Monday, October 18, 2010

The Difference

Years ago, I sat and watched some German Sunday night political chat show.  With the moderator counted as well...there were three political folks and three journalists.  But there was actually another thing I came to notice by the end of the 75 minutes of non-stop nonsense type political chatter....there were six people in front of me who were university graduates and actually more of a elitist group than anything else.

Over the fifteen years I spent in Germany, I had come to grasp dozens of occasions where there was an absolute difference between elitist Germans and "regular" Germans.

Elitist Germans tend to run every newspaper and national media outlet.  Elitist Germans run just about every major substantial company in Germany.  Elitist Germans run not only the national university system, but also your local school district.

A guy like Bill Gates coming up with an amazing idea and launching it into a major enterprise within twenty years in Germany?  Never.  It simply can't happen.  The banking structure, the political structure, the national media, and various other stumbling blocks would ensure that something like that can't happen.

I had an American make the simple analysis that the last time that a regular German came out of nowhere to take on the "machine"....it was Adolph Hitler.  I laughed over the analysis and kept thinking I would find lots of regular people that launched careers and beat the system.

In the entertainment arena....there's Dieter Bolan.  I admit....he is difficult and probably impossible for people to work with....but most of everything he touches....is a success.  Dieter would be the first to admit that he's pretty much a regular guy and really just wants to entertain you.

There are a handful of political figures without any university degree and they've done ok for themselves in life.

But on the whole of things.....this mighty nation is faced each Sunday evening with the thought and analysis of university elites.  For those who tune into channel one around 9:45 after Tatort....it's 75-odd minutes of political thought by elites, and not much else.

This recent topic of integration?  Well....the majority of the cultural and university elites don't see a problem.  They'd keep this train running on the same track.  The guys from the local plant?  The folks from the local pub?  The crowd that hangs out at the soccer stadium?  They have a vastly different view.  It doesn't matter where you go in Germany....they see too many foreigners and an influence that they dislike.

It would be fascinating to have the Sunday night political chat show dump for one evening all of these political and university elites, and pick six random folks out from the Koln bahnhof (train-station), or six folks from the local pub in Hochspeyer, or six women from some farming community in Bavaria.  It might be a shocking evening where people lay out their top five priorities in life, explain why the education is so screwed up, and why German police are the only thing in the nation left that they all trust.

The odds of just a regular debate with regular people?  Zero.  You just can't allow a bunch of regular people express brilliance, because then....what would do with all the elites of Germany?

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