The challenge to German liberalism

David Goodhart 

The first British review of the publishing sensation that trashes the pieties of the 1968 generation. Despite its needless racial provocations, it narrows the gap between the public and politicians, says David Goodhart—who appeared on Radio 3’s Nightwaves last night to discuss the book

Thilo Sarrazin: are Muslims really lowering the intelligence of German society?

Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab: Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen [Germany Abolishes Itself: How we are putting our country at risk]
By Thilo Sarrazin (Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, €22.99)

Thilo Sarrazin, a minor German politician on the technocratic wing of the country’s Social Democratic party, has just written what is probably the bestselling political book in postwar Europe (1m copies in hardback and counting). Everyone in Germany knows at least a simplified version of what Germany Abolishes Itself says, and the reaction to the book is helping to drive government policy on minority integration.

The message of the book, in headline form, is that Germany is becoming smaller (thanks to the familiar story of a falling birthrate among native Germans) and stupider (thanks to the fact that educated Germans are having fewer children and the fastest growing part of the population are poorly-integrated Muslim immigrants). That “stupider” is, of course, contested and has led to accusations of a flirtation with eugenics—of which more later.

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