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Why is there any assumption of "camaraderie"?

Europeans, meaning the French and Germans esp, have ALWAYS looked down on American's

Indeed Pogue, but the question remains, how can you look down on someone when you're not even in the same league ?

An ant cannot look down on an elephant, can it ;-))

But the ant can consider himself superior to that stupid smelly elephant :)

To push your ant/elephant metaphor a bit further, remember, it's unlikely the ant even knows that it's looking at an elephant. The ant can see some of the elephant's products and by-products (!), but can't assess its true strength or magnitude. The elephant obviously doesn't care, on the other hand, about the ant.

My thinking is that most Europeans and Germans have no concept of what the US or North America actually is. I think when they get here, if they travel here, get outside the cities and see how we are here, what we are here, their jaws drop. They think they are "free" when they actually live in a very classist systems. That is why there is such a disconnect. Germany is about what you can't do. The US is about what you can do. It has to drive the Europeans nuts.

As far as I am concerned the US can leave NATO and western Europe and even the UN. That is how far apart we appear to be with Germany and France. The political and media elites who are running the show in the EU and have a visceral enmity towards the US. I don't see us coming together any time soon. But we the people not the politicians should keep talking ad try to understand one an other.

@ sock puppet

I agree with your assessment of the European perception of what life in the U.S. is really like. It's always disheartening to hear Germans say, "I've been to the States: I was in Orlando and Las Vegas." (and I've heard it frequently.)

The most important phrase a newcomer to Germany needs to learn to recognize is: "Das tut man nicht!"

Remember, it's only Europe, so nothing's at stake here.

It's great to have a lumbering scapegoat to direct animosity toward. The Europeans are lucky to have such a benign fall guy. They can bluster and criticize with impunity. Conveniently, animosity and criticism that may have otherwise been directed at their own failures can now be directed outwards.

Remember, it's only Europe, so nothing's at stake here.

"My thinking is that most Europeans and Germans have no concept of what the US or North America actually is. I think when they get here, if they travel here, get outside the cities and see how we are here, what we are here, their jaws drop. They think they are "free" when they actually live in a very classist systems."

Yes the US is a very free society, where you can drink in public (oops, you can't), and where a STRIP CLUB allows women to be completely naked (oops, it doesn't) and where you have the freedom to buy a gun at your Wal Mart (okay, you got us there). And you have Rep. Congressmen trying to pass laws where showing of the thong results in a fine by the police. You are right in saying that our jaws drop when we come to the US. The nation where marijuana is criminalised, but one can buy a gun at a Supermarket.

"Indeed Pogue, but the question remains, how can you look down on someone when you're not even in the same league ?"

Yes, the ant is an the largest exporter on this planet. And, the elephant produces massive amount of excrement daily.

Jason, you loser

Guns don't kill people, marijuana kills people

let this be a lesson to you.

Note from David: "amiWAS?" has the same IP address as Jason.
Jason - you have an identity crisis? Take a break from this blog...

Our presence on the world scene reminds the Germans that we and the Brits whupped up on them 60 years ago. Many are still humiliated by this fact. Travelling to Germany on a regular basis 30 years ago, I'm reminded of an incident that happened to me in Duesseldorf. I was drinking with a german friend when a couple of burly guys came over and in a threatening mannner asked why Americans always made fun of Germans. He said just look at your TV program "Hogan's Heros" you portray us as hopeless fools.

After some back and forth, we agreed to disagree about America's perception of Germans. I don't think that the attitudes have worsened, they've just come more out in the open. Can't even begin to discuss the French and their attitude in those days.

My thinking is that most Europeans and Germans have no concept of what the US or North America actually is. I think when they get here, if they travel here, get outside the cities and see how we are here, what we are here, their jaws drop.

heh. A friend living in Germany at the time met 2 guys in a bar planning a trip to the U.S. They were arriving in Miami and going to drive to California. She asked how long they would be here. One week. She didn't say anything.

3 weeks later she ran into them again in the same bar and asked about their trip. "How was California?"

"California? Hell, after 2 days we still weren't out of Florida."

I still laugh.

Pamela -
I appreciate your comment about their experience. Perhaps my comment will expand on it.

From Miami to Los Angeles is 2,767 mi (about 1 day 21 hours) - not even two days. With two drivers, that is entirely feasible.

I've driven from San Francisco, CA to New York, NY in 72 hours. By myself.

I currently live in South Dakota. People in South Dakota think driving from Sioux Falls to Rapid City is a good family camping trip for weekends - it's only 349 mi (about 4 hours 43 mins). If you leave at 4 AM on Saturday, you're there by 9AM, and have the entire weekend for skiing (in the Winter) or sightseeing (Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, Wind Caves, Badlands, bison herds, antelope, etc).

