Freedom of opinion or radicalism? In Germany, a scandal flares up in the ruling party

Reflections of an authoritative Social Democrat about a possible excess of pluralism in Western society and the problem of “a priori guilt of a white man” in the opinion section of the FAZ newspaper produced a bomb-like effect in Germany.

Prominent politician and human rights activist Wolfgang Thierse faces charges of radicalism.

Just a couple of days before the state elections in Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate and less than six months before the elections to the Bundestag, after which Angela Merkel will leave the post of Chancellor of Germany, all three parties in the German ruling coalition were involved in scandals, albeit of a different kind.

While Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian partner, the Christian Social Union (CDU), have been collecting fragments of their reputation after the so-called “mask scam” of two deputies of their faction in the Bundestag, who, apparently, profited from trade in protective masks in At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, German Social Democrats are experiencing a wave of shitstorm due to accusations of right-wing radicalism against one of the oldest party members, the former chairman of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Thierse.

Ardent defense of pluralism and division of society

It all started when Thierse published a guest article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on February 22, entitled “How Much Identity Can Society Withstand?”

In it, the politician reminds that the concepts of “religious confession” and “ideology”, which today are increasingly being replaced by the word “identity”, have repeatedly become the cause of bloody conflicts in the past. “Should history repeat itself, albeit with a different leitmotif?” Thierse asks.

“Themes of ethnic, gender and sexual identity dominate (in Western society), And the debate about racism, postcolonialism and gender issues are becoming more violent and aggressive,” the politician states. He further develops the idea that violent attacks on “outside”, as well as the fierce defense of this “outside”, inevitably lead to questions about how much identity protection policies strengthen the pluralism of society and when it leads to its splitting.

Wolfgang Thierse himself answers this question in the following way: “Summarizing, we can say that ethnic, cultural and religious-worldview pluralism, which is becoming stronger in Germany, is not an idyll. It leads to disagreements and has a great potential for conflict.” According to the social democrat, in order to preserve peace in society, “pluralism must be something more than a simple coexistence of not only different but also fenced off from each other minorities and identities.” “Society needs values shared by all, which, of course, include a common language, as well as respect for law and law,” the politician emphasizes.

Talking about the issue of racism, Thierze refers to a book by black journalist Alice Huster entitled “What White People Don’t Want to Hear, But Should Know About Racism.” “Yes, we whites must listen to what we are told. We must pay attention to cases of discrimination. But criticism of the theory of white supremacy should not turn into a myth about a priori guilt of a white man,” the politician warns. According to him, white people painting their faces with black paint (Blackfacing), appropriating someone else’s cultural identity, determined by complexion, as well as bans on certain linguistic expressions lead to the formation of false cultural fronts, insecurity, and the need to defend themselves.

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