Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab (Germany abolishes itself) is the name of a gloomy state-of-the- homeland analysis by former banker and politician Thilo Sarrazin. His main argument was that mass immigration has brought few or no benefits to Germany, and will probably lead to the extinction of the German identity. Nowadays, this is widely seen as likely, but eight years ago, when the book was first published, it was shocking. Remember, the million-man invasion of 2015 had not happened then. But the book was at the same time a critique of the German welfare state, which is every bit as wasteful and destructive as ours, and of the loss of traditional values.
Everything Sarrazin says is objectively stated and scrupulously researched—he was after all a high-level bureaucrat, and was paid to get stuff right. I’m not surprised the book has never been translated into English. It’s too hard-hitting and meaningful for most UK publishers to want to spread his message. But it is one of the most important books published in Europe over the past decade.
I don’t want to analyse Sarrazin. I just want to give English-speakers a little exposure to his ideas and observations. So this series of articles is basically a string of representative quotes from the book, sellotaped together by theme. Any use of the quotes—all text in italics is Sarrazin—is at the reader’s risk. Consult the original if in doubt: Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2015 edition.
So far I have focused on Sarrazin’s main theme of uncontrolled immigration, which, in his precise and unemotional way, he sees as ultimately obliterating German identity.
National identity and social stability however demand a certain homogeneity of value system and accepted cultural traditions. … That the indigenous Germans within a short time will become a minority in a majority Muslim country with a mixed predominantly Turkish and Arab-African population, would be the logical and compelling consequence from the circumstance that we as a people are too inert and indolent to worry about birth-rate levels that would secure our future, and have delegated this task effectively to migrants.
If you talk about demography, then you are dealing with two main groups of discussion partners. The first ones ask: What problem is there exactly? Those are the representatives of the cultural viewpoint who dream of a transnational future of all mankind and who are secretly sorry that they were born German in the first place. The others say, “There is nothing you can do, so let’s not whine about it.” That is the majority of politicians in all parties, who would rather get excited because the temperature has increased by 4 degrees over 100 years rather than fact that the number of Germans in the same period will fall by 80%. Page 346
In Germany, an army of integration officials, Islam researchers, sociologists, political scientists, association representatives and a horde of naïve politicians work hand-in-hand and intensively to trivialize issues, deceive themselves and deny problems. For example, I was accused of “racism” when I critically took up in an interview the deficient readiness of many Muslim migrants to integrate into German culture. Critics pursued their defamation to the point of (attempting) my exclusion from the Social Democratic Party which I had been a member of since 1973. Page 279
Sarrazin also upset the Gutmenschen with his views on IQ and racial heredity. He does not pull his punches.
The talent of a Mozart cannot be explained by environmental influences. Page 226
Every dog or horse trainer bases his living on the fact that there are great differences in temperament and endowment profile of animals and that these differences are inherited. That means also that many animals are simply significantly more stupid or intelligent than comparable animals of their race. Page 92
Little doubt exists today among serious scientists that human intelligence is 50-80% inherited. Page 93
Since the Reformation, the most intelligent boys have been chosen for the spiritual career. Church families were traditionally very fecund, and their children in the spacious parsonages, with good nutrition, had better than average survival chances. Among the Catholics, celibacy hindered the replication of this part of the intelligent population (in as much as the taboo was respected). An astonishingly large part of German scientific elites of the 19th and 20th centuries numbered German parsons among their forefathers. Up to the 1960s, an overwhelming proportion of German professors were of evangelical background.
Here, Sarrazin has his foot hovering above the third rail and he soon treads squarely on it, with an extensive section about the Jews.
The role of the Jews in Germany was also great in the areas of art and literature as in the media; in 1931, 50% of 234 theatre directors were Jewish, and 80% in Berlin, and 75% of the plays produced in theatres in 1930 were written by Jews. They accounted for 9% of journalists already in 1881 and this portion increased up to 1930. Page 94
It was a similar story in Austria-Hungary; in 1910, Jews accounted for 5% of the population of the Hungarian part of the double monarchy, and 20% of the population in Budapest. … In 1910, one half of the doctors and lawyers, one third of engineers and one quarter of the artists and writers in Budapest were Jewish. More than 40% of the journalists who worked for the 39 Budapest newspapers were Jewish. Page 95
This sort of thing is now unsayable in Germany, but Sarrazin believes—without getting too racially specific—that educational performance and future employment prospects are to some extent in the genes.
