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A nation of free thinkers

The Local · 12 Jan 2011, 17:19

Published: 12 Jan 2011 17:19 GMT+01:00

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Ask a German to sing a traditional German song and they'll hum and haw a bit, then their faces will alternate from pale to red and back again, until finally the embarrassment is cut short by these lines:

Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten?

Sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.

Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen, es bleibet dabei.

Die Gedanken sind frei!

Thoughts are free, who can guess them?

They fly by like nocturnal shadows.

No one can know them, no hunter can shoot them, and so it will always be.

Thoughts are free!

It's an old song, with a long and moving history, that expresses the yearning for freedom. The Pirate Party adopted it as their campaign anthem in 2009, and older Berliners might remember September 9, 1948, when Ernst Reuter, West Berlin's post-war mayor, stood before the ruins of the Reichstag at the height of the Soviet Union's blockade and called on the "people of the world" not to abandon the city.

After the speech, the song "Thoughts are free" sprang spontaneously from the crowd. Yes, Germans certainly love freedom of thought, and if they could turn those thoughts into actions, the country would have become a foreigner-free zone a long time ago.

But Germans are not so keen on freedom of speech, which is why they limit it with all kinds of laws. And they welcome any opportunity to plead for more restrictions and regulations.

The latest of these opportunities is the horrific attack in Tucson, Arizona on US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The shooting has been used as a chance to crow about the "climate of hate" in the United States, regardless of the question of what exactly motivated a man to kill six people and wound 14 others.

This satisfies two German urges at once. Firstly, it gives them a chance to exercise their wonted anti-Americanism, which has been stifled since the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Now it can run riot again, not with the despised and derided George W. Bush, but by targeting Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement.

The German pressure cooker, long bubbling with accusations of Yankee gun-loving, the death penalty, evangelical Christianity, and rabid anti-government rhetoric, has finally found a way to blow off steam. Apparently the revival of "Evil America" has been bursting to get out quite some time. Any longer, and the "Good German" might have come down with a bad case of prejudicial-dyspepsia.

Secondly, the assertions of a "climate of hate" in the United States have fed the conviction that freedom of speech can be a little too free – in other words, that the rigid German model is superior to the libertarian American approach.

This assertion is good for German self-satisfaction. It pacifies them. But not a single connection has been made between the political climate in the United States and the bloody killings in Tucson – exposing those who insinuate as much as modern Joe McCarthy. Just as the now discredited Senator Joseph McCarthy pursued alleged communists in the 1950s, today's German witch hunters are hunting the likes of Palin and the Tea Party for causing the tragedy in Tucson.

Story continues below…

Don't misunderstand me – following the attack by an apparently psychologically-disturbed 22-year-old, the "climate of hate" has been criticized in the United States too. But we shouldn't lose any sleep about America. The freedom of speech is enshrined in the US Constitution, and it is anchored as an ideal deep in the consciousness of American society.

And it’s not just zealous US civil rights lawyers who would probably even defend sending Adolf Hitler on a reading tour of Mein Kampf across America. There are plenty of average US citizens who are equally convinced that a public discourse about wrong ideas is preferable to the suppression of free speech.

We should be more worried about Germany (and Europe). Here, freedom is still a luxury. One can almost feel the subliminal desire to use the Tucson attack to finally ban public appearances by Thilo Sarrazin.

This commentary was published with the kind permission of Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, where it originally appeared in German. Translation by The Local.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:55 January 12, 2011 by Landmine
Now now Germans, lets not forget about the gun toting Germans that have done the same thing in Stuttgart and other places in Germany.

The apple does not fall far from the tree so you all need not be so judgmental when you suffer the same social issues we have in the US....
19:43 January 12, 2011 by Larry Thrash
The "climate of hate", in modern times comes the left. Movies and books about killing Bush and Chaney, and the over all hate from the media of Bush was shocking. It's just excepted to hate conservatives. Just read the editorials from the New York Times. What a joke that leftist propaganda paper has become.

This killer in Arizona had nothing to do with the "right" in fact people who knew him called him a "leftist."
20:20 January 12, 2011 by DinhoPilot
I think this article is a bit harsh!

Americans are a bit crazy and over the top. We all know that their political, economical and social system will eventually fail. The Constitution is a bit outdated (like e.g. every citizen has the "right" to have guns, etc...) and while its points were valid a century ago, the same doesn't happen today. Defending the freedom in general might mean to restrict some individual freedoms (but not a la communism). The problem is were to find the middle point. The goes for capitalism, etc...
20:33 January 12, 2011 by Joshen
Maybe I'm missing some background information here but I am having difficulties understanding what the author means. I don't really see the connection between anti-americanism and being against freedom of speech. Just because you don't respect someone opinions you can still respect their right to have them! Or..?
20:48 January 12, 2011 by DinhoPilot

Quote "Yes, Germans certainly love freedom of thought, and if they could turn those thoughts into actions, the country would have become a foreigner-free zone a long time ago."

Maybe what the author is saying that germans despise americans values (freedom of speech, owning guns, multicultural-multiracial, etc...) thus making it anti-american. And taking in account that americans "messed up" the world has we know it...
21:30 January 12, 2011 by fryintl
DinhoPilot: You are surely one of the most ignorant but interesting people I have seen.

When you post, why not base your thoughts on fact, or soem sort of logic and not just American BAsh. Are you jealous that my country has in two hundred years built one of the best and most successful countries and nations in the world- and in such a short time?

When you talk about freedom and a middle point you are looking for, I pose to you the the American Constitution is the middle point. Where we were taught many years ago that your freedom of speech ends where it affects another person's, or infringes on the freedom of another.

When you speak that all German's hate americans, I am glad the deep friendships I have built with many are not as closed minded as you seem to be. I ask if you are truly German, and if so, are you from teh East? A corrupt regime of the east, beaten back by a simple and peace loving free society such as America, maybe then your sarcasm and disdain for the AMerican country that took hits form you, lost hundreds of thousands of lives because of you, and then spent their own money (I know we made a profit doing it, so we are not totally without some gain here too) to rebuild you and bring you back to the greatness you have the potential to be.

Why is John F Kenedy so beloved, an American, so that his face in in Kennedy Platz in so many dorf's and cities? How did the wall come down (I kind of hate haveing it come down as many Western Germans have sufferedd due to the failed society of the west by paying taxes.

Why wear our jeans, want the corvette? Why our hamburgers and how many BBQ places and steak houses are there? You are an idiot and I hate every left wing non flexible and prejudiced piece of crap like you. You live free and can bassh me and the west because people like me gave you the ability to. Try to be a divergent thinker under HItler.

Sorry all, I lost my head and I am truly sorry for losing it, but not for what I said.
23:10 January 12, 2011 by Landmine
Good job fryintl, no need to apologize to the ingrates....
01:00 January 13, 2011 by DinhoPilot
@fryintl and Landmine

What the deuce? What is your problem? Left what? Who is from the east? Who likes Hitler?!

See!! that's what I meant when I say "Americans are a bit crazy and over the top" - I just disagree with a point or two and you take it all political. SORRY I did use a generalization "Americans" but I didn't meant all! I have friends and even family in america. Chilax!

Effectively I am not talking in removing people's right ("a la comunism" mentioned) but finding the harmony between people's liberty and individual liberty!

If you lived here certainly you noticed that everyone in general has decent life, medical, education!

If you think having the right to have guns is "essential" then good for you but I won't accept such point of view personally, and NO doesn't have to do with politics (AGAIN why does everything has to do with being republican, comunist, democrat??)

We cannot stay slave of old laws and ideals if they can be "replaced" by better ones.This I don't mean changing all system but improving it for the people.

I said all Germans hate americans??? I wonder where:

"MAYBE what the AUTHOR is saying that germans despise americans values (freedom of speech, owning guns, multicultural-multiracial, etc...) THUS making it anti-american."

Wasn't me who wrote the article, I was just being sarcastic answering to the question of Joshen. Read the article and try to figure it out too...

JFK is dead, but why? Again everything=politics

DON'T YOU REALIZE how easy is to jump to the train of extremism?! Same thing happened with Germans when they regarded themselves as "superior" (whatever that meant) while Hitler took control of Germany.

