Angela Merkel saved the West

(James Hawes on “So even now that Angela Merkel’s own CDU is no longer the largest party, she has won.

How come? Because she saved her one true love: the West. The real, European West, that is, not the “West” of the wild, free-spirited Ayn Rand-esque fantasies that arose when communism fell. She understood what the West really means.

How could she have done otherwise, with her life story? Unlike almost everyone in East Germany, she was not there because of bad luck and barbed wire. Her father, a pastor, moved of her own free will from Hamburg to the East shortly after her birth in 1954, and there became a leading figure in the Lutheran Church. This is less surprising than it sounds, because the Lutherans, with their strict delineation of secular and spiritual realms (meaning in practice that they never seriously criticize the state), have been welcome helpers to the rulers of East Germany since the Teutonic Knights embraced Luther, broke with Rome and founded their own new state: Prussia.

The Wall was built when she was seven. She must have grown up knowing she could have been a West German. As a very talented young scientist working within the insane ideological confines of Marxism-Leninism, she must have felt the direct effects of her father’s misguided utopianism every day. At 35 she experienced the triumph of the West not only as simple, literal freedom, but also as a spiritual liberation, at last, from the structural mendacity in which millennial ideas inevitably derail.

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