Letter From Germany: Totalitarian Again?

On January 9, 1997, in an open letter in the New York Times to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, American artists and intellectuals criticized the discriminatory treatment of Scientologists in Germany. Although the petitioners claimed not to be biased in their complaint by sympathy for this church, their objectivity has to be questioned, for there are far more serious instances of discrimination and intolerance in Germany. These social activists usually end up "Nazifying the Germans," equating the "victims" of the moment with the Jews of the holocaust. What they miss, however, is that the past most relevant for understanding Germany today is not the period of the 1930's and 40's but the period of the communist dictatorship, when the Soviet Union ruled the major part of our country.

Though the unification of Germany was ostensibly a crushing defeat for the left who opposed it, this defeat has been turned into a stunning victory, as the communist past is now repeating itself in Germany in the guise of liberalism. The victorious left is currently represented in the Bundestag by the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), by the "Greens" (whose leaders came from the radical '68 generation and were sympathetic to the left-wing terrorists of the 1970's), as well as by the Social Democrats, classified as "liberals" by American analysts. After unification, the leading communists of...

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