America DID "messed" up recently and no corvette, hambugers or facebook will cover that. Was I spreading anti-america feelings? I think not, your politicians did it! America contributed to the world more than any other country but do you think we must close our eyes, shut up, don't talk?

America IS A GREAT country but is this emerging political or idealist war within that is treathing to tore it apart. I am not telling elsewhere is way better, or you to stop being american! all countries have problems.

Although you awakened me the desire to jump to name calling like you did I won't because it doesnt add to the discussion.shhh
01:15 January 13, 2011 by fryintl
Now we are back to conversation. 1. Why does it revert to politics? Because, everything in life is politics. MArriage, kids, sex, love, work, taxes, leadership of a church, a bank, a country- everything is Political.

2. You appeared to be using the words of the article to support an argument that GERMANS dispise Americans. So, yes, I assumed -by what you wrote, and granted it may not be your mother tongue, so there may be wiggle room for misinterpreting yoru intentions with the written word-if we were face to face, maybe there could be dialog and less misunderstanding...the assumption was that you, too think America is crap and to be despised.

3. When you say the Constitution is old and no longer pertinent, yes, there are problems there.

4. I spent 14 years in Germany, and have family there and here. A good part of the best part of my life was there and I have seen and see every day life form both perspectives..as seen by my interaction with friends and family members.

5. Every country messes up, some have 1000's of years to show it, some have only a few problems over a couple of hundred.

6. Of course Germany has Culture, Education (but look around at what is walking the streets, and you may say that Germany's hay days are long gone now). America has Culture too, many make light or fun of it, but don't discount the power of the one country that has risen to creat mass markets and riches for many around the world.

7. I said nothing about Guns above, but the right to have them is paramount to being free. When you have none, hwo easy is it to lose freedom? Ask your JaegerMeister's if they wish to give up theirs?

8. Many ocuntries are great, I didn't attack any in my rant, you did in yours. I love Germany, the UK, Spain, not so much France but that is a topic for those with a security clearance...

9. Call me a name, you have the God Given right to do so, in the US, it is inaleinable, in Germany, you are not as free as you wish. We don't have beamter Beleidigung (spelling?).

Live free, rock on, and remember those that are most hated by the press are probably doing soemthing good in most cases. If you don't understand soemthing or hate it, you normally attack it.
02:07 January 13, 2011 by DinhoPilot
1. Not in my point of view. Does that means that if a person subscribes a set of ideals, he/she is taking part in a political ideal?! e.g. Can't you be republican and in favor of health sytem for all? I think yes.

Or if you think health system for all is good that makes you a socialist? I think not.

2.Nope. Love Corvettes, Dodges, Boeings, Cessnas, Microsoft, Hamburgers, etc... but again that doesn't mean I will subscrive to everything from there.

3.The constitution is a very relevant historic document but time changes and eventually might have to be updated. (The world is getting more complex, internet, genetics, etc...)

5.Yes but this war on terrorism shaped the modern world.

6.The culture evolved to a culture of excess and that' the image transmited to us e.g. because of massive credit abuse the economy faces the greatest challenges ever . Sure is getting a bit better but to solve this problem would necessary a massive change to occour. China will become the greatest power by 2025 and Germany is growing strongly. Education in there is a business and in here is "kind of" a right!

7.Here we "cannot" have guns, but we are all "free". People feel safe, the goverment takes care of safety. When is the last time you thought of going out at night in there?! That's a right that isn't necessary

9.Although offenses are not very welcomed here, you cannot get sued for every single thing

It is all about in finding a balance. Many are expecting the "empire" to fall, but they forget that rest of the world would collapse with it too. This article is point of view of the author and like I said is a bit harsh e.g. (dunno where he got this views from):

" Yes, Germans certainly love freedom of thought, and if they could turn those thoughts into actions, the country would have become a foreigner-free zone a long time ago"

"Secondly, the assertions of a "climate of hate" in the United States have fed the conviction that freedom of speech can be a little too free ­ in other words, that the rigid German model is superior to the libertarian American approach."

Nevertheless is up to you americans to fix America because unlike EU there is no bail out for you. I believe in this aspect a bit of ordnung might help to lift you up again.
09:53 January 13, 2011 by MaKo
umm, "revived the spectre of anti-Americanism"???

Somebody hasn't been reading his Süddeutsche!
10:40 January 13, 2011 by marimay
I can't wait to get out of here.

The US has its issues but Germany has a lot of issues that they are not even aware of.
11:05 January 13, 2011 by storymann
amen to that marimay,,wish I could get out of here and back to the US,,no chance for a few more years..

DinhoPilot..we are not asking anyone to bail us out ,,we can ,will and have done that ourselves and most likely in the end will have to bail you out...again.
11:17 January 13, 2011 by tallady
I am only commenting on the picture...

I can not stand the sight of this latent x beauty queen,,what a joke ,,she needs a full time grammar checker.. I did not vote for John McCain but respect him ,,His choice of this fool ,who only reads the Enquirer disappointed me,and reinforced my belief that he was not the man for the job...
11:39 January 13, 2011 by Meringer
Dinhopilot, I think you hit on the difference between Americans and Germans when you said that Germans depend on the Government to keep them safe. I like to be able to defend myself. Another difference is when you come to depend too much on the Government, the Government starts to control the citizens, instead of the citizens controlling the Government. Incidentaly that is exactly what happened under Hitler. The Germans turned control of the country and their everyday lives over to Hitler and his Government, then they did exactly as they were told until they were at first, too afraid to stand up, then second, no longer able too. At least if our Government ever tried to become a dictatorship, we the citizens with our nasty guns, would be able to fight back. The German citizen in WWII was unable to. A Government should be afraid of the people, the people should not be afraid of their Government. And freedom of speech is one of the things that prevents dictatorships. In all dictatorships the most important thing for them to control is the flow of information and the truth. And I will give you an example of "freespeech" in Germany. I was visiting family in Germany a few years ago,when the Irag war was new, a German reporter on TV was interviewing an American GI, The soldier in English said he missed his family, the German reporter translated into German that the Soldier said he was upset to be fighting for Bush's Oil. Another example is after the tsunami, American citizens sent millions upon millions of dollars to help, this was on top of what the Government aid was. In Germany, the citizens depended on the Government to send the aid and felt that was all that was needed to do their part.
12:11 January 13, 2011 by ECSNatale
I suppose it does not matter where one is in the world anymore, differences of opinion are now so backed by hate for the other opinion holder that a rational discourse becomes less and less possible: i.e. fryintl's comment "You are an idiot and I hate every left wing non flexible and prejudiced piece of crap like you." This is the kind of Sarah Palin inspired political discourse that is now under discussion.

I take exception to the idea of German Anti-Americanism. I am American. I have lived in Germany (both west and east) for 12 years and I have always encountered wonderful people, with a full and complex array of opinions. When any of my friends or acquaintances expressed dislike for a particular part of American policy or behavior, that did not mean they were Anti-American. The same as when I express impatience for certain business practices in the newer Bundesländer, that does not mean I am anti East (what it in fact means, as I have come to learn, was that I needed to expand my understanding of their experience and culture as opposed to forcing my own expectations upon them).

I do not believe there is very much difference at all between Germans, French, Americans, etc. We all want to live well, we all want to have fulfilling lives, it is in the HOW to achieve those things that we have slight differences. It is the media and the various political failings that create the idea that we are so different.

