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Every week new Krawallos!
The Tagespiegel will love this! LOL

I like the idea of giving development aid to a developing country of the blogosphere (aka Germany). However, I don't believe that "Brushfires of Freedom" is the best choice to get this section started. The blog focuses on scaring the German population off instead of encouraging the people to take part in the discussion actually going on in Germany.

What an honor - thank you very much, Ray!

As to scraing off our countrymen instead of encouraging their participation in the public debate in Germany: I'm not certain if the anonymous poster currently resides in Germany, but if that's the case he or she probably agrees that the public here is very politicized and opiniated indeed; there appears to be no lack of discussions on the big issues. However, the debates are rather... repetitive. One of our goals is to confront mainstream thinking with arguments, sources and opinions that are not that commonly and openly brought up here.

The maybe most important purpose however is not aimed at the public in general, but at a specific minority group: classically liberal, capitalist, atlanticist readers. We'd like to contribute our wee little bit to bringing like-minded people together, encouraging debate within this group (which, then, is not drowned in a sea of socialist waffling as in a larger arena at present), and to explore and develop ideas and concepts. Collaboration with other blogs (both like-minded ones and the ones with a different slant) has been very frugal in this respect, I think.

Lastly, I do admit we have been more negative of late about the general direction the country is going. I stand by this decision, however. You simply can't earnestly, yet cheerfully partake in a discussion about how foreign capitalist locusts can be kept out of Germany. The only thing you can do is poke fun or express your outrage at the fact such a discussion is going on at all. "Don't argue with idiots - they drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

@ AS:

Thank you for your outstanding blog and your comment. I think it is telling that the person who decided they wanted to pan your blog here completely left their name out. Get used to that, the road to success as a blogger is filled with stubborn trolls and "Besserwisser." Listen to what your critics have to say, but don't let them ever slow you down or discourage you.

---Ray D.

I - the anonymous writer of the posting referred to - am from Germany. Unfortunately I didn't explain my point very detailed. I agree with you that there are discussions going on in our country. But these are discussions within the elite. The great issues are being discussed and influenced by the politicians and powerful lobbyists as well as the media. The discussion's not lead by the great public (which is supposed to have the power in the country).

It is obvious that "Brushfires of Freedom" is written for a liberal audience. Nevertheless the blog entries appear very anti-socialist (in a one-sided way). They do not discuss or propose a liberal alternative. The situation in German politics is similar. There is just no liberal alternative.
The criticism of the government is extreme. This is, of course, no mistake in general. It's everyone's right to criticise. But the effect on the blind masses can be massive. Their mistrust in politics will grow even more. This will finally enable minorities to become majorities, because the real majority doesn't care at all.

I have bookmarked "Brushfires of Freedom" immediately anyway, after reading about it here on Davids Medienkritik. I want to follow the reports of this blog at least for a while.

@ anonymous,

OK, fair enough, you have a right to criticize, just as Brushfires of Freedom has a right to be critical. And they do a very good job of it, especially considering that they just started their blog, which is already a blossoming success.

Anyway, I think bloggers can learn a lot from constructive criticism and, in some cases, even improve their work that way. But just to be critical myself for a moment, don't you think that your reference to most Germans as the "blind masses" is just a slight bit condescending? I certainly don't view most Germans as a bunch of blind sheep...

In closing, I just want to point out that a "liberal" in Germany is something entirely different from a "liberal" in the USA.

---Ray D.

PS: Anonymous, why don't you just pick a name and put your email on it?

"But these are discussions within the elite."

I am afraid I have to disagree. As anywhere, there are apolitical groups in society, but ask anyone about corporate profits or the war on Iraq or unemployment and you'll get a response. The fact that people are not joining political parties (which they view as corrupted and ineffective) or starting grassroots activist movements to discuss the big issues does not mean such discussions are not taking place. Look at the rallies against welfare cutbacks (Hartz IV) last winter or the anti-war demonstraions during the runup to the war in Iraq - were these just small elites expressing their views?

"But the effect on the blind masses can be massive. Their mistrust in politics will grow even more."

How many Germans are reading political blogs at present? Very few, and I would say that these people are somewhat of an exception. Regardless of the views they hold, they tend to be *much* better and more broadly informed than the public at large. Even if reaching out to a broader audience (i.e. a significant portion of the otherwise apolitical portions of society) was the main goal of a blog, chances are it would still be only a tiny, well-informed, politically opiniated minority that would visit.

Or do you think there's a chance blogging could make inroads into the mainstream here as mucn as it has in the US? I, for one, don't know. But I think it's worth sticking with that question!

