angela merkel

The Philosopher, the Chancellor – and Lady Chatterley

merkel in the kanzleramt laif
Chancellor Merkel is the first woman to lead Germany.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Politics in the 21st century, says the philosopher, does not seek to cure problems, but to delay meaningful action.

  • Facts


    • Peter Sloterdijk is a leading German philosopher and author of  “Critique of Cynical Reason” and the “Spheres” trilogy. Politically, he has described the modern welfare state as a “fiscal kleptocracy.”
    • The philosopher describes Mrs. Merkel’s patron, former chancellor Helmut Kohl, as co-inventor of government by “lethargocracy.” It persists today, he says, as politicians find ways to sit out problems.
    • Mr. Sloterdijk compares modern governments to palliative medicine, in which leaders search for the healthiest way to be chronically ill.
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In November 2015 Angela Merkel will have occupied the office of federal chancellor for 10 years. This November will pass by like so many misty months before it, with low-lying clouds and an understanding that there is no alternative to follow.

We will all gaze in wonder at the date, make a big deal of it and then swiftly forget it. However, it does offer the opportunity to ponder the difference between an anniversary and a turning point. From all we can see right now, we are a long way from the latter.

If everything goes as expected, Mrs. Merkel will remain in office until 2017, although she can reckon with increasing resistance – which will hardly even scratch her Teflon armor.

If things in Germany continue in their now customary ways, the chancellor should be able to rely on voters for a fourth term despite the irreparable mistakes she just made with her edicts on refugee policy. Why not give her a fifth term?

Remarkable as it may sound, the chancellor has maneuvered herself with inconspicuous craft into the position of a woman without contender. Her re-election at the annual meeting of her party, the ruling Christian Democratic Union, in 2012 with an approval of 97.9 percent of votes is an indication of the momentum she has gained. Who could possibly doubt that she has made an art form of sliding on the steep slopes of serendipity?

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