Roland Dürre
Friday April 19th, 2019

(Deutsch) Das wahre Gesicht unserer Politiker.

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

I enjoy time on the lake and on the ocean, because the air there is good for my throat. Ever since, when I was a child, they removed my tonsils, l have been suffering from chronic throat aches more or less all the time. However, after a few days on the water, they are gone.

The Joy of Seeing the Ocean (Foto © Luc Bosma, Bonaire)

Whenever Barbara and I go places by ship, we try to get a cabin with a patio. Then we dream through the ocean nights with our patio door open, we breathe in the fresh sea air and enjoy the sound of the water. That was also what we did during our latest Caribbean trip.

At night, our ship travels from one island to the next. Since, more often than not, the islands are not far apart, the ship mostly travels at low speed. Regardless, it will dock in the morning before sunrise at the harbour of our destination, because the nights are long in December in the Caribbean.

Then comes the shock every morning. The air starts to smell foul and artificial light will penetrate the cabin. It is the less than pleasant trio of civilization characteristics as it welcomes us.

At home in Neubiberg, the smell is a constant throughout the day and the night. You will not find any place where it gets really dark. Wherever you are, a street lamp or some advertising glamour will illuminate your house. And you can hardly see any stars in the sky any more.

Even though I live in a rather privileged area, this is also true for my home. Keeping the windows open at night is not possible, if only because of the constant round-the-clock noise of the not-too-far city.

I refuse to take sleeping pills, especially if they become part of your normal life. Consequently, we use closed noise-proof windows and darkened bedrooms. By now, I am used to it, but that does not mean I find it nice.

If I leave my house on foot or by bike and turn towards Ottobrunn, I will quickly find myself on such roads as the Putzbrunner Strasse or the Rosenheimer Landstrasse. It is hard to breathe and it is a true adventure to cross the road. And you also find waste on the shoulders of the Bavarian streets – as probably everywhere else on the world.

After returning home, questions about the purpose of life come up again:
Do we really need motorized individual traffic? Does all this consumption really make us happy? Would a life that is less determined by efficiency and profit be more to our liking? How can we free ourselves from the permanent manipulation? Would it not be better to live a simple life and not let life become a hectic hunt for material properties?

Let me forestall possible criticism:
If you fly to the Caribbean and travel around nine islands by ship and enjoy the nice climate and the ocean, then you certainly have no right to criticize the MIV driver who takes his pre-heated SUV in the morning to go and fetch his breakfast. I am well aware of this.

So here is what I think:
Mobility is probably a central need of human nature. Consequently, I find it hard to individually abstain. But if we act collectively – for instance by high taxes on kerosene and a fair distribution of the external costs for those who cause them – we could at least reduce the volume of individual mobility and its terrible consequences on this planet.

If you argue that such measures would, again mainly be detrimental for the poor, then I think this is not totally true. Even the ancient Greeks knew that demanding an Arithmetic Justice is utopian and probably stupid.

I think such a thing has never existed and will never exist. Because life is as it is. And I would actually be quite happy with a geometric justice  (geometrische Gerechtigkeit following the Nikomachische Ethik by Aristoteles).

Attention, cannon (Foto © Luc Bosma, Bonaire)

RMD
(Translated by EG)

? The world is beautiful – that is also true for the Caribbean.

In the Caribbean, our eyes were again fed to the brim with natural and artificial beauty. It made me remember a story of a few years back.

It was in Guinea. With a few friends, I had done an excursion to a place with a particularly nice view. As soon as we arrived, everybody in the group wanted to be the one to best express what a singularly beautiful scenery we saw.

Suddenly, I exploded:

”You know, the Bavarian Lakes are also quite nice“.

I meant the Königsee, the Ammersee and the Starnberger See.

Sunset on Bonaire (Foto © Luc Bosma)

Even today, my friends still teasingly remind me of this sentence.

However, I stick by it. I know no trip of mine where the beauty of this world did not fascinate me. That is true both for my bike-tours in Bavaria and Germany and for my trips through Africa and America.

