Journal Entry

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I cannot believe it

It looks like this piece of xenophobic, religiously illiterate, self-serving, self-righteous racist crap actually passed.

It was supposed to have no chance. I can't believe I was lulled into complacency by the commentator class again. They always underestimate the SVP, who an onion should grow on their heads it wouldn't be too good for them. I should have been in the Bahnhof handing out homemade Minarette-verbot-nein pamphlets.

Typically the Left completely ignored this, making a few muted noises and furrowed brows of protest. The town was plastered with SVP posters; I didn't see one single paid-for piece of public comment on the other side.

Every SVP evil-referendum campaign, I fantasize about counter-posters but I never do anything.

Good grief.

You know what's really scary? The sincerity of the SVP grassroots who pushed this. This is only in part an opportunistic anti-foreigner stunt. No, if you go and read their literature, you get the sense they actually believe themselves to be in danger from Islamic hegemony. Muslims are six percent of Switzerland's population, mostly irreligious or liberal, politically, economically, and socially vulnerable. But the Swiss -- the richest people on the planet -- think that when this handful of immigrants wants to put up their version of a churchtower, it is as a symbol of Muslim sovereignty and might -- Herrschaft und Macht -- and any minute they will be herded into harems and subjected to Sharia.

Keep your masochistic orientalist fantasies in the dungeon where they belong, people.

Abusers typically, in the moment they are exercising their power, believe themselves to be the victims. The Nazis feared the Jews, the slaveholders feared the slaves, rapists feel humiliated and controlled by short skirts. There's something much scarier about this detachment from reality than there would be in mere cynical political manipulation. The most dangerous people in the world are the powerful caught in a fever dream of victimhood.

Posted by benrosen at November 29, 2009 03:21 PM | Up to blog
Comments

Sadly, this does not surprise me at many, many levels. Welcome to discovering the dirty secret that Europeans can be just as much of a bunch of racist knuckle-dragging bigots as Americans. Effete elites, my ass.

Not so long ago the immigrants the Swiss were scared and disgusted of were us. Italians seems to have forgotten, but I haven't.

Posted by: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan at November 29, 2009 05:00 PM

Oh, and the Left not doing anything about it? It is so bloody typical as well.

Posted by: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan at November 29, 2009 05:01 PM

People tend to poll more tolerant than they really are... At least that's the explanation was given in the last US election for why Obama tended to poll better than he did in the actual primaries.

Posted by: Ethan at November 30, 2009 02:43 AM

I think this effect was upset in the (Obama) general election, though... at least I remember articles beforehand saying "well, he looks like he's ahead, but remember the Bradley effect".

TSOR yields this article from 538.com

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at November 30, 2009 11:31 AM

Cosider instead the many Swiss who were probably perfectly comfortable voting for this without recourse to thinking of themselves as victims. German peoples are big into Ornung.

It's been quite a while since I lived in Germany, but I did live there. for a couple of years. Racism via building codes seems to me more an Ordnung thing than a faux-victimization thing -- much more distanced, and because of that perhaps more pernicious.

Posted by: Kathryn Cramer at December 1, 2009 12:57 AM

Not buying it, Kathryn. At least not in canton Basel-land, which voted for the ban.

I saw your comment on Ellen's Facebook, Kathryn, to the effect that not all abusers think of themselves as victims, some merely think they are enforcing the law or doing good works, and in general I agree -- that is of course an important qualification.

But I'm here, and the whole tenor of every poster I've seen, everything I've read the SVP quoted as saying in the paper, is all based in hysterical fear of Islam. They honestly think that if they don't draw a line in the sand now they will be dominated by Muslims. They argue that they are not against religious freedom, they are preserving religious freedom by banning minarets -- because minarets are instruments used to take their religious freedom away.

See for yourself. It is all this paranoid fantasy. I know I am at risk of invoking Godwin's law, but really, the similarities to the 1930s terror of Jewish power over Germans, at a time when Jews were just exactly such a vulnerable, assimilation-hungry, and inoffensive population as Swiss Muslims are today, is just inescapable.

(I think they partly have to go there because I can't see anyone taking "minarets are unkempt and disorderly" seriously as an argument -- not even in Switzerland. We are talking about correctly filed building permits here, after all.)

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at December 1, 2009 07:34 PM
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