This is a response to a wonderful interview published here (it is in German, but I will sum it up below in English):
Der Historiker Michael Wolffsohn hält Nationalstaaten für überholt. Er fordert ein radikales Umdenken mit Blick auf die…www.publik-forum.de
Historian Wolffsohn basically makes the argument to accept that parallel societies exist, as our culture is not homogeneous anyway. He goes on to say that society needs a basic set of rules based on consensus that everyone needs to adhere to, but aside from that there is nothing to say against differences. He also says that having different world views organised in political parties where they can work for having their views spread makes them more manageable.
At first glance, this seems als reasonable.
On second glance, you see the wishful thinking of many intellectuals with not enough grounding in the real world. One of his core points is the basic set or rules of living together. He ignores the fact that all extremists, no matter if they are right-wing neo-nazis or islamists, or fundamentalist christians or aggressive vegans or whatever the heck else is out there, they all have one shared trait: The desire to force their values and way of life on the entire world.
All of these people will follow the basic rules of society as long as they are a minority and profit from the freedoms and protection the rules grant them. At the same time, they work to become a majority, or dominant, to replace those rules with their own rules.
To not have learnt from history is a confession of failure for a historian. The rise to power by the Nazis, the religious extremists wherever they came to power, even the slow neo-liberal coup d’etat in the western world, they all follow this recipe.
And again and again, what is put against them, in total ignorance of history, is over-done tolerance and appeasement.
What Mr. Wolffsohn suggests will end in civil war. We already see that in the refugee crisis in Europe, both sides are becoming more radical. Because the so-called “middle of society” has no answer, the anti-foreigner sentiments are growing and gaining traction. The hostility they create push more and more refugees into the hands of Salafists and other eschatologists.
To give even more space for parallel societies is to let the conflict simmer until enough gas for an explosion has been produced. To let everyone strenghten their ideologies by letting them stay in their bubbles supports the process of radicalisation, and in the end there will be blood in the streets.
A heterogeneous society can have a strong consensus and defend it. The concept of the militant democracy is not wrong. The idea to give to someone only what he grants to others in return, including basic rights, is not stupid.
Those who use the right to Free Speech to promote an ideology that denies this right to others, does not deserve this right. No matter if he is a nazi or a salafist or some other mentally retarded fool.
Those who ask for the killing of gays or lesbians or christians or refugees or even nazis, do not deserve to have their own body protected from harm.
Those who leave the consensus, lose it.
The overly large tolerance of the so-called intellectuals is, on the contrary, evidence of not much intelligence. The sign of people so caught in the bubble of liberal thought that they cannot comprehend anymore that those they talk about, if given the opportunity, would prefer murdering their opponents over having a discussion.
But most importantly, the historic ignorance of those who never experienced a revolution and cannot comprehend that the current system can be done away with and replaced with something else. And that there are people working today on doing exactly that, openly.
Even the ancient Greeks, the inventors of democracy, understood that it needs to be safeguarded and defended. Why this idea has been lost, intentionally or not, is an interesting question for another article.