Is it normal to hate patriotism?

Greens and patriotism: too little patriotism?

The AfD and Friedrich Merz assume that Robert Habeck is not patriotic. Your evidence is an out of context quote. A fact check.

A left-wing patriot: Robert Habeck 2012 in the mudflats in North Friesland Photo: imago

BERLINtaz | Unfortunately, intellectual honesty is not far off in election campaigns. Friedrich Merz delivered a prime example of malicious defamation to Markus Lanz on Wednesday evening. Or maybe it was just impressive ignorance, but from the beginning.

He took the opportunity to pull over the Green chairman Robert Habeck in front of an audience of millions. What Habeck said about the German state and patriotism irritated him “extremely”, said Merz. As an example, he added that Habeck had said that he could “do nothing” with the word patriotism and that the word patriotism “sucks”.

Habeck, a fatherless journeyman? Merz repeated a defamation that is extremely popular in right-wing extremist circles. For years, the AfD and right-wing trolls on the net have portrayed the Green leader as a hater of Germany, always with reference to the “puke” quote. Conservatives such as CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak and MP Philipp Amthor have already used it to raise the mood against the Greens.

A fact check is therefore advisable on the occasion. The quote is usually taken out of context. It is in Robert Habeck's book “Patriotism. A Left Plea, ”which appeared in 2010. You have to quote the entire text in order to grasp the context. Habeck writes:

"Meaningful, political narrative"

“As addressee and connection between the opposites, between 'liberality' and 'paternalism', between 'responsible' and 'creative', between 'citizen' and 'consumer'”, you need a positive understanding of society.

It takes to create a meaningful, political narrative that gives confidence and confidence that change is good and worth fighting for. You need a story that focuses on change, on justice and internationality. I call this commitment 'left patriotism'.

I write this with full awareness that I will provoke opposition. Patriotism, in other words, love of the country, always sucks. I didn't know what to do with Germany and still don't know. "

The quotes are eleven years old, but they are correct. The decisive factor is the connection: Habeck takes the admission that he "found" patriotism to puke (imperfect!), Expressly as a starting point for the thesis that leftists should also relate positively to German society. In other words: He corrects his old position in detail and publicly.

Advertise constitutional patriotism

The tenor continues in the book. Over 200 pages, Habeck promotes constitutional patriotism, enthusiasm for the common good, common ideals, in short: left-wing patriotism. He was one of the first to make this idea palatable to the German left. The thrust of the Greens is exactly the opposite of that assumed by Merz, Ziemiak or the AfD.

Habeck has long since admitted that the two sentences in the book are misleading from today's perspective. "Today I would probably not write it like that anymore," he said in April 2019 Picture on sunday. Again he asserted that leftists should not leave patriotic symbols to rights: “Flag and anthem do not belong to right-wing populists.” Habeck said his book explains why “left-wing parties also have to take care of a sense of unity and a home”.

The course of the Greens under Habeck and Annalena Baerbock also refutes the claim that they don't know what to do with Germany. The eco party governs eleven federal states and enters into the most difficult alliances to form majorities beyond the AfD. In doing so, she sometimes even ignores her own pain threshold for the good of the country.

An example: In Saxony-Anhalt there was a veritable crisis in December because the CDU parliamentary group blocked a fee increase of 86 cents for public broadcasting. She did this against the will of its own CDU Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff, against the will of the government partners SPD and Greens, against the will of all other state parliaments - but to the great joy of the AfD, which hates the allegedly left-green silted state radio.

How important was the Thuringian CDU parliamentary group?

The Greens tolerated this, well: patriotic act of the Saxony-Anhalt CDU grudgingly because they did not want to expose the country to a government crisis in the middle of the corona pandemic. Who was demonstrating the more state-supportive stance? And how important was the Thuringian CDU parliamentary group, which together with the AfD elected a short-term Prime Minister from the FDP? Regardless, such questions lead away from the topic, the Greens.

In any case, Habeck and Baerbock constantly repeat that state institutions must be protected and the democratic center held together. They overwritten their 2018 summer trip with a quote from the national anthem ("the pledge of happiness"). Above their basic program is a fragment from the Basic Law ("... to respect and protect ...").

Robert Habeck is, so to speak, the most patriotic Green in the world. You can ignore all of this and still assume that it has a disturbed relationship with the state, as Merz does - but then you operate on the border with fake news.

No pocket populism, please

But it is completely absurd that Merz cites the coalition in Schleswig-Holstein, of all things, as an example of “sensible Greens” because they ruled there with the CDU and FDP. Habeck was instrumental in organizing the Jamaica coalition in 2017 and was Minister-President Daniel Günther (CDU) Energy Transition Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.

As I said, maybe Friedrich Merz, who never held a government office or swore an oath, simply did not have the facts with Lanz? This is countered by the fact that his spokesman did not correct or withdraw anything on Thursday's taz request, but only referred to the fact checker from Correctiv. The former quotes the sentences from Habeck's book correctly, but also does not provide any further context.

Merz apparently feels that he is right on this issue. And now? To put it in a patriotic and state-supporting way: If this is to become the intellectual level of the federal election campaign, then God have mercy on us. Friedrich Merz should rather explain what a good Germany could look like for everyone, instead of going on excursions into pocket populism.