There were always spectacular views. The same was true in Arctica. Every individual iceberg was a great view. And the Wedell-Lake shimmered spectacularly in the sun.

Even the industrial ruins of the Southern Georgia Whaling Industry presented themselves to me with great beauty.

Between ruins (private picture)

In fact, even the view from our “high-rise ship” in the Dominican Republic onto the sinisterly but intensely steaming chimneys in the La Romana harbour were beautiful in a bizarre way. And the view from the skyscraper down to the slums of Mumbai, too, has its attraction.

There is one impression my soul ate up during my trips that particularly impressed me. It was when we crossed the Alpes by bike on a morning after staying overnight in the Heidelberger Hütte. But even here, I would not say that it was the best landscape ever in my life.

In this context, there is probably only BEAUTIFUL, not more beautiful or even most beautiful.

Sunrise on Bonaire (Foto © Luc Bosma)

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Let me say this up front:
Our trip through the Caribbean made it clear to me that the economic-social principle of life with consumption and profit we are currently practicing can only work in special cases (as it seems to do in Germany but, if you look closely enough, not even there).

So here are my experiences in the Caribbean and what I learned there about the country and the people.

Paradise or Misery? (Foto © Luc Bosma, Bonaire)

We visited nine islands

Two of them are French: Martinique (fully integrated) and Gouadeloupe (almost fully integrated part of the French country, but not part of the EU tax system). They are both part of the EU. The three ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) are part of the Dutch Kingdom and the others (Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and St. Lucia are all independent states and members of the Commonwealth of Nations).

The islands have different currencies:

  • EURO (French Islands)
  • Dutch-Antilles-Gulden (Dutch Islands)
  • Eastern CaribbeanDollar (Commonwealth Islands)

Especially on the Dutch and British islands, they accept the US-Dollar.

They have different per-head incomes. On Barbados, for instance, it was 16,363 US-Dollars in 2016. Nominally, this is as much as, for example, they have in Slovakia, but I got the impression that life in Barbados is considerably more expensive than in Slovakia. On the absolutely well-developed island of Bonaire, it was about 1,200 US-Dollars, in Dominica it was certainly less. The unemployment rate is in the two-digit sector for all of them, and not always in the low two-digit sector.

Wherever we went, we found schools and universities, which means there is a relatively high level of literacy. Many of the people speak several languages. Besides the local Creole dialects, many people speak at least one foreign language, often several, mostly English, French or Dutch. However, we also often met German-speaking people.

Politically, the islands are “parliamentary democracies”, and that is what they have been for a long time. You will occasionally also find a “White House”. Yet there are also interesting – and not always hilarious – stories about corrupt politicians and dictators.

Of course, the climate has always been sunny on the islands – the normal temperatures were around 26 degrees Celsius (after all, it was “winter” when we were there). Depending on the humidity, you will think it is even a little warmer than that. That means the Caribbean is a region where physical labour – let alone piece work – is something you will not like at any time of the year.

Some of the islands have a lot of rain – and consequently they have many rivers and waterfalls in the rain forest. But you will also find very sparsely vegetal islands with few rainy days. They have to import their potable water or produce it artificially. Mostly, the islands grew from volcanic activities, but you will also find tongues of folded lime stone formations.

Most of the islands have similar colonization histories. The pre-European inhabitants were often Arawak and Caribbean. More often than not, they were eradicated by the European occupiers. The people living there now are descendants of Europeans, often of Africans and later of Indians. All over the Caribbean, most of the citizens are of African descent – which is probably a consequence of slavery.

What we saw in the Caribbean looked extremely diverse and multi-cultural. Some islands boast that people of forty nationalities live peacefully together in their country.
There is not much social security, which is also true for federal pensions. The people (maybe regardless or because of this?) seem very joyous and happy. Dominica, for instance, has the reputation of being the island of the hundred-year-olds.

There seems to be little crime. The warnings you usually get before entering a country were extremely moderate. Only in the EU countries, we were warned before leaving the ship that, once in a while, a thief from Paris is found on the island.
The islands are extremely diverse – you will find the natural paradise (Dominica with its beautiful hiking trails) as well as the industrial island (Aruba – one half of this islands is purely tourist industry, the other half is the airport and the oil and salt industries).

