[lit-ideas] Germany and a danger of liberalism

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Lit-Ideas " <Lit-Ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 19 May 2012 09:13:52 -0700

In the May 19, 2012 edition of Inland Southern California's The
Press-Enterprise is the editorial by the historian Victor Davis Hanson,
"Europe would be wise not to provoke, isolate Germany."  In it he writes,
"All over Europe, the gospel is that tight-fisted Germans are at the root of
the European Union meltdown: They worked too hard, saved too much, brought
too little and borrowed not at all.  All that may be true, in theory.  But,
in fact, faulting thrift and industry is a prescription for incurring anger
and guaranteeing backlash - especially in the case of the Germans, who are
now asked to provide even more capital to help other European economies to


Hanson alludes to the various attempts to contain Germany since the
Franco-Prussian War and while no one has quite said that they are today
thoroughly "contained" or at least thoroughly different than they were in
World Wars One and Two, they are being treated as though they were.  Hanson
writes, "the very thought of an armed, powerful - and increasingly
exasperated - Germany, furious at its neighbors for a fourth time seems


Perhaps no one in Europe is talking about war at the present time, but no
one in America was talking about war when South Carolina seceded from the
Union in December of 1860.  Who would go to war over such issues as "States'
Rights" and "Federal Union" most Americans might have asked earlier in 1860?
The assertion in the middle of 2012 that another European war between
Germany and the rest of Europe is impossible involves a considerable amount
of unsupported faith.  War may not be likely but it isn't impossible and a
recollection of our various histories will keep us mindful of this
interesting human characteristic, the willingness to go to war for all sorts
of reasons.  


Hanson concludes by saying "History is quietly whispering to us in our age
of amnesia: 'I would not keep poking the Germans unless you are able to deal
with them when they wake up.'"  Surely, the liberals of the world will be
quick to assert "Germany would not start a war since Russia and the U.S. are
in possession of weapons more powerful than any they possess."  But will
Russia in the midst of internal turmoil choose to go to war with Germany to
protect other Europeans?  And will the U.S. war-weary after years in the
Middle-East want to fight Germany over the right of Italy, Greece, etc. to
be improvident?  I think not.


Perhaps someone living in Germany would scoff at these suggestions, and yet
. . . there were great numbers of Americans who didn't want to be
independent of Britain prior to and even during the American Revolutionary
War.  And the choosing up sides to fight during the American Civil War was a
complicated business.  Generals who were once classmates met each other
again on the field of battle, and brother in actual fact often fought
against brother.   So even if in Germany most would rule war out.  Others
have drawn a mental line.  They are saying to themselves, "we worked hard
for what we have.  Others did not.  Despite our warnings they have
bankrupted themselves and now they have the temerity to demand that we give
them our money?  This is not to be borne.  This cannot be permitted to
happen.  Let them try to take it if they have the strength."

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