February 02, 2004

German Dead End

Davids Medienkritik has a very good thread on the subject of German anti-americanism. One of the things that popped out of that for me was the concept that the Germans are trying to find their place in the world and avoiding the mistakes of history. The first is a positive goal but carries a lot of baggage, specifically that there is such a thing as having a place in the world that sits vacant, waiting for you to return to it. The second is entirely negative and can only get in the way of Germany's societal progress.

This isn't to say that you should embrace and repeat the mistakes of the past. What it means is that Germany needs to have positive goals that they choose themselves and approach those goals in a way that will yield good results, taking advantage of their history, both positive and negative, in a way that optimizes their achievement of their goals. History is important but it is secondary. When it rises to the status of a primary goal, it becomes unhealthy, a neurotic obsession that will stand in your way instead of aiding you on your quest.

The most frustrating thing is to watch this from outside the culture. You can't give someone self-confidence and you can't pick their societal goals for them either. Americans can see the solutions pretty easily but cannot supply them without creating an unhealthy dependence. So what is a good friend to do?

Posted by TMLutas at February 2, 2004 08:56 AM