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Why Germany’s Green Party Is So Strong: A Wake-Up Call

Rainer Zitelmann, Tichys Einblick

The Greens have long been defining the cultural and political agenda in Germany. The more the other parties have been currying favour with them, the stronger the Green Party has become: voters now choose the original, not the imitators.

“On many issues today, the Greens are setting the direction, then the SPD follows and finally the Christian Democrats follow, lagging behind with a clear delaying effect … The Green Party’s impact goes far beyond their involvement at state government level and their successes documented in elections. More importantly, the Green Party succeeds time and time again in determining the political agenda and assuming opinion leadership in public debate. This can only happen, however, because they have an above-average number of sympathizers in the media and because the ranks of their natural challengers, i.e. the Christian Democrats (CDU), have softened and leading CDU politicians have adopted key positions of the Greens.”

I wrote these sentences not one or two years ago, but in 1995, 24 years ago (!), in my book “Where is our Republic drifting?” In this book, I tried to predict longer-term trajectories of political developments in the German Federal Republic. My findings from 1995 show that the developments that have led to the election success of 20.7 percent for the Green Party yesterday is the result of long developments. Of course, this result was not straightforward – in between the Green Party was sometimes so weak that some already predicted its demise.

People choose the original and not the copy

In response to the European elections we will see the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) claiming that they now need to do more about climate change. This, they will claim, is the real lesson of the European elections. This, of course, is rather absurd: It’s as if someone who took the wrong direction thinks he has to go faster now to reach the finish.

For years, both CDU/CSU and SPD have been implementing the Greens’ manifesto: shutting down nuclear power plants, phasing out coal, transforming Germany’s energy sector into a command and control economy, etc. Recently, they have begun to restructure the automotive industry in line with a planned economy – so-called “fleet targets” are imposed throughout the EU, defining which cars may be produced and which not. This strategy of cozying up to the Greens and taking over their key agenda, however, has not led to the weakening but to the strengthening of the Green Party: after all, voters prefer to pick the original, rather than the copy.

It’s never enough

The logic of the Green Party, on the other hand, is always: “It’s never enough”. Once you shut down all nuclear power plants coal-fired power plants become the next target. Like a doomsday sect, the imminent end of the world is being propagated. And despite the set phrase that “fear is not a good guide in politics” (which is the standard mantra in the immigration debate), scare-mongering about the end of the world is now their dominant sensation. It’s just like the “social justice” mantra which the Greens also propagate now: no matter what’s been done, it’s never enough and it always has to be much more and more radical.

The mainstream media, especially television, have long been in green hands, which we know from surveys about the party affinity of journalists. In the meantime, however, the Greens are also succeeding in cleverly using social media, as the video by Rezo and the initiative by 70 Youtubers recently showed.

The self-destruction of the economy

Germany’s social institutions have long been dominated by champions of the Greens – especially news media and education institutions, but also the main churches. That 36 percent of first-time voters meanwhile voted for the Green Party (in this electoral group the CDU is only two percentage points ahead of the left-wing comedy PARTY) is also a consequence of the fact that in schools green doctrines are propagated as certainties of modern school education.

This, however, only works because Germany’s industry and business community is opportunistic and does not oppose the green Zeitgeist. Big business has adapted cunningly, as it has always done. I still remember how Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche disguised himself as green campaigner to curry favour with the Green Party at their party conference. Or how VW CEO Herbert Diess explained how he intends to transform Volkswagen into a green company.

In the United States, there are still free marketeers among successful businesses and entrepreneurs who are opposed to the left-wing takeover in universities and the news media, especially by supporting libertarian and conservative think tanks. In Germany, there is hardly any of this: If you look at topics and programmes of the liberal Friedrich Naumann Foundation, you will realise that the dominant dogma is not challenged by anything appealing.

The development of the left always begins in the ideological realm. Anyone who wants to challenge and reverse it – which will require significant staying power – can do so only by opposing the green dogma and offering compelling alternatives. Instead, any knowledge of what a market economy is and should be has almost completely disappeared in Germany.

Wake-up call?

Ultimately, the Greens are just one specific form in which anti-capitalism today articulates itself. The panic-mongering about the imminent end of the world is simply a pretext for reorganizing the economy into a control and command system. This would, of course, lead to severe economic upheavals – mass unemployment and economic decline. Should these consequences occur, the anti-capitalists will then claim that all this is the consequence of “unbridled markets” and now it is time to finally overcome capitalism in order to avert “social injustice” and “climate catastrophe” at the same time. I hope will be proven wrong with these grim scenarios – unlike my 1995 cited sentences – and that reasonable entrepreneurs that may still exist understand that the Green Party’s 20.7% election result is a wake up call.

Full post (in German)