Leave at 5PM Sunday, be back by 10PM. Do it any weekend that the weather looks to be nice, and be ready to send the kids to school and yourself to work on Monday.

I believe that huge differences of scales of time, distance, and the effort required to achieve a normal life's expectations exist between most EUon's, and Americans.

Perhaps this is one reason why they can be hard to understand. They expect so little, and are willing to settle for less.


OT: Der Spiegel marks VE-Day by smearing Britain

BRITISH OBSESSIONS: My Personal VE Day

You really need to be able to read German in order to observe the sickening rise of self-exculpatory commentary concerning World War II. But in this latest piece, translated into English so as to best upbraid the Brits, all anglophones are treated to what's sadly become the norm in the German media.

Highlights include:

I have learned from history that Germany did not lose on VE Day, but on the day when Hitler took power. On the day, when a leader and manipulator appeared, who was convinced of his own historic mission and trampled on right and humanity.

On this day, the losers were German culture, spirit, decency. The losers were Luther, Goethe and Bach. VE day also is the day on which they won again, with the help of the Russians, the Americans and the British.

One could be forgiven for concluding that German was liberated, rather than defeated in May, 1945. What's more, the role of the Allies in this "liberation" was only secondary. Admittedly, my sources are biased, but I've always been under the impression that most Germans either lukewarmly or enthusiastically backed Hitler's plan to brutally conquer Europe, and consequently Germany was crushed by the victims of this aggression.


Back to the war. The Churchill government had evidence from Polish resistance forces about the Nazi camps as early as 1940. And by 1944, there were precise aerial photographs of the Auschwitz concentration camp. A few bombs targeting the railway lines would have stopped the death transports. Nothing like this happened. Instead of saving Jews, the British preferred bombing Dresden and other German towns in order to destroy the cultural face of their hated neighbour once and for all.

Churchill's refusal to bomb Auschwitz was unconscionable, but the burden of guilt still rests on Germans. If you think that not bombing Auschwitz is so bad, then there are no words to describe the evil of sending people there in the first place.


Perhaps that is one of the lessons we should all learn from VE day: that those who look the other way and don't interfere when a people is decimated, whether Jews, Tutsi, Armenian, Cambodian, Russian or Chinese, are also guilty.

If Germans learned this lesson so well, then how come they've done nothing about Sudan? Why did they look away from Rwanda and Former Yugoslavia and Cambodia?

Perceptions are a bit different. My friends from Cyprus had me over to visit. They came to meet us, hosted us, arranged a van, driver and tour guide for a couple of days touring, met with us for dinners, had us to their home. Wonderful visit.

A couple of years later they said they were coming to the 'States. We were excited and looked forward to hosting them and returning the favor. They came, visited Orlando, went the the Atlantic summer Olympics, ... and left.

Our Dutch friends come to the 'States regularly. We've tried to coordinate visits, so that when they come (they come to New York City) we can come up to see them. They have a hard time understanding that this is not just a couple of hour drive from Ohio.

They since come to Ohio, and are amazed at the difference.

We've visited their home (Alkmaar, NL) and rode bikes to the North Sea - an entirely different experience than the usual visits to Amsterdam that other Americans might think of when visiting the Netherlands.

I don't think these differences in perception are what causes the current disconnect between European and American social conscience. I beleive there are true differences in expectations of state provided services, concepts of liberty, and sense of self-reliance/determination.

"The political and intellectual center of gravity in the US has shifted somewhat away from the East coast towards the Southwest".

It's nice to know Kissenger reads my e-mails. If the BBC and Deutschewelle had heeded them they would have informed their constituencies that a liberal (American sense of the word) Kerry from one of the People's Republics of New England would only win the beachfront, a few population corridors and the Indian res's. It's no accident that the last two Democrat presidents have been southerners.

Someone once said "Europe ends at the foothills of the Appalachians" (or something to that effect). Is the growing political and cultural power of fly-over-country at all understood in Europe? Hell, have the Dems figured it out?

Guggi posted in Medienkritik online a great essay:

"Jungle World 19 - 11. Mai 2005
URL: www.jungle-world.com/seiten/2005/19/5482.php
Unschuld und Abwehr
Über einen Antisemitismusstreit in der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung. Von Matthias Küntzel"

Click here to read it.