Similarities

However, it seems that all the islands have one thing in common. Economically, they do not really work well. The French Departments are probably just as much dependent of subsidies as the other islands.

To me, it seemed that the internet access was better than in Germany, but the streets are often in a desolate state of repair.

Varying with the islands, the income comes from growing food such as bananas, sugarcane and spices. There is a little crude oil, but the main source of income is probably tourism.
None of these islands seems to be really capable of survival.

The young generation emigrates because the islands have nothing to tempt them with. If all goes well, they will probably return as successful elderly persons and at least bring back some capital. There is a high emigration rate and a low immigration rate. Many immigrants who came because they wanted to start a new life – often as entrepreneurs – will leave after only a few years.

There is no such thing as a really lucrative business. Competitive survival is achieved through cost optimization and low incomes. And mostly the business is very detrimental for nature, which is the only thing these islands are rich of. This means we have high external costs.

To me, this looks a little like Europe. In the ever so rich EU, most of the countries are also bankrupt. More and more people are impoverished. This is also true for the victorious countries such as Germany, Austria and a few Northern European countries.

It is also true for the big USA. They, too, built their wealth on debt and suffer under the natural collapse of the inflated infra structure, which they cannot counter, if only for financial reasons.

Somehow or other, my visit to the Caribbean Islands served as a model to show that an economy that is based on our capitalist and consumption- and profit-oriented paradigms cannot work any longer. It is probably the biggest challenge for mankind to manage the necessary re-structuring – provided we want to prolong our survival a little bit.

Ship with bird. (Foto © Luc Bosma, Bonaire)

RMD
(Translated by EG)

As you arrive in  Curaçao you will read 
Welcome to Kura Hulanda Museum. 
This museum is concerned with the history of slavery  in the West Indies . No traveller should miss it.

Huts for the slaves in salt production on Bonaire (Foto © Luc Bosma)

Huts for the slaves in salt production on Bonaire (Foto © Luc Bosma)

Following the advice of our ship lector, we went to the Kura Hulanda Museum in the morning, directly after our arrival in Curaçao. And it was well worth it. In Willemstad‘s city district of Otrabanda, you will find the biggest anthropological museum of the Caribbean, the ”Kura Hulanda Museum Kura Hulanda Museum“.

On more than 16,000 square metres and in 15 different buildings, you can inform yourself about the history of those people who, between the 17th and 19th centuries, were captured in their African home countries and, after transport across the Atlantic Ocean, ended up as slaves in Curaçao. The “West Indian Company” played a huge role in the process and Curaçao soon became the biggest slave market on the American continent.

The Facts:
The entry fee for the museum is 10 US Dollars, people who are older than 70 only pay 7 US Dollars. We invested the three dollars we had thus saved in a guide (who costs three USD per person if you were a group). It is a good investment.

The Museum:
We were immersed in the dark past of the island but also of humanity and were deeply moved when we left the museum.

I had never before seen in such drastic detail how slavery used to work. In the museum, you can see how the slaves were captured in Africa and then shipped to the New World. Due to its geographical characteristics, the Caribbean was probably a very important slave market.

On the Caribbean Islands, for instance on Curaçao, other things were traded besides slaves. The invaders from Europe had more or less exterminated the original inhabitants. Consequently, a workforce for producing such sought-after products as sugarcane, bananas, spices, salt (especially on Bonaire) was badly needed. And the slave markets were the most obvious place for recruiting such a workforce.

The museum shows how brutally the slaves were treated and traded. How they were cuffed and hunted, what methods (and tools) were used for disciplining them. And also how the owner branded them.

You can also see how slavery was abolished. In the French sector, this even happened twice, because Napoleon had re-established it. Incidentally, the last colonial masters to abolish slavery were the Dutch.

We also found ownership certificates from German-East-Africa. Those are typical German documents where, as late as 1913, it was officially stated that the owners (former slaves) were allowed to decide upon their own destiny from the issuing date onwards.

