glad to say or perhaps sorry to say for the sake of debate that I agree at least in one respect I think Angela Merkel has made mistakes possibly not the same mistakes that you think she's made I do think there's a problem with the euro and I do think that the Greeks in particular with the southern Europeans in general are being badly treated but not necessarily because the Euro itself was such a terrible idea I think it will only work if there is sufficient solidarity amongst Europeans to bail out the country that's in in trouble when necessary and I think the Northern Europeans and I include my own native country the Netherlands which in a sense has become economically certainly a part of course Deutschland that the Northern Europeans have behaved very hypocritically because for a long time they made a huge amount of money German banks did and so on and you probably wouldn't disagree with this Dutch banks by lending the Greeks and others huge amounts of money when the going was good profiting from it enormously and when the when after the crisis in 2008 when the going was no longer so good Angela Merkel made the big mistake in my view to blame the Greeks and other lazy Mediterranean people for not working hard enough and so on and it's their fault and they should become more like Germans and pull their socks up and there's no need to further to be of any assistance and that's led to the sorry situation that I think you described so I think there we can agree and referendums I'm not at all as enamored by them as you are I think it's too much more commonly used in authoritarian systems and in democracies Mussolini was of course a great fan of referendums but serve other dictators the whole point I think of representative document democracy is that we elect people to represent the people and not have the sort of the people's voice decide directly in referendums and say on very complicated issues in which there often isn't a clear yes or no answer and we see the results in Britain today and on the immigration issue again I don't totally disagree I think it is a mess in Europe but again perhaps not for this we don't agree for about the reasons for it I think one of the problems in Europe is that the EU neither the EU no individual European countries have ever had a clear policy on immigration they have a policy on refugees on asylum seeking but the category of economic migrants has never rarely been probably acknowledged and so as as a result even those who cannot make a living in their own countries and there will be more and more because of climate change and so on who then feel forced to move to more prosperous parts of the world have to pretend to be refugees in order to be allowed in in fact they're often coached by people to do so which then creates the impression amongst people that they're all shysters and Liars and so on and and the answer to that in my view is to have to make a distinction and to have the policy on on asylum seekers and refugees which there is to some extent but also to have a policy on how many migrants to allow in what categories to have and so on something slightly more akin to that what they have in in the new world now the situation that you painted which is rather alarmist and doesn't seemed to me to be an exact reflection of reality Angela Merkel no longer talks about open borders she no longer talks about a million refugees there are already great limits to that there is no such thing as open borders even though they may be insufficiently guarded but nobody has a policy of allowing anybody in who wants to come in I mean the I think that is an alarmist view the fact that there is crime amongst immigrants does not come as news to anybody in this country of course there is crime amongst immigrants people who often helpless don't know the language they then rely on gangs and so on people who take care of their interests the history of the United States is full of the history of immigration the United States is full of stories of crime now is the crime of refugees and immigrants in Germany which clearly there is crime is it is it sufficient to call this kind of existential crisis sometimes something that's completely transformed German society seems extremely doubtful to me and the idea that we cannot integrate people who have a different religion or different customs is a very old one and I promise not to mention the Nazis so I'll mention another country impeccably liberal in its history Norway when Norway became an independent country for the first time they had nice liberal philologists classicists learned men who sold themselves very much as representatives of Enlightenment thinking – and they were asked to draw up a constitution for Norway and it was indeed a very liberal constitution except for one article which said that Jews could never become citizens of Norway and the reason was argued along enlightenment lines Jews because their religion and culture can never be integrated in a Western liberal democracy these people are different they can come as guests as tourists and some they can never be citizens because it's impossible to integrate people who have such a different culture and religion in a Western liberal democracy and this is simply to illustrate that the ideas that are becoming sold on fish again have a provenance which is not necessarily Hitlerian or anything of that sort but but can come from completely other different direction as well on the question of citizenship and again let's not talk about Hitler Hitler let's go back a little bit further when you say that people that it helps to be of the soil to have certain family histories that are akin and so on and so forth to build a democracy and it's not a help to have people of too many different ethnic groups religions cultural backgrounds and so on well let's take a look at the very late at the end of the 19th