Ms. Merkel, Reconstruct This Wall!

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A depressing, if perfectly predictable, poll from Germany shows that a whopping 19 percent of Germans desire a re-division of the country on Cold War lines. In the former East, unemployment is still considerably higher than in the former West and, as such, extremist parties are making electoral inroads: The fascist NPD won 6.5 percent of the vote in the state of Mecklenberg-Vorpommern and the Left Party (formerly PDS; formerly the East German ruling party SED) has consistently garnered around 20 percent of the vote in the former East.

The Australian on the poll numbers, released in conjunction with the 17th anniversary of reunification:

Nineteen percent of respondents surveyed said the country was better off while it was divided, while 75 percent said they were glad the Wall that kept easterners captives of the communist bloc for 28 years had fallen.

Remarkably, a full 21 percent of the country's 16.7 million easterners felt nostalgic about the concrete, barbed wire and armed guards that separated them from the west.

The poll conducted by independent opinion research firm Emnid found 74 percent of easterners had felt like second-class citizens since Germany reunited on October 3, 1990.

About the same share of westerners—73 percent—said they did not believe easterners were at a disadvantage.

Full story here.

reason contributing editor Glenn Garvin on Anna Funder's brilliant, moving account of the Stasi terror here.

NEXT: Libertarian Activist Paul Jacob Indicted

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  1. I do not find this surprising. Many people hate change. When you mix that with the fact that there were undoubtedly some people who lost out in the collapse of East Germany and the normal tendency to view the past as better than it was, I am surprised it is only 19% who want re-division.

  2. Hold on just a minute. “Though the country was better off while it was divided” is not the same thing as “wanting the wall back.”

    When people say America was better off during the Cold War, they are not, in fact, saying that they want to be menaced by the Soviet ICBM arsenal.

  3. The poll conducted by independent opinion research firm Emnid found 74 percent of easterners had felt like second-class citizens since Germany reunited on October 3, 1990.

    And that’s better than first class serfs how?

  4. Nah, you can find 10-20% of any population who will poll positive on any question. Poll the U.S. to see how many people want to nuke, say, Canada. I bet a good 11% would say yes. Granted, 95% of that 11% would be kidding, but since polls are treated like Holy Scripture by the media. . . .


  5. And that’s better than first class serfs how?

    At least under serfdom, you had a job, a place to live, and the streets were safe.

  6. In related news, medicine still tastes bad! Seriously, this is peaches and cream compared to what a unified Korea would go through.

  7. a whopping 19 percent

    You can find 19% of the populace to agree with just about anything.

    Except libertarianism, apparently.

  8. Two points:

    (a) There would have been more than enough historical precedent for two, or more, German states. Germany wasn’t politically united until the late 19th century.

    (b) The GDR had to abolish socialism. Near bankruptcy, it simply had no choice. It did not need to reunite with the FRG to do that. In fact, trading in the shackles of socialism for the shackles of the social market economy, itself proving less and less viable with each year, may have been the worst course.

    Left to itself, without Western subsidies, the GDR would probably have been forced to engage in more radical reform, as did (say) the Czech Republic–and would probably be a much more prosperous place today, possibly as wealthy as the FRG, if not richer.

    So I can’t blame some East Germans for thinking, Oh, what might have been…

  9. Poll the U.S. to see how many people want to nuke, say, Canada.

    One ‘yea’.

  10. At least under serfdom, you had a job, a place to live, and the streets were safe.

    Ja, but the streets weren’t safe … not from the Stasi. Nor was your place to live. Or the place you did your job. Or anywhere — not with one Stasi officer or informer for every six citizens.

  11. Nineteen percent of respondents surveyed said the country was better off while it was divided, while 75 percent said they were glad the Wall that kept easterners captives of the communist bloc for 28 years had fallen.

    What was the actual question asked of these folks?


  12. Ja, but the streets weren’t safe … not from the Stasi. Nor was your place to live. Or the place you did your job. Or anywhere — not with one Stasi officer or informer for every six citizens.

    That just means there one in six were actively on the lookout for evildoers.

    It’s a feature, not a bug.

  13. There would have been more than enough historical precedent for two, or more, German states.

    That is why Austria exists.