Naturally, they still needed a workforce in the Caribbean, even after slavery was abolished. The necessary workers were then billed in India. And the owners of the sugarcane and rum plants soon found out that the new workers were even less expensive than the slaves had been. Because now these workers had to provide for themselves. Now an evil and provocative person could say that the abolishing of slavery, too, did not happen entirely for “virtuous” reasons, but that economic considerations played the major part.

I was so impressed by what I saw in the museum that I totally forgot to take pictures, even though this was explicitly allowed. After the tour, I spent a long time thinking about what I had seen and I did a lot of research.

And I noticed that perhaps slavery and fiefdom are connected. And that slavery is not at all very different from the fiefdom that was practiced in Europe for more than half a millennium as a very self-evident principle. Here, too, you will find a lot of information in the Wikipedia article  .

You will discover many surprising details, for instance about the mutual hunting rights among neighbours when it came to catching run-away serfs (slaves?) beyond the border.
You will probably understand that there was basically only one difference between fiefdom and slavery. The article is absolutely worth reading and very shocking.

After having read these things, the reference to our “occidental roots and Christian traditions“ made by politicians sounds like the most stupid sarcasm. Because, at the time, the “C“ also stood for nothing other than slavery and fiefdom. Those were very bleak times. Perhaps our politicians would be well advised to inform themselves a little bit about history, even if, at school, fiefdom was not on the curriculum of history lessons – which was also true for my history lessons.

There is only one difference between the fiefdom in German-speaking and other European countries and the trans-Atlantic slavery:

The slaves were dark skinned and came mostly from Africa. In former times, they were called negroes. According to the church and even according to contemporary philosophers (Kant) they were not humans but animals. At the time of Darwin, it was unimaginable that a refined “English Lady“ might, according to the evolutionary theory, be the descendant of an ape. Animals were so far removed from the ideal of the “human” that you could do with them whatever you wished to. This is also why they were not very enthusiastic about Darwin with his new ideas. And the black persons where just considered animals.

To be sure, the “bond-slaves“ or “bondmen“, who belonged to the owner of the property, were a lower class with no rights. But at least they were considered human. They were domesticated by the upper classes (feudalism, also by the church) also be means of religion. They were “only” the property of other people, either directly or indirectly through the property they lived on.

In the Wikipedia article about bondsmen  , you will find some laws and atrocities that, from today’s perspective, look rather odd. One of them is the mutual agreement between municipalities that they can hunt bondsmen who are on the run. You get a clear understand of the meaning of the phrase “town air will make you free“. After all, progress – also technological progress – happened in the town and cities.

Basically, over many centuries, the right to own persons was just as self-evident as we today consider the right to own things like property and the copyright or data protection.
And regardless of the fact that we today are giving the right of ownership more and more strength (especially in favour of artificial persons  like concerns), we actually abolished the right to own other persons. Isn’t that remarkable?

One might get the idea that, perhaps, other rights to ownership, too, should be abolished. For instance that goods of the common land, too, should no longer be considered individual property. And that absurdly high amounts of property, too, need to be abolished. And perhaps that the distinction between artificial and natural persons should be made subject to the rule of differentiation in ownership.

Here is a cynical note: 
On the ships that had sailed from Europe to Africa in order to buy slaves and bring this high insurance freight to the Caribbean, missionaries, too, were among the passengers. They were supposed to bring religion to all those African heathen. On the other hand, said slaves were officially not humans, but game to be hunted.

That is also something you learn in the Kura Hulanda Museum. Consequently, visiting the museum Kura Hulanda left me rather thoughtful.

Salt production today on Bonaire (Foto © Luc Bosma)

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Wednesday October 3rd, 2018

DIESEL

Selfie: “I cannot understand it.“

For many days, the main topic in the media and news has been nothing but “The Diesel”. I find this rather frustrating, because there are so many much more important social issues that need to be tackled. It is all Greek to me  (Ich verstehe nur noch Bahnhof).

Basically, it is very simple:

If I buy a low quality product, then I have a claim. If the transaction was a fraud, then I can try to bring the claim forward against the fraudulent salesperson.
That is something the rule of justice in a country should guarantee. If this no longer works because the concerns have become too powerful, then that is just too bad.
This is probably true for all goods, no matter if we are talking food or other products and also for services – and it should also apply to cars.