Rather than attacking each other, or their ideas, why not listen? Why not try to see the other person't point to ultimately reach a common goal? My guess is that opportunistic and selfish pundits and politicians like Palin and Limbaugh gain more personally through divisiveness than by any kind of common good.
14:17 January 13, 2011 by RJSJ
@ DinhoPilot " We all know that their political, economical and social system will eventually fail" When you mention "We"... I'm curious if you are the head of state... or of a political party or affiliate.. or just speaking for one... rather than "WE".?? In my opinion.. it really doesn't matter what the Germans or Europeans for that matter.. think as a whole... because it isn't their issue. Just like I wouldn't comment on the current political system or rules and regulations here in Germany. It doesn't really matter what I think... and being a non citizen of Germany... I don't have voting privileges either. I do however... believe in the old saying... "When in Rome.. do as the Romans do"... that's how I try and live my life here in Germany. I don't ridicule, point fingers or publicly criticize policies ... I go along with the flow... and respect the laws of the land... although I don't agree with many... it is NOT my right to speak out against or condemn them as if they were my own. As in Benjamin Franklin's quote... "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do." As far as America, the only way our way of life and our freedom will be destroyed... is though ourselves. Definitely not by any outside influence.... as Abe Lincoln clearly stated..."America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
15:53 January 13, 2011 by GermanAussier
An interesting article. I dont really know exactly what he was trying to say. It was a bit all over the place, but it was interesting. However I do believe all the chest thumping by the Americans in the comment sections, is not really necessary, and probably why alot of people around the world dislike Americans
16:40 January 13, 2011 by Beachrider
A very busy discussion...

The original author is quite indulgent. A number of the statements are modern political rhetoric in the USA. A few things for the discussion:

- The connection between the resigned-governor of Alaska and this violence was predicted by this very congresswoman. Even if someone assumes that the actual shooter was unbalanced anyway, everyone knew that the Alaskan ex-governor's comments would boost the likelihood of this kind of response. It then happened, so the connection is palpable.

- That the same ex-Governor compounds the original comment with a term that evokes "anti-semitic activity in Europe & US" is very comparable to George Bush's evocation of the Crusades when he invaded Iraq. Both are clearly careless speakers that don't understand how their words will be heard.

- The rest of the stuff about Americans being more on-their-own in their lives (vs Europeans) sounds true to me. Europeans demand more from the government, but both models are dramatically different than 19th century democracies.
16:50 January 13, 2011 by Major B
ECSNatale has perhaps the most cogent argument and points here. When she says "I do not believe there is very much difference at all between Germans, French, Americans, etc." she is absolutely correct.

I just marvel at the comments against the U.S. by some Germans on this site .

The FACTS are that 60% of Americans of European descent are of German heritage. Therefore, most Americans are of direct German heritage, although American culture is primarily Anglo-Saxon, with major veggies from other cultures mixed in to the American soup. (and although English, we know where the Saxons originated, and the Angles too)

The reason ECSNatale is right is because those people transplanted their values to the "New World" in every way. You are the same.

Criticism O.K., but, national supremacy -- foolish thinking. If Germans want to HARSHLY criticize their cousins then please continue. Just remember with that harshness you are in many ways just looking at yourselves.
17:00 January 13, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Is anybody surprised that these are the decedents of Nazis?

Burned Book, anyone?

Only now, it won't be Panzers and MP40s to put Germany at the helm of the European Continent (and beyond), Todays weapons are the EURO and EcoTaxes. Mandating banks to create debt. Loan Sharking, indentured servitude. propaganda.

All as the climate of hate and censorship gets ratcheted up...
18:16 January 13, 2011 by fryintl
OK, there is a time to escalate and a time to de-escalate. This is not a de-escalation. Rush Limbaugh is not a politician, he freely admits his bias, and while I am not so fond of the way he attacks a problem, there is truth and logic in it. SO, hate the message delivery but not the messenger.

Sarah Palin had nothing to do with this killer, and it is Disingenuous for any European or other news outlet to fan flames that are wrongly flaring. She is innocent. Is she presidential material, was Jimmy Carter? she certainly is smarter than he is.

Guns in the hands of the citizens keeps the government out of their business. Plain and simple. Take away the guns, and the criminals will always have them, so the fight isn't fair. It is like coming to a gun fight with an Ice cream cone.

Change is not always good. The world was much safer, moral lines were much clearer, and people could walk safely anywhere many years ago. But, like in the 1800's, or earlier, there were always bad men doing bad things. We had Billy the kid, the UK had Sweeny Todd, and the Germans had others, as did the French and the Italians. The world had the Crusades, and innocents were murdered over political and religious beliefs...bad is and always be a part of our human fabric.

When they change the constitution to make it modern, the relevance of America will be lost. What is our spirit of individualism, self governance, and independence is being stripped from us daily. The world is less free and they want the one place that has written guarantees of freedom to be taken down so that, if they can't have it, neither can we.

Your medical systems sucks. Everyone has something, true, but the poor still have to wait to see a doctor, they have to go many times and often don't get good attention and have to repeat each step until they die or a good doctor finally sees them. The Rich in Germany do not ahve that problem, as they are so privileged to be able to go to the front of the line. Politicians want to bring that here touting Canada and Germany as model systems.

I ask, do you want to be a cancer patient in Germany or in the USA.

I am of German descent. My dad' Grandfather came from Rheinland Pfalz. My wife is from there and born and raised and educated there, my son's God Father is from there, my closest friends are from there. I am German in so many ways, but in one very important way AMERICAN: I tolerate bad places, seen many in uniform; I have seen atrocities and the results that make me tear up thinking about kids and their lives. But at Midnight in Los Angels when I walk out at night, I do not fear. I trained my body to be free and fight, I am a master Black Belt, I can shoot, and I can hold a kid crying trying to find the answer of why someone bombed them.

If you have to aspire to anything politically, aspire to be free of government control. Just enough to run the country, but not to starve their people.
19:51 January 13, 2011 by wbear
DinhoPilot says "People feel safe, the goverment takes care of safety"

This one statement explains the difference between The US and Europe better than I could in a page. The government takes care of. Isn't that dandy. What a great way to create a strong, hard working, can do society. Take from one person to give to another so everyone will be equal in the end. What a great way to encourage people to produce. Good luck.

The US will eventually fall just as all great civilizations have but I have no doubt that Germany won't be around to see it.

Sure once and awhile some nut uses a gun to kill innocent people but here we understand personal freedom comes with a price and are willing to pay it. We don't strip the law abiding majority of an important right because a minority abuse that right. The fact is far more people here are saved/protected by guns than are killed by them every year. If I'm one of the people that pay the price then so be it. I get up in the morning and take my chances like everyone else. Freedom is not free.

DinhoPilot I guess you are not one of those millions of people who are trying to get in this terrible gun infested slaughter house called the United States of America. That's ok, I'm sure you feel as safe by picking up a phone to call for help from the Government as I do with my easy to purchase gun in hand to protect myself.
20:00 January 13, 2011 by GermanAussier
After reading a few more comments, i would just like to point out that not many "Germans" read or comment on the stories on this site. Most of us are Americans, British, Canadians, and (like me) Australians. So even though the story is from a German prospective, it does not mean that every negative comment comes from the mouth of a German. One undenialable truth is that American pride that has made it into a power of the world, makes it difficult for the average American to accept crictism of the USA. And like a stuborn mule your first reaction is to kick out against those who put forward such crictism. However if as a nation or a people, you are ever going to grow into something better, then you should be able to accept crictism and act like the civilized people that you so often advertise to the world. If your only response is to be defensive, then you are just furthering alot of peoples views and arguments against the USA. Now saying that I would welcome any negative comments about Australia, and if necessary I will respond without a stuborn thumping of my chest
20:20 January 13, 2011 by OkieinBerlin
@ wbear, I'll respond to your comments because as an American I have to disagree with your "public safety" argument. First, as an American I have always depended upon "government" to ensure public safety. That is what any legitimate government does and that is one reason I pay my taxes. I have never owned a firearm and none of my family has ever owned a firearm, and none of us have ever feared for our safety or feared that the American government has seriously neglected that safety. The most I can criticize the American government for in this regard (neglecting public safety) is its recent submission to special interests that would allow even the mentally deranged to purchase, possess and publicly carry deadly assault weapons.
21:45 January 13, 2011 by XFYRCHIEF
All I know is that my wife and I - both with deep German roots - have traveled extensively in Germany, and although we are Americans, no one has ever treated us badly or insulted us. We have found Germans to be friendly, open, and inviting. I don't speak a lot of German, but when I do, people go out of their way to help. Some (many?) may have ill feelings, but then, many Americans have bad feelings about other countries. Our friends and relatives are inquisitive and we talk about differences, but we also share many of the same desires. Bottom line - we find Germany and the German people one of the best travel countries we have visited. I certainly hope the "anti-Americanism" espoused in this article does not come to pass.
23:08 January 13, 2011 by Beachrider
As to the assumption that few "Germans" read this site, it is a strange assumption. Much of the content here is about living in Germany. Look at the jobs, social living, politics and other topics. It is heavily based toward people that live in Germany.