Then you will understand better why many Germans changed their attitude towards the US (AND ISRAEL). Of course Pogue Mahone is not right (but I can understand that Americans are disappointed and angry about Germans and see it all negatively now). It wasn't ALWAYS this way, that Germans looked down on Americans. My teachers (many fought in WW II) had a great love for the US and Israel and I grew up within this atmosphere. But my own generation (born after WW II) stopped this love and friendship. How to live with this history? Especially when people don't know about the facts. They love this idea, that it was so long ago, that they had nothing to do with it. That now the Jews in Israel are terrible people, no longer victims which we have to protect. And they don't like the US for supporting this little evil country. Believe me, it is a horror to learn the German history from sixty years ago, when you are German. It is a life long fear, and I know a lot who don't want to live with this fear. They want to ignore it totally. When teachers at school don't talk about responsibility anymore, it is hard for people to develop this attitude by yourself, without any help. It is a shock to learn what Germans did during Nazi rule and when you are German, you have to have an opinion about it. And then the easiest way is to follow the mainstream opinion, spread by the media and schools and politicians. It is very difficult to understand. But please consider this, that it takes time to come up with an opinion and a well thought out attitude. Nobody wants to be an anti Semite, but many Germans have this attitude without realizing it. I am still reseaching about this topic myself. My American husband and I talk about this often and have discovered that there is a lack of correct information in Germany. This misinformation given by those who spread it, have also lived with this traumatic recent history of Germany. They think they are well informed with this mistaken information spread by those who want to cover up the past and show Germany as a victim of WW II and not the perpetrator.

For years now I'm used to the vile reactions of many fellow citzins when I show sympathy for american points of view. It's not the older Berliners - they still know too well whom they owe their freedom. It's the young ones who sometimes drive me mad! Most of them share the common belief, that all americans are plainly stupid. Some even think, that a sucessful thriving people elected a complete moron as their president twice! Haveing these folks around is really deprssing, believe me!

Thomas, we believe! :-(

@ Jason

Yes the US is a very free society, where you can drink in public (oops, you can't),
[bull crap I can drink anywhere in my city and county except in a public park. In a park I have to have a free permit so they can keep large and wild parties from happening without making sure someone will clean up and pay for any damages.] and where a STRIP CLUB allows women to be completely naked (oops, it doesn't)[total crap, full nudity is allowed in my state, county and town if you are in for that kind of thing you can get all you can afford to see] and where you have the freedom to buy a gun at your Wal Mart (okay, you got us there). And you have Rep. Congressmen trying to pass laws where showing of the thong results in a fine by the police. [Well you got me there but I am tired of looking at fat and trashy looking peoples underwear anyhow.] You are right in saying that our jaws drop when we come to the US. The nation where marijuana is criminalised, but one can buy a gun at a Supermarket.

Jason you are so full of it. Walmart is not a "supermarket" It is a general merchandise store and after you pay for it and fill out the forms and pass a federal background check to quickest you can get a gun is in days. You just can't go into a store and pick up a gun and start handling it anywhere. You will not be leaving with it in most cases. I my state you will be waiting 2 weeks at least after you pay for it. They don't count the weekend or holidays as "days" so it's like 18 days. In short you don't know anything about firearms in my country but what some hate filled tool has told you. What I find so funny I have 15 firearms currently. All but 3 were made in Europe by Europeans. All but those 3 and 2 black powder weapons made in the EU were made for war. They were made for killing people as their purpose and for no other reason. Yes I want the EU to sell stuff to China with that mentality [No damn way.] Well I am pretty sure pot is just as illegal in Germany as it is here. Do an experiment. Get yourself a kilo of it start selling it and see if the police are interested in you or not? I wish it was legal, but it's not and, not because I haven't pushed and voted to make it legal. But I am out voted, that is how a demoracy works. So no pot for me. I will not die from that so it doesn't bother me to much.

Jason you have never been to the US. New York and Orlando and Los Angles are not all of the US. For me to go see my father in law is a three and a half day drive. To go to Florida is a week. You have no concept of the US, only what you and you hate filled politicians, friends and media have told you.

Like I told my Mother when I took her to dinner last night. I am getting to be ashamed of my pure German blood. People like you just fortify that feeling.

@ anonymous in South Dakota

I am from South Dakota living in Germany. When my wife visited me in Rapid City, she was amazed that we were going to visit the Badlands and the Missouri River on the same day.

I have often driven from Rapid City to Sioux Falls and back on the same day. In addition, I have driven to Pierre to go fishing and back on the same day. I have driven to Williston North Dakota for a weekend Rally. Hell, I have driven to Salt Lake City from Rapid City for a long weekend (four days), or to Minneapolis, Minnesota (distance of about 750 miles). I have told my students that when I travel back to South Dakota this summer, I will drive from Rapid City to Minneapolis and back. Then to Boise, Idaho and back just to visit relatives for a few days they are flabbergasted. This doesn't include the miles that I will travel with my father and uncles when we go fishing.