(I´ve said this already on the German site:)
Brushfires proudly advertises the fact that they removed the German flag from their site. As a German, I am quite offended by this.
I certainly won´t visit their site again.

fucher,

Gee that is not very sporting.

I would think you would want to engage them in to why the German flag should be on their site.

That would seem to be an excellent way to exchange ideas.

Remember it is important to be able to disagree probably more so than to agree.

Anonymous ( pick a name please! ) wrote -

"The criticism of the government is extreme. This is, of course, no mistake in general. It's everyone's right to criticise. But the effect on the blind masses can be massive. Their mistrust in politics will grow even more. This will finally enable minorities to become majorities, because the real majority doesn't care at all."

May I edit?

The criticism of the ( US ) government ( BY THE GERMAN MEDIA ) is extreme. This is, of course, no mistake in general. It's everyone's right to criticise. But the effect on the (PEOPLE OF GERMANY )can be massive. Their mistrust in ( THE USA) will grow even more. This will finally enable minorities ( AKA FAR LEFT SOCIALISTS )to become majorities, because the real majority doesn't ( UNDERSTAND THERE IS ANOTHER SIDE TO THE STORY OR AN OPTION TO SUPPORT THE USA CONSERVATIVE POSITION ON ANYTHING )


One great example of this is Kyoto - there is a huge movement by Scientists to explain that Kyoto is junk science

A political stick used to beat the evil Western capitalists ( esp the USA )

Does the German public understand their is another side to Kyoto - hardly

We are Germans ourselves, and the Flag had been there - that's why we could remove it in the first place (and replace it with an adorable little locust).

Here's an English translation of the reasons we have given for removing the Flag:

"Because of the fact that organizations hostile to liberty, among them the ruling party SPD, are trying to distract from their own intellectual bankruptcy by launching a despicable hate campaign,

considering the both the inhuman diction and the anti-market, anti-foreign, and envy-laden sentiments behind the tirades against businessmen, Anglo-Saxons and Eastern Europeans [migrant workers],

and furthermore because of the fact that a majority of Germans supports this agitation and agrees with it,

this blog has removed the black, red, and golden flag from its masthead until further notice.

It will be given its foremer place only when it stands once more for the ideas of 1848, 1949, and 1989 and no longer for their opposite."

I am overjoyed that Davids Medienkritik has started to highlight some wonderful German blogs. I have to say, it makes me wish my all-too-rusty German was better so I could enjoy them even more! I pick through them as best I can, so please know that even some of us Americans enjoy what you do (enough to sit hunched over our German-English dictionaries).

Keep it up guys (and gals, maybe?)

That said, I have to object to the following statement:
"But the effect on the blind masses can be massive. Their mistrust in politics will grow even more."

The blind masses? Is it just me or is that incredibly condescending? Seems pretty elitist to me.

Eventually, the "blind masses" will probably respond pretty negatively to being treated like imbiciles.

@Tina and others: I'm in the same boat regarding my extremely limited comprehension of the German languate. (Years wasted, from third grade through college, learning French...) I think I grok the basic grammar and structure of the language, but I still need help to read adult-level prose, and my vocabulary is very limited. Does anyone know of such a thing as a Web site that has a sort of FAQ on German for English speakers, including a basic vocabulary?

@ Cousin Dave:

This is an excellent online German-English/English-German dictionary you might want to check:

http://dict.leo.org/

Anonymous, I'm German, too. Duh. Plenty of Germans read this Blog here as well as its Partner-Blogs. Not sure if you were aware of that.

Secondly: I don't quite get this one:

"It is obvious that "Brushfires of Freedom" is written for a liberal audience. Nevertheless the blog entries appear very anti-socialist (in a one-sided way). They do not discuss or propose a liberal alternative. The situation in German politics is similar. There is just no liberal alternative."

As has been pointed out above, "liberal" in the anglo-saxon sense means quite the different thing from "liberal" in the German one. Liberal in German IS Anti-Socialist, so I sure hope that the Blog entries on German blogs that call themselves "liberal" ARE very anti-socialist. So, I'm also not quite sure how to understand "not proposing liberal alternative" in your reasoning - did you mean "socialist alternative" by that? Because in Germany there IS a liberal alternative - it's them yellow guys who have a hard time hitting 8% of votes, because people obviously - against all opposite evidence and common sense - continue to believe the state should and would be capable to take care of their lives.

The reason for the German criticism towards the government is NOT because it's not "liberal" enough (in the German sense), but instead because it's still not as SOCIALIST as most people would like. So, when those German liberal blogs would actually achieve more mistrust towards the government because of those Blogs "Liberalismus" - so, for an ENTIRELY different reason - we would sure have come a long way lol.