century when the United States and Britain were indisputably more democratic than Germany at the time on the vilhelm kaiser wilhelm ii which is not to say germany was then an evil country but it was certainly less democratic now one of the things that kaiser wilhelm ii said and he took his cue from an Englishman Houston Stewart Chamberlain who married bargainers daughter was first of all that the United States and Britain were terrible countries because they were as he put it so charmingly valued it juoh fide but in which he meant that these were mongrel populations and why were they mongrel populations because in another even less crowning word he used because in Britain and America and I'm quoting Kaiser Wilhelm here every basu toe nigger can buy citizenship with a few shillings the other in the idea namely that you could become a citizen whoever you were wherever you were from if you were part of the of the of the society regardless of your background and this was then of course associated with money with capitalism and so on which of course was very much identified with the United States and Britain now I put it to you again let's avoid the 1930s and 40s that the idea that democracy somehow is inextricably linked to a notion of the vorc based on bloodlines and so on is is historically at least a questionable one and I'll leave it at that [Applause] you want to restate any response at all or you want to open it up for some questions um well that was a huge range of issues you put forward here so well to begin with with the common ground we share I think that's a good thing that we we are looking for the same goal we want to have a functioning democracy we are both against discrimination and racism and all that but we have a different view of this of what is going on right now and well you made some historic and historical analogies and which I all can follow I understand what you mean but I think most of them are the false analogy analogies so and by doing by by looking at the past exactly in that way exactly that happens what what I what I said before that we rather see this the specters of the past and our fight and we are fighting against these specters rather than facing the actual problems so coming back to the the question of of the Jewish people well now as you maybe know many Jewish people are leaving France today not because of the rise of the populist party there but because they get attacked on the streets they are not feeling secure anymore and this atrocities come from Muslims and that is a fact that has to be acknowledged and also in the in in the streets of Germany you now here yeah we have heard slogans which I don't want to repeat here because they are so terrible against Jews coming from the Muslim community I don't claim that every Muslim think things like this I don't say that Muslim per se is can't be can't be integrated in a democratic modern society but we have to face the fact that many problems arise with out of this of this community and if we if we if we do not look clearly at these things we will achieve exactly the opposite of what we want to achieve what you want to achieve the result at the end will not be a functioning democracy where we all feel that we are one society heading for the same goals but we will be a society separated indifferent well parallel worlds hostile towards each other that's my point of view you call it Allah mystic well we won't we won't agree at the end but yeah well the future will will bring who who was right well just wanted to make clear the the differences between us here in Germany I could do better so let's take a couple questions and we'll continue the conversation Wilma down here on the right wheel Mike good morning my name is mama James I'm former South African Member of Parliament and chairman of its main opposition party which is a Liberal Democratic Party so I'm now at Columbia and I'm deeply disturbed by this conversation simply because of two reasons the first is that if you think about the South African scene via country with 11 official languages an extremely diverse and there was a notion of the nation it's principally that of Oscar Wilde that is a bunch of people living in one place at one time and that's who we are so I find this notion of of de Fork which also has a strong ties with apartheid South Africa it's silly be chauvinistic and so I find the notion of the nation not simply European but rooted in German chauvinism and I just want to mark the fact that I deeply disagree with that idea and I find that in fact historically offensive my question is the idea of populism when I think of populism as a politician in South Africa I think about the use of cheap using cheap tricks to attract boats so what is populist in fact is to have slogans to abolish the death penalty for example because of rising crime on the basis of very superficial and empty intellectual evidence that's what I understand populism to me and so I'm a bit confused about the idea of populism there's been offered yet so my question is what exactly do you mean by populism given given the history of the meaning of the term thank you [Applause] well I'm aware of the fact that the term of populism usually is used in the way you just you just mentioned it in a very negative way but in my discourse before I reacted on the fact that our party and me myself are often called populist or all the time called populist but within myself I don't find these populistic motivations so I try to redefine the the term populist for me and to pull something positive out of it which is possible if you see as I as I try to explain the connections between the populist and the demos and in this point of view you could say yeah maybe these people populist are not also so bad as they seem and so destructive but maybe they are something like how do you say yeah rescuers or promoters or say savers