On the other hand, the same distance in Germany (Rapid City to Sioux Falls), has taken me as long as 13 hours, due to traffic jams, road construction, accidents. I am often told by my students that they can drive as fast as they want to on the Autobahn. That is true, but for no more than a few kilometers before there is another traffic jam or accident. The speed limits in the U.S. are made fun of constantly. In my opinion, I prefer the wide open Interstate highways with a speed limit of 75 miles per hour(120km per hour) to the unlimited speed on the Autobahn. I used to reach my destinations in South Dakota much faster.

Now to the posting, my students often say that they don't hate Americans, they hate G.W. Bush. I am well liked by most of my students, they all love the American way of life portrayed in the movies, television shows and so on. Most of them dislike the Republican Party in the U.S., but they don't know why. They all say that the media tells them that the Republicans are bad and the Democrats are good. When I tell them that I am a Republican, they are surprised. When I talk to them why I chose to be a Republican and not a Democrat, they can understand my position better. But they will still choose the Democratic way of thinking over the Republican. This is because of the strong belief in the social welfare state that many European governments have adopted. From the cradle to the grave, the "state" will take care of you.

The rift between Europe and the U.S. will widen as the European Union grows and takes up a position as a world leader. However, the E.U. is definitely no United State of Europe. There are a lot of differences between the U.S. model and the the E.U. model. This is the way it should develop. The E.U. and the U.S. should be partners in leadership in the world, as well as working with China, Russia, Australia, South America, Africa.

Sock Puppet of Doom

one of my best friend (we know each other for 20 years, but she is 9 years younger than I am) left our house full of anger when she told me that Hitler wasn't really an anti Semite that he used the Antisemitism for politically reasons and I asked her, where she read that BS. she became so angry. I asked her why she became that angry when we talk about Israel. And she left without a word. My last sentence to her was: You have a problem with Israel. And I thought, I will never talk to her again. But after some days, I think, this is wrong. We have to stay in contact and we have to go on with our discussions. That is the way we can stop all this and change it. Germany and the US, the whole world is full of Jasons and people like my friend. Let us talk with them. I am so often angry and disappointed about what is going on in Germany. But then I come back to read here. It helps and comports me and then I go on.

@ant

All I ask is for GERMANS to be fair. It's their government and media who are promoting hate against my counrty. You will find NO anti-german stories or comentary in the main stream US media. None.

You should THINK. I have thought. I am very worried and concerned. Germany has a habit of scape goating countries and people then acting on their trumped up propaganda. Get the log out of your own eye before you claim to be able to remove the splinter from mine.

@Sock: Thanks for the clarification about drinks in public, guns and the clubs. This is typical for Germany - as a german I hear this "facts about the states" on daily base - they know everything, they are educated and you guys are "only" cowboys...

But much more important to know: Some people define freedom to hang around on a streetcorner with a bottle of booze... Kinderkram!

@sock

I am reading quite frequently the Washington Times, NYPost, National Review Online, frontpagemag, humaneventsonline and other American publications, including Ann Coulter's ("Schroeder is a scumbag") columns. Don't try to tell me there's NO anti-German commentary in US-media.

And it is simply false that "Germany" is scapegoating "other countries and people" for homegrown problems. This is an effect of distortions made by some people who have an interest in provoking ant-german sentiment.

Ant: "And it is simply false that "Germany" is scapegoating "other countries and people" for homegrown problems."

Ist das Dein Ernst?

1)
Rede mal mit Arbeitslosen, mit Gewerkschaftern, mit Sozialdemokraten, mit Rentnern über die EU-Osterweiterung und hör die fremdenfeindliche Pseudoökonomie an, die Dir da entgegenschlägt.

Sprich mal das Thema "freie Marktwirtschaft in den USA" an.

Die Ressentiments und Vorurteile sind da.


2)
Frag die Leute mal, wer an der Arbeitslosigkeit Schuld ist, was sich ändern müßte. Ich gehe jede Wette ein, das 7 von 10 Leuten, mit denen Du sprichst, irgendetwas von Managergehältern und kapitalistischer Profitgier labern werden, anstatt die ordnungspolitischen Mißstände (57% Staatsquote, wenn man die Sozialversicherung mitrechnet (!), Gewerkschaften im Ausfsichtsrat, starrer Kündigungsschutz etc etc) zu benennen.

3)
Und letzteres wird neuerdings nun auch mit antiamerikanischer Hetze verbunden. Meinst Du wirklich, daß dieser Abschaum damit überhaupt niemanden erreicht - daß die Leute gegen diese Ungeziefermetaphern völlig immun sind? Ich bezweifle es.