Some of the touchiest interactions included poster's limitations with English. That would not be pertinent if the audience was dominantly English speaking.

Discussions about Germany's interactions with immigrants or external nations is another piece of this site's function. This article will draw interest from people outside of Germany. So do the immigration stories.

When posters make wide-sweeping comments about the fall of any given society (this month, I have seen France, USA, Russia, Germany, UK and more), then patriotic responses dominate the discussion. That is happening here.
23:23 January 13, 2011 by wxman
Nice summation Major B, nothing to add.
23:33 January 13, 2011 by fryintl
Okieinberlin- You don't have to worry about owning a gun as those of us with one will protect you even if you are not smart enough to understand why the 2nd amendment was written, and that the Obama loving typical liberal person thinks the government is there to protect you in your house. Hey, I know I will stop the bad guy trying to kill you regardless of your color, religious beliefs or level of knowledge of the American history and meaning of being American.

German Aussier- Well well well, sure many Americans are proud, and soem are even pushy, I am probably at the top of the list. I have friends in every country I have been in, and trust me that that covers about 50 or so, and we talk often about politics, the USA and its wars, politics, and their country's way of life, economy and politics. One thing is sure, If you are Australian, you are not speaking Japanese because an American gun and plane and tank helped you stay free. If you are French, same, UK, same but we are close and love the UK so it was like protecting the US anyways so no big deal. OK, I know, you may have done it if you had the power and industrial base and if the shoe were on the other foot. No question. The problem goes deeper than pride or egoism or national identity. It goes to one simple fact: The article is BS, the thoughts and over generalizations about how all Germans feel is also, but maybe, most countries would get rid of immigrants and lock the doors so we would all just look the same, as all tribes try to do, and the real thing is this:

People want ot be surrounded mostly by people that look like them. I have friends from all walks of life, from all countries I have been to, and the truth is, I still like to once in awhile, come home to hear my American TV, radio, and talk to people in America (and Americans are every color as long as they accept the American way of Life and do not try to change it to look like their own country did.) If people want to make their own little country in a foreign land, why did they leave their land?

Look at a typical town in Germany, Landstuhl. How many policemen are there? How many Assis(Anti social) are there? Not enough percentage of Polizei to ASSis to protect the population, Crime is up, and it is almost impossible to sell my house there. My father in law can't even own a gun to protect himself unless he is part of the Gun club. Why is that? It is because the cops have guns and no one messes with their family. They can't protect you but try to and fail often. They get there after the problem, not before. You are the only one there at the time of the problem. If some guy is beating your father with a snow shovel and is too strong for you to stop, do you just want to make a police report ro do you want to save your dad?
23:37 January 13, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, both America and Deutschland are dealing with a wide variety of serious problems. And the reason for this is very simple: Both nations lack the "Spiritual Consevatism" that is necessary for consistent, permanant, peace, stability and prosperity.

Human life really should be easy. It's just that humans have yet to learn how to think as a "Spiritual Conservative."

There is a very simple answer for everything.
23:58 January 13, 2011 by deutschamer
I agree with Germanausseir that most commenters giving so-called German opinions are actually not Germans. Anyone who really knows a lot of Germans knows that their opinions are no where near mainstream. I believe most of them are left wing expatriot types.

Would like to dispel a few stereoptypes. Germans are not servile and never have been. They are independent thinkers. The vast majority actually wanted a revenge war against the rest of Europe after the experience of the Versailles treaty.

Germany has a strong shooting tradition. Unfortunately, because Germany lost much of its more rural eastern territories, most of what is left is urban, plus many ethnic Germans were forcibly deported into the new borders of Germany, thus exacerbating the population density. So much of the Shutzenfest tradition has been lost in the last few generations. In addition, much of the left wing thinking that comes with urban areas is unavoidable. Even with all the urban areas though, Germany is still the most conservative of all the major European countries.

Germany is less anti-American than America is anti-German. American anti-Germanism comes mainly from the never ending Hollywood war movies where somehow the evil Germans outnumber the Soviets, Americans, and British, but we win anyway because we are such better fighters.

America did what was best for America (and I'm glad they did) during WWII. It was not to "save" Germany. It was not a "good" war. It would have been a "good" war if England and France had declared war against both the Soviet Union and Germany when they both invaded Poland, and then if America had come to their aid. The Soviet Union was actually the worst of the two evils. But, if we had not teamed up with the Soviet Union, Germany would definitely have become a superpower with living room to the east. They would have been a bigger threat to us than the Soviets were. It is true however, that had America not opened up the western front, all of Germany (and France) would have been taken over by the Soviets, and so in that way we did sort of save them from the Soviets.
01:45 January 14, 2011 by wbear

I find it hard to believe you are from Ok with your views on guns. In many parts of the US and I'm sure Europe too the response time for police to arrive at your door to help you in a deadly emergency is so slow they will only be putting you in a body bag when they get there. Lot's of places could take 15, 20, 30 min or more. A weapon in the house gives you a chance. A gun is only a piece of metal, how you operate it determines whether it is dangerous or not. Obviously you are willing to wait for the police to protect you but many, including me are not. It is not someone elses place to make that decision for me no matter how much they dislike guns. Even if some nut kills a Congresswoman it has nothing to do with me and my right to own a gun.

Since you don't own any guns you probably don't fully understand the existing laws. Please understand it is already illegal for a mentally unstable person to buy a gun. The problem is who says who's unstable. That's a mental health issue. The gun laws are already on the books.

Please explain your definition of a deadly assault weapon and be specific. Also explain how a hunk of lead in your brain from one type of gun is more or less dangerous than a hunk of lead from another. Thanks.
02:10 January 14, 2011 by bernie1927
I don't believe for one minute that the Germans hate Americans but, they have plenty of reason to worry about the American system. Sarah Palin is a bad joke, the American craziness regarding guns is pure insanity, the 17 trillion dollar debt is the height of irresponsibility and the sellout to the Chinese is plain and simply a form of suicide. What's to admire here? America was a great country but today it's a mess.
09:00 January 14, 2011 by GermanAussier
Fryintl. It's a bit rich to assume that WWII was won solely by Americans. It is an isult to honorable men and women of all the Allied countries involved. People like my grandather who was held up at Tobruk with many other Australian, British, and New Zealand troops. Those troops held out against Rommel's advance in North Africa and helped the Allies keep North Africa. He then happened to be deployed to the Kokoda trail in Papua New Guinea and fought back the Japanese advance and keep the Japanese out of Australia. I'm sure there are many other readers not from the USA who also have similar stories of sacrifice made by people close to them. Men and women who were alot braver than you and I. I appreciate all that the USA has done for the world and my continued freedom, however I would be a complete idiot to think that it was not done without the help of your friends. That is my chest thumping pride piece for the day.
10:13 January 14, 2011 by vjtheking
Americans are no better than the French - their well is their world...