Regards
Alex N.

Wait, I think I'm getting you now: I think you are saying that the blog instead of being "Anti-Socialist" should rather be liberal, i.e. being not Anti-Something, but Pro-Another-Something. Well, I think the difference between those two is just rhetorics. Say something anti-socialist and it is pro-liberal, say something pro-socialist and it is anti-liberal. Really quite obvious, no?

And, again on the liberal alternative in German policy in the German sense of liberal: I do not agree with everything the FDP says (e.g. some foreign issues like how they percieve the UN, because I don't percieve it at all ;) ), but on inner-policy I believe it is quite an alternative from the liberal side. I for one think the speech Westerwelle gave on the recent FDP Parteitag was excellent:

http://56.parteitag.fdp.de/webcom/show_article.php/_c-20/i.html

Copy and paste and scroll down to Westerwelle's speech if you would like to know it but have missed it.

The problem is too few people vote for them, it's clearly supported only by a minority, so even when they govern together with, say, the Union, they have a hard time promoting truly liberal policy. But this would be about the only thing that can rescue this country - if we spoil the next election again, and even if not and the Union/FDP can form a coalition - when the FDP is not strong enough and gets blocked too much by the Union, the jig is up. The Communists and Nazis are already waiting for another go at this country.

Alex said: "The reason for the German criticism towards the government is NOT because it's not "liberal" enough (in the German sense), but instead because it's still not as SOCIALIST as most people would like."
That's the point. The overwhelming reaction to Münteferings locusts was that his deeds didn't match his words. They all agree that capitalism is a dangerous animal, from left to right. So what you find here are the dissenters.

http://dict.cc is an excellent resource. It's a database where, among others, professional translators enter German-English and vice versa analogues not only for words, but for idiomatic expressions they have come across in their work. Just enter a phrase or expression in either language and see what it gives you. You'll love it.

(no, I'm not being paid for saying that)

I can see why some might consider Brushfires to be too anti-something. The majority of our posts critizes what we don't like rather than applauding what we like. However, I think it is rather plausible that a Liberaler or libertarian in an overwhelmingly leftist country should find more things to critisize than to praise in the news.

Recently - more or less since the locust campaign started - we've been a bit more sarcastic and bitter than before. Is that wrong? You be the judge.

"However, I think it is rather plausible that a Liberaler or libertarian in an overwhelmingly leftist country should find more things to critisize than to praise in the news."

Of course it is. And one of the most problematic things you find in such a country are people with one hell of socialist dung in their heads. To those people, you first have to make clear WHY socialism sucks. ONLY THEN can you begin talking about liberalism. Otherwise they'll just not be able to follow you because it doesn't fit into their socialist brain.

Ulrich wrote: "That's the point. The overwhelming reaction to Münteferings locusts was that his deeds didn't match his words. They all agree that capitalism is a dangerous animal, from left to right."

Yes - but you know what's really desastrous? Desastrous is that the ridiculous "reform" policy of the Red-Green coalition was percieved amongst people as "pro-capitalism". Hence, as you know, the saying "Schröder, Genosse der Bosse." ("Schröder, comrade of bosses"). Capitalism in Germany is only understood as licking some big CEO's butt, and if Schröder did anything, it was just that. Though this is far from free market economy.

So, now, the SPD uses just that perception of the people to their advantage: They're now saying: "Yeah, see, we did everything for capitalism but all those evil capitalists did was fooling us. Them evil locusts did not create jobs as they promised." This is really desastrous, because as said, people indeed believe it was capitalism what they were seeing in the government "reforms". So now they've found another "proof" that capitalism is the real evil and become even more socialist. This is more than terrible - it is potential doom.

Supercoole idee - und linx - ich werde die kommende auch ganz gern erwarten.

I think it's great that someone is working to present the German public an alternative view. Any society in lock step to any ideology or position, no matter how "passivist" or "collectivist" or "nationalist" is a creepy as hell sign of bad things to come in my mind. Especialially for regimes that embrace the likes of Hussien, Castro, Arafat, the Mullahs, etc. Best of luck to all who dare to speak against tyranny, and who choose to speak on behalf of freedom and human dignity.

Hey, it's Anonymous again. As you can see I have chosen a name by now.