@ant
I call bullshit. What you might read rarely is a complaint of lack of support for the US and it will all be directed at politicains not at Germans, you will never read about stupid germans, ignorant germans or any such thing. Ann Coulter? WTF this person is someone most people don't even know of. BTW Schroeder really is a scumbag. He would sell his mother to get re-elected just like any politician. Those publications are not read or even known of by 99.9% of the US population they are not the MSM.

I will not open the NYT, LA Times, Boston Herald or, the Washington Post and read any thing negative about Germany ever. I will not read anything in Time, NewsWeek or US News and World Report negative about Germany ever. I will never see anything negative about Germany on 198 of the 200 channels I get on my TV. I will never hear anything negative about Germany on my Radio. Thats the truth.

There is some anti-German press in the US, but not nearly enough!

Mit "Abschaum" bezeichne ich die Urheber der Ungeziefer- und Boykottkampagnen - unabhängig von Partei-oder Verbandszugehörigkeit. Dasselbe gilt für diejenigen, die schon länger mit solchen Stereotypen zündeln (die üblichen Verdächtigen). Über diese Einschätzung dürfte es, hoffe ich, keine großen Meinungsverschiedenheiten geben.

Capitalists hate socialists.
Socialists hate capitalists.

Germans are 60 % socialists.
Amerincans are 60 % capitalists.

Socialist = poor = collectivist = jealous
Capitalist = rich = individualist = entrepreneurial

Why are you surprised the bulk of german (or french or even brittish) media hates the USA ? Imho, it has nothing to do with the past (nazi, why not napoleon or the romans ?). They're just typical lefties, the ever-losers.

"Die Welt" is not a conservative newspaper.
It may be "konservativ" by German standards, meaning it's pro CDU and anti SPD, but it's certainly not conservative like, say, the Washington Times or the Daily Telegraph in the UK.
Just like i.e. the weekly "Focus".

Note from David: Check the wording in the posting: "Germany's conservative daily "Welt"". Says it all.

The above post was by me. Why didn't I get logged in ?
I'm definitely not Jason or whatever.

I have lived in the US all my life. I have travelled it from stem to stern and I have never met one American who hated Germans. Really, not one. I never heard my grandfather who served in WWI, or any of my aunts and uncles who served in WWII utter one single word against Germans.

If anything, Americans have a deeper, and perhaps at this point, fictious, perception of the German people because of the history of Germans in this country who occupied themselves with hard and honest labor working alongside all the rest to build a better life for themselves and their children here. I have many friends whose names and features betray their proud German heritage. Until recent history, these people and the deep respect I have for them was how I associated Germany, and how the vast majority of Americans still do.

--But they will still choose the Democratic way of thinking over the Republican. This is because of the strong belief in the social welfare state that many European governments have adopted. From the cradle to the grave, the "state" will take care of you.--

They didn't adopt it, it's been that way for centuries.

The peasants are more comfortable with the King deciding what their needs are for their own good.

And until we realize this is a 1000 year old european war between the gauls/etc. and the anglos, we're never going to move forward. Well, we have and ignore them, but they keep trying to drag US back in.

I know it hurts to admit it, but "clever politics" is historically not the "strongest suit" in the arsenal of the German nation.

Germans are - after a 60 years experience - still not truly educated about their responsibilities and opportunities as free citizens in a free, democratic society. They still fall for "Socialist schemes" of a "free ride" offered by political charlatans in their unions and government. They still believe uncritically practically everything their news media tells them in a collection of thousands of falsehoods and false generalities about the U.S. They still ask more frequently than any other people, "is that even permissable?"

They also still fall from one extreme into another. Right after WW II, the admiration of Germans for America and everything American found no end and became almost a national embarrasment. Communism as well as Nazism were finally recognized for what the evil they are. The people who survived the war dug the country out of the rubble and had no more time or patience for political extremes.

But then came the rebirth of the political Left in the 1960ies who was soft on Communism and hard on old friends like the United States. It seemed inconceivable at the time that a country, itself divided by a Communist death strip, could develop any sympathies for the Communist Viet Cong in Vietnam or the Red guerillas in the Carribean and South America. But many young Germans did it with great enthusiasm.

The last German bastions in the fight for freedom and self determination, like the claim of East German expelles for a right to their own homeland or those advocating a German re-unification, became suddenly public enemy number 1 in the mass media. Even the German constitution was practically changed overnight to adopt the "new thinking" proposed by leftist political elements in Germany. This constituted a sea change in German foreign policy. (It must be rembered that German re-unification within the borders of 1937 had been an untouchable goal for all Germans. It was also signed by the western Allies as an inclusion into the Deutschlandvertrag" (i.e., "German Treaty") after Germany had joined NATO.) Suddenly, all of these lofty goals had become the most negative development imaginable and were thus endlessly lampooned by the German mass media.