    Germany wasn’t politically united until the late 19th century.

    Not even then.


  14. What was the actual question asked of these folks?

    I’d like to know this, too. Also, the question that made “74 percent of easterners had felt like second-class citizens”.

  15. Stevo,

    Of course the Stasi was a bad thing. But in the 1980s, Stasi to East Germans was not Gestapo to Belgian Jews. It wasn’t even Cheka to Russians in the 1950s.

    It’s a shame that the state was monitoring old ladies when they walked down the street at night. Is it worse than those ladies not walking down the street at night because they might be mugged? It’s a shame that people were monitored at work. Is it worse than not having a job, or having a dramatically reduced standard of living?

    It’s too glib and easy for Americans to think that the options these people are considering is a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle without State Security monitoring them vs. a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle with State Security monitoring them.

    I think things must be pretty bad for people to think that, all things considered, they were better with the Stasi snitches all over the place.

  16. joe’s last comment can be summarized as “at least the trains ran on time.”

    One wonders if he would post a similar comment about Chile under Allende.

    Not only that, but he has his facts reversed. The East Germans weren’t enjoying a safe, comfortable middle class lifestyle because of the Stasi. Rather, they didn’t have safe, comfortable middle class lives at all, because of the Stasi.

  17. “It’s a shame that the state was monitoring old ladies when they walked down the street at night. Is it worse than those ladies not walking down the street at night because they might be mugged? It’s a shame that people were monitored at work. Is it worse than not having a job, or having a dramatically reduced standard of living?”

    It’s true. The East German constitution was not a suicide pact.

  18. Wow, RC, you certainly seem to know a lot about the experience of what it was like to live in East Germany before and after the earlly 1990s. How many years were you there, exactly?

    Yeah, didn’t think so.

  19. Bad East Germans! BAD!

    You don’t actually think that. You’re just suffering from false consciousness.

    Let me tell you how you really feel…

  20. Ich vermisse die Unterdr?ckung. Und der Mangel an Freiheit.

    joe,

    Vere you a Bewohner uv der Ostdeutschland?

  21. tr?umt von besseren, l?ngst vergangenen Zeiten… vom Besten aller Zeiten.

    Das waren noch Zeiten.

    Hail, hail East Germany
    Land of fruit and grape
    Land where you’ll regret
    If you try to escape
    No matter if you tunnel under or take a running jump at the wall
    Forget it, the guards will kill you, if the electrified fence doesn’t first.

  22. Ich verpasse einfach die gro?en, haarigen Frauen!

  23. Ach mensch, vermissen… nicht verpassen.

  24. Es war so sch?n im Ostberlin. Mein Br?der haben viele leute get?tet, weil sie ?ber die Wand gehen wollten.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, it what’s left of my German…
    *sobs into a pillow*

  25. dpotts,

    I suspect that such women were a CIA disinformation plot. Given what we’ve learned about Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War.

  26. Pro Lib,

    I’ve never lived anywhere but on the east coast of the United States.

    Because of this, I don’t presume to lecture people on the other side of the planet on how poorly they understand what their own lives are like.

  27. I’ve met plenty of people here who think that Germany was better off when it was divided. But I’ve never met anyone who misses the Stasi.

  28. Well, joe, as I revealed in ish 217 of The Amazing Pro Libertate, I favor using brute force to impose liberty on all the peoples of the world. Well, to maximize my freedom, anyway.

    I hate getting all culturally relative about people living under oppression. The same could be said of women who just can’t leave that guy who beats them nightly. Using force to make them leave may not be appropriate, but we can certainly have a valid opinion about their quality of life.

  29. If we nuke Canada, we won’t be able to deport Celine Dion.

  30. Joe,

    you are an idiot. Only 19% said it was better back then. Probably 19% of present population wasn’t even out of gymnasium back in ’89. Also, what you and most Osties seem to have never realized is that what crappy standard of living the East did have was based on not reinvesting in existing infrastructure so that the entire country was on verge of collapse in ’89. If they had stayed like they were their already crappy economy would have really tanked.

    There were also thoughtless morons who had no interesting thoughtst to express who didn’t mind the Stasi. Also, one in six was in the Stasi which is damn near 19% in itself. A reasonable person says screw those losers.

