Thilo Sarrazin's latest book "Wishful Thinking" another best seller
HERE IS AN INTERVIEW PUBLISHED ON APRIL 9, 2017 at The European.de. It's gone through Google Translate, with a small amount of further editing from me, but it's quite readable. -cy
Thilo Sarrazin is one who, for many people, talks about what's really going on in our society. The reactions to Thilo Sarrazin's statements in his books on refugees, immigrants and his criticism of Islam show that we live in a divided society. He is dominant in the media after every book publication beyond that of hardly any other author. He is a guarantor for headlines that sell well. With NITRO [sorry, I don't know what the letters stand for -cy], Thilo Sarrazin spoke about his books, Islamic criticism, immigration and refugees, and "hard-hitting censorship" in the media.
NITRO: In 2010, you published your book "Deutschland macht sich ab" (Germany is doing away with itself). Surely you had planned the provocation with the title. How did you experience the coverage in the German media?
Sarrazin: At that time, Frank Schirrmacher published an alarmist article in the FAZ (Frankfurter Algemeiner Zeitung) under the heading "A fatal mistake". In the Forward he wrote:
"Thilo Sarrazin is the ghostwriter of a frightened society. But he does not mention the point of his thriller. His theses lead to a complete redefinition of our concept of culture and are not exhaustive in Muslim milieus."
At first I was struck in the head and affected by the accusations and the indifference of criticism, which went deep into the personal. Then I looked at the statements of the critics more closely and found: Among the numerous critics [...] only one had read the book. Frank Schirmacher. However, he also read the book very quickly and without footnotes, because he wrote: "Sarrazin conceals his sources" and after eugenics I would not name the relevant names. The names were in the footnotes and the sources were given. And then something amazing happened: The entire feuilleton [gossip writing] began to write essentially from Schirrmacher - however not on his level.
NITRO: In September 2010, you gave Frank Schirrmacher a much-respected interview.
Sarrazin: After about ten days Schirrmacher wanted to conduct an interview with me. At first I did not accept his calls, but then I had a dispute with him. It appeared on 1 October under the heading "Thilo Sarrazin in the dispute. The great approval worries me a bit. " The media criticism of other newspapers and magazines had little to do with the content of my book.
NITRO: In your opinion, the criticism of the book was not justified?
Sarrazin: It was completely over [the top?]. I recall to you the classic line: "Sarrazin claims that Muslims are more stupid." This is absolute nonsense, which is nowhere in my book, which I would never say. What I have said is that intelligence is predominantly hereditary, and that there are cultural differences between different ethnic groups, which often do not diminish or decay over generations. And that the Muslims are a particularly problematic group in many respects.
NITRO: In which, for example?
Sarrazin: For example, the educational performance and the integration behavior.
NITRO: In the debate, however, further topics were criticized ...
Sarrazin: Yes, there was another debate about whether intelligence is hereditary. This is like saying, Darwin was wrong. Of course, intelligence, like all human qualities, is predominantly hereditary. This is the clear state of scientific research. That is why today the criticism of "Germany is doing away with itself” - mostly by people who have not read the book. Or, if they have read it, reject its questioning and therefore slander it.
NITRO: But the book also deals with the question of what happens when cultural qualities are passed on.
Sarrazin: Yes, it is precisely the question of how inherited peculiarities and behavior in different religions and ethnic groups are inherited quasi-culturally by generation-to-generation transmission, and what it means to a society if these groups propagate to different degrees. This statement was a crude insult to the core beliefs of our feuilletonist-ideological mainstream.
NITRO: The feuilletonist-ideological mainstream?
Sarrazin: Yes, who claims that all people are by their very nature inherently different. In principle, cultural factors hardly play a role, and it does not matter who has which parents. The rest is the education policy.
NITRO: That is the ideology of the mainstream media?
Sarrazin: Yes, but most media in the provincial press are not able to reflect that at all. They take it like day and night and are completely bewildered when someone doubts their convictions. What, of course, shows that, unfortunately, many people who are active in the media or in politics have a considerable scientific, sociological and historical disability.
NITRO: Let's come from the media to the readers. The people are obviously very interested in your topics, because the book was sold 1.5 million times. Even the books that you published afterwards were all bestsellers. Have you reckoned with this outstanding success of the book?
Sarrazin: No. I had given an interview to the journal Lettre International one year before the publication of "Deutschland macht sich ab". The chief editor talked to me for two hours and from this chat was a "scandal interview".
NITRO: The title was: "Berlin on the couch" and it was about girls with headscarf and differences ...
Sarrazin: Not just about that. After the "scandal interview" I gave myself a strict silence until the book was published a year later. The first edition, 25,000 copies, was literally evaporated on the shop floor in a few hours. This was, of course, due to the fact that BILD and The Mirror published a preprint on the same day.
NITRO: And the government spokesman also commented on your book.
Sarrazin: Government spokesman Seibert said one day after the appearance that the Chancellor would consider the book "not helpful". This laid the foundation for the massive personal attacks in the media, and ultimately I must say that politics and the media have made my book so successful.
