I have been doing some more thinking about this plagiarism thing with Guttenberg. Basically I have started comparing the political systems and their processes in Germany and Italy. Is this an oversimplified way of thinking about things? Yes, without a doubt the two countries cannot simply be thrown together and thought of as having similarities. So why did I take the whole thing in that direction? I thought about Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He is the scandal man of Europe. Everyone knows the man is rotten to the core and that while it may not be so in the case of money, the way he uses media and treats women has led to most people viewing the whole Italian democracy as something as a farce: if you can keep getting elected to office with all this baggage then you must be doing something right.
Now then, moving on to Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg. I should add first that he is no longer a Dr! No, once the University of Bayreuth had discovered and reviewed how much plagiarism was in his dissertation, they stripped him pretty fast. Lets be honest, it’s a major scandal. It’s something that most politicians wouldn’t survive. So why is he still defense minister? Well for one thing he is so popular among the CSU/CDU that they are well aware that if they lose him as the poster boy, then they are all but done for in the next set of elections. That begs the question though: are these two parties more interested in the next round of voting than they are in the integrity of their own leaders, and by extension Germany’s leaders? It certainly appears so.
What has Guttenberg done to defend himself? Not a thing worth reporting. He claimed it was at a time in his life when he was very busy (because only he has such times and that we should forgive him because of it). I highly doubt that if you tell a police officer anywhere in Germany that you were speeding because you were busy that they are going to say “oh, so sorry, can I accompany you and make sure you arrive on time.” It is highly doubtful. Lets go back to the Italy thing. I hear a lot of jokes about the Italians and their pathetic leader here in Germany from the Germans, but what I don’t hear is the sound of real outrage from Mr. Guttenberg’s own party demanding that he stop defiling their party (and by extension their democracy) with his mere presence. At least step down from the ministerial post. Better people have been fired for less.