There are many things I no longer understand!

Why has nobody come up with the idea, especially when we are talking the current Diesel discussion, to simply abolish the subsidies on the Diesel tax? I mean, if the Diesel is such a bad product? After all, it is 22 Euro-Cent per litre in subsidies (in Germany, you have to pay 22 Euro-Cent less for Diesel than for petrol) that lets our “greed is great“ society crave for Diesel vehicles. Regardless of the fact that, in general, the “Diesel car” is more expensive than the competition, but in a state of greed, you do not tend to be very good with calculations.
Isn’t it normal, rather than a national emergency, if the greedy people will, once in a while, be the losers? Mind you, this is not meant to be gloating.

Neither do I understand that there seems to be nobody left who introduces a speed limit. Both on motorways and highways, this would considerably economize on fuel (and on human lives). And it has been obvious for a long time that, in cities, the rule of “driving 30” should be a matter of course. And that the “50” and “60” should be the exception to the rule.

I also do not understand why the Diesel is now such a huge topic. After all, we have a situation where, de facto, all combustion motors in individualized traffic (and, so I hope, not only where cars and motorbikes are concerned, but also where lawnmowers and leaf-blowers are concerned) will (hopefully soon) face their exodus.

Don’t we agree that, today, the discussion is not about whether my SUV has a Diesel or a petrol motor. Instead, it is all about whether you still drive a car at all. Because a) perhaps the climate catastrophe is real after all and b) I do not wish to have all those exhaust fumes in my lungs. It is not even necessary for me to ride my bike on the Rosenheimer Strasse in Munich during rush hour if I want to suffer. Even riding to the bakery on a Sunday morning on the Putzbrunner Strasse in Ottobrunn will do the job!

Neither do I understand that kerosene for airplanes and heavy oil for ships is taxed in the same way as petrol, although we know full well that we need to fly less. And why do they want to build still more runways? And why do we still burn brown coal (Hambacher Forst), thereby making life unnecessarily hard for alternative energies.

And I also do not understand why we celebrate the German Unity Day today. Wouldn’t it be better to use the day for working towards a decent Europe of Regions where people can live in confidence and courage?

These days, there is a lot I do not understand. Not only with respect to mobility, we are surrounded by mania. Is it already too late for our planet (Permafrost). I almost tend towards resignation?

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday September 16th, 2018

Hambacher Forest. Ethics. Primary. Secondary. Virtue

Dracula as a Metaphor.

Years ago, I liked writing about ethics. For me, it was a very simple topic. It was primarily about virtues and the question which virtues are primary and secondary virtues. Then this sort of ethics started to get boring.

Now, what happens around brown coal in the Hambacher Forest makes me more concerned. In fact, I am not just concerned, I am appalled.

And I believe it is about time that we again talk about primary and secondary virtues.

When I was a child, I was taught many virtues. Well, it was more than just teaching, I was literally trained in them. It started with the demand that I should always be nice. I was to be washed clean at all times and my (short) hair had to be combed nicely. When adults were in a conversation, children had to shut up. I was admonished to be obedient, nice and never recalcitrant. However, the worst sins were if you lied or – God forbid – steal. Respecting the property of others and telling the truth at all times were the highest virtues of all.

As I grew up, I started to have my own ideas. And I understood very early on that there were quite a few glitches to my education. And that, for example, the categorical demands that you must not lie and must not steal will not hold after a thorough ethical test.

Later, I studied the philosophers and I remember reading the letters exchanged between the older Kant and a younger French philosopher. Well, the Frenchman with his arguments caused quite some sweat on the forehead of the then so famous and well-liked Kant. Kant’s reaction was very irrational and, in my opinion, very emotional.

This is how I learned that categorically sticking by the Eighth Commandment will certainly cause a lot of damage and thus can only be a secondary virtue. In fact, in normal life there are many situations where ethical behaviour actually forces us to lie in order to prevent damage to ourselves or others.