Alex N. wrote: "The problem is too few people vote for them, it's clearly supported only by a minority, so even when they govern together with, say, the Union, they have a hard time promoting truly liberal policy. But this would be about the only thing that can rescue this country - if we spoil the next election again, and even if not and the Union/FDP can form a coalition - when the FDP is not strong enough and gets blocked too much by the Union, the jig is up."
This is exactly what I meant by saying: "There is just no liberal alternative." Of course we have the FDP (liberals; German meaning[1]) here. I exaggerated intentionally because though the FDP exists, they hardly have any influence on politics. They don't have many seats in local parliaments, if any. If there was a coalition of the conservatives and the liberals in the Bundestag the liberal ideas were virtually unimportant (except in the fields of foreign policy and few others).

Besides, the "blind masses" are neither stupid or don't have a opinion, but many Germans definitely don't care about politics, don't vote and don't consider to change anything. Which is mostly because they don't believe that they could change a thing. They rather complain about how bad things are.

[1] I didn't find the difference between "liberal" and "liberal". According to dict.leo.org and dict.cc the German and the common English meaning are the same. I could not find out about the opposite meaning in American English.

@ Alex
Yes, that's exactly what is going on.

The underlying idea in Germany is not free market economy. It's a kind of big companies-state-agreement. This has worked very well in the "Fordist" era, but since the 1980es we have a new, more flexible, more market-oriented global capitalism. Germany hasn't adapt to this new era. Maybe because it was to successful. So when people talk about market economy, they talk about this agreement between companies and state, not about a free market. Free market is called "capitalism", and this is an entirly bad thing, because it sets free the anti-social energy of the individual. You can see that in America: no social security, much crime etc. What's going on now is that German leftists think they have to fight for the "european social model" (Habermas), they have to defend it against the aggressive capitalism - locusts.

What these people don't understand are two points:

1) That there is no alternative to market economy, which has proved to be amazingly successful. People in the world don't want to take on the German social state, but they want to be part of the successful global economy which follows the liberal American path. The mix of statism and market we have in Germany - and in France - is just in decline. It doesn't adapts to global economy.

2) That capitalism isn't bad. It has good and bad sides. But it isn't inherently evil, as most Germans think. There is a entirly negative image, grounded on an moral idea of economy - an old tradition which goes back to Old Europe and never has been changed. Capitalism is seen as bad because it's grounded on self-interest. Self- interest is seen as damaging the community. The liberal idea is that there is a kind of dialectic: set the self-interest free, in a framework of rules, and you will have a successful economy, a successful society. In working hard for their self-interest, people will exploit themselves and will produce something that is useful for the community. This liberal - anglo-american - idea of society has never taken root in Germany, which is still a collectivist society.

This is the mind-set that is challenged now. Not for the first time. But this time Germany is alone, maybe with France. In the thirties you had lots of "third ways". Liberalism was, at least in Europe, seen as a a complete failure. Today, by contrast, we live in a liberal world; even the East Europeans don't see things like Germans do. So Germans will have to accept that it's not the world which has to change, but the Germans. This is what the "locust"-debate is all about.

What is indeed alarming is how little advocates liberalism has in Germany. And how weak they are. FDP, the small liberal party, is seen - and seems to see itself - as an interest group, not as an organization that has to spread ideas and arguments, that has to present another worldview. There are little liberal newspapers. A part of Welt. A part of Financial Times Deutschland. Süddeutsche Zeitung is strongly anti-capitalist, Frankfurter Allgemeine is conservative, not pro-capitalist. These are two greatest players.

So the anti-anti-american blogs are one of the few places where you find real advocates of liberalism. Sometimes the tone is aggressive, yes. But that's understandable. Each of the dissenters here lives in an environment that is more or less hostile to liberalism. And to America as it's first and foremost propagator. It's not always easy to be the devil's advocate. Personally I'm very happy with these blogs I discovered not long time ago.

Maybe, yes, they - we - should begin to become more pro. I think that to develop a critical standpoint and to bring the dissenters together is a first, important step. There has to be a second step, a kind of agenda, perhaps. Blogs that are devoted to special interests and fields of politics. For example, on the EU-constitution. On Dafur. On How To Argue for Capitalism. And so on.

Idiots link to idiots to create a network of idiots!

Gee, of course there`s a difference of "liberal" between Germany and the United States!

liberal means in Germany free market, individual freedom rights, freedom of opinion, variety of opinion, and, for me, morals and values.
Morals and values of our western culture, the culture which connects Germany (at least a minority of it) and the USA.

To the other things mentioned in the comments before I don`t wanna repeat what Ulrich has already said, nice comment mate!

Yours,

Ch. Arm
http://brushfiresoffreedom.blogspot.com/


no,

Excellent observation. Many here have been saying the same thing for some time...

spd + unions + M$M + academia = Germany 2005

Most of us have already conceeded that Germany is on the rise. Am sure you would agree.

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