Conservatism is in crisis. The CDU confused the preservation of values with persistence and imploded. The Union should now actually set milestones together, redesign itself. But that is not possible: Old men cling to their offices – and men with an early mind hang up posters of dead old men.
The “Simpsons” has a nice little gag about a newspaper title on which Homer’s half-senile father angrily shakes his fist at the sky, headline: “Old man screams at cloud”. The conservatives in Germany, especially in the CDU, now have to be careful that they do not become the nation’s Abraham Simpson. Right now the party is a nursing home case.
With a lot of fanfare, a new journalistic opinion-thrower has just gathered on the Internet: “TheRepublic”. A would-be Rezo with a “neo-conservative” agenda wants to rant “against the left” with moral and financial support from some CDU politicians and businessmen.
Your lighthouse is the anti-gender star
Seldom has anyone underlined the mental zero line of Germany’s conservatives with so much effort: Against links. And for what?
The poison and gall portal carries the eagle coat of arms and defines one’s own mental attitude as anti, anti and again anti. Anti-gender, anti-broadcast, anti-links. The platform plays on the pain points of the reactionaries, long-haired greens (Hofreiter), annoying satirists (Böhmermann), radicals (but only those on the left). You just don’t want to stand up for something.
Essays on Civic Virtues? About the status of patriotism in the 2020s? A lean vision of Europe? Profane things like conscription or a conservative vision of modern education policy? Thoughtful, constructive, visionary things are missing on the political mob ramp. Your lighthouse is the anti-gender star.
Leading minds, no orientation
Behind the reactionary goo, like the “Bild” newspaper headlines, “leading figures” of the CDU. In a party that is currently running in circles, every head is now apparently “leading”. “I do not belong to it”, announced the permanently underrated CSU woman Dorothee Bär immediately, the CDU hope Christian Ploß deniedto have attended a founding meeting. Friedrich Merz is probably really there, as well as “the environment” of the SME union MIT, like a representative of “TheRepublic” oracles.
If it were only about a frustrated internet project, it could and should be ignored like an angry emoji in a Telegram message. But how boomingly hollow the CDU is now, it shows not only on the Internet. The one-man campaign detonator Armin Laschet, for example, still speaks for the party for some reason. So when the FAZ asks him whether the two-party concept of the Union actually still works, he can only think of one reference to Franz Josef Strauss – the CSU man who has been in the grave for over 30 years, but is now decorating Insta accounts of the German “Neocons” again.
Obviously, many of the Christian Democrats expect spiritual orientation from their council of elders. Its uncrowned chairman is Wolfgang Schäuble: He has been a member of the Bundestag for almost 50 years. Almost fifty years! He really wants to make half a century full. You read that right, Schäuble has been in the same job, in the same environment for 50 years, has similar colleagues, hardly any critics. He is still one of the most powerful men in the CDU, perhaps the most powerful of all. He is the architect of the election disaster, together with Volker Bouffier, who, of course, continues. How are these men supposed to reinvent conservatism?
Sexism and ostrich nostalgia
In such a party, even younger politicians age in fast motion. The Junge Union’s Germany Day could be a nucleus for a bourgeois vision, a forge for the large conservative counterweight to the emerging traffic light alliance in the federal government. But instead of spiritual guidance, the just 53-year-old Ralph Brinkhaus is raging from the “tightest links course” for a long time. It was even too primitive for some in the JU, you have to manage it first. A young politician received a lot of attention when he read CDU answers from Wahl-O-Mat to loud applause: “no position”, “no position”, “no position”.
The CDU – in this the party is not dissimilar to the “Bild” editorial team, which has just been thoroughly shaken up, believes itself to be surrounded by leftists, enemies and ecologists. Springer boss Mathias Döpfner compares today’s Germany with the GDR, for fun of course, maybe he’ll soon write a gloss for “TheRepublic”. Just like the “Bild” editorial team, the CDU is gathering around cold, old glowing thoughts: The “Bild” newspaper is a crude mixture of sexism, “Wolf of Wall Street” culture and homage to the boss, at the CDU it is Schäuble, Merz and Strauss nostalgia. And similar to Armin Laschet, the conservative media mogul Döpfner is about as discerning and responsible as a cliché industrialist from a ZDF evening series: everyone else is to blame and the circumstances, at least he can’t help it. Is that the decency of the conservatives?
A movement that replaces content with resentment will end up in a fermenting compost heap. Most recently, this fate overtook the AfD: The professors’ party, which was halfway honorable when it was founded, was an alternative to the (EU-euphoric) zeitgeist, apart from economic principles without a mental skeleton, an anti-movement with a lot of understanding, but without a heart. Today the AfD is a fist that always hits tables, but doesn’t build one. Is this what the CDU should look like in ten years?
Conservative visions on the sidelines
There is certainly material for conservative scaffolding. The CSU has been showing for years that one can combine conservative to ultra-conservative attitudes with ecology. Under the motto “laptop and lederhosen”, the Bavarians turned to technology instead of scolding blue-haired Youtubers. You may find Markus Söder hugging trees silly – but he has found a story with which conservatives also provide an answer to climate change.
In the CDU, on the other hand, one sees visions at best on the sidelines: the former Secretary General Peter Tauber recently developed attractive, at least new ideas on how to develop ideas for the 21st century from Prussian conservatism – Humboldt’s educational ideal, Kantian philosophy and even a counterweight to Teutonic nationalism wants to have found Tauber. “Creation and nature, society, the family, traditions and values”, names in Baden-Württemberg the new mayor of the small town of Heubach, Joy Alemazung, as “conservative”. He replaced a social worker after 35 years.
If the CDU does not want to share the fate of other Christian European parties, it has to show more. Fast. Content, soul and more Avanti – instead of anti, anti, anti.