is said too much of democracy they are the answer to the crisis of democracy and they will help in their way to get out of this crisis not because they will take over the power everywhere but because they make the others react or make make the system react and readjust and and and and think about what what is really the root of democracy so so so so at least the term can can become an ambivalent bond not only a negative one and about the offense you were feeling or and expressing it's not my ambition to offend you and I was I was aware that my point of view will not be the one of the majority here that's certainly certainly clear at least maybe you can recognize that even if you don't agree with what I said that my goal where I want to come to where I want to to go is not different from yours it's not really different it's also my my aim to to restore democracy and no I don't want anything else not a dictatorship or whatever on the contrary I'm deeply concerned about these post democratic developments the difference is that I think that a society which is too in homage inhomogeneous to inhomogeneous will will yeah is likely to to lose its its its democratic form because it split apart in in many parallel societies and if I'm not we're not completely wrong informed in the in the USA right now we have deep deep gaps between different different groups in a society and your and the crisis of democracy in the USA has also to do with this lack of a common way but correct me if I'm wrong but perhaps it's useful to at least make a distinction between different kinds of populism I mean there is a which you could roughly call left wing populism based and perhaps more on class than anything else which in the history of the United States you had in Louisiana I think where you have people who speak up for the common people who are the less privileged ones against big corporations big banks and that kind of thing so the elite then is couched in class turns the the other form of populism which i think is closer to yours and I'm not saying that you want a dictatorship really not democratic or anything of that sort of tool but which is closer to yours is the idea of the common people being the sort of the natives of a country who are being dominated by an elite that's that's no longer in touch with the native spirit and the elite that often coddles alien minorities and so on call them Jews call them Muslims it depends on the historical circumstances and so what the populace then has to defend is the to use the German term the gesund is folks in finding their sort of their healthy feelings of the native people against the out-of-touch elites and they're coddled minorities and that's a very different kind of populism from the class-based economic populism and I think we have to be clear about that I just want to I mean Wilmot brought up this question of Oscar Wilde right which is a different definition of the nation than you hold right you know in the United States we've had an idea of the nation we talked a little bit about yesterday with John Sullivan about on the one hand the idea was that it was supposed to be no national people and yet in practice it has often been racialized and one of the problems here is how to develop an idea of the nation outside of that a nation-state is a weird term because a state is supposed to be a group of equal people all citizens under the law and a nation-state says there's one nationality which has outwait outs out sized weight or importance in that state and that's one of the reasons that Han Arendt was so skeptical of the nation-state project and so supportive of a non national Republic like the United States as she saw it at the time and I guess in a lot of ways the last 30 or 40 years has seen Germany become more like Oscar Wilde and you're in a sense asking it to go back and I'm wondering if that's a realistic approach well I'm not asking it going to go back I'm very aware of the fact that going back is not possible in history and if you mentioned Hannah Arendt I think she had very good reasons at that time to state that the nation-state is a problematic thing I mean that was at the time where the nation states committed the most horrible atrocities and put the whole world into into into chaos and and and covered it with crime so very understandable but I think we have to look at these problems now with different eyes then then then it was necessary and right to criticize the notion of the nation in in front of this terrific nationalism today it's rather the opposite that if we lose the concept of the nation we totally lose it like it's it's it's it's it's getting lost more and more in in in Europe the official policy of the European Union is the concept of the ever closer Union and by that the dissolving of of the nations now the the threat is to lose at the same time democracy and entering a post democratic government and in Europe you can make it very clear because the there is not not such a thing historically as the the European people so there are people in the several traditional nations there is the German people in France and so on and they developed in a in a difficult historical process there the democracies some earlier some some later but it's not for granted that democracy is transferable to this to this supra supranational state of Europe you know we don't have for example a common European language the situation in the u.s. is different you have the English English language which is the language for all more or less until now but we don't have that that that the problem begins so again don't put the Spectras of the past on the present situation that's that's the question briefly because I want to also bring you okay now I have a question one thing that that Germans and the Chinese and the Jews have in common is that their identity was not always easy it cannot be defined