Journalism as an Offense: The Baab Case

If journalist Patrik Baab had spoken of Germans’ “escalation phobia,” he might still be doing his teaching job at Kiel University today. However, he was doing journalism: That is the worst reproach one can face today.

Journalists who have more than just attitude, namely professional ethics, are having a hard time these days. A current example: Seymour Hersh. Using an anonymous source, the American journalist has worked out who is to be held responsible for the attacks on Nord Stream I and II—namely, the US Navy and Norway. The German press pounced on this eminence of American investigative journalism, making the man look like a novice. The criticism came from “colleagues,” journalists who spend most of their working lives sitting at desks or copying from each other.

They are rather unfamiliar with field studies. For them, journalistic work simply means accepting prefabricated opinions, only questioning them when instructed to do so. When the U.S. government denied Hersh’s report, these critics of Hersh accepted the denial as a credible opinion—here their journalistic intuition once again ended abruptly.

Much like Hersh, German journalist Patrik Baab has fared similarly in the recent past. He left his desk to do something that contemporary journalism in Germany hardly ever does anymore—get an impression on the ground. In the end, that is exactly what he is accused of. As a journalist, it is apparently advisable in these times and lands, to remain dutifully seated in front of one’s laptop and do research on Wikipedia and in the vastness of Twitter. But never in eastern Ukraine.

Baab in Eastern Ukraine

NDR journalist Patrik Baab was on the road in eastern Ukraine last September. The reason for his trip there—research for a book project. For him, taking a close look at conditions on the ground is part of the journalistic standard, as he also points out in his book Recherchieren. Ein Werkzeugkasten zur Kritik der herrschenden Meinung [Research: A Toolbox for the Critique of Prevailing Opinion]. At that time, those controversial referendums were taking place in Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson, which were supposed to allow the regions to join the Russian Federation. Baab was present. He observed the events on the ground as a journalist—but not, as he was subsequently accused, as an election observer.

Usually, election observers are appointed or invited. Patrik Baab never received such an invitation; to a certain extent, he was there on his own behalf. As a researcher and curious journalist. Nevertheless, the reaction followed promptly: A report by Lars Wienand for the news portal of t-online drew attention to the fact that an NDR reporter—Baab—was acting as an election observer at those referendums and thus legitimizing Russia’s controversial approach.

In other words, a journalist was reproached for doing his job. If the mere presence of a journalist at critical events led to the legitimization of these events, then—viewed dialectically—reporting in the true sense would no longer be conceivable. Because the journalist would already be an influencing factor qua existence, who could no longer act as a chronicler of events, but would only change events through his presence. Perhaps this is the reason why on-site research is becoming increasingly rare today—because they want to stay out of it—which would be tantamount to an oath of revelation for the profession.

Decision, After a Few Minutes

Baab was promptly accused of having aligned himself with Putin’s cause. His visit to eastern Ukraine was proof of that. Patrik Baab himself distances himself from Russia’s war against Ukraine. His CV as an NDR reporter includes countless films and features that report critically about and from Russia—and thus do not make the Russian leadership look good. Infosperber has linked to some of Baab’s productions under an article on the case: They prove that the journalist always kept a sober distance in regards to Russia—professionally speaking.

Although the accusation that Patrik Baab was present as an election observer cannot be verified (here, election observers have their say, Baab was not present and also not invited), the Hochschule für Medien, Kommunikation und Wirtschaft (HMKW) in Berlin distanced itself from Baab. In the past, the journalist had often worked there as a lecturer. Among other things, the HMKW’s justification stated that Baab was “providing a welcome fig leaf for the aggressors.” In addition, he was engaging in “journalistic sham objectivity”—the HMKW statement can be read here. Interesting is the introduction of the justification report, in which they speaks of having learned of the matter only “a few minutes ago, through the article, Scheinreferendum, hurra, by Lars Wienand (”—after minutes they had already decided? That doesn’t sound like a prudent approach, more like a favorable moment for people who want to make a political example.

Since Patrik Baab did not have a valid contract with HMKW, he could not take action against this decision of a few minutes. In the case of the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel (CAU), the situation is somewhat different. It withdrew his teaching contract one week after HMKW. The reason—factually the same. Apparently, they didn’t even bother to contact Baab in advance. The reason given by CAU was that there was “imminent danger.” One puzzles over what this is supposed to mean: Baab was standing with tanks in front of Kiel—that’s not possible, because the tanks heading for Ukraine are not in front of Kiel, they are in Kiel.

In this matter an appeal is now pending, the “revocation of the teaching activity” seems to be unfounded for many reasons. Baab was not an election observer, he was doing his job: CAU has demonstrated a lack of due diligence in checking press reports on Baab’s trip. It has done exactly what Baab, as a journalist, urgently warns against—it has adopted unverified allegations.

Kiel University: Followers, by Tradition—and More

Without going into the historical misdeeds of CAU in depth, Kiel University has a tradition of having a rather divided relationship to democratic standards—to put it kindly. In 1914, for example, it excelled in jingoistic patriotism, and years later it supported the Kapp Putsch with a Freikorps (the author Axel Eggebrecht gave a very vivid account of this in his book, Der halbe Weg. Zwischenbilanz einer Epoche), and not only did not stand aside in 1933, but clearly encouraged professors to support the new rulers. Moreover, the author Katia H. Backhaus, in her work, Zwei Professoren, zwei Ansätze. Die Kieler Politikwissenschaft auf dem Weg zum Pluralismus (1971—1998) [Two Professors, Two Approaches. Kiel Political Science on the Way to Pluralism (1971—1998)], elaborated that CAU faculty worked closely with intelligence services (with German and also American ones) in the 1980s.

This historical dimension of CAU will be addressed separately in the near future, as it deserves further consideration. It should be remembered, however, that a professor by the name of Joachim Krause from the Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel recently attracted attention. He recently called for escalation and spoke of an “escalation phobia” in large parts of the German population. Krause has admittedly not even been reprimanded by CAU. In retrospect, there would be at least one more reason to do so.

Twenty years ago, Krause justified the war of aggression by the United States and the British against Iraq, which violated international law. Krause’s 2003 analysis bears eloquent witness; it can be read here. In the concluding remarks, one reads “that the U.S. policy toward Iraq (including the threat of regime change by force) is extraordinarily consistent with the international order of collective security and is also necessary.” And further: “The primary motive of U.S. policy is to put a state in its place that challenges the current international order like no other.” Obviously Krause let himself be influenced with this statement by those hawks of U.S. policy who at that time were already talking about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and whose insistence resulted in that lying appearance of Colin Powell before the UN Security Council.

War of Aggression by the USA: No Selfish Energy Interests

Critics, who even then spoke of an unlegitimized war of aggression, were immediately rebuffed by Krause. He wrote: “There is no evidence to support the assumption that U.S. policy is primarily guided by selfish energy interests.” The French and Russians, however, are different, being oriented “by very narrowly defined financial interests in oil exploration in Iraq.” The U.S. foreign policy, so Krause explained at that time quite unabashedly, acts for reasons of good intentions—just imagine if someone would want to accuse Putin or Russia in general of that today.

CAU accuses Patrik Baab of not doing his journalistic work properly because he is biased—at least, that is the quintessence that one has to come to, if one takes a look at the reasoning. But an academic who works in security policy and at the same time talks about “escalation phobia”: How does that go together? Is that the choice of words of someone who specializes in security policy issues? Why does Krause not accuse anyone of failing in their task?

If Patrik Baab had spoken of escalating the war to the point of a potential nuclear strike, he would be blithely lecturing in Kiel today. His offense was that he did not allow himself to be turned into an academic utility idiot, but pursued his work ethos—he does not postulate any ideological empty words, but does what he knows how to do: Reporting.

Basically, this seems to be—as already touched upon above—the worst accusation that one can currently be confronted with. For quite some time, journalism has been understood as something that constructively accompanies the structures of power. It is not implemented as a corrective, but rather takes up the banner of guiding politics through everyday life. If possible, without causing too much of a stir. Synonymous with this development are the legions of journalists who serve as so-called fact checkers. Their task is not to bring facts to light, but to create facts that support and back up political guidelines or decisions. By definition, the fact check should be open-ended: However, if you start with an intention, there can be no drawing back; rather, everything is already closed off and fenced in.

Real Journalism: Endangering the Way Things are Going

Journalists like Patrik Baab come from a different time, when it was still considered natural to even sometimes antagonize the powerful or even just one’s own editor. Of course, journalists are narcissistic, a fact that Patrik Baab himself confirms in his book mentioned above: They always want—and wanted—to make a big deal about themselves. In other days, this was achieved by an investigative coup, by a piece of information that was difficult to bring to light and that could be presented. Today, you make a splash by supporting narratives that business and politics want to establish. In this new sense, Baab is admittedly a bad journalist—precisely because he is a good journalist.

Some students at Kiel University have also recognized this. They are demanding justice for Baab. Their statement on a small Telegram channel about the “Baab Affair” [Affäre Baab] reads” “Comprehensive research that illuminates all angles is a journalistic quality characteristic and not a moral crime. We therefore demand Patrik Baab’s immediate reinstatement at CAU.” Julian Hett, initiator of the burgeoning resistance against CAU’s actions also told me: “The t-online article gave false factual claims, which have since been corrected. Thus, it was clear for me: reputation before truth! The last three years of Covid politics at the university have already shown me in which direction the whole thing is developing. Therefore, there is an urgent need for reforms that put truth back in the center and allow debates, even if they are controversial. Instead, however, efforts are being made to introduce gender language in an all-encompassing way.”

The Baab case shows that journalism is an offense these days. But only if it is carried out with all due diligence. Those who play journalism from their desks because they are halfway capable of comprehending dpa reports are sitting on the safe side of a profession that is in the process of finally abolishing itself. To prevent this, it is imperative that the expertise of a man like Baab not be lost. He should not be one of the last of his kind—he still has a lot to show many young people whose dream job is journalism. To stop letting him teach ultimately means losing his expertise. Only people who see journalism as court-reporting can want that: And these are the forces of counter-enlightenment.

Roberto J. De Lapuente is a journalist who writes from Germany. He is the author of Rechts gewinnt, weil Links versagt [The Right Wins because the Left Fails]. This article appears through the kind courtesy of neulandrebellen.

Featured: Man in a Bowler Hat, by Rene Magritte; painted in 1964.

Research is Not Allowed: The Case of Patrik Baab

In the summer of 2022, I was a student in the seminar given by journalist and guest lecturer Patrik Baab at my university, Christian-Albrechts-Universtiät (CAU) in Kiel, Germany. We studied examples of investigative journalism in the seminar, through which Mr. Baab guided us in understanding the rules of the craft of journalism. One example that I studied was the scandal of star-reporter Claas Relotius from the German magazine Der Spiegel who faked up to 40 reports. The investigative work by Relotius’ colleague, Juan Moreno, revealed the scandal, while also serving as an example of proper research and fact-checking. Also, this showed to us students, what it means to put oneself into dangerous waters. Because researching a colleague was not well regarded by Der Spiegel, Moreno got threatened by his chiefs, that if he continued the research, he could be fired.

A similar thing happened to Patrik Baab. In autumn of 2022, he made another of his many trips to East-Ukraine to research the war on the ground, for his upcoming book. According to Mr. Baab, German media didn’t report meticulously and elaborately enough, so he wanted to get his own understanding of the war. He happened to arrive at the time of the election, by the Russian government, in the contested territories Luhansk and Mariupol, and wanted to report on the opinions of citizens who went to the election. Then, something unexpected happened to him. Surrounded by the local conflict, he had got a call from Germany. In it, he was told that his presence during the elections had somehow legitimized the Russian election. By way of an article in the German online magazine T-Online, this explanation became “settled truth” for the German press, that Mr. Baab was researching in East Ukraine and that he was supposedly an official observer of the election in Luhansk and Mariupol. The German university CAU revoked his teaching assignment, a mere twenty-four hours after the publication of the article in T-Online. [Read more here, here, and here]

Double Standards and Reputation

In German there is a saying: “Wasser predigen und Wein saufen,” which means “preaching [the merits of] water while guzzling wine.” This perfectly describes the double standards of CAU. Mr. Baab’s teaching content in summer 2022 gave us students a clearer understanding on how to research and how to check facts properly. But more importantly, he taught us what the main tasks of journalism are and how important proper research is for our democracy, since journalism is the Fourth Estate. This is vital, especially for research into areas that we only occasionally accept as plausible, just as this war when given a deeper look reveals errors, and at times entanglements.

But what CAU has shown us with the revocation of Mr. Baab’s teaching assignment is that they neither research nor check facts and sources—although their students are taught this at their university. The article from T-Online was corrected immediately after Mr. Baab complained about their wrong claims. CAU could also have checked these claims easily, said Mr. Baab. But rather, they reacted emotionally, because the university won’t endanger its reputation. This is because every university is seeking a good reputation and won’t lose it by any means. A good reputation gives research funds, which the universities nowadays are dependent on. The story of CAU is full of such reputation-defending actions. [Read more here]

I was shocked to hear that Mr. Baab’s teaching assignment got revoked for the winter semester of 2022. But neither was this surprising to me. Over the past three years, critic of Covid, climate change and other “sensitive” topics in Germany are getting canceled. Now and again, one saw acknowledged scientists and academics criticize the political course—but shortly afterwards, they experienced shit-storm campaigns not only in social media, but above all in the German press, with the debate-disqualifying term “conspiracy theorist.” At the end of 2020, for example, Professor Sucharit Bhakdi, together with his wife and lecturer at CAU Karina Reis, had published their book, Corona Fehlalarm!? In it, they criticized the German Covid measures and explained why they think so on a scientific basis. Professor Bhakti was also a guest lecturer at CAU. After publishing their book, CAU reacted with a very concise statement which said that the book contains wrong claims, therefore the university distances itself from these claims—which also meant the revocation of Bhakdi’s teaching assignment.