And after reading all the comments by the americans on this article my belief has further strengthened that God was drunk when He created America & Americans - he put the Brain in the backside and stuck the A$$h0le in the face!!!
10:46 January 14, 2011 by storymann
vjtheking thank you for that well thought intelligent rant,,what ever Nationality you are is being well represented by your idiocy .
11:07 January 14, 2011 by GermanAussier
I do have to make a correction on my previous post. My Grandfather was involved in the taking of Tobruk in January 1941, he was then relieved and sent home to Australia where soon after he was deployed to the Australian 39th batilion and sent to Papua where he took part in the kokoda campaign. I got too caught up in the chest thumping sorry. There is a good opinion piece in the NY Times today about the gulf between the left and right and why it is almost impossible to breach. The gulf between the two is eveident for all to see in this article.
11:09 January 14, 2011 by tallady
OkieinBerin, don't be saying Et tu Brute to me,,but you have stirred up a hornets nest old buddy ......
11:09 January 14, 2011 by LeeBrown
As an American, I have to admit my first response was to jump to America's defense. As an American living in Germany, I took a step back to avoid the "chest thumping" behavior that so many Americans have. I also have not encountered any "Anti Americanism" while living here, but I choose to drive a German car, learn German, shop in German stores and acclimate as much as possible to the German culture. I would wager that many Americans (but not all) who are "chest thumpers" can barely order a drink in German, choose to import their giant pick up trucks from the US and rarely leave the confines of their American comforts. Many "chest thumpers" are the same way in the US to those Americans who don't agree with their political beliefs.

However, I challenge you to not get your hackles raised when someone states that people or a country is "Anti German" "Anti Australian" Anti Canadian" etc. Its human nature to defend your country. Its just more intelligent to think about the other person's point of view and acknowledge your faults before stating your defense.

And vjtheking - Next time use a rational argument.
11:16 January 14, 2011 by tallady
LeeBrown as an American myself living for many years in Berlin,,I do not believe Americans have the pattern on "Chest Thumping" listen to what is being said around you in your favorite kneipe
11:33 January 14, 2011 by Talonx
I know this is supposed to be an editorial, but come the f#ck o,n where is the actual topic? Not once is any actual evidence for the accusations of the author's argument highlighted. I don't even know what the sh#t is being talked about. This whole article is just pure emotion from some jilted political fanatic that has probably never left Germany, evident from the last line concerning the fear of banning Thilo S..

And as for most of the rest of you, what crack are you smoking. Not a single person has provided one answer here as to how this article, in any way reflects some identifiable free speach crisis in Germany nor has anyone (again, including the author) cited anything that would indicate the veracity of their thesis's central claims regarding 'anti-americanism'.

Furthermore, those of you citing your german ancestry whilst defending the claims of this article are bizare beyond any reasonable doubt. I fail to see how being from German stock 4 generations ago gives you special privleges to say or do as you wish regardless of other peoples feelings.

Finally, the Local is further proving itself a horrible divisive publication. Do you want to reprint and translate poor quality tabloid news or focus on real news and not reprint tabloid rants from crazy people. The full lot of you need to check yourselfs lest you wreck yourselves, your legitimacy as a news outlet, and your professional carreers (those of you more commited to real news should pull your names from the web site A.S.A.P.).
12:20 January 14, 2011 by michael4096
@Talonx - I would like to jump to The Local's defence here

This is, as stated, a translation of an editorial article and illustrates what is being discussed in the national media - The Local is doing its job. The fact that this forum has used it to illustrate how divisive its posters are is not The Local's fault.

Actually, that this article is so freely published and discussed here in Germany it generally contradicts its own central premise that free speech is in some way jeopodised. It seems to be complaining that those with contradictory ideas have too much free speech.
12:22 January 14, 2011 by Ludwig von America
To Fryintl and other ignorant Americans like you...Your rhetoric divides people in the world. America is but a single country among hundreds in the world. There are billions of good people around the world seeking peace and a good life for their children. Governments, now that's a different story. We all have our own which leads us astray sometimes. Instead of beating your chest and shouting how Americans are the best, why don't you open your eyes and see that we are all human beings deserving the same respect and civility. When I hear ignorant people saying hurtful and insulting things to people from other countries, I wish they could live and work with those people before they make their judgements. If you did, you'd see we are basically all the same. We want to live in peace, see that our children have a better life and take care of our loved ones.
13:53 January 14, 2011 by TylerBryant

First i thought the author of this articel is crazy and full of hate for Germany and germans but then i had to realize that about everyone here seems to be?


Making Nazireferences? Are you serious? More importand that i would say 99% of the german population does not even know or care about what happend with the shooting over there.

My oh my cool down. Just because there was a bad articel written about it, people are going crazy and call Germany Naziland and want to move out of Germany? How old are you, 12?

First i thought how could an articel like this, so full of hate and ignorant be online here but then i realized this is just what everbody wants to read.

You guys say that Germany can't forget there Nazi past? Well it is YOU who is making it so hard by still being so full of hate and being ignorant.

It makes me really sad because i really found a new home here but to see how blind, ignorant and full of hate a lot of Americans are... boy, just wow.
13:58 January 14, 2011 by BR549
I am an American living in Germany over a decade and completely integrated here (Yes, "Ami's" can learn German). What I see in some of the comments above is nothing more than ignorance....both German and American. Probably due to a lack of linguistic or cultural experience.

This article is nothing more than sensationalism and making "generality statements" which will always lead to contradiction. Malte Lehming is off the mark and speaking in the same manner he did while living / writing in the USA...speak a personal opinion as if it represents the masses and stir the pot for profit. A great way to bank a paycheck! Isn't that right, Mr. Sarrazin??

Please folks, stop the narrow minded thinking and being influenced by people who write this junk. There is no such thing as a "typical" American, German, Muslim or even a Turkish immigrant in Germany. Behaviour, beliefs and opinions among all are as varied as individuals themselves.
14:26 January 14, 2011 by tallady
talonx,,It has been written here ,not by me but I agree.."This is a hate fest fueled by personnel insults...forget the topic ,free thinkers ???? that is only the title..
18:02 January 14, 2011 by OkieinBerlin
wbear, believe it or not, I am an Okie who doesn't feel the need to arm himself so that I can feel safe living in the USA. And I have to ask you, with no intent to insult you, where you live that you fear that someone is going to come to your door and put a chunk of lead in your head. I've lived most of my life in the US, in nine different states, and have never had that fear. Believe me, I've got nothing against your right to own firearms, just as I have nothing against reasonable limits on those rights. But it seems to me that when a pretty obviously deranged 22-year-old, with a history of disturbing behavior, can go into a Walmart and buy ammunition for a semi-automatic Glock with a 33-round clip, there is a problem with the way the 2nd Amendment is being exploited. And when an institution such as the NRA insists on basically unlimited gun rights, I say that it is a pretty clearly connected to the nut who shoots a congresswoman.

Tallady, I'm doing my best not to insult anyone -- I'm just putting honest American opinions out there!
18:36 January 14, 2011 by lovemymac&cheez
Ok people... time to ramble Schiller slyle..I love germs so much I actually AM married to one.

Just slight differences folks... in America they care about the enweironment, just not to the point of having to carry groceries without a bag, or having to write a thesis to separate trash. Also, in America they don't like to live IN the trash and therefore they have trash chutes. Eva heard of that, Dinho??

Germany is only waiting on a neverending grocery shopping line for about 20 years now ( you know, lines are important in Germany, the longer and most inefficient the better) ...20 yrs waiting to actually come out... coincides with the great music styles of the german radio, resembling 1985 or so... splendorous years yes but maybe its time to move on. The wall fell, and the rest of the world doesn't have mullets anymore, ok? Still waiting on the german line.... some unknown just bumped his cart against my rear again! Hmmm... relax, no notion of personal space whatsoever.... almost as intrusive as government interference!
19:00 January 14, 2011 by aslanleon
Most of my ancestors came from Germany over the last three hundred years. Oddly enough, none of them wanted to go back. The last arrived in 1938 and enlisted in the American Army and Merchant Marine to fight Hitler.

We prefer our sloppy and imperfect freedom to low key organized repression. As my father often said about Germany,"You were perfectly free to do and say anything you wanted there, even under Hitler. Of course this was only true if you intended to do or say what was considered to be good for you by the authorities and your more obsessive compulsive neighbors."
19:40 January 14, 2011 by JohnnesKönig
The author of this story Obviously isn't German. Freedom is a natural desire. The only ones who have an issue with freedom of speech are those that want to control the masses.