by nationhood of a common citizenship and because the Chinese diaspora the Jewish Diaspora and certainly before the war if you were a volksdeutsche in tirol or sedate in Lent or Russia or something you were not a citizen of any German nation and I think that maybe part of the problem we're talking about now my question to you is to what extent your own and I know that's unfair to bring in personal histories into political views but interested anyway to what extent is your own family background and Tirol has it played a role in your developing ideas on what nationhood in the Volk and so on should represent yeah well it's no problem problem for me that you asked that my situation is even more complicated because I'm not only come from Tyrol from the Italian part in South Tyrol so not only I was a German speaking Italian but my father is Dutch so I had to citizenships the Italian one and in the Dutch one and now I have the the German one and the Italian one and I always consider yeah I always considered myself as was Nietzsche called a good European you know and I even I there was a time where I where I somehow joking said I'm a EU patriot no I come from that background so this notion of thinking in European terms is very familiar to me but I somehow changed my my mind without forgetting this background I changed my mind when I saw in which direction the European Union is evolving and that's why I stress so much on the nation now and you are right that the Germans have not always been living in one state and a nation and state must be must not be they comes like quit yeah but we we don't have to think in black and white categories if you think if we talk about all this this question when I when I say the nation is important it doesn't mean that this this nation has to be ethically preview and all of that no that's not that's not the point let me take a couple more let me take two questions and and then we'll see what we can do our one down here in the front and one in the middle back is that Izzy Isabel yeah so one here and one there so um I've been I'm from Germany in Austria and I've found this discussion very interesting and I thank also a professor but rumah for a lot of the points that were brought up about you and I have one specific thing that really stood out to me in your speech which is the idea of shock in Germany where somehow from the same part of Germany and my grandparents are from the working class and farmer background and I wonder if I think of the context of Germany it's very important to keep in mind that the people that are coming there have experienced trauma and shock and I just really want you to define what you mean by shock in Germany and drama in relation to what the people that are coming to German you really feel I think it's almost I think it's very hard to listen to and it's heartbreaking in that sense because these people that come have experienced real shock and trauma great thanks and one question up there did you get a mic okay my question is for professor Bruma so in mark speak i heard echoes of the dichotomy presented in your book murder in amsterdam of a tension between two extremities and how these extremities instill terror creating fear for the other and alien terms both terms I heard used in your in mark speech so how do you see these principles of fear as detrimental or even crippling to the stability of an equitable society and how could emphasizing an idea of the alien other and creating fear of this other be ever ever be beneficial for democracy great thanks so first the the shock and the trauma of Germany versus the shock and the trauma of the immigrants that was a question for in yeah well I think we have always in such complicated situation to consider both sides and our analyzes of the situation very much depends on what examples we have before our eyes so you have the example of the traumatized Syrian refugee who has experienced terrible things and comes and comes to Germany and that's there are I don't doubt that there are such people and now quite many but not all of them who came are traumatized the real refugees but there's also there are also people coming from northern Africa and on the countries we who just took the opportunity of the open borders and came and don't have this persecution background that's that's a fact so both yeah group of people we have to to to recognize and to have before our eyes then the picture becomes complete and then we also have to say is to look not only what these people have experienced which is export important but also what does it mean to those who are living in Germany to the Germans and and and those who are living there for a longer time as Chancellor Merkel put it put it what does it mean when so many aliens a alien people are entering the country and you know that the country will change profoundly and you you haven't been asked if you wanted to or not they just they just come and your your political leader tells you yeah we we can we can do so and and you have to pan so that's in in my view it's also a form of violence yeah your your life if this goes on and on and another million will come another million another million the country will change so and and there is my point is we have a right to to ask this question and then to decide do we want this or not and to what extent and the problem was that this right should be many had of the feeling that the right is this right is taken from us we we just have to accept it because otherwise we are bad otherwise we are yeah all nationalist racist Nazi all that and and that is not that is not true and that deepens the crisis of democracy that leads to all these demonstrations on the streets in Germany and so on so we have to bring this question back to the political debate which happens which is happening now but it was a difficult way and still is a difficult way but because