I also saw very quickly that the Seventh Commandment is not much better. I do not even have to mention Robin Hood and the questionability of a society that is dominated by property. It will suffice the imagine a child that might die from hunger but could be saved by theft.
This is why the Hambacher Forst Activists are definitely not criminals, even if they are not necessarily heroes.

Because they act upon virtues that I consider primary virtues. They are autonomous and they study the situation. They live up to virtues that I consider primary virtues, such as civil courage and constructive disobedience. They even do it in a very responsible and peaceful way.

The only thing I could ethically hold against these people in their tree houses is that they cultivate a martyrdom and that their actions in favour of a “good cause“ will eventually have negative consequences for their own lives. Because it is an important – and for me also a primary – virtue that your self-esteem is high and that you do not ruin yourself. Especially not for others!
Because, basically, we all know that matters cannot continue as they are, just like we also know that, when all is said and done, we will all suffer under the destruction of the world.

As opposed to an omniscient minister, I do not know what is the “mother of all problems“. All I can say is that I believe our system practices a very questionable approach on how to treat humans and nature.

We have several problems. The source of these problems are probably weaknesses in our approach to poverty, education, climate protection and mobility. The reason why our social system has these problems is probably that values, priorities and power structures have changed in our country and its politics.

For instance, we know that a polarization into poor and rich parts of the population can have quite unpleasant consequences. We also know that our social welfare state tumbles towards a future full of crises. We also know that our mobility with big cars and the combustion motor has no future. We also know that stricter speed limits on motorways, other streets and also in the cities are more than necessary. We also know that subsidies granted to the motorized traffic in general and to the Diesel engines in particular are total nonsense.

To be honest, we also know that electricity-powered vehicles will not improve the situation at all. On the contrary, they will have an even worse environmental footprint, especially if the electricity they need is produced from brown coal.

Incidentally, this is not only true for brown coal, but also for higher-quality coal that is processed by overexploitation in Australia, then driven to the coast, then loaded onto huge container ships and thus brought to Hamburg. In Hamburg, the coal will be distributed to various means of transportation – and later it will be used up somewhere in Germany. Well, this is certainly not a solution.

Most of the electricity we consume world-wide is made from coal. This is still true today! Regardless of the fact that there is now a social consensus that says we must not produce electricity from coal for many well-known reasons. However, we cannot manage the exit because of “economic interests“. Yet we need this exit very soon if we want to replace all those combustion motors by electrical solutions.

The opposing party for the activists at the Hambacher Forest is an industrial sector. Or rather: it is a concern the domineering and driving factor of which was the shareholder value over many decades. And it used all the legally possible – and sometimes even borderline legal – means to achieve a sensational shareholder value. Few sectors were able to make their shareholders as rich as the EVUs over a long period of time. It all happened at the cost of our environment and – as with (not only) nuclear energy – at the cost of our country. And it was all achieved through legal procedures, thanks to great lobbyism and soft blackmail.

Now more and more people want to change this, and for good reasons, too. Because they understand that it has to end. And soon. I mean people who show civil courage and who put the virtue of constructive disobedience over obedience. Even though they know that, in the end, they will stand no chance against the omnipotence of the country and business. Which is why their actions are detrimental to their own lives.

In my book, these people are not criminals but people who live important primary virtues. The only thing I regret is that they do not have the slightest chance of success – and that they should actually be aware of this. But then, this has always been the problem with idealism and idealists. Which opens yet another, totally different discussion.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday March 15th, 2018

Landing on Antarctica (including travelling report).

Roland landing in the Antarctica.

All participants of an Antarctica expedition have to take part in a preparatory seminar prior to landing. During said seminar, they learn how seriously the world community takes the protection of the unblemished nature of the continent Antarctica.

At the same time, the entire Antarctica, and especially Southern Georgia, is one large museum where many stories of expeditions and science are told. However, it also gives profound insight into the history of this world to geologists.

There are ten rules for landing on the Antarctica and Southern Georgia. You have to strictly abide by them whenever you set foot on the Antarctica and its islands.