Two and a half years later, the claims that were postulated in the book were right. The question is: Did those responsible at the CAU act against their better judgment in order to preserve their reputation? Because eventually, Bhakdi’s claims are based on biology and medicine. As in Mr. Baab’s case, it’s again what students learn in the university, while the University itself throws all this knowledge over board.

Student Opinions

Regarding the revocation of Mr. Baab’s teaching assignment, it is hard to get a read of the opinions of the students at CAU. Very few students have actually heard about it. This makes sense, because it gives the impression that CAU would love to delete everything that is related to Mr. Baab. On my demand, students that were participants in Mr. Baab’s seminar in the summer of 2022 like myself, showed mixed opinions. Most of the students didn’t respond. One wrote to me, that he fully understands the action of CAU and that he completely shares the opinion with CAU that Mr. Baab supports Vladimir Putin.

Then there was another response which tried to understand both CAU and Mr. Baab. On the one hand, the student said that understands why CAU reacted in the way that it did, because it was being emotional. For him, being associated with the aggressor (Russia) is not what CAU would want or need. But in the end, there’s also no way to end war, other than to negotiate with the aggressor. On the other hand, Mr. Baab’s research in the East-Ukraine can’t be seen as wrong behavior, because he’s a journalist and so he’s supposed to do this kind of research. On a human basis, he also assessed Mr. Baab as a person, who doesn’t want to support Russia and who knows what he’s doing.

Another response was fully on Mr. Baab’s side and argued that Mr. Baab did nothing wrong. He just did, what he is supposed to do as a journalist. That is what he taught us in the seminar. According to Mr. Baab’s research, it is also not evident that he supports the Russian side. The whole case should be seen as doubtful, because the statement of CAU is too short to justify their decision. If CAU had good reasons for their action, they could have stated them, in order to get any doubts out of the way. What has ended up happening is that the university doesn’t tolerate proper journalism.

Another picture was drawn in the student paper, Der Albrecht. Two authors who were also participants in Mr. Baab’s seminar in the summer of 2022, wrote an article about Mr. Baab’s trip in the East Ukraine and his accompaniment by the Russian-German Blogger, Sergey Filbert. What the two student authors express in their article is, “Kontaktschuld,” or “contact-guilt,” that is, “guilt by association.” So, the student article questioned why Mr. Baab was accompanied by the controversial blogger Filbert. But the fact that CAU terminated Mr. Baab’s contract because of this Kontaktschuld wasn’t even questioned. More than that, the article expresses that the authors support the canceling of investigative journalism.

A few students at the Campus of CAU also had mixed opinions. I informed them about what had happened to Mr. Baab and I described the accusations leveled against him. To make things as neutral as possible, I explained what CAU might have thought, when they revoked Mr. Baab’s teaching assignment. Some people said that they found such a thing happening very odd, and they wouldn’t want to say anything about it. The fact that Mr. Baab’s research in East Ukraine was sufficient to revoke his contract left most people I asked in confusion. But another student told me that she is ashamed about it, what CAU had done. She said that it was better not to continue studying at this university.

The Initiative for Patrik Baab

My fellow students and I founded in January 2022 a student group called “Dialog Grundrechte und Gesundheitsschutz” (“Dialogue for Basic Rights and Occupational Protection”). We seek to encourage a debate culture. Instead of debating about gender reforms, we want to tackle bigger topics, such as Covid, War and Democracy. Also, we connected with the student movement called, Studenten stehen auf (Students Stand Up). So, we are in good contact with the universities throughout Germany. Our student group and the student movement has stood up for Mr. Baab.

Next, we wrote a statement, where we submitted our opinion about the revocation of Mr. Baab’s contract and we also made demands. Therefore, we got in contact with Mr. Baab and allowed him to present his point of view. Then, we wanted to publish our statement via round-mail to reach every student and employee at CAU. As a student group, we are allowed to send two mails via round mail in one year. But the committee at our university declined our demand. They explained that our content didn’t correspond with the guidelines and that such messages should not be used to kick off debates.

University policy is an important pier of democratic culture in universities. Debates are the momentum to get democratic involvement. Why should a student group use this e-Mail distributor, when it is not allowed to kick off debates? It seems rather that the university loves to avoid a debate like this one. Obviously, CAU wished to delete the chapter about Mr. Baab.

Here’s our statement:

Dear Students and Staff at CAU,

It is with regret that we have learned of the dismissal of journalist and lecturer Patrik Baab. Mr Baab was a guest lecturer at CAU and offered the seminar “Recherchieren—ein journalistischer Handwerkskasten zur Kritik der herrschenden Meinung” [Research-a journalistic toolbox for critiquing prevailing opinion], which he first offered in the summer semester of 2022 and which was to continue in the following winter semester.

Because of his visit to Luhansk and Mariupol, Mr. Baab was accused of legitimizing the elections, which should indeed be viewed critically. The CAU’s accusations are based on a T-Online article, which has since been revised for containing allegedly false facts. The original article alleged that Mr Baab was an official election observer. However, the CAU still stands by its original position. Here is the CAU’s statement:

“Patrick Baabs Auftreten als ‘Beobachter’ der völkerrechtswidrigen Scheinreferenden in den russisch besetzten Gebieten der Ukraine verleiht dem russischen Vorgehen den Anschein von Legitimität. Die CAU distanziert sich ausdrücklich von Herrn Baabs Reise und ihren Implikationen und wird keine Lehrveranstaltungen anbieten, die von Herrn Baab unterrichtet werden. Der Lehrauftrag wird gekündigt.”

[Patrick Baab’s appearance as an “observer” of the sham referendums in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, which violate international law, gives the Russian actions the appearance of legitimacy. CAU expressly distances itself from Mr. Baab’s trip and its implications and will not offer any courses taught by Mr. Baab. The teaching assignment is terminated.]

The use of the term “observer” still leaves room for interpretation that Mr. Baab was an official observer. According to publicly available information, Mr. Baab first visited Western Ukraine and then went to Eastern Ukraine as an independent researcher. His aim was to hear the opinions of local residents and report on the situation first hand. The journalist’s activities in Luhansk and Mariupol should be seen as unbiased reporting and not as one-sided support for Russia.

Furthermore, it is a principle of journalism to be present at the action, rather than researching from a distance.

Mr. Baab’s teaching post at CAU was then hastily terminated in an urgent procedure, without giving him the opportunity to defend himself. With this action, CAU wanted to protect its reputation. Regrettably, this action disregarded the democratic right to defend oneself from statements of fact. The university is supposed to be a place of freedom of science, freedom of speech and freedom of education and should therefore support investigative journalism. Terminating Mr. Baab’s contract conflicts with these principles.

We, the university group “Dialog Grundrechte und Gesundheitsschutz,” condemn the hasty action of CAU and demand the immediate withdrawal of CAU’s statement of September 27, 2022, and the resumption of Mr. Baab’s teaching post.

An anonymous group that was motivated by our protest, hung up a banner, with the inscription “Solidarität mit Patrik Baab” (Solidarity with Patrik Baab), on a bridge at the most transited street at CAU. Thereupon, a video was made about the action, which went viral on social media.

The next step of our student group is to spread our statement in printed form to the students of CAU. Aside from that, on April 11th our student group will host a lecture form Mr. Baab, where he recount in front of a large audience what has happened to him so far. We are hopeful and optimistic, that Mr. Baab’s “case” will get the attention that is necessarily needed for him and that our university regrets the decision they made.

Julian Hett is a student student in philosophy and sociology at the Kiel University CAU. He is one the founders and first chairman of the student group “Dialog Grundrechte und Gesundheitsschutz.”

Featured: Le Silence [The Silence], by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer; painted in 1895.

Propaganda Fairytale of the “Mainstream Left,” or When Fans of Capitalism Converge with Marx

Whether arms deliveries, “human trafficking” for the labor market, or authoritarian paternalism, government and media like to market this as “left-wing reason.” Der Spiegel even uses Karl Marx to propagate “green capitalism.” In truth, the rulers are deliberately deceiving us.

They once fought against domination and exploitation, for workers’ and women’s rights. Many felt their chains and joined them. The left was once the thorn in the side of the owners of capital and their ruling lobbyists. The history of industrial capitalism is paved with strikes and revolts that were bloodily put down. The enemy was visible.

Today, in the age of digitized monopoly capitalism, it is different. With psychologically ever more sophisticated propaganda, the rulers have successfully ensnared, manipulated and appropriated their adversaries. Even more—they disguise themselves as their former opponents. They boast of leftist ideas, such as anti-racism, cosmopolitanism, health and environmental protection, while their actions to the contrary reveal their hidden hypocrisy, time and again.

Der Spiegel, the obvious flagship for the dissemination of the fairytale of a supposedly “left-wing mainstream,” now even uses Karl Marx and his Das Kapital to propagate the vision of “green capitalism,” presumably conceived in some thinktank of the super-rich. The headline is emblazoned above the paywall as a lure for left-liberals “by instinct” and an indignation-trigger for right-libertarians: “Greener and fairer—Was Marx right after all?” Sounds as if the author of Das Kapital had once thought about reforms for capitalism. That’s sheer nonsense, of course.

Abuse of Leftist Masterminds for the Purposes of Domination

First, Marx’s Das Kapital is an early scholarly work on the workings of capitalism. The author analyzed the system with an eye to conditions in the 19th century. His findings certainly shed light on understanding its visible development to today. For example, Marx described the systemic concentration of capital, i.e., accumulation, and explained why this inevitably leads to the formation of monopolies. Such do visibly dominate the world economy and politics today.

In many other philosophical works—in contrast to Das Kapital—Marx sharply criticized capitalism. He opposed the exploitation of wage-earners by the owners of large means of production. Of course, Marx did not want to reform capitalism, as Der Spiegel would like us to believe. He certainly did not call for giving capitalist governments and states more power. His view of things was different: the state in a class society is the instrument of power of the rulers.

In truth, Der Spiegel propagates exactly what Marx, and later Lenin, had warned against: the total fusion of monopoly capital and politics as a consequence of accumulation—colored “green,” enforced in an authoritarian manner. For some, the vision of “less profit” certainly sounds tempting.

But taken to its logical conclusion, “less profit” by no means entails a renunciation of the rule of the few over the many. For most of the history of class societies, power has not depended on profits at all. The basis for rule has always been, at least as Karl Marx saw it, private ownership of the means of production. And of course, neither the government nor Der Spiegel want to shake that.

Fairytale Lesson about Capitalism

Der Spiegel also suggests that super-rich technocrats from Silicon Valley have stolen their ideas of regulating “nanny-states,” supposedly in favor of the environment, from left-wing masterminds. Put simply, that these are somehow leftist ideas. This is, of course, a misdirection.

But such a lie, put into the world in a roundabout way, brings a decisive advantage to the rulers: the people stop thinking about their fundamental situation in capitalism when they assume that “the leftists” are behind the agenda, which only promises more servitude than already exists. There is even a fairytale circulating—even in some academic minds—that the technocrats’ idea of “green capitalism” is socialist in nature.

Those who believe this tend to cry foul to one part of the oppressors, while giving the green light to the other part of them, and while even considering themselves critical of domination. Behind this is the fairytale of evil capitalists (technocrats) and good capitalists (everyone else). One could call it a clever ideological strategy of the rulers to steer protests into the void from the outset.

Demagogy for Critics of the System and “Leftists by Instinct”

The beliefs propagated directly and indirectly by Der Spiegel, in fact, serve all around the interests of the ruling front of monopoly capital and its politics. As a wolf in sheep’s clothing, this front lures the “leftists by instinct” as comrades-in-arms and steers the remaining resistance into politically confused nirvana. The demagogy behind this can be summarized in a few points.

First, the idea of “green capitalism” has as little to do with socialism as it does with Karl Marx or even any leftist idea. It is merely the fantasy of a continuation of capitalist rule on a state-monopolistic level, adapted to technologically developed productive forces.

Second, it suggests that classical industrial capitalism was at some point of great benefit to the wage-earning masses. This may have been true for the bulk of German workers for a few decades after World War II. But the price paid by billions of wage earners in the periphery was consistently high. The good capitalism in the idea of an idyllic vegetable market never existed.

Third, the lie of the alleged “left mainstream” drives many critics of the system into the hands of those who do not stand for an end to their oppression, but preach a return to classical industrial capitalism. This is already no longer possible because of the developed technology. Above all, however, such fantasies prevent thinking about an actual end to the exploitation of people and nature.

Fourthly, such demagogy catches on with many “leftists by instinct” who either have not read Marx or have not understood him. Presumably, some are flattered by the idea that leftist ideas have conquered (capitalist) politics and that they themselves can finally get involved. Ultimately, those who are seduced make themselves recipients of orders from the powerful.

Monopoly Capitalism with Nanny State

But let’s conclude with some outpourings in Der Spiegel article. Right under the headline it states:

“Classic capitalism no longer works. But driven by ever new world crises and a looming climate collapse, concrete reform ideas are emerging: less growth, more government targets.”

That “classical capitalism” as a competitive and pecking order produces economic crises, wars and environmental catastrophes without end is of course recognizable. Moreover, the “no more” is superfluous, because poverty, hunger and social misery have always been present, even tending to increase. But the supposedly “left-liberal” magazine then takes a remarkable turn:

Instead of reflecting on economic property relations as the fundamental cause of the problems, it preaches reformism under a strong state. The latter, of course, is supposed to remain the instrument of power of the ruling class to manage the wage slavery of the many under the premise of “less growth.”

But to be serious about Marx: Growth is based on the market competition of individual capitalists. If monopolies have been formed by this very competition, according to which the strongest wins, competition disappears, of course. The rule without competition does not need any more growth to stay in power. Authoritarian surveillance policy is sufficient for that.