The final hurdle for the Left in this fight for German political re-orientation was Germany's alliance with the United States. The Irak war was a welcome opportunity to seriously damage that trust and relationship in a totally unprovoked manner for many decades to come.

These swings into extremism are unheard of in free nations who respect their own historical traditions while enjoying a high living standard without the demand for any real sacrifices.

So far, it seems to be only a German national propensity to adore Marxism (again) after suffering through some of the hardest lessons in history that this political philosophy was able to provide. It also put Germany's trustworthines toward its own people as well as towards foreign nations again into serious question.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

@Peter
you argue very convincingly but you are dead wrong.
The main political idea of a post war Germany is moderation.
Germans since 1945 don't embrace either Nazi ideology nor Communism (West Germany ).
Unfortunately that has supported a fear of free market society that the CDU (not the SPD) started after the war which is called "Soziale Marketwirtschaft" (social market economy) other than free market economy; it also supports anti-Americanism that has a field day when aggressive Presidents like Reagan or Bush jr. are in the White House.
The postwar era also has lead to a denounciatition of everything on the Right as being Nazi.
So there are no Tory or Republican Parties in Germany (this website unfortunately suggests that the FDP or CDU are right-wing parties) or media of the political Right in the sense of National Review or Spectator. I've said it on another thread, I say it again: the "Welt" is no conservative newspaper.

@Tom Penn:

I have lived in the US all my life. I have travelled it from stem to stern and I have never met one American who hated Germans. Really, not one.

You don't read the comments on this blog?

Your post and comments the last time German/American relations were discussed, gave me the idea for this post, a sort of overview of German immegrants in America: "www.sgtstryker.com/index.pho/archives/germantown/"

I find Germans to be very free with how they use the word “hate”. Some Germans have used it here when it does not appear to be the correct usage. Something may be getting lost in translation. I can appreciate that is a very good possibility.

I dare say if you were to conduct a poll of Americans and asked them 10 rather simple questions about Germany most would be lucky to get 3 correct. The questions I have in mind are along the lines of 1) which party controls the German government 2) who is the Chancellor of Germany 3) what are the opposition parties in Germany 4) is Germany a member of NATO 5) is Germany a member of the UNSC, etc.

I am sure this limited knowledge of Germany would play right into the hands of those who think Americans are stupid. That is not all the case; if anything Americans are not engaged. The degree of knowledge displayed would be very similar if you were to ask a person who lives in Georgia about the internal situation of say Florida or Alabama or Tennessee.

To hate a people or to hate a nation you have to know something about that nation or people. It does not matter if what you know is true or false but you do need some information. Americans just are not the type of people to hate. It takes up to much energy and accomplishes nothing. We have better things to do.

The Americans who post here are much more engaged because for whatever reason they have an interest in Germany. You can see posts which display strong opinion or which are critical of the actions of the German government. I am not sure remembering any postings, which state a hatred of Germany. I must have missed there.

Besides if we really hated Germany we would all be encouraging the Germans to return the spd to power. Your own home grown spd, elites, socalits, etc will do and are doing more damage to Germany and the German people than the US could ever do.


@Will

You must have lived under German Socialism for much too long to title your German Socialist welfare state today as "moderate".

Aside from the enormous burden the German taxpayer and entrepeneur is forced to pay for a financially ruinous welfare system, you are not permitted to read or speak openly as you wish (like about Nazi literature or extremist political matter unless, of course, it is pro-Communist!) You don't seem to know as "fairly novice Democrats" that speech and print control by the state is the beginning of all dictatorships - no matter how unpleasent the content of such material might be.

Your schools are excluding lectures about the true Bolshevik bestialities foisted upon tens of Millions in Europe (including Germans) at the end of WW II, while the cruelty of the Nazis are played over and over as if it all happened yesterday.

You also have no real conservative, patriotic party because your mass media is marching in lockstep with the Socialists or Greenes and therefore they dare to demonize anybody who thinks in opposing terms.

If you call that "moderate"(??) - you can go right ahead. The rest of us in the free world, however (and expecially we Conservatives in the U. S.) call it "semi-authoritarian Socialism a la Karl Marx."

No wonder your PDS party can't get any footing in today's Germany. SPD and Greens found a way to sneak many of the PDS' program into the Bundestag by avoiding a direct association with these prehistoric, political monsters as leftovers of the 20th century.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

Hi Gabi:

I haven't been writing many contributions lately. My work has been keeping me busy. (I even had to unplug my home PC and set it up at work for a new employee).

