NYT: “Bavaria: Affluent, Picturesque — and Angry”

This modern horror tale, written by Katrin Bennhold, begins:

MUNICH — All seems well in Bavaria.

The streets are clean, unemployment is practically nonexistent, social benefits are generous and a vibrant sense of identity infuses small villages and big cities alike: Even teenagers sometimes don dirndls and lederhosen for a night out at the disco.

Yet this is the new angry center of Europe, the latest battleground for populists eager to bring down both Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the idea of a liberal Europe itself.

Rich, religious and on the southern border, Bavaria is the Texas of Germany. It is a conservative bastion of the nation most associated with Europe’s open-door migration policy and the ultimate prize in a culture war that has seen populism chip away at consensus on the eastern flank of the 28-member bloc.

I wonder if the reporter is a liberal?

The horrors continue:

Markus Söder, the Bavarian premier, speaks of the end of “orderly multilateralism,” and has ordered that Christian crosses be displayed in every state government building.

And continue:

Alexander Dobrindt, the Bavarians’ parliamentary leader in Berlin, predicts a “conservative revolution.”

And continue (with Voldemort entering the picture):

Viktor Orban, the semi-authoritarian prime minister of Hungary, has been a regular guest of honor of Bavaria’s conservatives, as has Sebastian Kurz, the chancellor of Austria who governs in a coalition with the far right. There is talk of “an axis of the willing” that also includes Italy’s new far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini.

And (in the caption to an accompanying photo) continue in the most self-parodying form:

Nationalism comes easier to people in this former kingdom, which has nurtured a distinct culture over the centuries…

Meditate on that one.

I was quite struck with this passage:

“Populism has arrived at the heart of Europe,” said Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European history at Oxford University. “You now have a major European party endorsing the Orban program on migration.”

Bavaria may seem an unlikely home for populism. Nearly a third of Germany’s blue-chip listed companies are based here, unemployment is below 3 percent and economic growth has exceeded that of other German regions for the past eight years.

The reporter simply cannot comprehend the possibility that Bavarians might be in a position to see precisely what is at stake, what can be lost, due to mass immigration. Bavarians have not yet acquiesced or been stunned into resignation by the sheer displacing momentum of multiculturalism. Early naivety on the matter is more quickly corrected by a rational response:

A melting pot of Slavic and southern European influences for centuries, Bavaria has also been more successful than many other German regions at integrating newcomers. Munich, for example, is far more multicultural than Berlin….

Refugees were welcomed with applause at train stations. Sport halls were transformed into makeshift camps. Soup kitchens were manned by local residents.

But three years later, the mood has shifted, particularly in areas close to the border where the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, has made the most of its gains.

Huh. It’s almost like either the refugees’ behavior was something different than what is portrayed by the MSM, or native Bavarians suddenly erupted into spontaneous irrational spasms of xenophobia at the coaxing of the dastardly AfD “stoking diffuse fears of Islamization and warning of migrant crime and terrorism.”:

“Our perfect world was shaken,” said Hans Ruppenstein, 76, a member of a local shooting club in Baierbrunn. “People have become scared.”

Of what, exactly, no one is quite sure.

Yes, it’s a complete mystery.

Lastly, there’s the obligatory Hitler reference (“Hitler started his political career in Munich.”)


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