Throughout the article, Der Spiegel skillfully pairs a charming critique of capitalism (which certainly contains many truths) with the fantasies of the super-rich world leaders. It sounds something like this:

“But now he [Ray Dalio, hedge fund founder) says phrases like this about capitalism: ‘If good things are overdone, they threaten to destroy themselves. They must evolve or die.’ Wealth and prosperity are now only distributed one-sidedly, he says, and those who are poor remain poor, with hardly a trace of equality of opportunity. Dalio demands an end to this. Capitalism urgently and fundamentally needs to be reformed. Otherwise, it will perish, and deservedly so.”

Instead of blaming the rulers themselves, the authors put the blame for the serious distortions on a “capitalism” that has somehow gotten out of hand, i.e., on something unassailable. Of course, they do not question the rule itself: A little reform is needed to mitigate the worst effects. And so it goes on:

“Criticism of capitalism is first of all nothing new. But in the dawning year four of the pandemic and year two of the Ukraine war, it is gaining noticeably in force. Too many things no longer work: globalization is crumbling and with it the German model of prosperity. The world is entrenching itself in hostile blocs. Inflation is causing rich and poor to drift further apart. Almost all climate targets have been missed. And politicians can no longer keep up with patching up all the ever-new cracks in the system.”

Apart from the fact that Lenin already knew that in monopoly capitalism, which has matured into imperialism, alliances of states naturally “entrench themselves behind hostile blocs” and wage wars for market domination: What do the authors want to imply by stating that politics is no longer able to “patch up all the ever-new cracks in the system?” This sounds like a call for all-round surveillance of citizens by the state.

That authoritarian forms of government and capitalism—in whatever form—are not contradictory is impressively demonstrated by recent history. The authors, of course, do not use the word “authoritarian.” Instead, they talk about a “new economic order,” even though, according to them, capitalism should remain:

“Calls for a new economic order are now growing louder from all corners, strikingly often from unsuspected ones. The Financial Times, international mouthpiece of the financial markets, proclaimed that it was time for neoliberalism to step down from the world stage.”

So now only neoliberalism is to step down, i.e., merely the market-radical superstructure for a “lean state,” which above all ensures free rein for large corporations. But to call this a “new economic order” is nonsense. To substantiate this with two extreme examples: Capitalism, after all, also worked in Chile under Pinochet and in Germany under Hitler—without any neoliberalism at all, but with cruel oppression of the people.

But the authors get carried away with fine words. A gentler, sustainable capitalism is needed. But who is to develop it? The billionaires in Silicon Valley? And what does this “gentler and more sustainable” mean for the people? Are they to become the disposal mass of tech-corporate-governed governments in the future, sweet-soundingly referred to as the “controlling state?” Obviously:

“Ideas for a fairer, greener—yet still free-market—order now abound. Proposals for such a gentler capitalism come from a wide variety of ideological camps, but common lines can be discerned: less market, more controlling state, and less growth by hook or by crook.”

Propaganda with Both Sides Taken for a Ride

Now, a “softer capitalism” is neither a leftist idea, nor would it end the exploitation of the majority by the few. Especially since it is not at all clear for whom the fantasy world of the powerful is supposed to be “gentler”—presumably mainly for the monopoly lords and their well-paid managers.

To dust off Marx and his Das Kapital for this venture is rather mendacious. But probably some left-feeling (and right-acting) bureaucrat functionaries cheered the agitators (or propagandists). And probably quite a few railed against the alleged “left mainstream” that never existed. Both fell for the targeted, ideological propaganda of the really powerful and their supporters.

Susan Bonath writes from Germany, where she studies painting and ceramics. This article appears courtesy of RT Germany.

University All-In for Journalism with a Slant

Because of research in the Donbass, journalist Patrik Baab lost a teaching position – now he is suing Kiel University.

For a forthcoming book, the renowned journalist Patrik Baab is analyzing the background to the war in Ukraine. What could be more natural than to go and see the reality? A year after his visit to western Ukraine, he went to the eastern Donbass in the early fall of 2022, which the Ukrainian army has been bombarding since 2014. But anyone who stands up to Western propaganda needs to really be steady on his feet: A media shitstorm, peppered with half-truths and slander, burst upon him; two universities banned him from teaching—and Baab is going to court.

Research in the Donbass

Patrik Baab is an experienced investigative journalist. He has produced numerous reports for North German Public Broadcaster NDR, and other news outlets and books as well. He has passed on his knowledge to students at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU), among other places, and already had the teaching assignment for this winter semester in his pocket. Baab is also writing a book about the conflict in Ukraine. What was the history of the conflict? What caused the situation to escalate? When, how and what led to Russia’s invasion? What do those affected on the ground think about the developments leading up to the war?

It seems journalistically imperative to approach the complex interrelationships on the ground as objectively as possible. During the semester break, Baab traveled to the Donbass via Russia. The trip, he says, was long planned. A year earlier, he had been researching in western Ukraine. It was a coincidence that he directly witnessed the referendums on annexation to the Russian Federation. Baab filmed in destroyed cities, spoke with those affected, watched the election—good journalism, one would think.

But no one should enter a war zone alone, especially not if they lack perfect knowledge of the language and the place. That’s why Baab had Sergey Filbert at his side, who runs the well-frequented German-Russian YouTube channel Druschba FM. Filbert knows the country, speaks the language, but has been pilloried by the “leading media” for years. But where else could Baab have reported directly from the scene of the events about his observations, which do not always quite fit in with Western propaganda?

Shitstorm and Expulsion
The shitstorm was not long in coming. It caught up with Baab during his trip and probably started with t-online. Author Lars Wienand claimed untruthfully that Baab had traveled to Ukraine as an “election observer,” and other media outlets took this up without checking. Wienand also got in touch with the Hochschule für Medien, Kommunikation und Wirtschaft (HMKW) in Berlin, where Baab taught. Even before Wienand’s article appeared, the School declared its lecturer an outlaw with reference to the yet-to-be-published “article” and banned him from teaching.

Baab’s former employer, NDR, immediately followed suit. The station did not hold back with the personal attacks and obviously used the opportunity to settle old scores. Because Baab was never comfortable there. As early as 2019, he and other colleagues had denounced serious abuses in public broadcasting. Among other things, there were allegations of political influence.

The media campaign also put Kiel University on alert. In a hysterical, moralizing three-liner made up of a string of propaganda terms, the university announced that it would terminate Baab’s teaching contract. A few days later, the university also informed Baab of this in writing, in long form. I have the letter in hand, in fact.

To understand: teaching assignments from state universities are contracts under public law outside the scope of labor and civil service law. Lecturers are thus denied numerous rights of permanent employees, such as collectively agreed salary, allowances, vacation, continued payment in case of illness, and so on. Unions have long criticized this practice.

Nevertheless, universities may not prematurely terminate teaching assignments once they have been granted without good cause, such as a lack of students or violations of the teaching agreement. Private moral attitudes and political views on certain topics are not among the reasons for termination.

And this is as it should be, because freedom of research and teaching, of opinion and of the press, is a basic democratic right, enshrined in Article 5 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany.

University with a “Clear Stance”

The University of Kiel, however, is just as unconcerned about all this as the HMKW. When it comes to the Ukraine war, the educational institutions display the politically desired, simple friend-foe paradigm, according to which NATO and Ukraine are good and Russians are bad. You don’t talk to the bad guys; you believe everything the good guys say—and anyone who sees things differently gets fired, journalism or not.

In other words, the Kiel University CAU requires its lecturers to adopt a predefined political stance on the Ukraine war, both professionally and privately.

In its letter to Baab, Kiel University revoked his teaching assignment in a highly emotionalized manner. Instead of well-founded evidence for all the cobbled-together accusations, the letter is just a string of evaluations, accusations and personal attacks.

CAU has also apparently cribbed from t-online. The first accusation is that Baab was in the Donbass “during the sham referendums” as a “Western election observer” and, to make matters worse, took part in a press conference with Russian media—without being certified by the United Nations (UN) for this task, as required.

Although Baab clearly stated that he had done research in the Donbass exclusively for his book and that nothing could be heard or read in his work that might be deemed praise of the Russian government, the CAU insisted on its interpretation, even in its negative statement of opposition. It further stated:

“The foregoing conduct is likely to call into question Christian Albrechts University’s unequivocal stance on the war in Ukraine. Your appearance as an ‘observer’ of the sham referenda gives the appearance of legitimacy to Russia’s occupation and annexation of Ukrainian territories in violation of international law.”

The university’s stance is described as follows by the signatories, Christian Martin, Robert Seyfert, and Dirk Nabers, all professors in the fields of politics and sociology: Since CAU is committed to peace, it stands by Ukraine and “strongly supports the consistent action of the German government and the EU sanctions against the aggressor Russia.” It has therefore already suspended student exchanges and scientific cooperation with Russia.

Mind Control Instead of Freedom of Teaching

In other words, because the university is for peace, it has sided with a warring party, namely Ukraine, and thus backed the political views and aspirations of the German government. Criticism of German and EU policies is unwelcome. It demands the same from its lecturers.

The university has obviously mutated into a political-influencer establishment that controls the personal attitudes of its staff and lecturers, in an all-encompassing manner.

The educational institution now fears a “loss of reputation,” as a result of Baab’s research trip. The impression must not be created, it wrote, that some of the lecturers could be in favor of Russia’s behavior. The signatories do not say a word about the task of journalists to do thorough and proper research. They are also silent on the freedom of research, freedom of the press and of opinion.

False Allegations

After an unsuccessful appeal, Patrik Baab is now suing through the Schleswig-Holstein Administrative Court against his expulsion. Lawyer LL.D. Volker Arndt accuses the CAU of several false allegations in the preliminary statement of grounds for the action. His client had neither traveled to Ukraine as an election observer, nor had he allowed himself to be taken over by the Russian regime or relativized the war. Further, he writes:

“The plaintiff, as a journalist committed to reporting on the ground—and not from afar like other media observers—undertook highly risky research in order to actually see and report on the situation on the ground with his journalistic experience.”

Mr. Arndt emphasizes: “In the difficult and dangerous war situation, Baab maintained a critical distance to all sides. He only observed, filmed and spoke with people—and did so in a way that was legitimate under basic and human rights. His presence in eastern Ukraine also did not, as has been alleged, contribute to any advantage for the Russian government. Rather, Baab was fulfilling his journalistic duty of being diligent. The revocation of his teaching assignment was therefore unlawful.”

Political Censor Clique

Baab has also criticized the approach of Kiel University as a whole. It has not granted him any legal hearing so far, he said. “They didn’t talk to me, but simply presented me with a fait accompli,” he said in an interview with me.

In his estimation, his criticism of the NDR plays a major role in the university’s reaction. Baab spoke of an “obvious act of revenge” by a “political media clique” at the executive levels of the public broadcaster, under the guise of investigative research, carried out by economically dependent freelancers. This network extends into the university, he believes.

Meanwhile, the NDR is playing a familiar tune. It accuses Baab above all of having talked to the “wrong people,” who allegedly spread “conspiracy narratives” and are “open to the right.” The media’s largely one-sided handling of the protests against the Covid measures sends its regards. Baab’s journalistic merits in the past go unmentioned. The NDR has declared the disliked person a persona non grata, a street urchin—in other words, outright political censorship with serious personal and social consequences for the person concerned.

University Propagandists

To be very clear: Where even renowned journalists like Patrik Baab have to fear losing their jobs and being publicly discredited for disagreeable reporting, there is no real freedom of the press. In view of this, it is hardly surprising that Germany’s leading media are perceived as being in sync with the rest of the world. Those who only write what the government wants and what the top management dictates are not disseminating information, but propaganda. When even teachers at universities are expected to teach prospective journalists how to think, this situation has long since outlived its usefulness.

On-site research, Baab explains, “is not only part of the journalistic mission, but absolutely necessary for obtaining information.” “It’s a reality check,” he says. It’s the only way, for example, to check governmental pronouncements for their truthfulness.

And you also have to talk to both sides, he says, precisely to avoid being “joined at the hip” to one side. Corresponding accusations by the university against Baab should rather be directed at journalists who reproduce—unchecked—the propaganda of the Ukrainian government and NATO.

The problem of opinion-making in the leading media probably goes deeper. One has to ask: If universities prescribe certain political attitudes to their lecturers, the thought is not too far-fetched: Will budding journalists learn to do objective research at all? Should they perhaps no longer learn this at all, in order to produce certain political opinions instead? At any rate, this would explain the dilemma in the major German media. Whether on the subject of Ukraine or Covid, it doesn’t matter: propaganda disguised as “reporting” is on the rise. And perhaps not least the universities are providing enough new propagandists.

The CAU itself does not want to comment on its mode of expression. Regarding my own questions about all this, it referred me to the current procedure, which Patrik Baab set in motion, and then remained silent. Thus, for the time being, it remains the secret of the CAU as to what legal basis it can at all demand of its staff and lecturers that they express a very specific political stance on the Ukraine conflict, both professionally and privately. Was the scientific community in the same frame of mind in the Covid case?

Susan Bonath writes from Germany, where she studies painting and ceramics. This article appears courtesy of Rubikon.

Featured: “Muzzling the Press,” lithograph by Jay C. Taylor and J. Ottmann; published in Puck, May, 1889.

With Us or Against Us

Anyone who does not unconditionally support the German course of war in Ukraine is declared an enemy. The treatment of NDR reporter Patrik Baab by universities and the media shows how deeply divided Germany is and how ruthless it is when militarized nationalism spreads.

If the devil exists, he must be interviewed.

