150 years on, Germany’s past shows fragility of freedom

Today in The Australian

One hundred and fifty years ago this week, on January 18, 1871, the German empire was proclaimed in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors, which the troops of the German states had just captured in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71.

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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18 Responses to 150 years on, Germany’s past shows fragility of freedom

  1. Diogenes says:

    From Spiked 19 January …

    Germans who refuse to self-isolate could be put in repurposed refugee camps. Yes, you read that right.

    People in the states of Saxony and Brandenburg who repeatedly refuse to self-isolate after being exposed to Covid could be interned. The Saxony state government said it would only use the camps when all other means, including financial penalties, had failed to deter the rule-breakers. Similarly, the state of Schleswig-Holstein plans to put these offenders in part of a juvenile-detention facility.

    State governments are entitled to detain quarantine-breachers due to the stipulations of a Covid law passed in March, legal expert Christoph Degenhar told Die Welt. But legal or not, the authoritarianism is staggering.

    Civil liberties have taken a beating during the pandemic. But the internment in camps of those who refuse to self-isolate might be the most frightening example yet.

  2. Angus Black says:

    This article was one of your best, Henry.

    Likening the “intelligencia” to philosopher kings is really very nice. I remember, during my time in Germany, colleagues often repeating the aphorism “Every professor his own Pope” … and that was pretty close to both perception and reality, I thought.

  3. Entropy says:

    Prof Ergas’ articles are great, but I will not renew my sub for them. The rest of the paper is descending into the same trash you can get everywhere else.

  4. maree says:

    What a wonderful piece, Henry!

    I had the good fortune of studying modern European history at a high level in my final school years before education on such subjects became corrupted. A life in journalism and independent study, reading and thinking now worries me that history is wasted on the ignorant.

  5. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    The fruit never falls far from the tree. Has their application to rejoin the human race beenformally accepted yet .
    The French still think of them as “les salles boches “.
    The US democrims ashould study the methods of their fellow socialist Hitler to remove the threat of the non racist Trumpists who are a danger to democrims .

  6. Strayan Drongo says:

    Entrophy it’s like it’s across the whole Murdoch Fox business. The Australian has turned trash, Fox has turned trash, looks to me like Murdock’s finally allowing the sons to take more control. I guess they will be the generation to lose it.

  7. Jannie says:

    I am with Entropy, I would like to read the article, but would never renew my sub to The Australian, which i cancelled years back. I still get the headlines and they are 97% bullshit as far as i can tell.

  8. Lurks says:

    I for another will not venture beyond the paywall.

    It begs the question: If the article is worth the effort to acknowledge here why does the effort not extend to presenting it verbatim

  9. Lurks says:

    Ergas may well be prolific in waving his flags and sprouting virtues but if the virtues are to be aligned to a public morality, he would have no hesitation in re-quoting the article here in the Cat

  10. Daily llama says:

    Join your library. When you get the card, use your card number to access newsbank. It accesses thousands of newspapers worldwide. You don’t get everything but you do get a lot of the articles

  11. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “Jannie
    #3732946, posted on January 22, 2021 at 9:57 am
    I am with Entropy, I would like to read the article, but would never renew my sub to The Australian, which i cancelled years back. I still get the headlines and they are 97% bullshit as far as i can tell.”

    Me too…although I only cancelled recently. Am not missing the newspaper either. If I’m going to read far-left gunk, I’ll read the SMH.

  12. maree says:

    For info to fellow Cats, James Murdoch is the reason for the demise of Fox. He is a Harry, a second son with a crazy wife who has the short and curlies well in hand. Investigate, see the parallels.

    btw, our son has sailed with Lachlan on several occasions, says he is a William, knows his duty to wider matters.

    How parallel are these families in duty, foolishness and longevity.

    And how seriously insane is Charles? The Madness of King George 111?

  13. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “btw, our son has sailed with Lachlan on several occasions, says he is a William, knows his duty to wider matters.”

    Yep….I have a family member who knows Lachlan and the analogy to William is correct. Also Lachlan’s wife isn’t crazy.

  14. Delta says:

    The last three paragraphs from the article:

    In Australia, we rightly pride ourself on our longstanding freedoms and on our equally longstanding hostility to the siren call of would-be tyrants.

    As Brian Penton put it in his unjustly neglected book Advance Australia — Where?, which was written as Australian troops braved the Kokoda Track, while “most of the witch-doctors of the contemporary scene”, from Hitler to Mussolini, “had sent apostles to Australia, their converts, massed together, could not have raised one respectable Heil”. But Penton went on to insistently remind his readers of Goethe’s dictum that “Man must win his liberty every day afresh”.

    This Australia Day, as we look back on the century and a half that separates us from that ceremony in the Hall of Mirrors, Goethe’s words deserve to resonate in every home.

    My comments – noble sentiments indeed – but what’s the use of those words in a society where civics are not taught. A soft society doesn’t appreciate freedoms until they are removed and without being taught enough about our heritage, how would a man know how to proceed about winning his liberty every day afresh?

    In the meantime, I notice that Cricket Australia will remove all references to Australia Day for the Australia Day test matches. Yeah sure – in a spirit of reconciliation or some such bullshit. And if you attend a match you will be treated to a contrived welcome ceremony -more claptrap but along the lines for the Hindmarsh island secret women’s business. This stuff has been going for decades to chip away at our culture. What will be left in another 10 or 20 years in the wake of the US election? It may not be pretty.

  15. min says:

    Headlines in today’s OZ say it all . Leninism in Australia now as described by James Lindsay.

  16. max says:

    In Australia, we rightly pride ourself on our longstanding freedoms

    Leonard E. Read, the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education in 1946, used to say that Americans live in a country in which various levels of government extract over 40% of their productivity, yet they call this system freedom.

    “They don’t know the difference between freedom and coercion.”

    At this distance, it is impossible for us to realize how popular a man internationally Mussolini was. He was highly praised by western statesmen, scholars, theoreticians; Churchill lauded him, Roosevelt’s NRA was extensively an imitation of Mussolini, in fact one could call Mussolini the unacknowledged patron saint of Western politics since WW2.

    It is the new Fascism. No longer labeled as Fascism, but employing basically the same ideas.

    Fascism is simply Marxism under the guise of a capitalistic facade.
    In Fascism, people retain title to their homes, or their businesses, but they are so regulated and so controlled, that they are simply owned by the state, but held by individuals in their own name.
    Now, this is what we have today in this country and all over the world in varying degrees.
    There is not one good book in the English language on Mussolini, because if they were to write honestly about him, they would have to say the United States, Great Britain, every country today is following Mussolini’s pattern. The postal service is a Fascist organization. It is supposedly an independent entity, but it is actually a federal entity. Amtrak and so on. All these things are copied from Mussolini’s Italy, plus the fact that regulatory agencies govern our utilities, govern us, govern the environment, and we have no say-so about them. The essence of Fascism is its hypocrisy. Fascism gives you Marxism in the name of freedom, because people are unwilling to come out openly for freedom, or openly for Marxism, and as a result, you have Fascism.

  17. 2dogs says:

    It was the unifications of both Germany and Italy in the 1870’s that ultimately gave rise to both Hitler and Mussolini.

  18. James Hargrave says:

    But surely Hitler was Austria’s ultimate means of revenge on Prussia

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