I know some of you have been following my rants from the early days back in Summer 2002, some have joined in the heydey of political blogging, back in Spring 2003, and some may not have followed the blog at all, and just clicked the wrong button on their mouse.
Well, for those of you who know my writings, and who know the German party system, I have a question: Which party, if any, do you think, should I be a part of?
I have my own ideas in this respect, of course, I even founded a regional party with some friends back in 1993 (check out page 88 of the Spiegel’s special edition for the elections 1994!).
It’s just that I do have the impression that my thinking is a bit out of touch with the mainstream thinking in current German parties, regardless which one you take. In Britain, I worked for New Labour, and I wish the German SPD would resemble NewLabour only a little bit. But it doesn’t. Instead of facing the challenges, many in the SPD believe that opposition is more honorable than governing, because governing means exercising power. And exercising power sometimes means having to push through medicine that is difficult to swallow.
For the time being it appears this applies mostly to economic issues, the labour market incentive strucutre, in particular. But soon the truly most important political issue of the next decade will become impossible to ignore – privacy, informational, digital self determination, a new balance between IP holders and IP users along a different path than the EU directive for digital fingerprinting people’s harddrives proposes. This is an issue that goes hand in hand with the preservation of civil rights and true democracy in the face of ongoing important terrorist threats.
As I have said often, what we need is not a Patriot Act, or its EU siblings, what we need are many patriotic acts that clearly demonstrate a democracy’s ability to deal with dangerous times even without renouncing to fundamental rights.
Just remember that, when Germany passed limitations to “extremists” civil rights when under attack by the Red Army Faction in the late 1970s, it was widely regarded as sign of democratic weakness. A mature democracy, it was said, would not haveproven strong enough even face to face with terror. And now Lufthansa has to tell Donald Rumsfeld what I had for lunch on my last flight – just imagine what happens when fast DNA processing becomes available and the unique key to databasing every human action?
Big Brother? It’s truly a training camp.
Is there any party in the German party system that only semi-understands the importance of these issues? Well, I suppose the Greens do to some extent. Well, that is the part of the Greens that does harbour some deeply hidden liberal (EU meaning: liberal, not leftist!) feelings underneath their still largely statist mask.
The German liberals, the FDP? They have long abandoned any true liberal ambitions and might rather sooner than later even alienate their shrinking bourgeois core clientèle by attempting to go to the etatist right again, as “market liberals” have done in obvious misunderstanding of the foundations of liberty and working markets.
Or the CDU? Now under Angela Merkel and about to move to the right economically – just as long as they are in opposition. Still authoritarian, it is a party emotionally fundamentally at odds with the social reality of a modern European ethnically and religiously heterogeneous state in need of millions of immigrants.
The fringe parties? Well, they’re just that, fringe. Besides, remember, I already did that ;).
As you can see, choosing a party these days is not easy. As I said, I do have an idea – which I might tell you about sooner or later. But it would be great to get some input from you, my gentle readers. I would be great to know where you think I would fit in best, particularly given that the choice is clearly only between several evils.