Because in September 2022 he was in the eastern Ukrainian regions occupied by Russian forces, where so-called referendums were held on the question of annexation to the Russian Federation, journalist Patrik Baab, 63 years old, employed by the North German Public Broadcaster (NDR) but traveling on his own behalf, was shown the door by two German universities. In other words, he was stripped of his teaching assignments. Reason: His presence legitimized Putin’s war of aggression.

Baab as an Example

This is how primitive the disputes in Germany have become. The “case” of Patrik Baab is above all an example. It shows how arbitrary and threatening things have become in this country in the last three years. And he stands in for a number of other names, such as Ulrike Guérot (University of Bonn), Jürgen Döschner (German Public Broadcaster, WDR) or Ole Skambraks (German Public Broadcaster, SWR).

Baab has been employed as an editor at NDR since 1999, and is currently in part-time early retirement. In the past, he has repeatedly reported from Russia, as have many other correspondents of the Consortium of German Public Broadcasters, ARD before and after him. He is currently writing a book on the Ukraine war, which is due to be published in the summer. He sat on the NDR staff council for several years and criticized political influence on reporting.

The war in Ukraine is taking place primarily in the Donbass regions. International law is characterized by two competing principles: The right of peoples to self-determination versus the territorial integrity of states. The Soviet Union was a forced amalgamation of many territories and states. The disintegration of the Soviet empire was accompanied by countless cases of territorial secessions or annexations, independence aspirations, separatism, regionalism and countless wars against and among each other. And everywhere, the old Soviet elites were still fighting for their former privileges against an all-consuming democratization. In the newly independent states, the old officials tried to maintain their power in a nationalistic way, as in Ukraine. And today’s oligarchs are also yesterday’s communists.

The Donbass regions in eastern Ukraine are the main combat zone of the war between Russia and Ukraine, and their western borderlines form the front.

Baab: “Russia’s War of Aggression on Ukraine in Violation of International Law”

Patrik Baab traveled to Russia and eastern Ukraine from mid-September to early October 2022 for research on his book. He did not know until shortly beforehand that so-called referendums on the question of annexation to Russia were to take place in the disputed and contested area. On site, he then observed the votes and spoke with residents. He did what a reporter has to do. Incidentally, his position on the war is unambiguous: he speaks of a “war of aggression by Russia on Ukraine in violation of international law.”

So much for the back story, which would hardly be worth mentioning, if the war had not also reached Germany and created a war faction. It reinterprets everything. The main story is about it.

In September 2022, the web portal of t-online (“News for Germany”) discovered the journalist Baab in eastern Ukraine and declared him a “poll watcher” for the denounced referendums. Actually, an innocuous term. But now an election-observing chronicler was declared a partisan of Putin.

The University of Media, Communication and Business (HMKW) in Berlin learned of this through t-online. Baab had repeatedly worked there as a lecturer. The university management immediately called him in eastern Ukraine. Actually, this was not a bad idea, but a war zone is not necessarily favorable terrain for settling differences, especially on the phone. Baab also explained that he was traveling privately as a journalist because he was writing a book on the war.

Journalistic Presence and Reality

This was not enough for the HMKW, in the guise of the rector and chancellor. They declared the mere presence of the reporter to be a legitimization of the sham referendums and ultimately of the war; that he was a fig leaf for the aggressors; that his reports possessed a journalistic sham objectivity. In short, it was incompatible with the basic principles of their university to continue using him as a lecturer. The statement can be read here.

It’s worth taking a closer look. For in fact the sanction and its justification say something about the disregard for and bending of hitherto recognized democratic as well as journalistic principles, such as apparently happens in times of war.

If the presence of a journalist in an area of rule legitimizes the rulers, so the accusation goes, then the press is declared to be a party. Then its independence is denied. Strictly speaking, the position of those responsible for HMKW represents a denial of the independence of journalists. It is also an attack on the freedom of the press. In the consequence of such thinking, the ARD correspondents in Moscow, for example, would also legitimize the Russian regime. And if one would then renounce reporters in order not to run the risk of legitimizing rule, then one could no longer report on reality at all, not even on the internal victims of this regime or on opposition and resistance in the country. It would be the renunciation of presence that would spare this regime.

The powerful try to capture journalists all the time. Now, in Baab’s case, the Berlin media academy is readily acknowledging this.

HMKW, Belligerent

However, this has its logic, because the media academy has long since allowed itself to be appropriated: namely, it is a war party on the side of Ukraine. However, this side is not critically questioned. The fact that human rights are also violated there and war crimes are committed does not interest the war supporters at the university. They are obviously not even interested in the fact that the German armed forces are cooperating with weapons-carrying forces of the denounced Russian aggressor in the African country of Mali. On top of that, to prop up a murderous coup government, of all things.

Instead, everything is supported, including the disinformation, manipulation and obfuscation of the reality of war. If the first casualty of war is truth, then that applies to both sides. And then it is as true on the hundredth day as it was on the first. The number of casualties in the Ukrainian ranks is concealed as well as the Ukrainian shelling of residential buildings. The deportation of men to the front is kept secret, as is the persecution of Ukrainian conscientious objectors and, in contrast, the privilege of wealthy Ukrainians to buy their way out of the war. And, of course, action must be taken against anything and anyone who brings this dark reality to light. Like Patrik Baab.

The rector and chancellor of HMKW have turned the university into a war-party; they have made it into a belligerent. And they have done so at the expense of truthfulness, freedom of opinion, research and teaching, and democratic rules.

Behind their war attitude, however, is not a conviction, for example, to defend freedom. But rather, it is pure cowardice in times of war, hot or cold, uncritical conformity to the government’s actions. The dissociation from their lecturer Baab is a reaction of fear of a sanctions-regime to which they themselves belong, in which they participate and which could affect them.

Back Then, on Alexanderplatz

A disastrous system, for which, above all, the chancellor of HMKW stands, and in an almost historical dimension. He was once an adapted GDR citizen who liked SED socialism. Then came the time of change with the mass demonstrations and the fellow traveler changed roles: now he stood up for democracy and invoked the new freedoms. But this took the turncoat all the way to the top. He was one of the speakers at the big rally on Alexanderplatz on November 4, 1989, which heralded the beginning of the end of the SED and the Stasi. (See here, from 2:31:40 to 2:33:50 minutes).

In 2022, this man obviously forgot what was so sacred to him in 1989. Now he mutates again into a turncoat and fellow traveler in yet another matter. In the meantime, the GDR past sends its greetings to the University of Göttingen: because Baab’s book Recherchieren may no longer be used by teaching staff. The dissident is once again the enemy who must be eradicated and destroyed.

On the part of the HMKW, there is no reaction to the request for answers to numerous questions.

Patrik Baab has worked for six years as a lecturer at the Berlin Media University. However, the teaching contract for the winter semester 2022/23 had not yet been drawn up and signed last September. Baab thus has no legal recourse to take action against the revocation of this non-contract.

Russian Citizens are Held Liable for the Russian Regime

This is different in the second case. In Kiel, at the Christian-Albrechts-University (CAU), the journalist Patrik Baab has even been repeatedly hired for a teaching assignment for 20 years. One week after his expulsion in Berlin, at the beginning of October 2022, his teaching assignment was also withdrawn in Kiel. The reason given was similar to that in Berlin: he had lent the appearance of legitimacy to the sham referendums through his presence in the areas in question. In Kiel, and specifically at the Institute of Social Sciences, where Baab taught, they did not even think it necessary to contact him, but executed his expulsion without any inquiry. Bizarrely, the three professors in the institute’s management responsible for this, justified it by saying that there was “imminent danger.” If they had not reacted immediately, even without hearing the sanctioned person, the university would have been threatened with a loss of reputation and its “ability to function” would have been impaired.

Quite incidentally, but appropriately, CAU has also suspended student exchanges and scientific cooperation with Russia. Russian citizens are held liable for the Russian regime. A war nationalism that equates everyone: perpetrators as well as victims, belligerents as well as deniers.

Baab, with his lawyer, objected to the withdrawal of his teaching assignment at CAU. The president of the university rejected the objection, and the matter is now before the administrative court in Kiel.

Regardless, the escalation has reached the next stage and produced the next victim. It concerns 86-year-old U.S. professor emeritus of politics, Robert Harkavy, a friend and colleague of Baab’s who also co-authored a book with him on intelligence services, subtitled, Why were Olof Palme, Uwe Barschel and William Colby Murdered? Thus, the assumption of murder in the case of of German politician Uwe Barschel and former CIA-director William Colby..


Harkavy was associated with Kiel University for 40 years, was there several times as a visiting professor, and whenever he visited, accommodation was available for him at the university’s International Meeting Center. In 2023, however, that no longer applies. In the summer, Harkavy wanted to come back to Kiel. But now his request for accommodation has been turned down. With reference to his relationship with Baab, Harkavy has now also become “persona non grata,” an undesirable person. You could also call this contact guilt or Sippenhaft (kinship-guilt)..

The university does not want to answer questions, citing the ongoing legal proceedings. However, its dealings with the US professor Harkavy have nothing to do with the ongoing proceedings.

In the ghost army of German intellectuals, however, one contributor is still missing: the chairman of the German Journalists’ Association (DJV), after all an interest group representing journalists. He is also one of the lecturers at the HMKW Media University in Berlin. However, he does not see any reason to take the initiative in the Baab case and stand up for a fellow journalist. “I’m staying out of it,” he says by e-mail. But in the next sentence, the lobbyist summarily declares his colleague a non-journalist: “Propaganda for a war criminal is by definition not a journalistic activity.” War requires making up one’s mind, and the DJV chief has made up his mind. No matter what the truth is. As it happens, he has thus made his office pointless.

We still have one question: Would these adjustments to the government’s war policy also have taken place in such a stupidly blind manner if there had not been the run-up to the Covid regime, which likewise demanded unquestioning submission and threatened exclusion?

Starring Roles

Rector of the Berlin School of Media, Communication and Business: Klaus-Dieter Schulz

Chancellor of the HMKW: Ronald Freytag

President of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel: Simone Fulda

Institute for Social Sciences of the CAU, Director: Robert Seyfert

Deputy Director: Christian Martin

Joint Committee: Dirk Nabers

Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences: Wilhelm Knelangen

Chairman of the German Journalists’ Association (DJV): Frank Überall

This article appears through the kind courtesy of Overton Magazin.

Mainstream Journalism: A Morality Tale in Four Acts

The story of Patrik Baab is, supposedly, an open book: The experienced investigative reporter, who worked as a Northern German Broadcasting (NDR) editor for many years, and who refuses to be silenced, let alone canceled. He is taking action against the attacks and is suing the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel. After denunciatory “reporting” by one of the spokesmen in German attitude journalism (Haltungsjournalismus—reporting, which frames opinion from the point of view of the power elite), the university immediately revoked his teaching position. He is now taking legal action against this. In what follows, we tell the true story of a real journalist in the year 2022, in four acts: A textbook on research; the scandal of politically biased reporting at the NDR state broadcasting agency in Kiel; Mr. Baab’s research trips to Russia and Ukraine; and a lawsuit against the revocation of his teaching assignment, which was filed with the Schleswig Administrative Court, shortly before Christmas.

[To view a selection of Mr. Baab’s documentary films, please follow this link.]

We have received the lawsuit and other documents relating to the revocation of the teaching position at Kiel University. In addition, we rely on a statement by Mr. Baab as part of the attempted clarification of the NDR scandal, which was published a few days ago on the website of the MEP of the Pirate Party. Of course, we also looked at Mr. Baab’s book, Recherchieren (Research), which is highly recommended to critical journalists as a textbook, but it can also be read as a critique of contemporary (political) journalism.

Act One: The Book

For Patrik Baab, research is the core activity of every journalist. It is the basis of criticism of prevailing opinion. Against this background, he published his book at the beginning of the year. In it, he not only writes about the tools of the trade of the investigative reporter, but also criticizes in detail the current conditions in mass media. A concise quotation will serve to clarify his position:

“In a very eloquent way, neoliberal minded journalism is becoming a silence cartel. The press apparently no longer demands anything from politics. Instead, it continually proclaims to people that they are living ‘without alternative’ in the best of all possible worlds. In this way, they themselves have contributed to narrowing the space for public debate to the continuation of the existing situation, with all its ills, without any alternatives. Political measures now focus only on a few system-immanent excesses; the fundamental questions are relegated to the realm of conspiracy theories.”

Anyone who writes something like this should no longer be allowed to train budding journalists, as Mr. Baab did at two universities until the middle of this year. This opinion is held at least relatively blatantly by Volker Lilienthal, who holds the chair of the “Rudolf Augstein Foundation Professorship for the Practice of Quality Journalism” at the University of Hamburg. His review of Mr. Baab’s book predetermined what would happen later: Mr. Baab was stripped of his lectureship. Professor Lilienthal was disturbed by Mr. Baab’s politically entrenched point of view, which does not give a very good impression of the German media landscape. Mr. Lilienthal is part of a conservative media network based in Hamburg, linked via the “Netzwerk Recherche.” Its task, in theory, is to promote investigative journalism, but in practice, it is a coterie.

Hotel in East Ukraine, where Mr. Baab was staying, right after a 155-mm-shell hit the parking lot; fired by a Ukrainian self-propelled gun of NATO-origin. The windows were all shattered, but no one was hurt. Photo Credit: Sergey Filbert.

Act Two: The Scandal of the Kiel State Broadcasting Center

First RBB (Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting), then NDR. In the fall, things did not go well for Germany’s public broadcasters. While the scandal at RBB was primarily about accusations of taking advantage, the NDR got down to the nitty-gritty. Journalism itself became an issue. The editor-in-chief of the Kiel state broadcasting center, Norbert Lorentzen, the head of politics there, Julia Stein, and the director of the state broadcasting agency, Volker Thormählen, were accused of influencing research in the interests of the ruling CDU (The Christian Democratic Union of Germany), which runs the government in the federal region of Schleswig-Holstein. Initially, it was about another journalist who was allegedly obstructed in his reporting on a police scandal. But those journalists who investigated the events soon came across Patrik Baab, who had also voiced accusations against the management level of the state broadcasting house.

