Not only was he, like Heideggera member of the Nazi Party and openly anti-Semitic, Schmitt was also a well-known public lawyer. He used that recognition to play an active role in legitimizing the early years of the Nazi regime, employing his thought in the pursuit of despicable political ends.
Today, however, the terms of any European rescue effort are obviously set by Germany. There is widespread recognition that Europe needs substantial economic growth if it is to emerge from its debt woes. But German concerns about stability — founded on its catastrophic interwar experience — push in the opposite direction.
As a consequence, Germany-bashing is now in fashion. The German current-account position is in fact a long-standing issue that predates the monetary union. If the resulting imbalances could not be financed and sustained, there was a need for adjustment.
This alternative was unattractive to the French political elite, because it constrained growth and guaranteed electoral unpopularity. But this course was always unpopular with Germans, who, given the interwar legacy, worried about inflation and its implications.
Nobody tells Californians to relax and go to the beach when times are good. The second criticism, repeatedly voiced by the Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman, is that the supposed German history lesson is chronologically false. Rather, democracy was killed a decade later by depression and deflation.
By the Great Depression, Germany was already trapped, owing to previous bad choices.
It is precisely that lesson which is deeply engrained in German political consciousness. Germans are right to notice the parallels between conditions in Europe today and those in the interwar period.
The similarities consist in the implications of the choice of currency regime for political behavior and democratic legitimacy. At the end of its hyperinflation, Germany locked itself into a currency regime, the international gold standard, which was deliberately designed to be so limiting that exit was impossible.
The anticipated consequence was that the country would appear credible and become attractive to foreign capital. As the strategy worked, capital inflows sparked both public-sector and private-sector booms. Governments at all levels funded politically attractive but expensive infrastructure projects.
But there was a downside.
In both cases, it was clear that the capital inflows could not continue forever, and weakening competiveness meant brought the end forward. When the reversal came, Germany was trapped. As foreigners and Germans alike withdrew deposits, banks were driven into insolvency and forced to liquidate their assets at very fire-sale prices.
The government had to prop up failed banks; but it could fund deficits only by borrowing from the banks. Given its commitment to the fixed exchange rate of the gold standard, that meant that it had to impose ever more unpopular austerity measures.
Given all of these constraints, there was no easy way out. The path immediately adopted in the wake of the banking crisis was to impose capital controls. The crisis was a defeat for democracy.Over its 25 year history, the Weimar Triangle has failed to function as a strong and interdependent grouping that is capable of withstanding national political cycles and maintaining a steady level of intent among the political classes of the three countries.
“The principles which I have held in promoting the Chinese revolution were in some cases copied from our traditional ideals, in other cases modelled on European theory and experience and in still others formulated according to original and self-developed theories.
May 15, · German Socialism and Weimar Democracy Analysis with the need to maintain the popular support of a working class courted by parties to the .
Weimar Republic EXPERIENCE ONE UNFINISHED DEMOCRACY VEYMARSKAYa RESPUBLIKA OPYT ODNOY NEZAVERShENNOY DEMOKRATII [Kh. . I’ve spent a fair deal of time–way too much, actually–trying to get a handle on the Jordan Peterson phenomenon. And it is best to distinguish JP the phenomenon from JP the person, because from I can tell, they are indeed quite different and distinct.
The questions that Thomas Mann pondered during his California exile—What is the future of democracy? Can the civilized world hold back the forces of irrationalism?—are very much in the air.