Forget the bird flu. The real contagious stuff these days is German Bad Comparison Neurosis, or GBCN. The latest victim was one of Germany’s leading economists Hans-Werner Sinn who (rightly) said Germans should not search for scapegoats behind the current market meltdown – it’s systemic problems, stupid – and then (wrongly) referred to the 1930s saying “At the time it (the search for scapegoats) focused on the Jews, today it is the managers.”

That dumb people like you and me might dish out nonsense like that is one thing, but German intellectual academic and/or smart political in-the-public people say this kind of stuff here all the time, too. I guess you could call it a tradition by now, or maybe an obsession, or maybe a traditional obsession. This making of bad historical comparisons the way Germans do, I mean. But let’s call it a neurosis instead, that way it makes it sound more, uh, curable.

Whether it’s Helmut Schmidt putting Oskar Lafontaine (a political clown at best) in the same league with Adolf Hitler or ex-Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin comparing George W. Bush with the same guy (Hitler not Lafontaine – even Schroeder had to fire her for that one) or SPD boss Ludwig Stiegler comparing an election slogan of the political competition to the Nazi “Arbeit macht frei” slogan or CSU big guy Michael Glos comparing the political competition’s pushing of their own welfare reform package to the way the Nazis pushed the V2 “Wunderwaffe” rocket at the end of THE WAR or when CDU ex-super boss Roland Koch accused the unions of stigmatizing the rightwing like the Nazis did when making the Jews wear yellow stars or how about when Helmut Kohl claimed that SPD front man Wolfgang Thierse was the worst Bundestag President since Hermann Göring or the time when Willi Brandt himself compared CDU boss Heiner Geißler to Goebbels or… You get the picture now, don’t you? 

Anyway, Hans-Werner Sinn has apologized to everybody and this will most certainly never ever happen again so let’s move on. Until the next time, I mean.

“It was my intention to create understanding that the true causes of global economic crises are systemic and must be uncovered and corrected. The search for the supposed villains always leads astray.”

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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