Mr. Baab himself said nothing more about it, after labor court proceedings; the parties concerned had agreed on that at the time. Nevertheless, details of the accusations to light in the reports. Mr. Baab, who had co-authored several films for NDR about the still mysterious death of former Schleswig-Holstein premier Uwe Barschel, sharply criticized the state broadcaster’s top management. In his report for the auditing firm Deloitte, which was supposed to review the scandal, he wrote, among other things, in retrospect of the direct criticism of his research by state broadcasting agency director Thormählen:

“It was clear to me that the aim was to steer the coverage in the sense of a CDU rope team. My memo about this meeting, which later became part of the labor court dispute, was not contradicted by NDR in court.”

Pirate Party member Patrick Breyer published the link to Mr. Baab’s statement that was leaked and showed up on the internet.. Breyer definitely saw—unlike most commentators in their articles about the Deloitte report—the appearance of political consideration of the NDR in Kiel.

Mr. Baab had also reported “interrogations” in the radio station’s political editorial department:

“This seemed to me to be intended as a journalistic disciplinary tool. In my opinion, it was about forcing pre-emptive obedience by creating fear. The goal of the interrogations was to break any future resistance to political intervention in the program from the outset.”

Mr. Baab refused to be broken, but agreed before the labor court not to repeat the accusations made in 2019 in an editorial conference. According to his own statement to Deloitte, the fact that he was now once again the focus of media coverage came as a surprise to him.

Interviewing a soldier in a shopping street in Donetsk, where some hours earlier 14 people, including children, were killed, when an Ukrainian 155-mm-shell hit a supermarket. Photo Credit: Sergey Filbert.

While Mr. Baab said nothing, or was not allowed to say anything because of his duty to keep confidentiality according to his working contract, NDR reported on him in its media magazine Zapp as a “controversial critic” of the broadcaster. By then, much more had happened than a trip to the East. Mr. Baab saw the Zapp report, as he wrote to Deloitte, as an “act of revenge on behalf of the executives in question, carried out by freelancers who act according to instructions and are economically dependent.”

Act Three: A Trip East and the Consequences

Since the middle of this year, Patrik Baab had been in the “passive phase” of his long-term contract” at NDR, as it is called in administrative German. He is no longer working at the station, will soon retire and now has time for his own projects. One of them is a book, for which he traveled to Ukraine several times, as he says himself when asked. On the trip, he shot some films together with Russian-born video blogger Sergey Filbert. He was in eastern Ukraine during the referendums that were to decide whether Donetsk and Luhansk would join the Russian Federation. In terms of timing, the trip was not coordinated with all this; had nothing to do with it, Mr. Baab told journalist Georg Altrogge a little later. He had been preparing for the research since May, in order to report on the Russian Federation’s “war of aggression on Ukraine in violation of international law,” Mr. Baab said. He had also made a public appearance there, for public media. Mr. Baab was in eastern Ukraine as an election observer, some Russian media reported, and the major news portal T-Online picked up the thread, though having been informed that this is wrong. It all started with the report by Lars Wienand on September 26, followed a little later by Altrogge’s article in Die Welt. A week later, Zapp picked up the story.

Interview with a resident whose housing block, in the suburbs of Mariupol, was completely destroyed during heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian military forces. Photo Credit: Sergey Filbert.

Reactions from the universities Mr. Baab works for were not long in coming. The first to take action was the Berlin University of Media, Communication and Business (HMKW). Here will just quote repeat a paragraph from our article from the end of September:

Presumably, it went as follows: The T-Online journalist learned of Mr. Baab’s presence on site, researched his background and made a press inquiry to the Berlin University of Media, Communication and Business (HMKW). “Do you know what your lecturer is doing there? At the mock referendums? He’s legitimizing them! Do you think that’s good?” That’s how it might have been. It doesn’t matter how exactly, because according to its own statement, the university was on the phone with the delinquent, who was made one by his mere presence in the wrong place at the wrong time. And then a statement was hastily published on the homepage. The gist: We condemn and distance ourselves (HMKW, 26.9.22). Meanwhile, the article appeared on the net. Author Wienand could now add the accomplishment of his mission right away; online many things can be changed and enhanced quickly.

Kiel University followed suit a little later. On October 3, Mr. Baab was notified of the revocation of his teaching assignment on the subject of research. He was thus “canceled” for what he is supposed to teach the students. Research in the field seems undesirable, it can shake the already established opinion.

Mr. Baab’s appearance as an “observer” lent “the appearance of legitimacy to Russia’s occupation and annexation of Ukrainian territories in violation of international law,” three professors from the Institute of Social Science at Kiel University wrote to Mr. Baab. (The letter is available to our editors.) The letter went on to say that the university, and in particular the Department of Political Science, would be threatened with an immense loss of reputation if the impression should arise that lecturers “endorse Russia’s behavior, which is contrary to international law.” Heavy guns were then brought out—only by revoking the teaching assignment could the reputation, order and functioning of the university be preserved. A hearing would be dispensable “due to the imminent danger, and in the public interest.” Mr. Baab’s lawyer reacted to the latter statement with bewilderment, and in his objection filed a few days later, he referred to the need for a procedure based on the rule of law. The objection was rejected, and Mr. Baab is now suing the university.

Before we come to this last act of the story, a short detour to Albrecht, the Kiel student newspaper. There, an author who had attended a seminar with Mr. Baab shortly before took up the topic and let Mr. Baab speak at length. This article had no clear slant, even though it became clear that the author opposed “well-known narratives” of the Russian side and accused Mr. Baab of being too close to those who represent precisely these narratives. Nonetheless, a little of the principles of journalism that Mr. Baab may have taught in the seminar stuck with the author. He asked Mr. Baab, i.e. “the other side,” and let him have his say, but could also have asked the university why it refers to the reports of “Russian state media,” according to which Mr. Baab was an election observer. Normally, after all, this media is accused of propaganda. Hintergrund recently asked the university a question along these lines, but the university did not provide any information, citing the ongoing legal proceedings.

Act Four: The Lament

And so we arrive at the fourth act of the story. Mr. Baab is suing Kiel University with the aim of having the revocation of his teaching contract rescinded. This should not have been revoked. The plaintiff is a committed journalist and was neither an election observer nor could he be perceived as such, writes Mr. Baab’s lawyer in the grounds for the lawsuit, which is available to our editors.

“The plaintiff, as a journalist committed to reporting on location—and not from afar like other media observers—undertook highly risky research on location in order to actually perceive and report on the situation on location with his journalistic experience.”

This statement says it all. It contains—in addition to the concise justification of why an experienced journalist should not be thrown out just like that—a clear assessment of most of today’s reporters: They observe from a distance. One could add to the lawyer’s words in spirit that they do not allow their preconceived image in the sense of the prevailing opinion to be destroyed by on-the-spot checks.

An Azov Battalion tank destroyed in the Azov steel mill. Notice the “Wolfsangel” (a Nazi emblem) on the side of the tank. Photo Credit: Sergey Filbert.

The fact that mainstream journalism has largely gone to the dogs is due precisely to this attitude—the attitude toward war and the attitude toward the profession. Because journalists have to observe on location, they have to go everywhere. And they must be allowed to do so.

Because it is precisely about denying a journalist this basis for work and this right, that we will continue to keep an eye on the Patrik Baab case. In its many facets, it represents a moral portrait that shows us the reality of today’s mainstream journalism in one example, in one person. It shows how journalism could and should be—and how it is instead.

By focusing on Patrik Baab, we have brought into focus the great decline of western journalism—the double standards, attitude journalism, the partisan stance when it comes to the war in Ukraine and issues relating to the Corona Virus. We have looked at mainstream denunciationism, the fake news stories that the leading media disseminate and admit, if at all, only coyly. And Mr. Baab’s story is about Cancel Culture, as well as the close connection between politics and public broadcasting.

This article appears through the kind courtesy of Hintergrund.

The German Conservative Revolution (1919-1932)

The term, “Conservative Revolution,” coined by Armin Mohler (The Conservative Revolution in Germany, 1918-1932), houses various currents of thought, whose most prominent figures are Oswald Spengler, Ernst Jünger, Carl Schmitt and Moeller van den Bruck, among others. The term, perhaps too eclectic and diffuse, has nonetheless gained acceptance and taken root to embody a number of “idiosyncratic” German intellectuals of the first half of the twentieth century, without organizational unity or ideological homogeneity, much less a common political affiliation, who nurtured projects for a cultural and spiritual renewal of authentic values against the demo-liberal principles of the Weimar Republic, and within the dynamics of a process of Palingenesis that called for a new German and European renaissance (a re-generation).

Thus, it seems appropriate to make an attempt to situate the Conservative Revolution (CR) ideologically, especially through certain descriptions of it by its protagonists, complemented by a synthesis of its main ideological attitudes—or rather, rejections—which are, precisely, the only link of association between them all. Because the revolutionary-conservative is defined mainly by an attitude towards life and the world, a style, and not by any program or doctrine.

According to Giorgio Locchi, between 1918 and 1933 the Konservative Revolution never presented a unitary or monolithic aspect and “ended up outlining a thousand apparently divergent directions,” contradictory even, antagonistic at other times. Here we find such varfied characters as the early Thomas Mann, Ernst Jünger and his brother Friedrich Georg, Oswald Spengler, Ernst von Salomon, Alfred Bäumler, Stefan Georg, Hugo von Hofmanssthal, Carl Schmitt, Martin Heidegger, Jacob von Uexküll, Christian Günther, Werner Sombart, Hans Blüher, Gottfried Benn, Max Scheler and Ludwig Klages. All of them were scattered around a network of diverse associations, thought societies, literary circles, semi-clandestine organizations, political groupings, most of the time without any connection whatsoever. These differences have led one of the great scholars of the CR, Stefan Breuer, to argue that the “Conservative Revolution” did not really exist and that such a concept should be eliminated as an interpretative tool. But, as Louis Dupeux argues, the CR was, in fact, the dominant ideology in Germany during the Weimar period.

The origins of the CR—following Locchi’s thesis—must be placed in the mid-nineteenth century, although locating what Mohler calls the “ideas,” or rather, the “driving-images” (Leitbilder) common to all the animators of the CR. Precisely, one of the effects of the collapse of the old and decadent attitude was the discrediting of concepts in the face of the revaluation of images. Aesthetics versus ethics is the expression that best describes this new attitude.

In the first place, the origin of the image of the world is situated in the work of Nietzsche—it is the spherical conception of history, as opposed to the linear one of Christianity, liberalism and Marxism; it is, in fact, an “eternal return,” since history is not a form of infinite and indefinite progress. Secondly, the idea of the “interregnum”: the old order is sinking and the new order is in the process of becoming visible; Nietzsche again being the prophet of this moment. Thirdly, the combat of positive and regenerative nihilism—a “re-volution, a return, reproduction of a moment that has already been.” And fourthly and finally, the religious renewal of an anti-Christian character, through a “Germanic Christianity,” liberated from its original forms, or the resurrection of ancient Indo-European pagan divinities.

It turns out, then, that Nietzsche constitutes not only the starting point, but also the nexus of union of the protagonists of the CR, the teacher of a rebellious generation, who was filtered by Spengler and Moeller van den Bruck, first, and Jünger and Heidegger, later, and as masterfully exposed by Gottfried Benn. In Nietzsche’s own words, we find the first warning of the change: “I know my destiny. Someday my name will be joined to the memory of something tremendous, to a crisis such as there was not on earth, to the deepest conflict of conscience, to a decision pronounced against all that has hitherto been believed, demanded, revered.”

Nietzsche is the tip of an iceberg that rejected the old order in order to replace it with a new renaissance. And the generational representatives of the Conservative Revolution perceived that they could find in the German philosopher a “direct ancestor,” to adapt the revolution of European consciousness to their Kulturpessimismus. Ferrán Gallego has summarized the essence of the Konservative Revolution as follows:

“The praise of the elites… the instrumental conception of the masses, the rejection of the ‘nation of citizens’ [understood as isolated atoms] in favor of the integral nation, the organic and communitarian vision of society, as opposed to mechanistic and competitive formulations, the combination of leadership with hostility to individualism, the adjustment between the negation of materialism and the search for material verifications in the sciences of nature. All this, presented as a great movement of revision of the values of nineteenth-century culture, as an identical rejection of liberalism and Marxist socialism, was still far from being organized as a political movement. The impression that a historical cycle had ended, that the momentum of rationalist ideologies had expired, the contemplation of the present as decadence, the conviction that civilizations are living organisms, were not exclusive to German pessimism, accentuated by the rigor of defeat in the Great War—but it was an international crisis that called into question the very foundations of the contemporary ideological order and that many experienced in terms of a generational task.”

Louis Dupeux insists, however, that the CR does not constitute, at any time, “a unified ideology, but a plural Weltanschauung, a sentimental constellation.” Whether they are considered “idealists,” “spiritualists” or “vitalists,” all the revolutionary-conservatives considered political struggle as a priority, and liberalism was considered the main enemy, although the political struggle was situated in a spiritual world of idealist opposition, not in the objective of the conquest of power, desired by the mainstream parties. According to Dupeux, the formula of this “spiritualist revolution” was to propitiate the passage to the constitution of an “organic national community,” structured and hierarchical, consolidated by the same system of values and directed by a strong State. In short, a “cultural revolt” against enlightened ideals and modern civilization, against rationalism, liberal democracy, the predominance of the material over the spiritual. The ultimate cause of the decadence of the West was not the sentimental crisis of the interwar period (although it does symbolically mark the need for change)—the neutrality of liberal states in spiritual matters had to give way to a system in which temporal and spiritual authority are one and the same, so that only a “total state” can overcome the era of dissolution, represented by modernity. Thus, the work of reformulating the discourse of decadence and the necessary regeneration was to be undertaken by the CR.