There are more problems in places with gun control than the places that don't. Germany has more events like this one than any other... The truth has no agenda!
19:55 January 14, 2011 by Moravecglobal
Management employee (union) loyalty accelerates employment in Germany UK, USA Japan. Businesses, universities, states, counties, cities worldwide are into a phase of creative disassembly. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are being shed. Even solid world class University of California Berkeley led by Chancellor Birgeneau is dismissing employees, faculty via ¦quot;Operational Excellence (OE)¦quot;: 1,000 fired. Yet many continue to cling to an old assumption: implied, unwritten management-employee contract.

Management promised work, upward progress for employees fitting in, employees accepted lower wages, performing in prescribed ways, sticking around. Longevity was a sign of good employer-employee relations; turnover was a dysfunction. None of these assumptions apply in the 21 century economy. Businesses, universities, public institutions can no longer guarantee careers, even if they want to. Managements paralyzed themselves with a strategy of ¦quot;success brings successes¦quot; rather than ¦quot;successes bring failure¦#39; and are now forced to break implied contract with employees ­ a contract nurtured by management that future can be controlled.

Jettisoned employees are however finding that hard won knowledge, skills, earned while loyal are no longer desired in 21st century employment markets.

What contract can employers, employees make with each other?

The central idea is simple, powerful: job is a shared partnership.

• Employers, employees face financial conditions together; longevity of partnership depends on how well customers, constituencies needs are met.

• Neither management nor employee has future obligation to the other.

• Organizations train people.

• Employees create security they really need ­ skills, knowledge that creates employability in 21st century economies

• The management-employee loyalty partnership can be dissolved without either party considering the other a traitor.

Let there be light for employees and employers
20:02 January 14, 2011 by fryintl
Some of us just love to hate. Me, I don't hate people, just ignorance. I have been acused of it, and being linguistically challenged. I can order a drink In 6 or 7 languages. Bitte ein Bit? I speak two languages as native adn German is fading but I once was better.

Everyone is teh same, I can argue for or against that one. But one thing is sure, after an education, we are not all equal..If an Imam teaches me that being backward and hating all non Muslims is best, I lose. Any extremist thoughts are probably wrong, but suppose, you are right, and most everyone else says you are wrong, then you feel more right as the world closes in on you, then you strike back.

I guess if you are really right, in absolutes, and everyone else is wrong, you seem psychotic and thsoe that say tehir norm is Normal, win out. talk about a rant....

Ludwig: My brother from another mother, well, not everyone can be right. so, it is correct for people to believe in soemthing, adn when they really believe they beat the chest. Nothing wrong with that. Education says that when in a room with tons of people from Rome, adn being teh only chest beating American in teh room, do not make waves adn listen, talk, understand, relate, tehn believe what is in your heart. If you are mature enough to see when seomone has a salient point, you can agree tehy may be right, or are right, thten you re-evalute your position. I am able to do that, but nothing I hvae read from you or others has given me reason to pause and reconsider. Your arguments and feel good words only show you wish to be loved by everyone adn not hurt soemone's feelings. It shows a lack of self confidence and it shows you are probably a democrat, commie (are there still commies?) and probably love both men and women - sexually (talk about insults based on nothing at all)

As for my australian brother from still another mother: You are right in many ways. Your grandfather, mine, and many others were brothers on a field where we often were left without protection or political cover. Chamberlain gave france to germany, as Roosevelt left teh Chinese and manchurians without help. Your boys did do the man power part, we just made teh rifles, bombs, guns, bullets taht made it all possible. So you are right I am wrong in soem sense adn I bow to your magnificent ability to speak words of wisdom and power.

to all: I love people. I thirve on interpersonal communication. I hate cowardice, back treading adn ignorant beliefs built on opinion and no real experiences. Get shot at, get bombed, see babies in Rwanda hacked up by zealots and then come back with soem real truths. It is nice to hve soemone protecting you, so you can talk about self-righteous opinions based on watching the news on TV.
21:28 January 14, 2011 by DinhoPilot

What are you trying to say? Didn't managed to decode. Who likes leaving in trash?!


Disagree. Gun related events are not very common in Europe. I can recall a few in Sweden and one in Germany.

-To all others-

I think this discussion was pretty intense and emotional, when I commented, repeat I was being sarcastic with article when I said:

"Maybe what the author is saying is that germans despise americans values (freedom of speech, owning guns, multicultural-multiracial, etc...) "

In NO WAY that was meant to represent Germans thoughts. I don't know what goes in their minds. I am not German although I am married to one. Even if I was this would never represent the point of view of 100% of the population. Like I said before I found the article harsh in tone and hard to understand, thus the word play.

About guns... I hold my personal view, but as many said if I had the opportunity to defend my family I would, with a gun, with a stick, with a sword, etc... , I just don't think everyone should be allowed to have one. Many crazy people out there, just read the news.

Disagreeing with a policy of country in a subject doesn't make anyone a hater. I think America is a great country and should continue to be, but with time that might require some changes. The people will dictate that again.

This article was good to exemplify what free speech is about, we all have our ideas, our culture and eventually our bias, some comments were loonie but everyone had the opportunity to defend their views.
23:32 January 14, 2011 by aslanleon
I was not completely candid in my posting about my father's attitude towards the Germany he grew up in. He also responded to American schlamerei and informality at times by referring to Americans as "the aboriginal inhabitants."
00:20 January 15, 2011 by wenddiver
Even a fast reading of any History of the OSS will show that for Freedom to prevail in World War II, what the people in the occupied countries needed most was access to their own firearms. From the Philipines, to China, from Norway to the plains of Russia, people willing to fight for their and other Peoples Freedom needed one thing Personal Firearms.

It should be noted that all those people paid Taxes to Governments that bought firearms for the common defence. The Government's failed to defend them and often surrendered those weapons to their oppressors.

This is not possible in the US, because the weapons for any uprising are already in the hands of our people, who we trust as a government to support and defend a Constitution that has been the Plan and Guide to the Freedoms we all enjoy.

If your Govment is scared of it's own Citizens, you should be asking yourself WHY?

The shooter was clearly mental, he leaned not to hte Right, but the left according to his friends and believed his dreams were an alternate reality, Which he carefuly logged, he was not a right wing Christain, he worshipped at a Pagan Alter he built himself in the Backyard, with a fake Scull on it. He was never a member of the Tea Party, nor ever expressed any interest in Sarah Pallin.

So a Crazy Person hyped on Avatar and fresh from a liberal college shoots a Congresswoman who he thinks insn't leftist enough, while repeaing a bunch of Gold Commercilas/nonsence from Avitar and the left goes after it's political enemies, even though they have no involvement. Wasn't it the left that created the laws that make it almost impossible to commit somebody who is Crazy?? Foist on our o Petard.
11:11 January 15, 2011 by tallady
@OkiinBerlin,,Well put ,,you have risen above reproach ,you can now have your maple syrup.(:
13:18 January 15, 2011 by lovemymac&cheez
Dinho, I know... nobody wants to live surrounded by trash, but some just settle. Americans don't settle." Das ist so" or " unmöglich!" (Followed by a blank stare) is hard to hear so often outside of the confines of Wonderland.

Don't try to decode ... just take a quick look outside the window and see for yourself, see the " gelbe sacks"? Just about a dozen bags of trash carefully and dutifully deposited for public display. Now, also see next to them a lady vigorously sweeping the sidewalk, and her leashless dog running around & leaving turds behind too. We know the lady will righteously sweep until the sidewalk is spotless, and only the trash & turds will remain.

No right nor wrong, just different. Time to get more oreos...
15:31 January 15, 2011 by hanskarl
For lack of being able to post the actual caricature this link takes you t a website that shows Investors Business Daily featured caricature of the day. It makes the point succinctly. http://restorerepublic.ning.com/photo/azshooter2-1?xg_source=activity
17:51 January 15, 2011 by Talonx
@ wenddiver

Before publicly displaying your ignorance of history, you might want to fact check your gut feelings.

You wrote, "Wasn't it the left that created the laws that make it almost impossible to commit somebody who is Crazy?? Foist on our o Petard."