The third nettle he grasps is the profligacy of the German welfare system, and its role in attracting mass immigration. Despite his SDP background, he reveals himself as something of a Thatcherite, stressing personal responsibility and self-reliance.
If somebody falls into poverty or the danger of poverty, then it is due to lack of opportunity and not to that individual himself. Any other viewpoints count as politically incorrect in Germany.
Around 10 percent of the population of Germany today live entirely or predominantly from the basic (social) insurance [Grundsicherung], and the costs of this .. run to 62.9 billion euro, that is 8% of the German “social budget” of 767 billion euros .. and 2.5% of German “social” product. Page 139
He is particularly illuminating on the psychology of welfare dependence:
The less one insists that every person should make a contribution according to his own ability, the more you facilitate exclusion from the actual context of life—(leading to) a decoupling from the exchange of services in society and lack of sources of justified pride. The sociologist Heinz Bude makes the point: “The conviction that you can make good disadvantage through individually granted and administered payments has led to the fostering of a culture of dependency, that has made people clients of an institution instead of being masters of their own lives… the original aim of helping people achieve self-help has been transformed into the opposite, namely the consolidation of welfare dependency. … as Tocqueville wrote as early as 1835: “he who lives from welfare lives without fear but also without hope.” Page 143
Eric Fromm was right in another way: it is not money that makes you happy, but sensibility [Sinn]. That feeling does not arise through passive enjoyment, but only through social exchange and productive integration. For most people, who are not scientists, artists or top athletes, this sense is delivered by the daily catalogue of tasks which they have to accomplish, and the framework of contacts, time allocation and acknowledgement that goes with it. Page 146
The world of work, Sarrazin shrewdly points out, is the world of secondary virtues: punctuality, reliability, precision, love of order, tolerance of frustration, and fitting into a hierarchy. Without these qualities no wealth creation process based on the division of labour can function.
When A does for B something that B could have done himself, A is behaving antisocially. He is destroying in the other person the sense of self-worth and self-realisation.
He considers social welfare to be a major driver of immigration:
Recipients of (benefit) payments live like the average Czech, better than the average Polish person, and far better than the average Turk. Page 148
And in particular, child benefit:
A married couple with two children receives 1,710 euro per month. One person working alone and having to pay into the social security system has to earn a gross total of euro 2,500 euro to have this sum (1,710 euro) available to him. … With every child the basic (social) insurance [Grundsicherung] rises by 322 euro. Page 149
It is not that children produce poverty. It is that recipients of transfer (benefit) payments produce children. Statistics show that those who live from social support evidently have significantly more children than the comparable rest of the population.
In Berlin, recently 35% of schoolchildren came from households that are recipients of transfer (benefit) payments. In Bremen, the figure is 30%, in Hamburg 25% and across the Federation an average of 16%.
This system, he argues, benefits the Muslims disproportionately, since their birth-rate is higher, a reflection in part of the well-evidenced tendency of religious people to have more children.
Well, I have come to the end of this short exploration of Thilo Sarrazin’s work. As noted before, Sarrazin was a career bureaucrat, and doesn’t really do polemic. Nevertheless, his makes his position clear enough. Here is a short selection of closing thoughts.
I want my own progeny to live in a Germany over the next 100 years in which the language of communication is German, and people feel themselves to be Germans, in a country that maintains and further develops its cultural and spiritual capabilities [Leistungsfähigkeit], a country that is embedded in a Europe of fatherlands. Page 391
Western and European values and the cultural properties of the respective peoples are worth saving. In 100 years, Danes should be able to live as Danes among Danes. Germans should be able to live as Germans among Germans if they so wish. Page 391
The childless or child-poor German middle and upper classes live comfortably in their suburbs and decorate old buildings. They have not even registered the fact, but the land is changing beyond all recognition due to demographic developments and Germany is threatening to abandon itself, to put it mildly. When they do notice it, it could be too late. As Hegel poetically and darkly wrote, ‘The owl of Minerva takes flight only when the shades of night are gathering.’ Page 361
Joe Slater 2018