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The depletion of German conservatism?

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Earlier this week in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, journalist Philip Manow responded to a book recently published by Thomas Biebricher. The book is concerned with the current state of German conservatism among a growing climate of right-wing populism in Europe and beyond.

With the Republican party in America hijacked by a ‘troll’, the Tories ‘hopelessly’ divided over the Brexit issue and strong populist support French presidential elections, Biebricher considers that conservatism in Germany could befall this same fate.

Biebricher’s study of Conservatism looks back to the Government of Helmut Kohl and the so-called “Geistig-moralische Wende” (spiritual-moral turn).

In 1983, against the predominance of 1968’s radical and revolutionary ideas, this "spiritual-moral turn" was intended to restore conservatism – and the traditional values and bourgeois ideals that went with it - to its ‘rightful’ position within German society.

Put into context, the 1980s saw a reinvigoration of Conservatism on a global scale; notably headed by Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Regan in the United States.

In his investigation of the supposed ‘exhaustion of conservatism’, Thomas Biebricher takes a journey into the political and cultural climate of the last years of the old Federal Republic and the fall of the Berlin Wall and describes the growing disorientation between the New Right and neoliberalism.

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