  31. While I certainly would never advocate nuking Canada and would oppose any decision to do so, if we were to nuke Canada, we could certainly deport Ms. Dion to the resultant nuclear wasteland to the north. Why not?

  32. Woran hat man fr?her erkannt wo Ostdeutschland war und wo Westdeutschland?

    Ganz einfach, man hat ne Banane auf die Mauer gelegt und dort wo abgebissen war, war Ostdeutschland!

    ********
    Was war das meistbenuzte Wort an der deutsch-deutschen Grenze?

    “G?nsefleisch”
    (G?nsefleich mal ‘n Gofferraum offmachen!).

    *****
    Gehen zwei Polizisten auf Streife, um mal wieder den vielen Parks?ndern auf die Schliche zu kommen. Heute hatten sie sogar Gl?ck: Am Anfang der Alexanderstrasse steht doch glatt ein Wagen in einer Feuerwehrzufahrt. “Los! Schreibe das Kennzeichen dieses Parks?nders auf!” meint der erste Polizist zum anderen.

    “Du nee, das sollten wir besser lassen…” meint der zweite Polizist.
    “Ja, und wieso das?!?”
    “Ich glaub, die geh?ren zu uns!”
    “Wie kommst du denn da drauf?”
    “Hast du das nicht gesehen? Da steht doch gro? GB!”
    “Und?”
    “Man! Was ist denn heute blo? los mit dir?!? Das steht doch eindeutig f?r GRIMINAL-BOLIZEI!”

  33. Leave Canada alone. They have apologized for Bryan Adams many times.

  34. VM,

    Goose meat?

    mike,

    I’m quite fond of Canada. I just nuked them by way of example. After all, Canada gave us the Shat.

  35. Wikinger Elch wins the thread!

  36. oh yeah..
    Goose Meat?

  37. G?nsefleich = k?nnen Sie velleicht mal den Kofferraum aufmachen

  38. Goose Meat?

    I don’t get the reference to a suitcase.

    Wait, I just got it! Hee hee!

  39. Zwei peanuts ver valking down der strasse, und ein vas…assaulted! Peanut!

  40. I didn’t realize there were so many Boarisch on the border.

  41. Und ze old S?chsisch violence.

  42. I’m quite fond of Canada. I just nuked them by way of example. After all, Canada gave us the Shat.

    Great. Thanks for reminding them. Now they have TWO reasons to nuke us.

  43. Aresen,

    In 1979, the United States had planned to invade Canada to offset the shame of the Iran hostage crisis and to save your country from Pierre “Garry” Trudeau. But, during the last pre-invasion meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the attendees noted that Captain Kirk was Canadian. Thanks to William Shatner, you remain free. You should thank him every day.

  44. Oh, yeah, well I guess we’re back to two reasons. Sorry, Aresen! My advice is to move to Nunavut. That’s America’s favorite territory.

  45. You can’t nuke Canada! Seriously, it’s too big to nuke.

    What you can do is nuke Toronto. The rest of Canada will thank you.

  46. Please tell me that was someone else posting under joe’s name. That’s just…wow.

    JOE, SAY IT AIN’T SO!

  47. People who’ve never had to worry about such pedestrian concerns as “can I walk safely down the street?” or “am I going to be able to put food on my family’s table?” can sit around, stare at their navels, and worry about higher order concerns. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    But when they look at the people who actually DO have to worry about those things, and sneer at them for not having the right priorities, they just reveal themselves as the ignorant, spoiled children they are.

  48. People who’ve never had to worry about such pedestrian concerns as “can I walk safely down the street?” or “am I going to be able to put food on my family’s table?” can sit around, stare at their navels, and worry about higher order concerns. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    But when they look at the people who actually DO have to worry about those things, and sneer at them for not having the right priorities, they just reveal themselves as the ignorant, spoiled children they are.

    So, what does that make someone who trolls by defending the Stasi and trying to make eastern Germany sound like Somalia?

    The other 80% of former East Germans manage to have those “higher-order interests” you sneer at. Anyone with a brain should put their judgment over your sanctimony.

  49. Wow, next the Japanese will want the U.S. to help with some “urban blight removal”

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