  • Please keep quiet!
  • Keep your distance (five metres from penguins, 15 metres from seals and birds)!
  • Do not tread on anything!
  • Never bring plants or animals!
  • Respect protected areas!
  • Preserve historic sites and monuments!
  • Do not take “souvenirs” with you!
  • Respect scientific research!
  • Think of your safety!
  • Preserve the pureness of Antarctica!

That also includes that you must not spit, sneeze or piss anywhere.

Roland on his way back to the ship.

These rules are also meant to protect the animals. I was surprised to see how seriously all participants took them and how they all rigorously kept to what was required.

I, too, got used to never treading onto a green spot. We all avoided unprotected sneezing. It was not possible to accidentally forget a paper tissue.

Thus, each landing became an impressive adventure. The light, the pure air, the wonderful nature made a huge impression on all of us. Historic buildings gave testimony of a horrible industry (waling) that, by promising people good money, had motivated many people to do a gruesome job under the hardest possible conditions far away from home. There were all kinds of remains that revealed quite a lot.

Back in Germany, it really shocked me how thoughtlessly we treat our environment and our nature both on a huge and on a small scale. Even more than before my trip, the pollution of our cyclists’ paths, streets and cities horrified me. The same was true for the gigantic soil sealing of our beautiful country. And of how we, totally without being forced to, expose ourselves to a lot of noise and polluted air in the nice residential areas of our cities.

This is where I also would like to publish a report (Bericht) on the trip for my friends. It was written and illustrated by our great editor Dr. Katrin Knickmeier. She was one (not the only) person from whom we learned so much – and I can also recommend to all of you to visit this special continent.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Saturday December 30th, 2017

UNOFFICIAL TERROR WARNING!

Munich, December, 30th, 2018, 12:00 – Source: IF Blog

Urgent:

Unofficial terror warning, level 4, for all the citizens of the FRG, especially in big cities. 

A billion dollar deal!

Attention:
Tomorrow, a huge collective mass, not necessarily defined by religion, but certainly fanatic humans, will become victims of consumer terror. In almost exactly 36 hours, there will be a category 1 fine-dust attack on the environment (not only) in Germany.

The target of this collective terror will be the air we breathe, especially in big cities. Among these small terrorists, you will – not totally to my surprise – find many car drivers who add to the misery they spread all the year round by a big bang. They will shoot rackets into the night until the last one is spent.

This environmental catastrophe will continue until the early morning of January, 1st. It is triggered by masses of firecrackers. The alarm can only be turned off in the morning of January, 1st. The main attack against our health will last for about one hour. More sporadic explosions and emissions are still possible during the subsequent hours and days.

Especially elderly, handicapped and sick persons, along with children, are strongly advised to remain in their flats and keep the windows closed during the night between December, 31st, 2017 and January, 1st, 2018. All exercise in fresh air, such as hiking or riding a bike, are strictly forbidden.

Due to collateral events accompanying this eruption, the advice is also directed to all females (see additional sexism warning below).

The considerable noise is a collateral damage related to the terrorist attack but can be ignored. To be sure, if you listen, you might be reminded of war and bombs and thus suffer traumata. But basically, the only living creatures that really suffer are animals.

Since the rockets do not contain military pay-load and the explosive charges – let us hope all of them – have to be empty (experts call them castrated explosive charges), the physical and emotional damage, as well as the material destruction of objects and houses, will, luckily, be minimal.

But we have to give a massive warning because of the increased alcohol consumption of all the prosperity terrorists involved. Consequently, there is quite a chance that “anonymous situations” will be used for sexual assaults (from turning you on verbally over physical closeness to rape).

Women, therefore, should avoid locations where masses of people converge. This is especially true for railway stations and plazas near other traffic junctions.

If a woman really needs to leave her home around the critical time, then she should only do so wearing total body mummery and she should be accompanied by several strong men.

If you ignore this unofficial warning, you must take responsibility for possible consequences and cannot claim that “you did not know”!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
This article is only partially meant as a joke. Because fine dust at Sylvester (Feinstaub an Silvester) is not at all something I find funny. It is also interesting that the Bayerische Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Verbraucherschutz gives an “official” warning that exploding firecrackers can cause injuries.
However, this official source does not mention at all how essentially and massively the maniac fireworks create fine dust. But at least the Federal Ministry gives a statement. The church used to have a motto: “food instead of fireworks”.
But that, too, seems no longer en vogue?

