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Wed Feb 3, 2016, 06:10 PM

The Psychology of Germany's refugee response: From Auschwitz directly to Munich's main station

Will she jump?
All across Europe Merkel's refugee policy is considered by many to be crazy. But itís not all that simple. The Chancellor is following a strategy. And a very high risk one at that.


A sudden outbreak of sympathy built up over time. And then in response to the question as to why the country initially gave in to this insanity, there is a psychoanalytical answer: the German people, weighed down by their traumatic past, wanted to free themselves from their stigma and consequently ended up with a completely irrational Willkommenskultur (the positive message of welcoming migrants). From Auschwitz directly to Munich's main station as it were.

Ultimately it all started very sensibly. From Merkelís point of view the situation presented itself as follows: the Middle East is in absolute chaos, a large number of people will, for the foreseeable future, be fleeing towards Europe. Germany is the strongest country in Europe with the biggest demographic problem; a closed-borders policy would be hugely damaging - economically given Germanyís position as the worldís leading exporter and morally because any policy towards the refugees which could be seen as hard-hearted would be held against the German people much more than anyone else. Besides, integrating Turkish Muslims has, on balance, been a good experience. And last but not least, the previous few years have shown us that the majority of people are truly willing to help. So why not have a go at introducing a modern refugee policy to Europe, shouldering the biggest burden yourself in order to then distribute them fairly?

Therein lies the problem which political scientists call the "tragedy of the commons." Applied to Europe and refugee policy it means that the best situation for everyone would naturally be for the refugees to be more or less fairly distributed and the strain on each individual country would then be less significant. As long as, however, at least one country accepts limitless numbers of refugees, for the rest itís rational and very simple at that to either wave them through or turn them away. This is how this fatal dynamic emerged: those who turn away the refugees quickly find themselves in a better situation than those who accept them and find themselves in a worse and worse situation, which in turn vindicates those wanting to close the borders and angers those accepting refugees.

And something else has also been added to the mix, something epochal. The pressure on the refugee policy is, therefore, so immense because people are gradually starting to realise that globalisation has reached a point at which a few old debts are now due to be repaid. Initially, a debt between the developed and developing world and consequently, now between the rich and the poor in the developed world. This sounds abstract and yet has thrown the US election race out of joint. Donald Trump has made an attractive racist offer to the electorate: the debt wonít be repaid because we will keep out all these criminals, rapists, freeloaders and terrorists (no Hispanic and Muslim people) and live as we have done up until now. The Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, currently putting pressure on Hillary Clinton, has made his own attractive (and more respectable offer). He says: yes, we have to share what we have with the migrants but for that we have to get tough on the rich.

http://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2016-02/refugee-policy-angela-merkel-europe-eu

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Reply The Psychology of Germany's refugee response: From Auschwitz directly to Munich's main station (Original post)
pampango Feb 2016 OP
smirkymonkey Feb 2016 #1
JPnoodleman Feb 2016 #2
smirkymonkey Feb 2016 #4
pampango Feb 2016 #5
AngryAmish Feb 2016 #3
oberliner Feb 2016 #6
AngryAmish Feb 2016 #7
oberliner Feb 2016 #8

Response to pampango (Original post)

Wed Feb 3, 2016, 08:14 PM

1. Why do I have a feeling that her motives were not quite so humanitarian?

 

I think she had other, economic, ideas in mind.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 3, 2016, 09:01 PM

2. Suppressing wages and propping up the European Housing markets...

plus she might have been given a Nobel Prize if things hadn't gone down the toilet as they have.

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Response to JPnoodleman (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 3, 2016, 11:05 PM

4. Yes, absolutely.

 

Thank you! And welcome to DU!

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 4, 2016, 07:16 AM

5. That is certainly possible. Merkel's motives may be good, bad or quite mixed. What I found

interesting was the view of the history and psychology of the German people's to explain their reaction to the refugee crisis; moreso than Merkel's thought process.

... the German people, weighed down by their traumatic past, wanted to free themselves from their stigma and consequently ended up with a completely irrational Willkommenskultur (the positive message of welcoming migrants).

... integrating Turkish Muslims has, on balance, been a good experience. And last but not least, the previous few years have shown us that the majority of people are truly willing to help.

We all know that the German (and every other countries') far-right was never 'willing to help' but there did seem to be a genuine spirit of Willkommenskultur (largely on the left, of course, at the beginning. Whether this author's analysis of why that was true is an open question.

Also, the description of the RW populist (Trump/Le Pen/Orban) reaction to the crisis and comparing it to the Democratic/liberal attitude was accurate:

Donald Trump has made an attractive racist offer to the electorate: the debt wonít be repaid because we will keep out all these criminals, rapists, freeloaders and terrorists (no Hispanic and Muslim people) and live as we have done up until now. The Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, currently putting pressure on Hillary Clinton, has made his own attractive (and more respectable offer). He says: yes, we have to share what we have with the migrants but for that we have to get tough on the rich.

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Response to pampango (Original post)

Wed Feb 3, 2016, 09:06 PM

3. There are a few generally recognized classes in America.

 

The lowest class is made up of drug addicts, criminals, folks in generational poverty. I won't give them a name because by the very act of giving this clearly identifiable group a name causes the gentry (wait for it) to call you names and attack one as a member of the outgroup or other. Juggalos are this unmentionable class.

Next group up are the proles. Working folk, some familial dysfunction, but the group that makes a go of this world and make up the basis of our armies and nonfederal governmental workers. This is the largest group.

Next are the gentry. College educated. Trader Joe's. Professionals. They make the trains run on time, heal the sick and write the news.

Then there are the elite. A few dozen, maybe up to a thousand. They work for fun and have generational wealth. Pritzger. Rockefeller. Koch. Think about the kids at the Wanamaker Debutant Riot as well as at Davos.

In general, culture wise Trump is a prole. Do not equate cultural affinity with economic wealth. Trump truly enjoys professional wrestling and is in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Clinton and Sanders are gentry.

Elite want the proles to hate the gentry. Gentry want the proles to hate the elite.

No one gives a shit about the inmentionables.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 4, 2016, 07:23 AM

6. Which group are you in?

 

Just curious.

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Response to oberliner (Reply #6)

Thu Feb 4, 2016, 07:54 AM

7. Culturally, I am a prole.

 

Came up poor to immigrants. Made a good buck and I am a professional and I suppose I live the gentry life. Most of my good friends are proles. I have never bought the hypocracies of the gentry.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 4, 2016, 08:21 AM

8. Interesting - I like that analysis

 

It reminds me of France before the revolution.

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