From Germany to the “Land of the Free”- - - - - - - - -
by “Indian Holocaust”
For a Buddhist, home is where you are surrounded by noble and good-hearted people. When I returned from Southeast Asia to Germany after several years, I must admit that I was infected by the “healthy” patriotism of friendly Asians. The feeling of being connected by time and history with the human destinies of a common culture and language had become natural for me. A kind of gratitude for the toil and sacrifice of our predecessors, a kind of humility in the presence of culture which is inherited and is binding, which need not be transmitted primarily in laws and documents. Such ideas are naturally completely alien to my German fellow students. And of course I understood why. Although I grew up in a Viennese secondary school, after my freedom-loving parents fled the East German communist experiment even before the “turn,” and in a way jumped from the frying pan into the fire in red Austria and were still touched in part by the old conservative, middle-class Habsburg world, my generation in these government schools was exposed, without any intellectual defenses, to the majority leftist, socialist educational milieu. Here — apparently all over Europe — a red-green, state-submissive voting bloc was being bred, that is now being slowly awakened by a non-too-gentle reality check.
But none of us, certainly teachers included. were aware of that yet. Everyone wanted to “be good,” but only the very few understood what that means, especially when the vista of an unbelievably rich European history was tinged by socialism and reduced to the 1930s. After I had returned from Asia and begun my studies with almost Asian detachment, I was confronted with my fellow students’ hatred of Germany, the ignorance of values in my so-called social environment and the ubiquitous, no-think adulation of state and authority. My euphoric enthusiasm for Old Europe, which I had remembered differently in Asia, changed significantly. Disillusion and disenchantment crept in. The invitations of my Indian friends from a China opening up in the late 1990s were more and more tempting. And yet, I stayed.
After completion of my studies, the job hunt took me to Hamburg. The search for a residence for the newly-married, penniless graduate I had morphed into led me to the most convenient of all Hamburg’s districts — a ghetto. More precisely, a Muslim ghetto. On the basis of my chosen “religion” — the teachings of Buddha — you must understand that I had always considered myself an extremely open-minded person. Although German culture (i.e., before 1900) had always held a certain fascination for me, my interest in Asia was far stronger. My life in Asia had brought me very close to this cultural circle. Here and now in Hamburg, however, all the puzzle parts, all the experiences of my travels around the globe suddenly came together in the one or two years before and after September 11. The city which was the jumping-off point for the eleventh of September was a unique vantage point for viewing the problems with which Europe had to struggle.
The words of the young Indians in the 90s, who talked about the continuing hostilities with Muslims, had gone in one ear and out the other. The question of why the nice Muslim attorney was happy to invite me to his home, but I never saw his wife and daughter face-to-face, seemed so unimportant, so irrelevant. The question of why India, Afghanistan, Pakistan — once home to Buddhism, but today the exact opposite of Thailand and Sri Lanka — left their traces in the world — that seemed like an intellectual question, and the history was in the past. Something like that would never happen again.
Almost no one I met was interested in the question of why my European working colleagues wanted to bring no children into the world, but instead every year planned their vacations, their acquisition of a dog, their home improvement projects. No one was interested in the question of why a bankrupt state was pumping enormous sums into the social system, which were apparently further dissolving the social cohesion — that utopia we were striving for. These questions were becoming more urgent, but almost no one I met was interested. Small families, unmarried couples and single mothers were things to be avoided, and yet the exact conditions for their existence were being created. Surrounded by people for whom such questions had no significance — especially as they related to personal and economic freedom, and who had no consciousness of their own history, I was motivated to become politically active for a while. The more I became acquainted with my fellow citizens through this activity, the more I was forced to recognize to what extent the one-sided German press and media landscape in their infantile, socialist malice and partisanship had turned the mostly so-called conservatives into actual socialists. Who could blame them? Miesen and Hayek were better known in America than in German-speaking territory. Capitalism and “justice” were expletives. Socialist catchwords had saturated school books, churches and soccer clubs. And there was no media alternative — some kind of “conservative radio,” which the Americans proudly claim is the only, but decisive, difference from Europe.
When I observed this drummed-in, one-track thought pattern of my friends and colleagues and even my friendliest invitation to a balanced examination of our present situation was met with a shrug, the desire grew in me to turn my back on this country and above all this generation. As noted at the start, I was too cosmopolitan, truly bound to no land, and instead felt connected to a certain freedom-loving type of human being I had come to know in Asia but so felt the lack of in aging Europe: that optimistic type of person — family-oriented, fond of children, who loves his homeland (in an open and joyful sense, humble but not small-minded)…
Well, you get the point. The list is long. It got longer every year. And so my wife and I looked at the USA, Canada and Australia, concerned that our still young progeny, as early in their lives as possible, should grow up in some other part of the world with better chances. No, I did not want to avoid my children learning how to succeed in school, but yes, they should struggle with math, physics and genetics, not struggle in the schoolyard with knives, and idiots who can’t put three sentences together without an expletive. During a vacation in the USA, we encountered — especially in the south —
a land with friendly, extroverted people, strong laws, a religious but tolerant cast of mind, tradition and family. The culmination was Mark Steyn’s book “America Alone.” in which he tartly and humorously analyzed and described practically all those things I had observed personally since September 11, 2001. He summarized so accurately my impression of the present situation and the challenges for the USA and Europe in the next 2 to 5 decades.
And so, several years ago as I cruised the internet for sources to Mark Steyn’s book, my long path led to PI. At first, the impulse to comment a lot was greater, and it was interesting to see that there were still a hand-full of conservatives in Germany. But the media and the century of national and communal socialist ideas had taken such a hold on Germany that one election after another convinced us to keep track of PI from another land. And we have been doing that for three years. With other links and conservative media established in the meantime, PI has become our daily newspaper.
One closing anecdote: When the visa for the USA finally went through, and we had cleared out our apartment and the flight to the USA would be in a few weeks, I was looking for someone to sub-let. Naturally there was a series of full-bearded men with fully covered wives to look at this apartment in the ghetto that had been expanding over the years (you could write books about it). However, no one liked it. In the otherwise empty German apartment, there was one last artifact: a gigantic American flag. For us, it a symbol of freedom, individuality and justice on both sides of the Atlantic. For others, however…