Gutmenschen and Empty Speeches
Without going necessarily into Freudian psychoanalysis, it suffices to state that what people say, reveals a lot about their personality. In the aggregate, the individual statements of people can be revealing for a certain world-view. In the cases of the recent statements of Martin Schulz (president of the EU parliament) and Katrin Göring-Eckardt (a German politician and deputy president of the Bundestag), one can learn a lot about how the left perceives the world. One sees how detached from reality arguments are formed and opinions are made, among the so called Gutmenschen.
On German television, Katrin Göring-Eckardt of the Greens stated that Germany continuously needs immigration. While this might be a debatable argument, it is reasonable nonetheless. However: Göring-Eckardt, one of Germany’s top politicians, continued to say that Germany needs immigrants who will go straight on welfare. Probably for the first time in recorded history, a politician calls for immigration directly into the welfare system. This is quite an astonishing feat and exemplary for the lack of thinking in the German leftish milieu. It is not reasonable to have immigration just to maintain the raison d’être for the social welfare system.
Mrs. Göring-Eckardt anticipates in her statement the motivation for the potential immigrant. Essentially she dictates the future life for immigrants, who have not even shown up yet. She ascribes to them a way of life, which she probably would not want for herself. The consequence of her postulate would be that the German taxpayer would have to perpetually finance the lives of people who never had paid taxes or worked in Germany. This is an astonishing feat of uncritical thinking, to say the least. It is furthermore revealing for how Göring-Eckardt sees the German taxpayer, her electorate.
In the case of Martin Schulz, even more mental imagery is present. Commenting on the loss of lives in the Mediterranean, Schulz imagined “hearing the screams of children seeing their parents drown, of parents unable to save their children. The screams of people lost in a raging sea, in sight of a continent they had looked to for protection and hope.”
The issue with this is that Schulz has quite likely not the slightest clue about the reality of the mental image he depicts. He does not know how the screams of dying people are. Schulz does not know what the motivations and expectations of the people were. It is mere vivid symbolism. Paraphrasing Walter Lippmann, the only thing real for Schulz is his desire to help. Since the issue he is imagining is not known to him, he can only find a real experience in his speech act.
Schulz as well as Göring-Eckard, have no intimate acquaintance with the subject matter they argue about. For them, the only real experience is their act of speech. These speeches are however empty speeches. Neither Schulz nor Göring-Eckardt act on what they call for. Their speech acts have a single function; to soothe their conscious. They realize this by collectivizing their individual responsibility. In calling the Germans and even all Europeans to action, to do something, they excuse themselves for doing individually nothing. Metaphorically, their speech act constitutes the absolution for the absence of their individual action. It exemplifies how the Gutmenschen want to do good, through others and not by themselves.