The New York Times brings out the branding irons:
In the current tussle for the future of Germany, Frauke Petry is what you might call the anti-Angela Merkel.
Where Ms. Merkel, the chancellor, has welcomed refugees, Ms. Petry, a rising far-right leader, has said border guards might need to turn guns on anyone crossing a frontier illegally.
Where Ms. Merkel has urged tolerance, Ms. Petry has embraced the angry populism now running through Europe and the United States.
“The preachers of hatred” was how the news weekly Der Spiegel characterized the new German right on its cover last month, emblazoned with a portrait of the petite Ms. Petry.
Call a Canadian politician "far-right" and visions of corporate tax cuts float into view. Call a German "far-right" and more terrifying images come to mind. So yes, Ms Petry is being compared to the Nazis.
For those who might have forgotten the Nazis were people who invaded other countries in large numbers in order to impose their cultural values. By point of contrast, Ms Petry is trying to prevent large numbers of people from invading her country and imposing their cultural values.
This is a difference wide enough to be obvious to anyone not working for The New York Times.
In 2015, 1.1 million migrants were allowed into Germany, a country with a population of 80 million. For an economy that has been treading water for years -- and whose demographic structure is heading toward terminal decline -- these are inherently unsustainable numbers. The question which Germany faces has nothing to do with prudent and well considered policies of immigration and integration. Those flooding into Germany are not properly vetted immigrants, many lack basic identification and a non-trivial number have questionable ideological allegiances.
Germany is also not a nation of immigrants; it has little of the psychological attitudes and cultural institutions that expedite immigrant integration into a host society.
The question of mass migration -- whether legal or not -- is clouded in sentimentality. For North Americans the immigrant lives in the collective memory as a sepia steeped peasant holding onto the handrail of an ocean liner. No doubt among the large numbers crowding into Germany today we have some who fit that ancient image. Yet once the misty eyed memories subside we are left with numbers and history.
The immigrant of a century ago was joining a culturally confident, fast growing society that could inhale millions of immigrants and - within a generation or so -- turn them into productive patriots. The sclerotic and decadent societies of western Europe simply do not have the economic or cultural capacity to absorb so many people so quickly.
Modern Germany is one of the most highly advanced societies in the world. Virtually all non-menial entry level positions require a level of training that far surpassed what most of these migrants possess or are likely to gain into the near future. As in most of continental Europe, German private sector job growth has been microscopic for decades. Germany is therefore not importing young, skilled workers to take the place of their greying Teutonic counterparts. Instead Angela Merkel has admitted a vast new dependent class that will wreck the country's once formidable economic strength.
To grasp the extent of this madness keep two facts in mind:
There are currently 3 million Turks in Germany. The first Turkish immigrants arrived in Germany in 1961. In more than half a century Germany has failed to properly integrate 3 million people from a comparatively advanced and relatively civilized country. What hope is there to integrate a million people from a hellish backwater in a radically abbreviated timeframe?
Shortly after the first Turks arrived in Germany, the British politician Enoch Powell delivered his notorious "Rivers of Blood speech." In it he prophesied that most of the newly arrived immigrants to Britain from the Caribbean and India would fail to integrate, leading to tensions and eventually open warfare in the streets. With the hindsight of nearly half a century we can say that he was mostly wrong. The vast majority of West Indian and South Asian immigrants have integrated well into British society. Where problems persist it has not been a matter of culture or race but of religion. A combination of weak willed multiculturalist politicians and Islamist rabble rousers has kept a portion of the country's Muslim population ghettoized and radicalized. Yet even with these caveats most immigrants to Britain have been successful.
Merkel's Migrants do not have the same prospects. If the history of the Turks in Germany or the Algerians in France is any guide we will soon see the Rhine foaming with much blood. Why commit so insane an act? When disasters of this scale happen there is an inevitable a mixture of interests both profane and sacred. The profane aspect is easy enough to grasp. If you're a German bureaucrat the creation of a massive new class of perpetual dependents is job security for life. Continental Europeans are notorious for their overly generous welfare states. The corollary of a generous welfare state is a massive administrative state to support it. Each new migrant arriving in Germany means a certain number of bureaucrats must be hired in response. For German officialdom this is a money making opportunity.
The sacred aspect of this German passion play is more emotionally fraught. The central fact of modern German history is the period between 1933-1945. Little in modern Germany makes sense without reference to the Nazis and moral reaction against their crimes. In the quest for "never again" a system of beliefs and institutions emerged after the war. They range from grand policies like NATO and the EU down to the micro-level of laws banning Nazi paraphernalia. This cultural immune system is now more than three generations old. It has acquired its own dogmas, petty prejudices and vested interests. A nation not so riven by guilt complexes would have been far less ready to martyr themselves on the altar of mass migration. As if in a final altruistic act of national suicide the people of Germany will have at last atoned for the sins of their great-grandfathers.
German history stretches back centuries. It encompasses Luther, Gauss, Goethe, Schiller, Planck, Heisenberg and Bonhoeffer. To reduce one of the national pillars of western civilization to a dozen years and a few dozen mass murdering criminals is a gross injustice. If Germany does commit suicide it will not have atoned for the crimes of Hitler, it will have instead deprived the world of a unique and immensely beneficial nation.