Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Strange Death of Green Germany

The dire plight of the Green movement, once a thriving specimen on the German political scene, is now erupting into a profusion of inconsistencies, inconsistencies far closer to doctrinal collapse than creative regeneration.

The Green's outgoing Environment Minister in Nordrhein-Westphalen, Bärbel Höhn, sallies out into the pouring rain, press photographers in tow, to signal her undying opposition to the transport of nuclear waste. She would much prefer it to remain where it is, the blog supposes, somewhere in the east, where there's very few Green voters. But this radioactive transport has been approved, inconveniently, by her Green party colleague Jürgen Trittin, warm and dry in his Environment Ministry in Berlin.

Similarly, many Green party members love to agitate against dictators and the oppression of innocent people. And yet their very own Joschka Fischer is the leading light of a government which wants to lift the arms embargo on China!

None of this matters much to the committed Green voter (although it may well reduce their number). The committed Green is more concerned with the totemic appearance of caring than with the reality. How many millions, after all, have been murdered by the fall-out of Green ideology, and the Greens' sometimes well-meaning, always self-regarding fetishisation of policy? Andrew Kenny, writing in the Spectator, puts the number at at least 50 million, as a result of the Green-driven banning of DDT in 1972, which allowed malaria to flourish in poor parts of the world, when it could have been eradicated, a measure which "in purely numerical terms ...(was) the worst crime of the twentieth century."

The discomfort always aroused by such numbers should not blind us to the fact that, at the very least, the Greens are no strangers to ideology-driven death. But now in Germany, in a welcome reversal, it is a merely political death, and for a change the Greens themselves are doing the dying.

It's become a party for those who have turned their backs on the 21st century. And, were its strictures not so deadly, this positioning might be attractive. The Greens prefer a conflict-free utopia that exists, fleetingly, in suburban compounds, in the shadows of the prosperous West, withdrawn within the mind. The Greens are wealthy solipists who wish to avoid contact with the outside world, solipists whose settled world-view is impervious to the findings of science (in the global warming debate) or the demands of economic reality (in their opposition to all things nuclear). When Greens are allowed to determine policy, as Joschka Fischer was, they let ideological convictions trample over common-sense and the warnings of concerned experts (in the decision to allow hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants into Germany through Kiev).

In Germany, the Greens have tasted power, and this has proved their undoing. Once in government, their adherence to ideology results either in serious mistakes, such as the Visa scandal, or in a general unravelling of their dearest principles (as with lifting the Chinese arms embargo).

Like other movements with big strategic inconsistencies, the Greens hate the society that enables them to exist. And they can survive only if they are not allowed anywhere near anything which may affect society.

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