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Culture War Roundup for the week of December 5, 2022

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So what about the German right-wing conspiracy that got busted? On one hand, they seem pretty crazy with conspiracy theories and actually believing that the German people would support a coup. On the other hand, they don't seem like random nobodies but the kind of people you would want on your coup if you were to do a coup.

Link to news story:

Some random thoughts:

  1. Was this conspiracy realistic? Or was it just a big larp? (Are all coups big larps?)

  2. How strong were the Russian connections? Are the arrests a blow to Putin?

  3. Why do the conspiracy thing when you can just do normal politics in AfD and actually get power the true and tried way [insert reference to well-known, democratically successful German right wing leader]. Or if you insist on conspiracy, you can at least march trough the institutions, it seems like the better option? And if you really need power nownow, why not just take the exit option (e.g. move to Russia and make your own auth-right comune there?)?

I'd be happy for someone who has an actual take or an interesting perspective on this to create their own top level thread.

I don't currently have the wit to write up anything worth reading, so here's my research-free quick take for the purpose of just adding one more German perspective, based on having known some people from that and adjacent subcultures, and having lurked in some of their channels. No claim of factual correctness, but here's how I see it:

Eins (1.). No, they're all LARPing. How far they'd take it in the end is hard to tell, but these kinds of subversives are all either delusional, dumb or putting on a performance for their ego's sake. I won't even attempt any armchair psychology of the types involved, but the ones I knew were all very eager to be special, to be seen as special, and to embrace beliefs that enhanced their special status even if only in their own minds. The german conspiratorial milieu is also full of Bauernfänger ( peddling anything from crystal therapies to unlock the power of your mind to novel covid cures. I mean to say they're a credulous bunch.

As for chances of success: Though they overtly deny it, they must know on some level that the people do not have their backs, and wouldn't even if they were to conquer berlin and every state capital on top of it. Old Germans hate change, and young and new germans hate wrongthink in general and right-wing think even more so. An armed revolution in favor of everything most of the population despises, which all institutions are sworn to oppose and that only a tiny conspiratorial segment of a small and politically marginalized part of the people actually desires? Even delusions can only carry you so far. Most of them, I suppose, revel in the aesthetics of being a serious revolutionary, but would never have gone through with it.

Zwei (2.). They're there, at least this subculture is strongly pro-russian, anti-american, anti-NATO and so on. But whether this is purely a grassroots artifact of cold-war era pacifist activism or at least partially an astroturf by Putin himself, I cannot say. Money flows from Russia to certain German organizations, as others have noted, so it wouldn't be entirely surprising.

Drei (3.). Firstly refer back to 1. for one large cause. It's just the kind of people who want to be special.

Secondly, again refer back to 1. again, most of them must have known that they could never succeed, and this lack of ideological prospects extends to parliamentary politics as well - the German right will not get much further than it already has; not within our lifetimes. Going into politics for the right means fighting not just an uphill battle, but committing to a sisyphean struggle just to keep the overton window from snapping left so hard that it leaves even the last conservative out in the cold. That's a bleak thing to dedicate yourself to, and it seems to me that some people require a more colorful political vision, no matter how unlikely its implementation.

As for institutional capture, I must repeat: Most Germans reflexively and thoroughly hate anything smelling of right-wing wrongthink, in a way that even American wokes have not yet come close to. Yeah, you guys over the pond have the crazier issues with your trans and your blackbodies, but post-war Germany has mastered the science of mental inoculation against political deviancy. There is no chance whatsoever of capturing any institution that matter, nevermind of reversing the long-accomplished capture by the left of all institutions that do. This isn't even an unequal fight; it's a non-fight.

Exit is not an option. They want to either be special, to see themselves as heroes who overthrow the oppressive regime that's selling out Germany while keeping the people in ideological lockstep, or they actually believe this and want to save Germany. Creating a new society isn't on their agenda.

And, let's assume that it were on their agenda: As with all ideological crusaders, they don't want to move out into the cold to put theories they themselves believe in in so far as psychologically necessary, which they cannot implement without substantial manpower and material, the failure of which would not only embarrass their ideology but also them personally. Let me rephrase this: they don't want to move out of what is one of the comfiest, cushiest countries in the world to try their hand at building a nation out of thin air, ego and delusions. No matter how serious they are about their beliefs, there must be at least some small part of themselves screaming at the madness of giving up material paradise for what is barely even a pipe dream. But as prefaced, I don't think this is even an option for them.

Eh, my coffee is drained and I still don't think I've been able to say anything of value. I keep trying to find something of value in the German right, something more to stop the leftward slide of the country than inertia and a little friction with reality, but so far I've been mostly disappointed. Hardly surprising given Germany's history and the last 75 years of everything that can be done to weaken the right having been done, and mostly successfully so. These kinds of failed nonstarter revolutionaries are, IMO, not to be taken seriously. They receive outsized media attention because anything that mobilizes people against the right and anything that discredits the right always receive outsized media attention in Germany. Don't read too much into the particulars of this case; it's not that significant.

Thanks for your take. I think you're mostly right. I'm still confused by the social rank of some of the revolutionaries, but I just need to lower my opinion of people in general.