Poll: Only 18 Percent Of Germans Feel Free To Voice Views In Public


03-06-19 02:45:00,

For years, we have discussed the unrelenting attacks on free speech in Europe with the expansion of hate speech laws and the general criminalization of speech, including international speech crimes. Some in the United States would like to follow down that dangerous path (and universities are reinforcing the view of the need to regulate speech). The implications of such anti-speech policies are evident in Germany where a survey, conducted by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach(and published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) found that only 18 percent of Germans feel free to express their views in public. It is the most vivid example of how Europeans are learning to live without free speech. Undeterred, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the successor to Angela Merkel, is now calling on greater limits on free speech during election periods — a concept that would normally be viewed as counterintuitive outside of the new European model.

Notably, over 31 percent of Germans did not even feel free expressing themselves in private among friends. Just 17 percent felt free to express themselves on the Internet and 35 percent said that freedom to speech is confined to the smallest of private circles.

Even at the height of the Stasi, citizens were not nearly as controlled in East Germany. It is the irony of our times. It has been otherwise liberal governments that have succeeded with authoritarian regimes failed in getting people to give up their free speech rights. All in the name of fighting intolerance . . . by codifying intolerance to an ever-expanding range of speech.

Over the course of the last 50 years, the French, English and Germans have waged an open war on free speech by criminalizing speech deemed insulting, harassing or intimidating. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here).

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8% of Germans would approve dictatorship, while even more welcome ‘strong-arm’ leader – study


09-11-18 12:51:00,

Under certain “circumstances,” some 8 percent of Germans are OK with a dictatorship as a form of government, while even more would welcome a leader ruling Germany with “a strong hand,” research has found.

While the majority of the country surely bears no nostalgic feelings about such forms of governance, a new study suggests some are not against the idea. A report compiled in cooperation with two major think tanks found that as many as 7.9 percent of Germans believe that dictatorship would serve national interests better than anything else “under certain circumstances.” Some 18.6 percent were described as latent supporters of the idea. 

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© Marko Djurica

Dictatorship basically comes with a cult of personality, and this is where eleven percent of respondents said there should be a leader “who rules Germany with a strong hand for the good of all.”

The survey shows slightly a similar ratio in questions targeting other sensitivities of the country’s past. Some eight percent said “Nazism had its own positive sides” while slightly more agreed that Hitler could have become “a great statesman” if he did not unleash the Holocaust.

Antisemitism, a centerpiece of Nazi racial policy, still exists in Germany with one in 10 people saying they felt Jews still have “too much of an influence even today.”

“Our current survey shows quite clearly that xenophobia is becoming increasingly widespread throughout the country,” says study director Oliver Decker. Moreover, there is an increasing number of people willing to crack down on political opponents, the scholar warned.

Still, a sizeable part of German population reject authoritarianism and stand for democracy, Decker noted: “We can say that 30 percent of the population has a decidedly democratic attitude.”

RT’s Peter Oliver also tried to gain insight into German hearts and minds by asking people in Berlin to provide their take. “This is our past, it cannot be allowed to become our future,” said one lady.

However, “it doesn’t surprise me because I see the people [supporting those views],” another man told RT. The reasons for that could be hidden in the 2015 refugee crisis,

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Almost 1 in 5 Germans is ‘at risk of poverty’ despite record employment – study


02-11-18 07:20:00,

Germany may be Europe’s biggest and strongest economy and is enjoying record employment, but one fifth of its citizens are struggling to make ends meet, a new study reveals.

Some 15.5 million people or 19 percent of the population in Germany were “at risk of poverty” or “social exclusion” in 2017, the Federal Statistics Office said.

Even though the unemployment rate in Germany has fallen to record lows, many people still do not earn enough to pay their bills and keep themselves above the poverty line. Some 13.1 million Germans, roughly 16.1 percent of the population, are threatened by poverty precisely because of their low monthly income, the federal statistics bureau says.

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© Peter Nicholls

According to the criteria introduced in the EU, people are considered to be at risk of poverty if their total income amounts to less than 60 percent of an average income in their country. In the case of Germany, it amounts to €1,096 ($1,243) for a single person per month and €2,302 ($2,611) for a family of two adults and two children under 14.
3.4 percent of the population were considered as threatened by poverty as they struggled to pay their rent on time, heat their homes adequately, travel on vacation or even to regularly get a substantial meal due to a lack of financial resources.

Another 8.7 percent of Germans lived in households with a very low labor force participation, which means that most or all working age family members in such households either worked just for a few months last year or did not work at all and had to live on social benefits.
Even though the general situation had slightly improved compared to 2016, the total number of people threatened by poverty decreased by mere 0.7 percent in 2017, the study shows. This data provoked a wave of criticism from activists and opposition lawmakers.

“That is just scandalous that 15.5 people are threatened by poverty or [social] exclusion despite the economic boom,” Verena Bentele, the head of the social welfare association VdK Germany, told local media. She also called on the authorities to provide “fair educational opportunities” and develop “a new strategy for labor market policy” to combat poverty.

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