Why do some people despise the good of others?

Qantara.de - Dialogue with the Islamic World

The theses that Thilo Sarrazin in his book "Germany abolishes" and has been spreading in a plethora of interviews since last week are so hair-raising stupid that a factual discussion is almost impossible.

So one could ironically retreat to the statement that Sarrazin, should stupidity actually be hereditary, at least not be blamed.

But if you want to say something in substance about your bizarre statements, you very quickly find yourself confronted with the question: Don't you give the theses the appearance of being worthy of discussion when you try to lecture or discuss them, when you point out their implausibility?

In addition, the author does not simply present his points laconically, no, he rides around on them, repeats them and insists on them, the more absurd they are.

There is no interview in which he does not return to the fact that he feels that intelligence lies in the genes and stupidity is inheritable and that a society has a problem when the stupid have an above-average fertility rate: "When they are less on average Intelligent people have higher fertility, the average intelligence of the population decreases ".

A hodgepodge of obscure claims

All of this is mashed up with popular eugenics and the freakiest of simple Darwinism. And, yes, you can’t call it any other way: This is where the author’s obvious stupidity comes into play, who denies others the intelligence, but apparently has no trace of social intelligence, because he tends to mess around with his most obscure assertions, namely that a small number of dumb, breed like rabbits, ruin society's gene pool.

And do we really want to discuss such nonsense?

So, let's cut it short: Mr. Sarrazin claims that the immigration of Muslims makes Germany more stupid. Firstly, because the Muslims are genetically more of the 'dummies'. And secondly, for cultural reasons, because good school performance, for example among Turks and Arabs, is not particularly prestigious ("a cultural problem").

Thirdly, there is also a correlation, a "positive statistical relationship between intelligence, socio-economic background and level of education" within ethnic-cultural communities.

In other words: Not only are the Germans smarter than the immigrant Muslims, it is also the case among the Germans that the educated and wealthy - in short: the upper class - are genetically smarter than the lower class. In the past, however, the stupid had fewer children than the smart, which is why the gene pool was optimized. Now it's the other way around: Ergo, we're idling, in a way.

Crude social Darwinism

So Mr Sarrazin is not only introducing a new racist discourse into the immigration debate, but also into the education debate. If many Muslims stay on the fringes of this society and fail to make it - it's your own fault, they are simply too stupid for that.

If the new lower classes stay at the bottom and the low status of the parents is passed on to the children, i.e. if they come into life as born losers, then this is not a social and educational scandal, but the logical consequence of the fact that the stupid ones take their own to inherit modest intelligence.

From this it naturally follows, Mr Sarrazin does not have to add that, that all attempts to increase the chances of those without opportunities through educational reforms and educational efforts are futile from the outset.

In short: the ones below are too right below. And worse: they also make life difficult for us educated, refined and intelligent.

Classic social democratic ideals?

If Sudel-Thilo were a member of the NPD, no one would pay any attention to his theses, at most one would ask the ironic question of how he assesses the intelligence and genetic makeup of the drinking skinheads who cheer his postulates.

But Mr Sarrazin is a member of the SPD and wants to stay that way, specifically because, as he says, his position is classically "social democratic". Of course, the question arises as to how he can come up with this grotesque idea. Let us try an empathetic, hermeneutical reading here for once. What could be going on in Mr. Sarrazin's head that would make him think that?

A classic social democratic position is "knowledge is power". That is why traditional social democracy wanted to educate the people. This idea of ​​empowerment through education spread and led to the fact that education was upheld even in underprivileged milieus during a certain epoch - say: in the period from 1900 to 1980.

The parents said to their offspring: Learn something, child, so that you can become something. The promise was that through education, one could achieve social advancement. And in fact, this promise kept for several decades.

Today it holds less and less and especially in immigrant milieus the promise is very stale today. Children who are born into the new migrated lower class grow up with a different awareness, namely: Even if they make an effort, it is of no use anyway. You have only a minimal chance. Incidentally, the same applies to children from the autochthonous lower class.

Sarrazin seems to be of the opinion that the lower class is now depraved because they no longer believe in the classic social democratic promise - "advancement through education". He therefore considers it a "social democratic position" to berate these lower classes for no longer believing in it. Well, in any case, that is a very original interpretation of the "social democratic idea".

Zones of radical exclusion

One thing is certainly true: It is a social problem that this "social democratic thread" has been torn, that today there are zones of radical exclusion in which the promise of advancement through education no longer works and it is certainly true that there is a fatal one here Cycle of exclusion and self-exclusion.

But it is primarily the political elites who have not been able to renew the integrating idea. In any case, insulting the victims of these trials is not a wise strategy.

Mr. Sarrazin's theses are confused, snooty, hurtful, peppered with contemptuous formulations and expressions of bizarre disrespect of the elites towards the "losers". The man is conceited in a way that should actually provoke roaring laughter.

The mere accusation to the underprivileged that they live lazily on state dough and have absolutely no drive to assert themselves in the whirlwind of free economic life is hilarious from the mouth of a man who has spent his entire life in the state and state-affiliated economy and his entire professional career - from ministry to railway to finance senator's office to the Bundesbank - owes it to sailing on a party ticket.

Scandalous reception

In this respect, his theses are not so scandalous. Much more scandalous is the reception they experience. Why does such a work, instead of being ignored, have to be disseminated via the "Spiegel", popularized in talk shows, why does such a curious head get the honor of being interviewed on two "Zeit" pages?

Of course, because the journalists know that there is a social echo space for the cold misanthropy that Sarrazin expresses. Because there are milieus in which this racism has long since flourished. Because the spokesmen of these milieus, who are always expressing themselves everywhere, adhere to the weird view that they are being persecuted by "political correctness" and therefore adorn themselves with the attribute that they express "suppressed" opinions that courage is required, "plain text "to talk, and they would muster that courage.

Great pike who "don't mince words". As if there was some kind of stupidity in our society that went unpublished or was not broadcast to the last living room via trash shows.

No, you don't have to be brave to berate other people. With the ostentatious joy of being able to despise other people, you get on bestseller lists today. Stupidity, if not hereditary, is always profitable.

Robert Misik

© Qantara.de 2010

Editor: Lewis Gropp / Qantara.de


Thilo Sarrazin: "Germany is doing away with itself"
Everyone listen: the end is near!
Thilo Sarrazin has written a piece of literature on decline. He considers himself to be a shouter in the desert, but his proposals to save Germany do not help either. A review by Matthias Drobinski.

Islam debate in Germany
The new cold war
The debates about Islam are heating up and becoming more and more confusing. In his essay, Stefan Weidner explains what the background to the debates is and how even a neutral observer can find their way around them.

Interview with Kay Sokolowsky
Racism in the guise of criticism of Islam
The media critic Kay Sokolowsky warns of the negative consequences of increasing Islamophobia for coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims - and calls for dialogue and education. Ramon Schack spoke to him.