Essay On German Culture

Essay On German Culture-83
The answer to the challenges posed to our key values is not to make people shake hands.The country needs to accept that it will be less homogeneous.

The answer to the challenges posed to our key values is not to make people shake hands.The country needs to accept that it will be less homogeneous.

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BERLIN — Can you begin a debate and miss out on it at the same time? While conceding that a national culture cannot be more than a “guideline,” he went on to ask how the country should deal with people who object to adopting those guiding principles. de Maizière suggests that, alongside the characteristics of German Leitkultur, there are certain “nonnegotiable” values: the priority of law over religion, respectful manners in everyday life, being part of the West, being “proud Europeans” and being patriotic. de Maizière is far from the first German to discuss Leitkultur.

Consider the topic of the moment among Germany’s political class — whether the country has a “Leitkultur,” or guiding national culture, or whether it is a truly multicultural nation. The term surfaced in 2000, when the Christian Democratic politician Friedrich Merz wrote an article in Die Welt asking whether it is enough for immigrants to obey German law or whether there are other manners, habits, traditions and conventions that everybody should respect as well. Merz’s article set off a long, polemical debate in which one side made accusations of racism and the other side answered with accusations of cultural relativism; by the end, the question hadn’t been answered, but the fight was so vicious that the word was rendered unutterable in polite conversation.

She told me that it was basically the same as here just a little more formal.

Her husband talked it over with her grandmother first because that was the family she had there and then he asked her and she excepted, she has been married for almost seven years and dated him for about three before they decided to get married.

A guiding national culture that grants room for dissent and deviation within the boundaries of the law would be strong and convincing — to the newly arrived and the dog-tired.

It is the German lack of liberalism, not mashed potatoes with spinach and eggs, that constitutes our Piefigkeit.She is now married to a German man and has one daughter.The interview that we had took place over the phone and I tried to keep it as short as possible so the phone bill would not be too outrageous.And last month almost half a million Germans of Turkish descent voted to help President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey rid himself of whatever parliamentary control is left in his country.In Germany, there still is a strong belief that you can change dissenters’ minds by erecting national cultural guidelines — in other words, thought-policing.Germany will have to accept that respecting the law is enough.Germans will have to accept habits and thoughts that are unfamiliar or even disturbing.They believe they can defeat the Alternative for Germany by simply not granting the party too much television time.And they believe they can make people adopt values by making a bullet-point list of values our national mantra. All you can do is live it, promote it and hope that others will follow suit.The “debate” began last Sunday, when the conservative German minister of the interior, Thomas de Maizière, published an op-ed essay in the newspaper Bild. de Maizière asks what constitutes being German, besides the German language and the German Constitution. de Maizière is decidedly pro-Leitkultur, both as a description of how Germany is and how it should continue to be. And yet here we are, 17 years later, debating Leitkultur as if the Merz controversy had never happened.He even listed 10 items, in bullet points, that he said define German culture: “We shake hands.” “We are not burqa” (whatever that means). Almost instantly, Germans took to Twitter and excoriated Mr. If such a thing existed, they wanted nothing of it: According to the Twitter crowd, the human equivalent of the predominant German culture is a xenophobic, homophobic, ignorant hick who eats nothing but eggs and potatoes and spinach, even abroad, proudly displaying his “Piefigkeit,” his petty-bourgeois small-mindedness, to the embarrassed global community. Dismissing it all as a conspiracy means that, once again, Germany is refusing to engage in a long-overdue discussion about national principles at a time when the question of what, exactly, Germany means is itself up for grabs.

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