If we were to underline certain basic attitudes or tendencies as constitutive elements of revolutionary-conservative thought, in spite of its contradictory plurality, we could point out various aspects, such as: the questioning of the supremacy of rationality over spirituality; the rejection of the political activity of the demolitionist parties; the preference for a popular, authoritarian and hierarchical, non-democratic State, as well as a distancing from both the “old conservative traditionalism” and the capitalist and Marxist “new liberalisms,” while emphasizing the experience of war and combat as the ultimate realization. The reformulation of the ideology was based on the need to build a “third way” between capitalism and communism (whether the Prussian socialism of van den Bruck, the revolutionary nationalism of Jünger, or the national-Bolshevism of Ernst Niekisch). And over and above these attitudes there hovered the common feeling for the need to sweep away the decadent and corrupt present as a way to regain contact with a life founded on eternal values.

Mohler himself, who understood the CR as “the spiritual movement of regeneration which sought to sweep away the ruins of the nineteenth century and create a new order of life”—just as Hans Freyer thought that it would “sweep away the wreckage of the nineteenth century”—provides the most convincing evidence for a classification of the central motifs of CR thought which, according to his analysis, revolve around the consideration of the end of a cycle; its sudden metamorphosis, followed by a renaissance in which the “interregnum” that began with the generation of 1914 will come to a definitive end. To this purpose, Mohler rescued a series of German intellectuals and artists who nurtured community projects for cultural renewal, based on a genuine rejection of the dem-liberal principles of the Weimar Republic.

For Mohler, according to Robert Steuckers, the essential point of contact of the CR was a non-linear vision of history, although he did not simply take up the traditional cyclical vision, but a Nietzschean spherical conception of history. Mohler, in this sense, never believed in universalistic political doctrines, but in strong personalities and their followers, who were capable of opening new and original paths in existence.

The terminological combination “Konservative-Revolution” was already associated as early as 1851, by Theobald Buddeus; subsequently by Yuri Samarin, Dostoyevsky, and in 1900 Maurras. But in 1921, Thomas Mann was the first to use the expression CR in a more ideologized sense, in his Russische Anthologie, speaking of a “synthesis… of enlightenment and faith, of freedom and obligation, of spirit and body, god and world, sensuality and critical attention, of conservatism and revolution.” The process of which Mann spoke “is none other than a conservative revolution of a scope such as European history has not known.”

The expression Conservative Revolution was also prevalent in the theses disseminated by the European Cultural Union (Europïsche Kulturband), led by Karl Anton, Prince of Rohan, a Europeanist aristocrat and Austrian cultural leader, whose 1926 work, Die Aufgabe unserer Generation (The Task of Our Generation)—inspired by Ortega y Gasset’s The Modern Theme—uses the term on several occasions. However, the phrase “Conservative Revolution” gained full popularity in 1927, with Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s most famous Bavarian lecture, when he set out to discover the truly Herculean task of the Conservative Revolution: the need to turn the wheel of history back four hundred years, since the ongoing restorative process “in reality begins as an internal reaction against that spiritual revolution of the 16th century” (he is referring to the Renaissance). Hofmannsthal, in short, called for a movement of reaction that would allow man to escape from modern dissociation and rediscover his “link with the whole.”

In the words of one of the most prominent representatives of the Conservative Revolution, Edgar J. Jung: “We call Conservative Revolution the revival of all those fundamental laws and values without which man loses his relationship to Nature and to God and becomes incapable of building an authentic order. In place of equality, inner worth is to be imposed. In place of social conviction, just integration into statal society; mechanical choice is replaced by the organic growth of leaders. In place of bureaucratic coercion, there is an inner responsibility that comes from genuine self-determination. The pleasure of the masses is replaced by the right of the personality of the people.”

Another commonplace of the Conservative Revolution is the self-consciousness of those who belonged to it, that they were not merely conservatives. Indeed, they were at pains to distance themselves from groups belonging to “old conservatism” (Altkonservativen) and from the ideas of “reactionaries” who only wished to “restore” the old. The central concern was to “combine revolutionary ideas with conservative ones,” or “push them in a revolutionary-conservative way,” as Moeller van den Bruck proposed.

Of course, the “conservative revolution,” however much the so-called “neoconservatives” (be they of the Reagan, Bush, Thatcher, Aznar, Sarkozy or Merkel type) may regret it, has nothing to do with the “conservative reaction” (an authentic “counter-revolution”) that they pretend to lead against progressive liberalism, postmodern communism and the counter-culturalism of the left. The weakness of the classic-traditional right lies in its inclination towards centrism and social democracy (“the seduction of the left”), in a frustrated attempt to close the way to socialism, sympathizing, even, with the only possible values of its adversaries (egalitarianism, universalism, false progressivism). A serious mistake for those who have never understood that political action is just one more aspect of a long-standing ideological war between two completely antagonistic conceptions of the world.

Finally, the neoconservative right has not grasped Gramsci’s message, has failed to see the threat of cultural power over the State and how the latter acts on the implicit values that provide lasting political power, ignoring a truism: no change is possible in power and in society, if the transformation it seeks to impose has not first taken place in minds and spirits. It is a bet on consumerist, industrial and accommodating “neoconservatism,” the opposite of what is being imposed today—to recreate a “conservative revolution” with a European patent which, in Jünger’s phrase, merges the past and the future in a fiery present.

Meanwhile, counter-revolutionary “neo-conservatism,” based on the thinking of the German émigré Leo Strauss, is nothing but a kind of “reaction” to the loss of values that have an expiration date (precisely his own, those of the mercantilist and imperialist Anglo-American bourgeoisie). Their principles are ideal and humanitarian universalism, savage capitalism, academic traditionalism and totalitarian bureaucratism. For these neocons, the United States appears as the most perfect representation of the values of freedom, democracy and happiness based on material progress and a return to “Judeo-Christian” morality, with Europe’s obligation to copy this triumphant model.

Anglo-American “neoconservatism,” reactionary and counter-revolutionary, is, in reality, a democratist and traditionalist neo-liberalism—read Fukuyama—heir to the principles of the French Revolution. The Conservative Revolution, however, can be defined, according to Mohler, as the authentic “anti-French Revolution”: the French Revolution disintegrated society into individuals; the Conservative aspired to reestablish the unity of the social whole; the French proclaimed the sovereignty of reason, disarticulating the world to apprehend it in concepts; the Conservative tried to intuit its meaning in images; the French believed in indefinite progress in a linear march; the Conservative returned to the idea of the cycle, where setbacks and advances are naturally compensated.

In the antagonistic Conservative Revolution, neither “conservation” refers to the attempt to defend some expired form of life, nor “revolution” refers to the purpose of accelerating the evolutionary process in order to incorporate something new into the present. The former is typical of the old reactionary conservatism—also of the ill-named neoconservatism—which lives from the past; the latter is the hallmark of false progressivism, which lives from the most absolute present-future.

While in much of the so-called Western world, the reaction to the democratization of societies has always moved in the orbit of a sentimental conservatism, inclined to extol the past and achieve the restoration of the old order, the revolutionary conservatives spared no effort to mark differences and distances with what for them was simple reactionaryism, even if it was, in Hans Freyer’s expression, a Revolution from the right. The Conservative Revolution was simply a spiritual rebellion, a revolution without any goal or future messianic kingdom.

Jesús Sebastián Lorente is a Spanish lawyer. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Elmanifesto.

Featured: The imperial banner and sword of Emperor Maximilian, by Albrecht Altdorfer; painted ca. 1513-1515.

Professor Sucharit Bhakdi… Rabble-Rouser?

Professor Sucharit Bhakdi of Kiel, Germany, who has spearheaded the campaign against the “Covid” dictatorship and the MRNa “vaccines,” has recently been indicted on flimsy charges that boil down to rabble-rousing. What is more, a change to the German Criminal Code has just been waved through the Bundestag, one designed to facilitate a clamp-down on dissidents of every stripe, including those who do not buy the “Satanic Putin” tale. We review the issues here.

Since the 16th Century and the crusade waged by a certain ex-Augustinian and heavy feeder, unredeemed by his undeniable literary skills, and going by the initials ML, Germany’s enthusiasm for freedom of speech and freedom tout court, has been at best, lukewarm. Mendelssohn Moses, author of these lines, would merely remark that the views of that monk on the subject of my co-religionaries, though notoriously unflattering were perhaps less immediately disastrous than his views on the peasantry—8,000 murdered in the Peasant Wars of 1524 to 1526.

The fact remains that from the days of the bizarre ML, the German-speaking world, like England since the day of that other heavy feeder Henry VIII, has squirmed in fear of the authorities.

However, while in 2022, the entire German state apparatus is seen to fawn and simper before its NATO oppressors, Germany is not quite Sodom and Gomorrah: she has righteous men in her midst.

Such as Professor Sucharit Bhakdi, standing straight as a poplar. Although born a Thai, he has been a German citizen for decades, while his endless CV points to perhaps the most-decorated natural scientist in the contemporary German-speaking world:

1979 Justus Liebig University Giessen Prize
1980 Konstanz Medicine Prize
1987 German Society for Microbiology Prize
1988 Dr. Friedrich Sasse Prize
1989 Ludwig Schunk Prize for Medicine
1989 Robert-Koch-Förderpreis of Clausthal-Zellerfeld
1991 Gay-Lussac Humboldt Prize
2001 Aronson Prize
2005 H. W. Hauss Award
2005 Verdienstorden des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz
2009 Rudolf-Schönheimer Medal of the German Society for Arteriosclerosis Research

From the outset of the Scamdemic, Bhakdi spoke out on every occasion against the irrational “anti-Covid” measures, and then, well ahead of the curve, against the so-called MRNa-based anti-Covid “vaccines,” foreseeing precisely what forms of harm would likely arise. Suddenly, he and his wife Karina Reiss became international celebrities, and their books on the matter, best-sellers. (Separately, there is also an excellent dissection of the “Covid” scam networks by two intelligence specialists).

Where NATO Stalkers, Playing Goodie Two-Shoes, Make the “Law”

But in Germany, the hyena, not the bear, roams the wilds. The moment an intellectual pokes his head above the parapet, an army of hyena-like Goodie Two-Shoes pore over his every word, in hopes of finding a nano-particle of that catch-all substance, “anti-semitism.” (As an aside, allow me to add that Palestinians and “Arabs” are every bit as much the Semite as Papa Mendelssohn, save that anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and of course anti-Muslim sentiment is actively encouraged… one wonders why?)

Be that as it may, one day in April 2021, bursting out in disappointment at the lamb-to-the-slaughter attitude of Israel’s citizens in the face of the vaccine lobby, Professor Bhakdi exclaimed:

“Here we have a people who fled Germany, a Germany racked by outright Evil, and we find they have made (of their country) something worse even than was Germany then (…) What is disturbing with the Jews, is how quickly they learn. No other people learns so readily. But they have learnt what is Evil—and they have put it to work. Israel has become hell on earth.”—Die lebende Hölle.

On September 24, 2021, at an election meeting whilst campaigning for office on the Die Basis party ticket, Bhakdi declared that the “anti-Covid” injections were to be analysed in the context of an Endziel, a “final solution” or second holocaust.

If one can still speak of “law” in Germany’s current state of disarray, we are to believe that merely referring to a second holocaust would amount, in legal terms, to “relativising” that which struck the Jews in WWII. One fails to see how such a ludicrous argument might hold, but the point, of course, is to muzzle all opposition.

And so, in July 2021 we find the Public Prosecutor at Kiel, the town of Bhakdi’s residence, examining whether the Professor should be indicted for “relativisation” (sic) and “incitement to hatred” (Volksverhetzung), which roughly corresponds to that legal UFO known to the English-speaking world as “hate crime.” To the keen disappointment of some, in November 2021 the Prosecutor dropped the case for lack of suitable grounds.

The air resounded with relentless howling from the hyenas however, and by May 2022, Kiel’s superior, the Public Prosecutor for the State of Schleswig Holstein, had been got to file a complaint against Bhakdi for “incitement” to hatred and contempt, which was accepted by the Plön Circuit Court (Amtsgericht) in November, just in time for Bhakdi’s birthday. By the way, the legal position has been dealt with on several occasions and very competently, by a group of “dissident” Judges and Prosecutors, KriSTA.

In any event, assuming that poor Germany, littered with US bases and atomic weapons, may still exist in May 2023, the case will be tried in March 2023.

Bhakdi Attempts to Head Off the “Covid” Disaster

Allow me a digression here: Professor Bhakdi is a practising Buddhist, and something of a visionary, foreseeing the consequences of acts and events years, even decades in advance. For us Jews, Bhakdi is the very definition of a prophet. Like the vaccinologist Stefan Hockertz, who has had, literally, to flee Germany, or his colleagues Professors Vélot, Peronne or Toubiana in France, or the medical doctors Carlo Giraldi, Dario Giacomini and Giovanni Vanni Frajese in Italy, Bhakdi was right about “Covid,” right about the “anti-Covid” scam, right about masking, right about the D-dimer tests, right about the MRNa vaccines—while most of the Western world was hiding under the bed.

Fearing for the future of Man, and to crack us out of mass-hypnosis, Professor Bhakdi has a penchant for harsh, even ruthless language – prophetic if you prefer. Upon this being who suffers for Man and who is therefore vulnerable, unlike the grinning enforcers of this world, falls the latter’s rage, as they attempt to drive him to bankruptcy through legal fees, and to despair.