NITRO: But you do not know whether the people who read it agree with your theses?
Sarrazin: No, but the general experience is that you only buy something if you agree with the tendency. There was an Emnid survey in October 2010 with an interesting result: 30 to 40 percent of Germans agreed with my thesis and 65 percent thought it was good that I had published it.
The accusation of left intellectuals toward me is that I have addressed simple facts in a clear, scientifically oriented language that does not appeal to hate and disgorgement, which were hardly ever debatable. This of course has changed the German media landscape and also the political landscape. I am aware of this.
NITRO: Now you have submitted your sixth book, "Wishful Thinking." In the book, you explain why Germany is badly governed ...
Sarrazin: Wait. I have said that we are governed far below our possibilities.
NITRO: Again, you are accused of supporting right-wing conservative thought and being the forerunner of the AfD.
Sarrazin: If you are referring to Friedrich von Hayek, Karl Popper, Kant and Jeremy Bentham, David Hume and John Locke as right-wing conservative, then I am right-wing conservative. But this also shows how absurd the accusation is. Those who claim to do so lack all conceivable philosophical, sociological, and historical foundations. Moreover, the voters of the AfD must form their own opinions, and everyone is invited to look for what is clear to them from my books, and to reject what is wrong to them.
NITRO: But you're asking for a change of course [of government]. How should it look? Perhaps you can get to the point?
Sarrazin: I will put it in a nutshell: no false immigration. Every continent, every country in the world must solve its own problems. Development aid has failed globally. And in the country must apply: no false incentives by the welfare state.
NITRO: A social state that people are leaving in this country.
Sarrazin: I am also a social advocate. But I find it wrong that our welfare state is paying a premium for people who can not or do not take care for their own livelihood, children who receive more money than these [German] children. I think this is a false incentive.
NITRO: You have interviewed Liane von Billerbeck in Deutschlandradio about your new book "Wunschdenken", and she says in the commentary: "The book reads like a billing with German politics over long stretches." Was "wishful thinking" as Billing with the German policy?
Sarrazin: "wishful thinking" on the one hand contains a billing with the German policy. On the other hand, it has a broader focus. It asks: Why are societies successful? What are the principles of good governance? What to avoid? I say you have to avoid utopias. And on this relatively broad methodological basis, I show what has been wrong in German politics in the past fifty years, with selected topics ranging from immigration, demography, education to energy.
NITRO: You have brought up the term utopia. You criticize that the Federal Government's refugee and immigration policy is the biggest mistake in post-war politics. Why is it a utopia that people from all over the world, living together from different cultures in Germany? Could society not benefit, for example, in demographic change or the diversity of cultures?
Sarrazin: Of course, all cultures can live together. In the Ottoman Empire the Armenians, the Greeks, the Bulgarians, the Turks and the Arabs also lived together. As a utopia, I call the idea that people of foreign cultures or people who come from places that have never had a high culture in the past tens of thousands of years can be educated within one generation to good Germans in the sense that they are just as capable of education and willing. This is demonstrated by the experiences we have made with different immigrant groups. Vietnamese or Chinese are on average different from Turks, Arabs or Black Africans. We have immigration groups that do not have any integration problems after a generation, but rather, on the contrary, perform better than many Germans according to all indicators such as income, labor market participation and education. We also have groups, where the opposite is the case. And the current mass immigration is 98 percent of groups, which can be expected to lead to great integration difficulties. Whoever neglects now, acts irresponsibly and spiritually stupid.
NITRO: Do you think the denial in these ethnic groups is too great?
Sarrazin: You can, of course, philosophically think about whether it is a cultural or religious background, whether it is because people are less intelligent or have other life plans. The fact is, we have about 300,000 Muslims in Berlin. But we also have about 300,000 Poles in Berlin. Have you ever read an article in the press about the problematic integration of Poland in Berlin? Have you ever read that the Poles were crushing themselves, that they form gangs, that they drive cars on the Kurfürstendamm, that they forcibly marry their daughters and force them under headscarfs?
NITRO: But there are also voices that claim that it is due to a failed integration policy.
Sarrazin: Sorry, there are always people who claim anything. There are people who claim the earth is flat and the world was created 5,000 years ago. Integration is a performance of those who integrate.
NITRO: They also attribute to the policy of failure in the currency, immigration and education. When you were a financial advisor in Berlin, a setting stop for teachers was imposed and there was no money for the rehabilitation of schools, because Berlin was broke. Without teachers or social workers and functioning schools, the integration and the formation of immigrants can not succeed. Do not you criticize something that has not been successful in Berlin because of the lack of cash?
Sarrazin: In my entire term of office as financial intermediary, Berlin had far more teachers per student than most other federal states and with the highest educational expenditures per student. The gap was greatest with the Pisa top runners Bayern and Saxony. The poor Berlin educational results are unfortunately the result of bad education policy despite high state expenditure. Schooling is the responsibility of the districts in Berlin. Many, not all districts, have for many years decided to favor other district projects at the expense of schooling. This brings little fame, rehabilitated school-yards are not so attractive at holidays.
