Thursday, February 18, 2016

Germans Enthusiastic for the Common Good

This essay revolves around the common German theme that you see on a daily basis......avoidance of rule-breaking.

I hate to admit this detail about Americans....but bluntly, after 200-plus years....we have become a society....passionate and break rules.  Germans?  They are eager and spirited to obey rules.

You see this every morning on the trains and buses.  A thousand Germans or non-Germans will enter a train and the audit guy will walk around to find three people who attempted to ride the trip with no ticket.

On my local bus into Wiesbaden....over 2015....I probably made the trip at least one hundred and forty times.  Audits occurred on roughly ten-percent of the trips and I observed at least five or six people who got the fine (60-Euro now for a lack of tickets).  I observed some 14-year-old teenage gal who likely pocketed the money that Mom gave her for the monthly ticket....having to admit no ticket on herself to the audit guy.

From all the regular and normal day practices that a German might engage upon.....the vast majority of the time....a German will not break the rules.

You want a dirty look.....go up to a crosswalk where the red-light exists for you the walker, and attempt to cross it while it's red, and there's some woman with a kid on the opposite side.  You'll get a fairly nasty look as you cross against the red light.

Robbery, at least through the 1990s.....was a rare event in Germany.  I admit it's escalated greatly in the past decade....but it's mostly all non-Germans who contributed to that.

Why this continued theme of obeying the law?  I suspect to some degree that it started up in the Roman ages of Germany.  Maybe the Romans themselves often broke their own laws.....but Germans eventually figured out that you were less likely to get into trouble or get beaten.....if you just obeyed the laws.  Maybe this strategy is what survives on today.

Course, I will point out that just about every German who makes more than 50,000 Euro a year in salary is working hard to figure a gimmick to avoid taxation.  But in some ways, I think they do that mostly for their common good, and the common good of the government (to avoid giving them too much money to spend).  A German would grin when explaining this logic....saying his government just isn't capable of spending billions more on the BER (the Berlin Airport construction project) or thousands of other poorly planned infrastructure projects.

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