Wailing and Teeth-Gnashing? The Rest of the World has had Enough

Before looking at the changes to German law on Volksverhetzung, voted up shortly before midnight on October 20, 2022, allow me to return to the allegedly unique character of what happened to European Jewry between 1939 and 1945, the incessant droning repetition of which is designed to keep Germans cowed and on the leash for eternity.

Most historians would put the figure for the dead amongst my co-religionaries at roughly six million. WHAT then shall we say of the 26 to 40 million Slavs, Hungarians and Gypsies of various nations “lost in death’s dateless night” during Operation Barbarossa? Entirely burnt up, sacrificed—that is what the Greek word “holocaust” means. For Russia alone, though the exact figure remains unknown, 20 million civilians at least are thought to have been lost, and well over ten million soldiers, as the Wehrmacht broke over her borders. What if Operation Barbarossa had succeeded? Would there yet remain a single Slav on earth? Bear in mind that we are meant to believe that the Western Ukraine is not “Slav”. Therefore, what of the current alliance between Germany, NATO and the Stepan-Banderites in the Ukraine—is this not Operation Barbarossa II?

Accordingly, Papa Mendelssohn has a message to his co-religionaries: Watch your step. The peoples of the rest of the world have had it up to here with our non-stop wailing and gnashing of teeth over the events of 1939-1945, used to justify the many and varied crimes perpetrated before our eyes—or, face it, by us. Get to work on the veterinarian Albert Bourla and his bosses first. Given the kill-rate in Israel from the vet’s injection campaign, saving what’s left of us Jews is going to be a tall order. So, deal with it. (As an aside—have we yet the right to call ourselves “Jews,” as we blithely ignore Yahve’s Sixth and most fundamental Order to Moses? Which is THOU SHALT NOT KILL).

Professor Bhakdi is Not, nor Ever Has Been, a Volksverhetzer

On no account whatsoever, neither in the ancient nor in the modern sense of the term, can Professor Sucharit Bhakdi be said to be a “Volksverhetzer.”

The term Volksverhetzung is an ancient one, referring to acts that deliberately cause disturbance amongst the people. It is made up of the term Volk (people), and the ancient verb hetzen or verhetzen, which means “to stir up” or “incite.” Might there be some sort of relation between the verb hexen, to cast an evil spell, and hetzen? Whatever—the fact remains that in modern times, the legal purview of such an offence must always be very narrow indeed, and restricted to those rare circumstances where an agitator willfully stirs the crowd to perpetrate a crime against persons or property. A very recent and telling example of Volksverhetzen and Hexerei (witchcraft) is when provocateurs excited the crowd to burn fifty Russian-speaking trade unionists alive in their offices at Odessa on May 2, 2014.

And so we have the latest wording (October 20, 2022) of Section 130 para. 5 of the German Penal Code:

“Whosoever shall approve of, deny or crassly downplay whether in public or at a demonstration, a gesture amongst those referred to at Sections 6 to 12 of the International Criminal Code directed at a group referred to at paragraph 1, point 1 (of the German Criminal Code), or against an individual on account of his belonging to that group, in such fashion as to incite to hatred or violence against such persons or group and to disturb the peace, may be sentenced to fines or to three years’ goal.”

As the Göttingen legal scholar Dr. Wolfgang Bittner observes, Sections 6 to 12 of the International Criminal Code concern genocide, crimes against Mankind, against persons, operations and humanitarian emblems, and war crimes that involve forbidden methods of means of war. That Section’s purview is so vast, that a Prosecutor or Magistrate will enjoy virtually unrestricted latitude faced with dissidents of any stripe. What of Demonstrator X marching down the street, whilst somewhere lost in the crowd Demonstrator Y, a hirsute fanatic or provocateur, waves about a sign with irresponsible scribblings? Might X be prosecuted for marching in the same crowd? With the new wording of Section 130, the answer may very well be Yes.

“Political convictions” and New Section 130

Neither is Colonel (Reserve) Edgar Siemund a happy camper—as one sees from his remarkable commentary, published on November 3rd in the on-line Austrian weekly Wochenblick.

Col. Siemund, a practising lawyer, notes that the German Government claims to have had new Section 130 para 5. voted up, only further to grievances raised by the EU, when Germany “failed” to implement EU Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JAH dated 28th November 2008 on various forms of racism and xenophobia. That Framework Decision however, dates from 2008, while the Bundestag was called upon to vote in October 2022—out of the blue and near midnight—on this rider, smack in the midst of NATO’s Operation Barbarossa II.

Secondly, Col. Siemund pointed to a fascinating little “Whereas” (N° 10) of that Framework decision, where one reads:

“This Framework Decision does not prevent a Member State from adopting provisions in national law which extend Article 1(1)(c) and (d) to crimes directed against a group of persons defined by other criteria than race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin, such as social status or political convictions.”

Are we to understand that harsh critics of the Ukrainian Banderites such as Arno Klarsfeld, may henceforth be indicted for Volksverhetzung, having objected to the Banderites’ “political convictions?”

As one will readily perceive, like most of what passes for EU legislation, these self-proclaimed “legal” texts are so poorly drafted, as to admit of virtually any interpretation or rather, manipulation. That this is precisely the aim, is scarcely conjecture.

Following Col. Siemund’s lead, we shall skim through the all-purpose terminology offered up on a platter to Prosecutors, terminology for which the new German Section 130 does not trouble to propose a definition, whether linguistic or legal.

  • leugnet (to deny) : should a researcher express doubt as to a received “truth”, has he ipso facto become a “denier?”
  • gröblich verharmlosen (crassly relativise or minimise): who shall define the semantic field of the adverb “crassly”? What does “relativising” a murder mean? Merely placing it into a military or social context? Would a silly, vulgar joke brawled out at a drunken get-together suffice ?
  • zu Hass aufzustacheln (inciting to hatred) : what is “hatred”? Lack of respect for a Banderite? How does one “incite” third parties to hatred? Does that take years? Months? Minutes? Must the inciter hold sway and authority over the incited?

As an aside, it is my conviction that the notion of “hate crime” has no place, in any form, in any modern legal system. Either the hater undertakes an overt, criminal act against persons or property, or engages in an overt, criminal conspiracy to commit such acts. What he may think, whom he may hate, will always remain irrelevant to the law—unless actual harm be done. Or unless we intend to carry on policing Thought—a trend which cannot but lead to mass psychosis, outbreaks of rage and thus criminality on an unheard-of scale.

Surprise!—The Non-Existent “Russian” Lobby and Sundry “Dissidents”—The Law’s Real Target

On November 5th, 2022, Ulrich Heyden, a formerly mainstream and now “controversial”, Moscow-based reporter, observed in Rubikon Magazin
that the German Parliament, manifestly intent on setting up a legal grey-zone, expressly declined to restrict the notion of Volksverhetzen in criminal law, to those rare cases where a domestic or international Court had already found that some form of war crime or crime against humanity was indeed involved.

According to Heyden, a prominent Green Party MP, Canan Baryam, after expressing delight at the opportunities the new Section 130 might afford against the opposition party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), let the cat out of the bag to Legal Tribune: “one can full well imagine a state of affairs,” where the new Section 130 might be relied upon against those who fail to toe the NATO line on “Putin’s” war in the Ukraine. “For example”, she said “in the context of the Russian war of aggression, endorsing a war crime against the Ukrainians as a group via slogans or signs carried aloft at a demonstration, could become an indictable offence.”

New Section 130 Cunningly Interwoven with the G10 Act

As though the above were not enough, on to the hidden nasties. Like Dr. Hans-Georg Maassen, former head of the Bundesverfassungsschutz (domestic intelligence services) now considered to be a “dissident” and a “conspiracy theorist”, Col. Siemund has happened on another worm in the bud. Section § 3 para. 1 S. 1 Nr. 6A of the Act dealing with limits on the secrecy of private correspondence (Gesetz zur Beschränkung des Brief-, Post- und Fernmeldegeheimnisses)10, known as the G10 Act, refers back to the aforesaid Section 130.

Given the rarefied responsibilities Dr. Maassen held until very recently, it may not be found amiss to cite his Tweet from October 26th in full:

“Take a close look at the new wording of Section § 130… it’s an onslaught on freedom of opinion. Few realise that Section § 3 para. 1 S. 1 Nr. 6A of the G10 Act refers back to it. (…). The latter Section deals with monitoring telephones, WhatsApp, e-mails etc. and the post by the intelligence services, which monitoring may be set up as soon as someone even thinks of Volksverhetzung. Since we now have a broader purview of Section § 130 of the Criminal Code, Section § 3 of the G10 Act may be implemented without restriction. The law as it stands today, was already unworthy of a free democracy, since the intelligence services may listen in to someone on mere suspicion of Volksverhetzung (as opposed to some capital crime). With the broadened purview of the offence under Section § 130 and consequently, extension of Section § 3 of the G10 Act, not a shred remains of the secrecy of private correspondence.”

Just perhaps, writes Col. Siemund, those who live in glass houses might not want to throw stones – while 12 million Germans have been forced or coerced into taking the “anti-Covid” shots with the disastrous known effects, the unvaccinated have been ostracised and deprived of basic rights. One day rather sooner than one might imagine, these twisted laws may be twisted back against the perpetrators of these new forms of injustice … such as one Nils Dampz, who, from German public television’s ARD studios at Los Angeles, in an article attacking Elon Musk, went on to refer to non-conformists as “rats, racists or conspiracy theorists”.

Meanwhile, back at the Ramstein air base in Hessen, the earth trembles at the arrival of US bombers, whilst Foreign Minister “Miss Piggy” Baerbock baldly states that the Ukraine’s interests must prevail over those of Germany’s citizens. Behind the back of Chancellor Scholz, away in China attempting to patch up the broken crockery, Miss Piggy then receives US Secretaries Blinken and Vikki “Cookie Handout” Nuland.

Keep calm and carry on. As the Gauleiters winkle away at their work of death and destruction, a shadow government is arising in every nation of Europe, made up of those who like Sucharit Bhakdi, are Thomas Mores who will keep their head.

[On November 30, 2022, Professor Bhakdi spoke, via video, to a sold-out conference in Austria, to which Herbert Kickl head of the FPÖ, sent a message of greetings when he was unable to attend at the last minute].

Mendelssohn Moses is a Paris-based writer.

Concerning Consciousness, with Reference to Franz Brentano

With modernity a Copernican turn occurs in philosophy, as Kant observes, and the metaphysics that until then started from the question of the entity as entity, now starts from the subject. It is thus transformed into a metaphysics of subjectivity, as Heidegger rightly noted.

This metaphysics that is born from Descartes’ ego cogito has a second stage that is inaugurated with the detailed analysis of consciousness. And the first to study it in itself and in detail was Franz Brentano from 1860-1870, until he finally published his The Classification of Mental Phenomena (Von der Klassifikation der psychischen Phänomene) in 1911.

Let us begin with Brentano, a German philosopher of Italian origin who taught in Vienna. José Gaos, a Spaniard living in Mexico, who was Brentano’s first translator of Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint (1874), affirmed that Brentano was a heteroclite philosopher; that is, he departed from the ordinary rules of what a philosopher should do or say. Thus, Brentano had as disciples and students important figures, such as Edmund Husserl, Sigmund Freud, Christian von Ehrenfels, Alexius Meinong, Carl Stumpf, Kazimierz Twardowski, Anton Marty and many others—who excelled in phenomenology, psychoanalysis, Gestalt theory, object theory, language theory, logical positivism, symbolic logic, value theory, etc. Moreover, behind the Vienna Circle and the great contemporary studies on Aristotle (Jaeger, Ross, Owens, Zürcher, Aubenque) is the figure of the philosopher Marienberg.

But then why has Brentano not been studied in the universities as his contemporaries have, such as Stuart Mill, Nietzsche, Frege, Dilthey? Because Brentano subjected Kant to a merciless and severe criticism. He called Kant prejudiced by his a priori. He called him ignorant of the history of philosophy and mathematics. And this was not forgiven by the German universities and thereafter by the rest of the universities. Thus, it was that the Catholic universities, where scholastic philosophy is taught, ignored him thoroughly, even though Brentano was an excellent connoisseur of Thomas Aquinas whom he quoted assiduously and knew to perfection. [Without delving further, on the subject of conscience, he often resorts to Aquinas whom he cites in his support. It is a subject that has not been studied, the use of Thomas Aquinas in Brentano. It would be good if someone would do it]. All this explains why Brentano has never been studied. And if he is mentioned in the faculties of philosophy, it is only in relation to the intentionality of consciousness when Husserl and phenomenology are taught.

Let us now turn to the subject at hand.

There are at least two terms to speak of consciousness: consciousness and conscience. The first is closer to its Latin roots and indicates the capacity of the human being to know and perceive reality. And the second, which is in common use, indicates rather a knowledge of what is right or wrong. The former translates the German word Bewussbeit, which alludes to our capacity to have psychic phenomena and to realize that we have them and which refers to that special capacity we human beings have—often manifested in the form of an inner voice—to know what we should do and what we should not do.

Both terms are limited to the phenomena of knowledge in such a way that they do not contribute much to the study of consciousness itself or whatever its meaning may be. Brentano makes his contribution: “I prefer to use the word consciousness as equivalent to psychic phenomenon or psychic act.” Thus, psychic phenomena are those to which something is inherent. Consciousness is always “consciousness of.” As the great Spanish philosopher Xavier Zubiri maintained in his thesis on Husserl in 1921: “Brentano discovered that things are something independent of experience but consciousness is not something empty.”

The experience of psychic phenomena that are the constitutive of human consciousness and of which the rest of reality is the object or intentional correlate are lived as immediate and original evidence.
And these phenomena are true in themselves: “as they appear to be, so they are in reality; a fact attested by the experience through which they are perceived.” That is to say that each psychic act is lived as such before any conceptualization. This way of living the psychic is the true way of experiencing the real. And consciousness lives and experiences it at the same time, representatively, judicatively and affectively. Internal perception is infallible and there can never exist in us a psychic phenomenon of which we have no representation.