The last time I visited Germany, I spent two nights in my nephew's bedroom. He is an adult, living the good single life in Kassel. But his parents still keep his bed room, just in case he falls and needs a safety net.

One of the things I read in his bed room, (No, I didn't rifle through his diary), was his year book from the Gesamtschule. The yearbook dedicated three pages to Holocaust Education. The curriculum was basically to give the students factoids and let them make their own conclusions about the Holocaust. For an example: They mentioned that the county seat, (a small rural area in the middle of Hessen), had a significant Jewish population. They also revealed the location of the main Synagogue. They also mentioned that the Synagogue survived the war, but was torn down in 1955 to widen the Landestrasse through the city.

It is curious, that the Synagogue survived 10 years after the war, and that the town fathers deemed it an obstruction to traffic.

Although I acknowledge that the educators attempted to address the issue of "what happened to the Jews," I thought that the way that it was taught was cold and unsettling. The fact that a Synagogue can be so easily torn down or that a Jewish cemetery could so easily disappear his troubling.

(Every major town had a Jewish cemetery. If you ever want to find the location of a Jewish cemetary, check to see if there are any Russian POW graves in the town. The last Jews to be burried were in 1938, Slave laborers and Russian POWS were burried 1941 and thereafter. Many of these grave sites have 60 years of forest growth.)

I'm going to quote some words from Jason to make a point. Ray and David, I did read the update on this, and I'm not really responding to Jason (whoever he is) specifically, but I want to use these words to play off of:

Yes the US is a very free society, where you can drink in public (oops, you can't), and where a STRIP CLUB allows women to be completely naked (oops, it doesn't) and where you have the freedom to buy a gun at your Wal Mart (okay, you got us there).

Actually, this illustrates a tactic commonly pursued by authoritarian socialist governments that I call "the exchange of freedoms", and it has been a common feature of politics in post-war Europe. The exchange of freedoms work like this: The powers-that-be work a deal with the average citizen in which said citizen gains all kinds of rights to be rid of responsibility and be free to pursue libertine, base pleasures. And all that said citizen has to do in exchange is give up political freedoms that he/she wasn't planning to use anyway. For example: "You can have the right to get your ass tatooed and walk naked down Sixth Avenue every day at noon if you'll just give up the right to criticize the President." After all, who among us doesn't sometimes feel like we are over-burdened with responsibility? Who doesn't sometimes feel like they would be willing to chuck it all if they could just have the luxury of lounging around and drinking/smoking/f***ing as much as we want to, and not worry about where our next bag of chips is coming from?

To a considerable extent, libertarianism and libertineism are polar opposites. Libertarianism is about freedom to: freedom to engage in politics (or not, as one chooses), freedom to speak one's mind, freedom to pursue the goals that make one's own life meaningful. Libertineism, on the other hand, is about freedom from: freedom from working for a living, freedom from responsibility, freedom from having to respect other people's freedoms.

And it is this latter that largely dominates latter-day Europe. The overriding goal of the European society is to assure that its citizens never need trouble their pretty little heads about anything, need never look up from the TV to wonder what else is going on in the world and whether or not someone somewhere ought to do something about it. Going back to Jason's words: freedom to drink in public. Yeah, that's an important one. It is a well known fact that the Roman Empire collapsed because Romans couldn't drink in public. Freedom to go to a bar and watch 45-year-old heroin addicts stumble around in the altogether. Hey, whatever gets your mind off of people in other parts of the world who are suffering under brutal dictatorships (who, likely as not, are being aided in their murderous endeavours by the same European government that presides over said strippers).

But freedom to purchase the means to defend one's person? Heavens no, we can't have that. That's upsetting the applecart. Get along to go along. If we let one person do it, pretty soon everyone will want one. And then some of them might actually start thinking about what they can do for themselves, rather than what other people are supposed to be doing for them. Can't have that. Must maintain standards, you know.

The short version: There is never been a country that collapsed because its citizens couldn't patronize a nudie bar every now and then. There have been lots of countries that have collapsed because its citizens couldn't defend themselves against their supposed betters. Now, libertarianism would say that citizens should have both, and I'm inclined to agree. But if you have to give up one or the other, which one would you give up? Hint: Having one would empower the citizens to take action to get back the other, if they decided they wanted it. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out which is which.

Darn it, I forget to close an italic tag at the end of the second paragraph. My apologies. Maybe I need to have my HTML freedoms curtalied for a bit.

Okay, something is wrong. I know darned well I closed that last tag.