Roland Dürre
Friday March 17th, 2017

We Cure the Symptoms and Ignore the Sources.

Long Live Populism!

or
Talking Instead of Acting?

Charly, the Great Dictator.

Now I witnessed the first (electoral) campaign events with Martin Schulz. Even from the distance, I got the impression that this is another and admittedly talented attempt at using the general uncomfortable feeling of many persons as a resonance body for someone’s own goals and demanding a few improvements where small details are concerned that, however, only equal a treatment of symptoms if you look at the entire picture.

In these speeches, I perceived what is probably generally called populism and what is probably the last remaining recipe for success in the current generation of politicians. Apparently, nobody ever got the idea of asking what caused the problems and then introducing change in a social consensus through political activities.

Consequently, Martin Schulz is the next populist looming on the horizon for Europe. This time it is a candidate for the one “party of the people”. Again, the motto in the speeches I heard is the same:

We are appalled by the symptoms and enjoy to point out what went wrong, but we do not dare to approach the sources.

After all, that would be system-critical and call for change. Which is an absolute no-go. Especially for the SPD. Because that is something the comrades forbade themselves many years ago. After all, they want back to power. And even when they were part of the government, they avoided all “system-critical” issues wherever possible. Because “holy” practical constraints and systemic necessities stood in the way of change.

The environmental catastrophe and destruction of our planet (plastic, climate, …) and the social polarization of humanity with all its consequences such as flight because of destroyed living space and more left them just as untouched. In fact, they would like to just leave these issues out of the government altogether. Because it would only have be a nuisance.

“Social Democracy First” is rhetorically easy to communicate. Except: it is a little harder to actually realize and then to work on the causes. After all, you do not want to be (too) inconvenient and you also would not wish to hurt anybody, would you? These topics do not even appear in the electoral slogans, because bad news are not popular. Especially if you can no longer ignore them.

Regardless of the fact that reality, too, might well be a good topic for populists. See the video below. But if you talk about reality, you cannot be afraid of your own courage. You have to be able to bear the truth. And you are ill-advised if you fear that it might cost you votes. So what you need is courage. But currently, it seems that cowardice is more popular. Fear happens between the ears and it reigns over the world in a truly demonic way.

So here, yet again, I am trying to describe the reasons why our society drifts apart into fewer and fewer rich and more and more poor people. Which is exactly where you should get active if you call yourself a social democrat.

The reasons for polarisation are:

  • The free speculation with everything: currencies, enterprises, food, raw materials, property, copyright, all sorts of rights …
  • A property legislation that protects individual “mental property” in an exorbitant and excessive way;
  • A general understanding of ownership that seems to have totally isolated itself from the maxim of “ownership is also a responsibility”;
  • The social legitimacy of illegitimate influence on common-good interests exerted by interest groups (aka lobbyism as a criminal act of advantage theft);
  • Propaganda, including the seduction and manipulation on all levels, also of the sub-conscious, as a normal business method (aka marketing). Seduction that aims at making the concerned persons behave in contrast to their will and ratio.

Although we know better, we still believe that

  • Growth beats health;
  • Taylorismus beats task-identity;
  • Shareholder Value beats common-good economy.

When will we understand that

  • the interests of the stakeholders (customers, employees, …) should have priority over the shareholder interests and that
  • In a society with a future social togetherness instead of private property preservation must have the highest priority both for all individuals and the entity?

So why do politicians never talk causes but instead only make loud populist noises? And why do they always only write in their programs about minimal corrections and symptoms that need to be cured? And why do these methods actually make them successful?

🙂 Here is an example for POPULISM I rather like. Even if Harald Lesch is only partly correct (and I can easily imagine it), my aforementioned “social fear” might soon no longer play a role at all, because surviving will be more important.

Yes – this is exactly the speech I would like to hear from a politician…

RMD
(Translated by EG)