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October 16, 2005


Impartial German Observer of the American Scene

Sorry, but you must have interpreted my comment in a way which was not intended because it's true, we Germans have no sense of humour.


And who says Germans have no sense of humor?

Impartial German Observer of the American Scene

I read about this blog (and other “legal” blogs, as a new and interesting blog-genre ) today in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, over here in Merry Old Germany, and felt constrained to offer my two pence worth.

As an opening general comment, I would like to note that the American blogs display a high level of humour and sarcastic wit, not found to anywhere near this extent in our German blogs, which tend to be conservative, guarded and serious, as befits our Germanic nature. We have been traditionally a rather feudalistic country (or, more correctly, prior to 1871, “countries”) noted historically for its (their) lack of free institutions. It is true that we did embark upon significant social revolutions in 1918, 1933 and 1945, though, particularly during the second period of social experimentation (1933 ff), humour, especially sardonic humour regarding our executive’s proposals for ministerial or high judicial positions, was simply not part of our discourse.

However, had we Germans a tradition of freedom such as you Americans have, then we, as a careful, thorough, principled and yet idealistic people, would certainly have referred back to the founding fathers’ intentions, as a source of both guidance and inspiration; as the standard against which significant political acts should be measured. Hence, were we to have had your Constituton and your Founding Fathers, we would have tended to base the articles and comments in our blogs on your Federalist Papers where, in no. 76, that wise knower of men’s innermost natures and their need for proper regulation, in which that exalted beacon of consititutional genius, Alexander Hamilton, had, among other profound and well-considered remarks, the following to say:

“There is nothing so apt to agitate the passions of mankind as personal consideratons, whether they relate to ourselves or to others, who are to be the objects of our choice or preference. …
It (the Senate’s cooperation) would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favouritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State (as in Texas) prejudice, from family (as in Bush) connection, from personal (as – perhaps - in White House counsel) attachment, or from a view to popularity (as in “a trailblazer for women in the law”). …
He (the president) would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.”

When we read your press’s reports and read your blogs, we Germans are asking ourselves: When will these great American lovers of both freedom in, and excellence of, government again hark back to such fountains of consitutional inspiration?

Or have you Americans, in the long course of your 215 years of free life under one constitution and one Bill of Rights, become inurred to the reality of factionalism and blunted in your sensitivities to impropriety at the highest levels of your political life? Can you not again argue in a reasoned manner and polemicise on a high plane, as in days gone by? Can you not inspire your President and your Senate to virtuous and enlightened action for the true and general benefit of your great Commonwealth?

Must your articles and comments revolve around a plethora of subordinate issues? Must you exhaust your rhetorical talents in clever observations, in snide remarks? Must your feelings rise no higher than to a warm bath in the pool of mutual sycophancy?

How can it be that those fine citizens among you (indeed such as appear to constitute the major part of those persons participating in your blogs), who have been endowed by their Creator with the mental, physical and financial good fortune required to enable them to complete law school and, indeed, to move on to occupy positions of high standing in the ancient and noble profession of Law, not only in private practice but in universities, in the judiciary and in congressional and executive agencies, forget the ideals which inspired your constitution?

It is as though the medical doctor were to forget his sacred commitment to the Hippocratic Oath and, instead, have sought not the well-being of his fellow men, but rather turned to the remunerations of a selfish world, poor recompense!

At least in the press – and blogs are becoming a significant part of the press – it would be truly befitting and beneficial to see a return in general tenor to the idealism of the past. Of a pre-post-modern past, in which you still believed that material progress and ever-higher levels of universal education would lead ever nearer to the perfection of man’s social and moral life.

Though human nature is by no means perfect, it can, and must continuously, be induced to move at least closer to that unreachable state, by an idealistic and inspiring Free Press.


You passed up the opportunity to make some kind of salacious remark about Miers "getting action" from the pins?

Don't let us down! Edit, A3G, edit!

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