you're right it's not easy discussing about these these questions and do you want to take a stab at the question about the your book sure I quite understood the question um there were two ad Academy in the book on Amsterdam between me yeah I guess I was just wondering if you could maybe give some insight on this like a dichotomy between two extremities of opposing views and how creating fear for the other view can actually be detrimental to the stability of an acquittal society and democracy as opposed of making it work smoother by eliminating the other right well I mean creating fear of others in a society is obviously never a good thing for democracy but I'll give you an answer which may not be a direct answer to your question but but I think it's pertinent that if you look at the way democracy is developed and the first and most successful democracies developed in the Western world is certainly in Europe it's actually it's not the pattern I think that you're suggesting which is that you have a kind of : people with common values in the common faith who then can agree to establish common institutions I think some ways it's the opposite and that people forget how and I don't need to tell you this with your background but that how divided European nations were until very recently in to some extent still are I mean my father grew up in the country where you were if you were Catholic he would be told in church by the priests not and shop in a certain store because that was owned by Protestants let alone that you would allow your son and daughter to marry a Protestant I mean these were completely separate communities and longer ago these communities not necessarily because of their separate faiths but they were mobilised along these faiths fought horrendous and incredibly bloody Wars as well and democracy in a way came about because people realized that the only way to live in relative peace is to find some way to solve conflicts of interests and conflicts between these communities by having representatives parties and representative politicians come to agreements and compromises and out of that democratic institutions grew stronger so my premise is really the opposite of yours I don't think you start off with common values in everybody thinking the same what you start off with is where there are huge conflicts both cultural possibly ethnic and so on and then you find institutions to fight to come to a way to solve those conflicts by compromise and negotiation and representation agree with that okay we have time for one last question on Tonya right there and please keep it brief Tonya cuz we're really out of time I have two questions for a politician thank you even though ah take very quick is one into one as a politician what policies you want to implement in your Parliament to make sure that one person doesn't represent the whole group of people meaning Muslims if one Muslim do something wrong not the whole community have to pay for it when when a German white person does something maybe the same is an exception so how you going to do that in the policies that you want to propose and the other thing if you want to be more clear about your relationship with history because it seems that you don't want your claiming in one side not looking back to history but on another side you defend your premises by the German man the language and things that actually work construction a few years ago because German people didn't exist at the beginning of the times that was a cultural construction historical construction so if you can clarify this tool you catch that I heard that the people German people or French or whatever are construction you claim that so um I don't think so I I think yeah certainly culture is always a form of construction if you so want there is nothing found in nature called culture but we construct our our culture yeah we in that in that sense that culture is something obviously man-made and a whole structure of of concepts not not the thing you can like a stone you can find any anywhere in that sense yes everything is constructed but not to the point that we can wanting Lior willingly change it as we want it a culture a people has its it's tradition and it's something even though it is in some sense construct that is something very yeah not so easy to change something very stable and we that we have to take into account also in regard to those coming to European countries from other parts of the world they bring their culture with them and realistic politics or realpolitik in German and in regard to them means not to be naive and not to think well if we make some good weather policy so that everything will be fine and no more cultural fights were going on and and and so on and so on so that means our approach to all these problems is that of the Advocate is Giovanni who always say looks at what what is the the bet development that can occur if we don't pay attention so that's our role in the democratic system so I would define it like the yeah applecart is the hourly position which is also important as you don't speak Latin we all knew this would be a card conversation I want to very much thank mark young and for coming all the way from Germany to have this it's absolutely important that we address these questions and you've thought about them incredibly deeply appreciate that I want to thank EE and Bruma for coming back home and joining us


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Comments
  1. Melting pot seems a word that needs to be weighed into the public international discussion.

    I'm for melting pot earth, to the degree countries vote, country by country.

    I'm curious what are the best melting pot success countries in world history.

    Melting pot, that I think would be a nice word to discuss around, to move forward.

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