Online FOCUS magazine interviewed German historian Wolfgang Wippermann on the subject of the WBGU and Hans Schellnhuber’s “master plan” for transforming global society: World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability.The WBGU acts as Angela Merkel’s science advisory board (believe it, or not). Schellnhuber, its director, is also director of the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research (PIK).
The Wippermann interview is the latest in a series of intense criticisms by German mainstream media aimed at the worrisome anti-democratic and authoritarian views expressed by factions of the German scientific community such as the PIK, WBGU and the German government lately, see here, here and here.
Wippermann, who is an expert on authoritarianism, fires extremely harsh words at the WBGU and its seemingly out-of-control Professor Schellnhuber, calling the authors of the WBGU social contract “fanatics” and the language “worrisome”.
What follows are summarized excerpts of the FOCUS interview.
FOCUS: What does the language in the paper remind you of?
Wippermann: The language is scary and it makes me afraid. Those who speak like that behave the same way. It is a negative Utopia, a dystopia. When Utopian minds are at work, it is always dangerous.
FOCUS: What world view do you see in the text?
Wippermann: Here we are dealing with scientific fanatics who want to assert their ideas. It makes me wonder that we are discussing this for the first time, and how little it has been discussed in the public up to now.
FOCUS: What about the role of science in politics?
Wippermann: First off: the German government should have distanced itself from the WBGU long ago. It just cannot be. In short, you just cannot say that you demand some other democracy, a different state and a different world order. It is unacceptable.
FOCUS: How could scientists write such a paper?
Wippermann: I’m afraid this is not just thoughtlessness. It goes a lot further than how to make the world a better place. The authors are suggesting a climate dictatorship, the Climate State – and one that is truly extensive and far-reaching. For example, they want to abolish national states.
FOCUS: But this paper was written by leading scientists.
Wippermann: Also a science can become a religion. When they demand a transnational democracy – whatever that may be – it’ll be a dictatorship.
FOCUS: But they claim it’s for democracy
Wippermann: From history we know of enough people who wanted to make the world a better place after having prophesized the end of the world and bringing an undemocratic system that forces others to accept their views. And why is it that the Germans again have to save the planet, and not only prophesize its downfall? Does the world always have to be measured using a German yardstick? Who do the authors think they are? Such arrogance.
FOCUS: What spirit does the call to action radiate?
Wippermann: The paper disastrously follows the tradition of “Revolutionary Messianism“, which was analyzed by Norman Cohn. There’s a line of “Revolutionary Messianism“ from the Medieval Times to modern totalitarian movements.
FOCUS: Aren’t humanists more prone to all this than natural scientists?
Wippermann: Natural scientists deal directly with people. Think for a minute what emerged from “eugenics”. These scientists here can actually do politics.
Wolfgang Wippermann is a professor at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institute at the Free University of Berlin. He also teaches at the University of Arts in Berlin. He was a guest professor in Innsbruck, Peking (Teachers College), Indiana University, University of Minnesota and Duke University. Wippermann’ s main area of research is ideology history. His primary areas include antiziganism, theory of fascism, history of communism, anti-Semitism and the historical role of demonology and demonization of societal fringe groups. Wippermann is the author of numerous publications.