Do you really know so little about Ronald Reagan's presidency. He closed down and destroyed Mental Healthcare across the united states.
21:10 January 15, 2011 by Stephen Goodson
There are two points, which correspondents seem to have missed. Although America has a measure of free speech via the first amendment of the US constitution, Germany has not had any since 1945. Section 5 of the Basic Law (constitution - written by an American professor) provides for freedom of speech, but it has been superseded by Section 130 Paragraph 3 of the Penal Code (1BvR2150-08), which does not permit any discussion, including academic, of certain historical events, such as who was responsible for starting WWII. Thousands of transgressors have been fined or jailed both in the past and the present. Furthermore the Geheimer Staatsvertrag of May 21, 1949, also known as the Kanzler-Akte, which has to be signed by each newly elected chancellor, provides for complete allied control over the electronic and print media, film, culture and education unril 2099.
21:51 January 15, 2011 by wenddiver
@Talnox-Nice to see our shooter isn't in his alternate universe by himself. Reality the comitment of the Mentally Ill was gutted by Liberal Judges in the US, Long before Ronald Reagan came to power as a Federal Official.

This noble work of releasing people who smear feces on themselves and attack people was done by the ACLU in the US. The whole nation watched as they secured the Mentally Retarded, Crack Addicted, and Brain Damaged (walked into a Propeller) Wild Man of 94th Street in New York, the right to assault people without being imprisioned.

They followed it up with a cool case where they secured the right of a crazy lady not to take here medications and to continue living in the middle of Broadway Ave. on a card board box.

Yes, the lefti n the US will be the absolute first if either of these characters hurt somebody with a gun to denounce the inanimate object, but primarily they spend theoir time trying to get the drug addicted back on the streets and preventing the Mentally Ill from being FORCED into treatment.

Whether they are pushing dope, porn, lighter sentences for criminals or supporting Comunism, you have to admit they are against just about everything good in the world.
01:22 January 16, 2011 by Wise Up!
Remember the 3rd Reich happened in Germany and not in the US. That was not by accident.
12:08 January 16, 2011 by Talonx
@ Wenddiver

The supreme court in 1975 consisted of 1 judge appointed by Eisenhower and 5 judges appointed by Nixon. How is that a liberal majority?

You seriously need to check your facts before going with your gut.

In any event, I actually think what the conservative supreme court helped to enact in 75 whith O'Connor v. Donaldson case was quite good. They basically said 'you need to prove that the person is or will be dangerous before commiting them'. What really hurt the whole situation was closing down mental health care facilities under Reagan's administration.

Point is, I don't really think this debate can be framed as a conservatives v. liberals issue.

Any your rhetoric is the exact sort that shows just how unproductive making arguments from emotion is (e.g. like this article on which we are commenting).
13:06 January 16, 2011 by johnny108
Americans are "people of the gun"- the country was founded on this- and even banning the technology of firearms will not change this.
13:35 January 16, 2011 by thor2748
Good to read all of these words. Great exercise in the freedom to say what one wants - however smart or not that may be.
03:31 January 17, 2011 by badapple
This is a good laugh, coming from a nation that had Adolf Hitler and killed over 30 million people not too long ago. You all better really humble yourselves before you know the USA. People that live in glass houses should never throw stones.
07:00 January 17, 2011 by Talonx

Says the man who comes from a country that practised genocide on the native population and slavery on people with a different skin color (BTW, justifying both with the bible).

Maybe you should kntake your own stone throwing advice. In any event, neither you or I, nor the German's in our age group had anything to do with the events you or I reference.

For the record this article has nothing to do with WWII and you are concomitantly an idiot for bringing such an ad nazium argument into the discussion.
07:25 January 17, 2011 by Nathan_stuck
As a first generation German-American, I must jump in here. Free speech should never be limited, but it is the deterioration of civil discourse that is the root of the problem. The american psyche of the ends justifying the means is at the root of the problem. Issues don't matter in politics, campaigns are merely a new product launch, with marketing teams explaining how dangerous the other company's product is. Glenn Beck stretches the truth and scares people into a completely convinced state of mind that certain people, including the president are absolutely evil people, sent by the devil himself (in other words) to ruin the lives of white Americans. They have created a hatred, a burning hatred for the left that will not be easily fixed.

Seriously, has anyone on this board had a discussion with someone from Utah or Nevada who is absolutely convinced Sarah Palin would fix this country and Harry Reid is an evil socialist working with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama to ruin America and take it over and make it into some form of Nazi style socialism. Seriously, that's the problem. People believe this. 21% of Nevada Republicans still think Sharron Angle was the right choice for Nevada.

For the record, Sharron Angle was the one who ran to replace Harry Reid and among many others, hinted at "2nd amendment remedies"
09:20 January 17, 2011 by TylerBryant
@ Wie Up!

The 3rd Reich happended in Germany and was not by accident? Well maybe you should read "Die Welle" then you will understand what of an idiot you are and that THE SAME would happen in the USA.

You should really "wise up" or just stop being an ignorand idiot.
13:10 January 17, 2011 by kalahas
Oh My God!

Germans get pissed at American arrogance! And Americans get pissed at German arrogance! Serves both right!

While I am an immigrant living and working in USA, I love USA. And I lived as a kid in Germany. I can speak Deutsche well. I like German work ethic.

Too bad, there are not many Germans around in the year 2050!

And pure Americans will be a minority in USA!

Gosh! The world will have then Chinese leadership (transplanting American), Indian engineering (transplanting German) and Chinese-Indian-Islamic finance.

Keep fighting among yourselves, you idiots while you produce no new babies!
13:36 January 17, 2011 by DOZ
Not much difference between Tea Party and WW2 Nazi's. Just another Party with different Hate Agendas.
14:49 January 17, 2011 by Yontrop
When I first read this article I was more than a bit offended. I'm not German, but felt it offensive that someone - even a German - would characterize Germans in general as hating Americans. Then I read it in the original German and realized that it (as the saying goes) lost something in translation. There is a subtle irony in the remarks about America, and Germans' thoughts toward it, that doesn't come across in the English version. I don't think Malte Lehming intended this to be translated to English, and I doubt that there was any reason to do so. He is writing to Germans about free speech.

He doesn't seriously think Germans have just been waiting for a "chance to exercise their wonted anti-Americanism" any more than he seriously thinks "if they could turn those thoughts into actions, the country would have become a foreigner-free zone..." Some tendency toward the latter might be considered a problem by Lehming, but in any case, it's not about us. (To the people this comment concerns, Auslander = dark skinned people who don't speak English as well as we do.)

Lehming's point is all in the last three sentences. If you read them three times - slowly and out loud - you should understand. That's really all he wanted to say.
22:21 January 17, 2011 by jtech7
Thanks Yontrop =)

This is Idiocracy at its best...and I'm not talking about the article (unlike a few of the readers, I understood it the first time).
19:01 January 18, 2011 by storymann
Talonx..you must be referring to England who was up to her elbows in genocide slavery and colonization ..not to mention far away penal colonies .come on ..
20:47 January 18, 2011 by Prufrock2010
Throughout American history, First Amendment jurisprudence has consistently recognized limitations on freedom of speech. Hate speech, incitement to riot or commit violence, terroristic threats and threats to the president or vice-president, libel and slander are among many kinds of speech not protected by the First Amendment. Words do have consequences.

Sarah Palin has been employing certain types of hate rhetoric against her real and imagined enemies ever since she first appeared in national politics.during the 2008 campaign. She specifically used gun metaphors to incite her less discerning followers to acts of violence. She should be arrested and charged as an accomplice to murder.
23:21 January 18, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, the fact that so many Germans spend so much time and money, to travel across to ocean to visit America, is clear proof that they don't hate the American people.

Humanity is in desperate need of a "Greater Form of intellectualism."

00:57 January 19, 2011 by Prufrock2010
@ Logic Guy

A hoot, as always. Thank you for that.

Humanity is in need of ANY kind of intellectualism. You are the poster child.
01:08 January 19, 2011 by iche
Do a Google search for "Americans are not stupid"

And you can see how Intelligent they really are.
14:16 January 20, 2011 by KenVdM
Having lived in L.A. for the last two years I'm surprised by what the Americans are writing. They seem completely unaware of how their nation is evolving. Arizona and these gun-toting Americans, shouting 'freedom' every 5 words, claim they are free but they are wholly controlled by the federal government.