NITRO: We are in Germany in the situation that last year we had a lot of refugees ...
Sarrazin: ... I do not use the word refugees. We have had 1.5 million illegal immigrants since the beginning of last year. Of these, some are refugees. Out of whichever reasons. But it is first illegal immigrants. And that is the majority. I avoid the word refugees, especially since 75% of these refugees are well-fed young men. They deny what they should actually do first, namely, to work for their country. And if 400,000 young Syrians were now fighting in Aleppo against Assad, the situation would look different. But they prefer not to fight, but ...
NITRO: ... they flee from an inhuman war.
Sarrazin: ... or, as the Czech Prime Minister spoke polemically a few months ago: they prefer to sit and drink coffee on the Kurfürstendamm. The conditions in the countries from which they come are terrible. But relations in countries are always human. And when people go, instead of changing circumstances, the circumstances remain terrible.
NITRO: That so many people have come to Germany like last year has something to do with the fact that the Chancellor said, "We can do it." But maybe she thought it was a motivation.
Sarrazin: If I am a political leader, I must say, of course, "We can do it." Only, the call in a particular situation by a party and by its chairman is nothing in content.
NITRO: Do not we have the duty to help people in need?
Sarrazin: If I quote, for example, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who is particularly comprehensible and for everything I despise in the present debate, he says in a meaningful way: It is our duty to help the whole world so long [as the?] Poor are like the rest of the world. And until then, we open the borders and accept all who come to us. Angela Merkel's view is not very different. This means that from a completely utopian sense of solidarity, great risks for our country are accepted. Even if we were to receive a million a year, this does not change the situation in the rest of the world. I have just read a recent survey by the Gallup Institute, which [finds that of] 180 million inhabitants, more than half of whom are under 18, 70 million would emigrate to Europe if they could. In Africa millions of people are sitting on packed suitcases. When I look responsibly for the consequences, I say: We have built up a powerful community in Europe with a high standard of living and a certain culture. And we should protect that.
NITRO: The consequence would be that the borders are made tight.
Sarrazin: I would like to quote the Dutch sociologist Paul Scheffer, who in his book "Het Land Van Aankomst" (The Immigrants) addressed this topic ten years ago and had a huge success with it. He says: As difficult as it is, we must choose. Do we want to preserve our culture and social system? Then we need limits. Do we want no limits? Then we can not preserve our culture and our social system.
NITRO: There will still be immigration in the future. Or do you expect Europe to close the boundaries?
Sarrazin: Of course, there will be more immigration. If Persian doctors come to us, no one will be against it. If you have boundaries and control the limits and whoever comes across these limits, you exercise control. This is something different than setting boundaries. Of course, the knowledge must wander and, of course, the goods can migrate and the capital can also migrate. But there is no law of nature, which means that people have to walk.
NITRO: Where do you see Germany in the future?
Sarrazin: How it goes on with us is a forecasting question. I do not know, because there are too many uncertain variables. But I know one thing: A new influx of people, mainly from Africa, will bring the current federal government into irreconcilable problems, until the political paralysis and the fall. Secondly, we no longer have any partners for an open border policy. The French have long since moved out of the system. They are just too polite to say it because they need our support in other problems. The Austrians are exhausted. The Balkan states, the former Eastern bloc states, have exited.
The Italians are currently in a learning process. They were always the good people that received the Black Africans at Lampedusa and then passed them elegantly to the north. Now there is a backwater in the Ticino and the Brenner. And at some point the Italians will discover that they must keep the Black Africans who receive them. And then Italian policy will change.
Since an influx of illegal immigrants on a larger scale is inevitable, we will be all alone in Europe in the near future. And so I say: Either the European Union will come to a functioning border regime which no longer tolerates illegal immigration or prevents illegal immigration. Or, if that does not happen, there will be an involuntary return to national borders.
NITRO: Are the media taking on the role that they have to report, namely, neutral and factual?
Sarrazin: I can not remember a time when the media did not make politics or were used by politics. Max Weber calls political journalists politicians, he counts them as a class of politicians who want to influence politically with the pen. The problem begins when media reports unilaterally, and this is the case with our media. The public broadcasting system is completely dominated by a very one-sided view of issues such as immigration, education, demography and exerts knallhart censorship. I know this from my own case.
And our print media are largely attributable to a leftist and liberal stream, which has a very one-sided view of things. The media mainstream does not have an unobserved look, but an ideologically dyed. And this ideologically colored look goes from internationalism, universalism and the basic axiomatic assumption that there are no significant differences between people and cultures.
NITRO: Is there anything else that can surprise you?
Sarrazin: Now I have to quote this trite word from Hölderlin: "Where the danger grows greatest, the saving also grows". Times of upheaval are always also times of the unexpected, because in times of change the maps are constantly mixed again. Could we have imagined what actually happened in this country in July 2015? Could anyone have thought in the summer of 1989 that the Wall would fall on 9 November? No. And so nobody knows what will happen in the future.