Dave - Excellent points you're raising here! Nothing to add, really. Just a personal statement: I'd trade my government-granted freedom to intoxicate myself, to live off other people, and to engage in all kinds of sexual activities with all kinds of partners ANYTIME for a menaingful guaranty of my natural right to keep and enjoy the fruits of myself, to work, produce, and trade freely for my own benefit, to think freely and speak my mind, to raise my children according to my own judgment, and, lastly, to defend these freedoms on my own if the government fails to do so or worse, violates them itself.

The relative values different people place on different liberties reveals a lot about their idea of what life is about, or what they hope to derive from it.

@Jason

Don't blow smoke up our butts! In Germany, you have an Ordungsgericht to determine not only how much you can drink, but whether you parked your car too close to your neighbor's "hof".

An Ordung's gericht, for our non German readers, is a single non-judicial hearing officer that works at city hall or in the "Landesverwaltung," (County Government).

The hearing officer is not a judge nor a lawyer, but a "Beamter," usually with a high school education. Some of the issues that are decided in the Ordnungsgericht:

- Whether you play your stero too loud.

- Whether you attempted to wash your car with a hose on a Sunday;

- Whether your dog barks too much.

- Whether you didn't separate and segragate your recycable trash.

An Ordnung's Gericht has the power to fine an individual and to issue an injucntion or desist order.

I am sure this limited knowledge of Germany would play right into the hands of those who think Americans are stupid. That is not all the case; if anything Americans are not engaged.

You could say that they are not well educated. However, you could ask similar questions about America to 10 random Germans, and the outcome would not be any different.

To hate a people or to hate a nation you have to know something about that nation or people. It does not matter if what you know is true or false but you do need some information.

Right, you have to know something - or *believe* to know something. I would guess that most Americans know that Germany does exist, and have heard of WW2. Some people might think that thats enough information to base an opinion on.

Americans just are not the type of people to hate. It takes up to much energy and accomplishes nothing. We have better things to do.

As I don't believe you have any right to speak for all Americans, I take it that this is only *your* opionion. A very reasonable one, too. Oh, I'd wish all people would think like that.

I am not sure remembering any postings, which state a hatred of Germany. I must have missed there.

"Remember, it's only Europe, so nothing's at stake here.".

Besides if we really hated Germany we would all be encouraging the Germans to return the spd to power. Your own home grown spd, elites, socalits, etc will do and are doing more damage to Germany and the German people than the US could ever do.

Leave your political opionions for a second and try a neutral point of view: If Germans really hated Americans, they would all have been happy with the re-election of GWB. Most of them were not, which would prove they don't hate Americans.

Michael,

It is obvious that I do not know all Americans.

Americans are in fact much too busy to hate people. But then put it more into a way you might accept of the 2 or 3 hundred people I personally know, none of them hate any other group of people. Does that meet your criteria? As this group cuts across almost all sectors of American society no matter how you might want to categorize these people, they are probably a very good representation of America as a whole.

I would also state within this group of people include military veterans who suffered greatly at the hands of those who my nation was at war with. This starts with WWII and goes right to today in Iraq. None of them no matter the degree of their suffering or their loss ever use the word “hate”. This includes their families.

As for your reference to WWII, that is probably the wrong one to use. A more accurate reference since you brought that up would be the contact other Americans have had with the millions of Americans who at one time or another served with the US military in Germany.

As for the comment – It’s only Europe.

I am not sure how you are able to get hate out of that. I interpret that as a statement more of indifference than anything else. It is much the way I feel. I am actually very indifferent to most of what Europe does.

You are correct and we agree that most European did not want GWB to elected. The majority of Americans wanted him to be elected. We have an election, which decided this issue. Actually more people voted for him than there are those who live in france.

If anything the election proved the majority of voting Americans did not consider what our “so called allies” wanted or did not want.

As for the spd, I have to assume you are happy with the results of their accomplishments as the governing party in Germany since 1998. I am not sure if you would get many Americans to agree with you on that. We tend to have different standards. Then again most of us do not have a dog in that fight. That is something Germans will have to decide for themselves just as Americans decided.


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@ Sock Puppet of Doom:
I will not open the NYT, LA Times, Boston Herald or, the Washington Post and read any thing negative about Germany ever. I will not read anything in Time, NewsWeek or US News and World Report negative about Germany ever. I will never see anything negative about Germany on 198 of the 200 channels I get on my TV. I will never hear anything negative about Germany on my Radio. That's the truth.

Even though Australia is a large country, you will rarely read something negative about it in the German press. What does that prove? That we are ardently pro-Australian or that we are less interested in Australia than in, e.g., the USA?

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