Obama and the senate has and continues to block immigration reform, and push other federal powers upon the state of Arizona and other states.

In the U.S. these freedoms mean that I can take a driving test in Mandarin in L.A., and any other language in the world. English is not the only national language in law. It also means I can have a child in the U.S. and they are nearly immediately American. The Hispanic population, many of which speak little English, are growing rapidly. Yet the Americans with their own freedoms, amendments, are utterly powerless to stop them.

Another issue in Arizona is stopping illegals for 'stop and checks' of their papers, again these are cited infringements of people's freedoms. Then all the liberals shout 'Racism' because all the illegals are pretty much dark-skinned.

Germany is not going to fall, but the U.S. with its 14 trillion dollars of debt, rapidly growing immigrant population that is not integrating is eventually going to suffocate itself. The American dream is over, the Americans are split in two extreme halves now. Gun-toting Republicans versus the mix of self-destructive Democrats.

Americans must realise this is the 21st Century, guns mean F-all now, and start voting to repeal some of these so-called freedoms that are now destroying the USA.
18:23 January 20, 2011 by Beachrider
...and I thought that this wandering discussion thread had run its course...

There is little doubt that the US-Mexico border has numerous illegal crossings that cause a substantial illegal immigrant issue for TX, NM, AZ and CA. California, with its 500 constitutional amendments, clearly has the MOST dysfunctional relationship between state-and-citizen of any US state. Because of its size & population, it clearly needs to have its governmental structure reviewed and redone.

That being said, the general principles of Freedom should not be at-risk. Issues about supporting multiple languages WORK in many states. [e.g. Contracts can be signed in many languages, so long as they also-sign an English-language one. The English contract will be used in contract interpretation].

Some want to 'profile' people for immigration status. I haven't heard of a scheme that doesn't create 'separate societies' or impact legal citizens excessively. A solution is needed on this.

That we talk about the problems means that we are engaging one another, this is good. That the dialogs are getting more askew of each other is everyone's fault. We need to insist on doing these discussions with a greater aim of constructively finding a solution.

I really wish that people would stop with the one-dimensional liberal-conservative metaphor. It causes people to 'cram' value judgments together so that these labels can be used.
02:28 January 21, 2011 by janreg58
xfyrchief, I totally agree with you. My husband is of German descent and we have been to Germany, as recent as May. My son is married to a wonderful, loving German girl, with great values. She comes from a fantastic family, that we love. And they have accepted my son and us as family. Our travels through Germany have been nothing but awesome and breathe taking. The people were very pleasant and helpful. All that was taught to us in schools of "old" was so unfair to them. Yes, they had a nut for a leader, but the German citizens suffered too. People need to read more, and stop being "dumbed down" by the media. And I believe that it's every countries right to keep their country theirs. We should of protected our borders A LONG TIME AGO!!
16:15 January 22, 2011 by Major B
Dear The Local,

Please kindly take this article of the front page now. You've achieved your goal of inciting anti-American sentiment and now you are going overboard.

Poor Gorch Fock commander. He wasn't allowed to think freely and gets fired because his cadets wouldn't follow orders and higher ups don't have backbone.

Thank-you for your good work on positive German-American relations
15:44 January 23, 2011 by v480ac
Hello Germany, I live in USA. Please note that most of the

shootings like in Arizona are committed by individuals who have been on psychotropic drugs. Areas with concealed carry are about the safest places to live on this continent. The Tea Party are people who understand that the USA government is out of control. We are attempting to get people elected who

will stop causing trouble all over the world and actually read our constitution and abide by it. At present the USA government are just agents of RED SHIELD bankers and the crown (London-Vatican). The foundation of our problems are the

IMF- bankers. If free speech isn't free, then it must be something else- eh?
23:54 January 24, 2011 by Beachrider
Holy mackerel, Tea Party folks are now trying to promote 'codewords' for the German/English readers. "Red Shield bankers" is derived from historical distrust of the banking industry.

1) Most people are NOT shot by people on psychotropic drugs. Loughner hasn't been proven to be on psychotropic drugs either. Even though a collection of bloggers have all hypothesized it. Just put that made-up item AWAY.

2) Areas that allow concealed carry are among the safest? AZ, AK, LA, MI, MO, OK, TX TN, are all 'big' CCW states that are also in the bottom-17 for violent crime rankings in the USA (US Census). CCW didn't make curb crime there...

3. Speech is free. Made up stuff is junk. So I guess some speech is junk.
02:25 January 27, 2011 by denisewville

Are you serious to compare Jimmy Carter with Sara Palin? Really? If Americans

ever vote her in office, a community college graduate who has shown her ignorance on so many topics, I am heading to Canada! Jimmy Carter may have been ineffectual on

some levels, but you cannot question his integrity or his intelligence. Puh-leeze!
12:01 January 28, 2011 by Bravo2
Maybe it's just a bad translation but this article makes no sense. How can Germans be anti-American? The country owes its post-war existence to the magnanimity of the US. Germany could never be so ungrateful.
17:59 January 29, 2011 by BillZombie
The only reason Germans are not so keen on freedom of speech is that they have become more "Americanized" than America has. Until the end of WW2, Germany was a nation of strong, proud, self-reliant men. The post-war American government made certain that that would never happen again through their policies and reeducation of the German people. One must remember that this country was founded, not only by British citizens, but by German citizens as well.

In fact, German heritage is the largest, single bloodline in this country. That is why many of us still have the unquenchable desire to be free men. To be able to protect our lives, families and properties with firearms. To be able to speak freely concerning our faith, government and values. Our desire to have an overbearing, out of control government who suppresses its people through taxes and laws to be forced to return to its roots.

Do not blame the man who desires freedom by handcuffing him with your feminized ideology. Der Vaterland is no more, it has become nothing more than another weak, impotent government-is-god country of brainwashed people.
09:14 January 31, 2011 by CARRAWAY2
We shouldn't be bashing each other and disrespecting each others culture and so forth. Our enemies would love to exploit and divide us. I LOVE Germany although I have never been there. I LOVE the German people although I have only met a handful. Germany and America will do great things in the future and with that I am sure.I maybe another crazy american but we need to concentrate on confidence and pride in each other and what we can do together because I am warning you now there may come a day when all we have is each other against our enemies......
17:30 January 31, 2011 by Beachrider
Hmmm... This topic is bringing in quite diverse issues...

The walking-dead need to chill out. Germany's manhood was never the issue of this thread.

As to the German government being brainwashed, that sounds a lot like the volatile and fact-challenged rhetoric of the Tea Party in the US. They say the same things here. Some of it is can be ascribed to simple nihilism and impatience with what society has become. Other parts of the rhetoric recall 'glorious times' before WWII. Those were REALLY DARK times where 5+ nations locked up on wars every 40-50 years and purged the planet of 5%+ of its population. You can analyze them any way you want, but those are simple facts.

Since 1950, things are different. Some didn't like it that way. You also cannot argue the fact that the cycle of 40-50 year 5%+ wars has been interrupted. They haven't halted altogether, though. I guess that the population explosion that ensued (but has really been on track since 1850) is a serious issue, though.

Viva la revolucion! I just hope it takes out the Tea Party hard-liners. They just want to throw away too much important progress. If something critical, like Egypt, explodes it could make it important to come-together quickly.
04:03 February 3, 2011 by chappy

That's it!

It's time for the whole lot of you to move to Canada. Best of both worlds!
07:13 February 3, 2011 by kreese
I have enjoyed visiting Germany very much. My wife comes from Saxony. One thing I have learned during my visits is many Germans really don't understand, or know a great deal about America. I watch the English-speaking news outlets. They are not very informative. While America and Germany have similar problems, there are also some very different problems.
09:26 February 3, 2011 by JensS
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:07 March 7, 2011 by swingCrew
Entwined, forever connected they are; the idea of peaceful protest and the vile nature of the Tucson tradgedy. Still the article terms it in different places better for me: "the new guy to this Canadian and German take on the idea of speach free." Sometimes we just need help with the language to do what we better invision.
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