Angela Merkel likes to be known by her nickname ‘Mother’ (Mutti). Almost 70 per cent of the Germans evidently feel this is only half a word.
That’s how many of them voted against Merkel in yesterday’s elections. And 22.5 per cent – almost a quarter of the electorate! – voted for two extreme parties, the neo-Nazi AfD (13.5 per cent) and the communists (9 per cent).
The widely used nomenclature describes the former as right-wing and the latter as left-wing, which goes to prove yet again the gross inadequacy of today’s political vocabulary. That, in turn, proves the gross inadequacy of today’s political thought.
Before the war, the Nazi party was universally accepted as living up to its name: National Socialist Workers’ Party of Germany. Indeed, the Nazis’ Four-Year Plan was indistinguishable from the other two great socialist projects of the time: Stalin’s Five-Year Plan and Roosevelt’s New Deal.
(The similarity between FDR’s New Deal and Hitler’s New Order was neither just philosophical nor coincidental: they had some of the same authors, such as Gerard Swopes, Paul Warburg and Walter Teagle. So, when Herbert Hoover referred to the New Deal as a “fascist measure”, he meant it literally.)
The Nazis were national socialists, the communists were international socialists, and they overlapped on the common element. When the Hitler-Stalin pact was signed in 1939, both parties hailed it as a socialist alliance against the capitalist West.
That stressed the positive, while Hitler’s attack on Stalin in 1941 swung towards the negative, thereby proving that none so hostile as divergent exponents of the same creed. It was only then that Hitler acquired the ‘right-wing’ soubriquet in the Western press: Stalin was undeniably left-wing, Hitler had become Stalin’s enemy, ergo…
Yet the Soviets had been systematically cultivating the Nazis since before their party got its name. That followed Lenin’s dogma that Germany was “the icebreaker of the revolution”, a disruptive catalyst that could make the West ripe for a Soviet takeover.
The Weimar Republic couldn’t act in that capacity: it was too sullied by the West. On the other hand, the Nazis were the West’s sworn enemies, which made them the Soviets’ friends.
Actually, but for the Soviets, Hitler wouldn’t have won his 1933 election. He could have been kept out of power by a bloc between the Social Democrats and the communists, which collectively had more votes. Yet Stalin forbade his German stooges to enter such an alliance: he needed the icebreaker to set sail.
Putin is self-admittedly out to reverse “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century”, the break-up of the Soviet Union. What kind of warped mind would regard as catastrophic the collapse of a regime that murdered 60 million of its own subjects is beside the point. What’s important is that Vlad sees Stalin’s empire as a model worth emulating.
That being the strategic aim, the tactics suggest themselves. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel: Lenin and Stalin showed the way. All Putin has to do is create troubled Western waters in which Russia can then fish.
Give credit to Vlad: his KGB training helps him cut through the waffle so beloved of our hacks. He doesn’t care about the fine, and usually nonexistent, differences between extreme right and extreme left.
Vlad doesn’t give a buck about the silly slogans they inscribe on their banners. But he’s prepared to pay billions of bucks for the disruption such extremists cause to the West, seen by Vlad as Russia’s historical enemy.
That’s why Putin’s lucre freely flows into the coffers of all marginal European parties, regardless of whether The Guardian describes them as left or right. The communists under different guises certainly, but especially various fascist parties, such as France’s National Front, Belgium’s Vlaams Belang, Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jobbik, Italy’s Forza Italia, Austria’s Freedom Party and so forth are all Putin’s wards.
This group emphatically includes both the German communists (The Left) and especially the AfD. As a result, over 150 pro-Putin extremists, openly drawing on Russia’s financial and propaganda support, are going to sit in the Bundestag, exerting a considerable influence on Germany’s policy.
In the run-up to the elections, German counterintelligence, aware of the intimate links between Putin and the neo-Nazis, feared Russia’s hacking attacks, a technique used to great effect elsewhere. But Vlad didn’t have to rely on such pinpricks when he had at his disposal the battering ram of 3,000,000 German Russians, as predominantly pro-Putin as the Sudeten Germans of yesteryear were pro-Hitler.
Dozens of Russia-financed, Russian-language newspapers, websites, TV and radio stations flooded that group with murky torrents of nauseating propaganda aimed at whipping up its already febrile adoration of the AfD. For example, it was through such media that the bogus story of the Russian-German girl Lisa, 13, gained such prominence.
Unsatisfied with the already plentiful true stories of Muslims’ crimes, Putin’s Goebbelses planted the story of this poor creature, the personification of the pristine chastity of Russian womanhood, allegedly abducted and raped by Muslim migrants.
Before the story was proved false, thousands of Russians had demonstrated all over Germany, screaming their support for the AfD. Well, at least they didn’t scream Sieg Heil!
Now two pro-Putin parties in the Bundestag will be pushing for a pro-Moscow foreign policy and the repeal of all sanctions. The already small likelihood of Germany acting with NATO in case of a Russian attack on the Baltics is dwindling away to zero.
No doubt our so-called conservatives, whose whole Weltanschauung is circumscribed by hatred of the EU, will rejoice. So many of the AdF’s policies sound appealing, such as transfer of power to national governments, curtailing immigration, opposition to homomarriage, limiting construction of mosques etc.
But even those who support such good causes ought to deplore the AdF’s championship of them. After all, Hitler wasn’t an enthusiastic supporter of same-sex unions either, and nor was he an avowed internationalist. That, however, didn’t make him our friend.
The German elections illustrate the demise of Western conservatism, its manifest inability to lead the brewing revolt against the dominant political elites.
Contrary to the widespread superstition, this revolt has nothing to do with the economy. In fact, the German economy is doing better than most, boasting a balanced budget and sustained, if small, growth. What people are revolting against isn’t a void in finances but a void in ethos.
That revolt is bound to gain momentum, highlighting further the paucity of any conservative opposition. This could only come from a sound understanding of – and commitment to – our civilisation, its religious, philosophical, social and political essence.
Such understanding is manifestly absent, rendering the few remaining real conservatives impotent to influence proceedings in any appreciable way. That leaves the field wide-open for fascists to claim leadership of the popular movement, tricking their way to respectability by pilfering some conservative policies.
And casting a dark shadow over this turmoil is the giant figure of Russia, again turned by Putin into a pariah state after a brief and largely illusory interlude in the 1990s. The choice is stark: either conservatives wake up and steer the public revolt into good channels or Putin will steer it into bad ones – with consequences too awful to fathom.