Thus, consciousness as a psychic act is composed of three fundamental kinds of psychic activities: representation, judgment and emotion, interest or love. If psychology, psychoanalysis and psychiatry are clear about this Brentanian liminal distinction, which he traces back to Descartes and J.S. Mill, they will advance on a sure step, otherwise they will get lost in a thousand confusing and sterile subtleties. Or worse, be harmful.

[In his Metaphysical Meditations III, Descartes calls “representations” ideae, “judgments” judicia, and “emotions” voluntates sive affectus. Aristotle calls the latter ορεζις, “desires,” and all the medieval philosophers “representations” and “judgments”].

In representing, something always appears to us. Thus, when we see something, a color appears to us; when we hear something, we represent a sound; when we imagine something, a product of the imagination, and so on. The purpose of names is to arouse representations: “We understand by representation not what is represented but the representing. This representing constitutes not only the foundation of judging, but also of craving and willing.”

Those representations, when we accept them as true or reject them as false, bring abouit the judging. And although representing and judging are phenomena of thinking, judgment cannot be reduced to simple representations or combinations of these. If I say “mountain of gold,” I express a representation; and as long as I do no more than that, I express no judgment.

As for the emotions or phenomena of love or interest, they comprise the phenomena that affect our appetite or will. And so, every judgment takes an object to be true or false, every emotion takes an object to be good or bad.

Basically, all three are different modes of reference of the consciousness to the object. The difference between them is that the intentional mode in judgment is to admit if it is true, or reject if it is false, while the intentional mode of reference in the emotions is to like or dislike.

Whereas in representing (the term best expresses the psychic act of representation) there can be no analogy, for I can represent to myself black or white, but I cannot represent to myself, for example, black or white in two opposite ways.

The internal experience of consciousness immediately shows the difference in the content of the three primary psychic activities.

It should be clarified that every psychic act is conscious because it gives itself a consciousness of itself; but at the same time it has a consciousness according to three modes: the representation of it, the knowledge of it and the feeling towards it. “Every psychic act, even the simplest, has a fourfold aspect from which it can be considered.” Thus, we can distinguish, even though the psychic phenomenon is unitary, a primary object (e.g., sound, the act in which we hear), and a secondary object (the phenomenon in which the sound is heard). The object of consciousness is only represented in the first place; knowledge constitutes a second moment, the same as feeling or interest because “representations are also the foundation of craving and feeling.”

Just as the content of a judgment insofar as it is true is admissible and as false rejectable, in the same way, in the case of feeling and liking, of sentiment and will, the good is pleasant and the bad unpleasant: “It is about the value or disvalue of an object.”

All these representations arise from the internal experience of these phenomena. This third kind of activity of the consciousness is not a judgment “this is to be loved or that is to be hated;” but it is simply a loving or hating that the internal perception shows us in an evident way.

At this point, Brentano argued that there is no fundamental distinction between feeling and will as proposed by Hamilton, Lotze, Kant and Wolff, among others, because the term appetite (apetitioI) is not adequate “to cover all psychic phenomena other than thinking,” so that the acts of joy and sadness cannot be considered appetitive acts.

[Brentano states in note 27 of Psychology from An Empirical Standpoint: “Only occasionally do we see signs of an emancipation from this tradition – of designating with the term appetite the psychic phenomena of feeling and will – for example, in Thomas Aquinas (cf. Summa theologicae I, q.37, a.1 and elsewhere) uses the term amare as the more universal name of the class].

To this also contributed the ignorance of the relation between representation and judgment that led to confusion about the relation between feeling and will. And he reproaches Kant for limiting the feeling of pleasure and displeasure “unilaterally to the judgment of aesthetic taste.”

If representation and judgment are psychic phenomena of a different class, and feeling and will are phenomena of the same class when the ideas of the true, the good and the beautiful are applied to them, they will correspond in this way: “The supreme perfection of the representative activity resides in the contemplation of the beautiful, whether through the influence of the object or independently of it”… The supreme activity of the judicative activity resides in the knowledge of truth, naturally and above all, in the knowledge of truths that reveal to us a rich fullness of being more than others… Finally, the supreme perfection of loving activity lies in the free elevation to the higher good.”

The ideal of ideals consists in unity of all that is true, good and beautiful whose representation shows infinite beauty, infinite truth and infinite goodness. “The triad of ideals (of the beautiful, the true and the good) can very well be explained by the system of psychic phenomena.”

We see once again, as it happened with other great philosophers of the twentieth century (Heidegger, Eugen Fink), how the classical theory of the transcendentals of the entity appears, although in a different form from that formulated formerly. In this case through the system of psychic phenomena of representation, judgment and emotional phenomena.

Moral Conscience—it is understood as the instance that deals with our own moral experience. Modern philosophy established it as the main mode of moral knowledge, as opposed to the “prudence” of classical antiquity and medieval prudentia. In introspection it allows us to delve into both our personal life and the life of the historical world. That is why when we speak of ethical questions, we speak at the same time of ourselves, of our experience, especially the older we get.

Moral conscience exists above all as an “inner voice” that guides us in our actions, but we cannot base ethics on moral conscience as Kant and the neo-Kantians tried to do, who, in order to understand ethics, started from the analysis of moral conscience. But this is not possible because we cannot free ourselves from the quantum of subjectivity of our conscience. And science cannot be built on subjectivity.

The philosopher does not draw the norms from himself but finds them in his vital situation; he finds them in that which governs the tasks of an epoch, as the most intimate conscience of this epoch. Of course, he can dissent and propose others, but this is only for a great philosopher who can leap over his time, thus contradicting Hegel’s saying that no one can leap over his time.

If we would like to use moral conscience as a norm, we must necessarily complete it with historical objectivity, with the great cultural systems; that is to say, great effective and affective nexuses that unite men to carry out historical achievements, in order not to keep reinventing the wheel. This explains the tremendous effort made by Hegel, the greatest philosopher of the metaphysics of subjectivity in his Phenomenology of Spirit, as a science of the experience of consciousness (1807), in order to justify the experience of moral and political consciousness.

Moral consciousness emerged as a process of emancipation from theology carried out by the Enlightenment in order to achieve with it an internal subjection of the modern subject. This was known by the term of the “principle of autonomy,” which began from the certainty of internal experience, and ended with the exaltation of the individual over the community, in an exaggerated liberalism: “I look after Number One”—in a society of exorbitant consumption and in a man transformed into a homunculus.

Moral conscience is there, present, it exists and we make daily use of it; but that does not mean that we can transform it into a norm, nor as a principle of freedom, for as Nicolai Hatmann, a former member of the Marburg School, observes very well in his magnificent Ethics: “One cannot make a conclusive argument for the freedom of the will from the phenomenon of the consciousness of freedom. Therefore, neither from the consciousness of self-determination, a more reduced consciousness, but qualitatively equivalent to it.”

And still less to raise it as a paradigm of universal history, as Hegel pretended in that enormous “sulfur factory” in which German idealism ended.

Alberto Buela is an Argentinian philosopher and professor at National Technological University and the University of Barcelona. He is the author of many books and articles.

Featured: “Man repels the Appeal of Conscience,” by Frederic james Shields; painted in 1910.

AfD… Party of the Russian Germans?

The October 9, 2022 elections in Lower Saxony saw the German populist party AfD (Alternative for Germany) double its tally with 10.9 percent. Fingers pointed for its pro-Moscow stance. This German political movement is coming out of a difficult year and soaring in the polls. In some districts, such as Hanover, the party even got 30 percent of the vote. These districts have a particularity—they are largely populated by Germans from Russia [also known as the “Volga Germans”].

On April 3, 2022, the media outlet Visegrad24 tweeted about Germans from Russia as a “fifth column” within Europe. Reacting to a video in which German Russians showed their support for the “Special Military Operationm” this pro-NATO media pointed the finger at a community that has been living in Germany for nearly three decades. With Russian and German flags, mixing the two languages, this community, very little-known outside of Germany, is nevertheless 3 to 4 million strong. It is a community full of surprises.

The Germans of Russia are ethnic Germans, with some two and a half centuries of history. Originally from Germanic lands, who went out to the steppes of Kazakhstan and Siberia via the banks of the Volga, they only returned home after the fall of the USSR. They are not economic migrants like the Turks, or refugees who left the USSR as people today flee Afghanistan or Syria. The comparison with our compatriots pieds-noirs does not hold either because the latter lived in Algeria, but in French departments. To get an idea, we should rather imagine, as an example or as an improbable analogy, millions of Italian-Americans who, after a century of American way of life, returned to Italy. German Russians are characterized by their ethnic identity. Recognized during the time of the Soviet Union, their Germanness allowed them not only to return in 1992, but also to obtain German citizenship. Leaving Kazakhstan or Siberia, where they were deported by Stalin in 1941, these Germans returned to their homeland. A homeland they had left in 1763 when their ancestors responded favorably to the call of Catherine the Great.

Cultural Distinction and Political Shock

The Germanic origin of these new citizens was not enough to erase two centuries of Russification and decades of Soviet rule. Their economic integration took a generation. But their “cultural” integration, which is slower, enrages German right-wingers. The Germans of Russia resembles the former citizens of the GDR more than the tolerant, open-minded West German of 2022, who is totally in line with the cosmopolitan type of “anywhere.” Conservative, proud of their German identity while retaining their Russian culture, the German-Russians became visible in the media in the mid-2010s, during the demonstrations against the reception of Syrians, by holding up signs that read, but written in Russian: “My homeland will remain German!” The Germans from Russia were then the talk of the media.

In the 2017 parliamentary elections, the AfD won 13% of the vote and became the third largest party in Germany. Russian Germans were 15 percent to vote for this movement against 10 percent for the rest of the German population. This was a shock for the German media. The AfD thus achieved its good tally among former citizens of the USSR and their descendants. In the last elections, the AfD fell to 10.3%, but limited the damage and again obtained good results in the German Russian districts.

A Community that is Now a Must for the AfD

The Lower Saxony elections of October 2022 were a major victory for the AFD. After a difficult year of electoral setbacks, the nationalist party doubled its tally and national polls now give it 16 percent of the vote. This is a real “comeback” when some predicted the AfD would be marginalized after the war in Russia began.

In the Wahlbezirk district of Hanover, the party received 30 per cent of the vote. In the 2021 parliamentary elections in Berlin and in almost all major West German cities, the Russian-German districts carried the AfD. This was the case, for example, in Cologne-Chorweiler (15%), in the Marzahn district in Berlin (16.8%), Buckenberg in Pforzheim (30%) and Oberhausen (22.2%) in Augsburg, in Bavaria. The tally was down from 2017, but it was enough to allow the AfD to limit its drop and retain 83 seats.

Germans from Russia are the backbone of the AfD in Berlin, for example. The nationalist movement has a real electoral policy vis-à-vis this community, and this is not limited to campaigning the day before the election. Germans from Russia have even reached the highest level of the party, such as the MP Eugen Schmidt, born in Kazakhstan. There are leaflets in Russian, a proposal to relax language tests and family reunification, an international position favorable to the “Russian world.”

Since February 24, the AfD has sought to be the bulwark of Germans from Russia against Russophobia in Germany. Despite pro-Kiev statements by Georg Pazderki, former head of the AfD in Berlin in the first weeks of the conflict, the party’s line remains the following: Russia is not responsible for the war. Thus, the AfD demands an end to sanctions, an end to arms supplies to Ukraine and neutrality on pro-Russian referendums. The attack on Nord-Stream and the increase in gas prices have led Alice Weidel, the party’s co-president, to say that “an economic war is being waged against Germany.” Voting preferences have risen from 9 percent in May to 16 percent at the end of October. Since mid-September, demonstrations have been held on Mondays in almost every city in Germany. Against the backdrop of inflation and the gas crisis, the demonstrators are criticizing federal policy towards Moscow. Russian imperial flags were flown alongside the German flag. The media and the party’s opponents mocked them, saying that with the AfD, it was not “Germany first” (its slogan), but “Russia first.” However, reducing the AfD vote of Germans from Russia to their pro-Moscow stance misses the point.

Fundamental Anchoring of the AfD Vote

It should be remembered at the outset that the Russian-German community is strongly divided over the situation in Ukraine. Some Germans from Russia lived in present-day Ukraine before their deportation in 1941. Others understand the Russian position, but condemn the use of force. The AfD vote among Russian Germans is therefore not just a pro-Putin or simply anti-immigration vote. The AfD vote is a German vote. Russian Germans want to be recognized as what they are: Germans from Russia. And the AfD knows it. Russian Germans have been complaining for a quarter of a century that they are treated as immigrants by the rest of German society. In fact, their history is very peculiar—but they are Germans. They keep saying so. The AfD is the only party that plainly says to this population: “You are Germans. You must not be treated as immigrants.” Assimilation? “How can that be? You are native Germans.” These words really catch the attention of Germans from Russia, even if they do not vote AfD. In contrast to this, a left-wing newspaper, a few years ago, ran the headline: “All immigrants must learn German, except Russians.”

The AfD is certainly not the party of Germans from Russia in the sense that the majority of them still vote for other political movements. Nevertheless, since 2017, the German populist party has achieved good results in this community. The war in Ukraine was a real dilemma for the AfD—either align with the media’s one-track thinking or keep the bar high with respect to Moscow and the Russian world in general. The AfD chose to take a non-Atlanticist line. Declared dead in the spring of 2022, the movement is now in first or second place in many Länder. Whatever its electoral future, the Germans of Russia will be part of it!

Stéphane Brizzi writes from France. This article appears through the kind courtesy of revue Éléments.