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Letter to the editor: We can learn from Germany's election

Friday, November 15, 2013 - 12:01 am

The slaughter of the Libertarians in Germany’s election on Sept. 22 not only speaks well for Germany, but is a hopeful sign for the United States. In the current Bundestag the Free Democrat Party (FDP), Germany’s Libertarians, has 93 (of 622) seats. In the new Bundestag they will have zero.

In the September 2009 election the FDP obtained 14.6 percent of the vote, their highest ever. Feeling free to exhibit his ideological purity, their leader, Guido Westerwelle, gave a speech in February 2010 in which he railed against the lazy public assistance recipients. By September 2010 the FDP’s poll rating had fallen below the 5 percent threshold, and they never recovered. On the day after the 2013 election in a poll done for ARD-Deutschland, 60 percent of Germans said they were glad the FDP was gone.

Former 3rd District Rep. Mark Souder recently described a paradox of American politics: 10 percent of Americans approve of Congress, but most incumbents seem to be safe. A hint at what is driving this comes from recent political research done by The Cook Report. According to Cook’s partisan voter index in 1996 there were 164 (of 435) districts “between the political 40 yard lines.” Over the last 17 years, that number has shrunk to 90. The middle is vanishing.

But what is driving this polarization? According to Souder, the problem is “an increasing disgust for those with whom we disagree.” While this is correct, it is not fundamental.

Michael Sandel, a professor of government at Harvard, said in a recent interview, “We are experiencing an outsourcing of morals from the public space.” The vacuum created has been filled by ideologues who reject American moral axioms.

Fifty years ago it was immoral for the government to put a gun to the head ofan individual American and tell them you are buying this health insurance we say you need. Now this is “hope and change.” Fifty years ago it was immoral to loot the Social Security surplus for $1.5 trillion, give the cash to the richest Americans, and give $1.5 trillion of IOUs to America’s young people. Now this is “a new tone.”

Note the Orwellian language that the ideologues employ to connect to the poor, stupid voters, and then subsequently abuse their questionable electoral mandates to oppress the voters on the losing side.

The consequence of the disappearance of American morality is that any restraint on ideologues is gone. Over the last 50 years, there has been a bifurcation to two sets of ideologues, “government is God” and “government is Satan” that dominate the irrespective political party. Do you wonder why the parties cannot compromise?

The purpose of a political system is to establish and evolve a legal system that everyone can live with. Instead we have a system where the winning 51 percent jams their ideology down the throat of the losing 49 percent. Because of the disappearance of American morality, our country now suffers under a tyranny of alternating incompetent ideologues.

The German people recognized that their enemy is fanatic ideologues who put ideology over German tradition, culture and sentiments. Germans know that every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, so they cut off the Libertarians as one would a wart or hemorrhoid.

Chancellor Merkel is now negotiating with the Social Democrats over a tax increase, national minimum wage and a financial transaction tax — and Germany’s future is brighter than ever.

Hank Achor