The Scientific Indian

An interesting article by Nicholas Kulish on something very german: Rules.

What the Germans call Ordnung (the usual translation is “order,” but it is a much broader concept) is the unwritten road map of one society’s concerted effort to permanently banish the instability and violence that have marked its history. That sense of insecurity includes Germany’s forced division in the cold war, the Nazi era and the hyperinflation of the 1920s, but it also stretches at least as far back as the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century, which decimated much of the German territories and population, and was a formative trauma.

Perhaps, this is just me: even when the case is persuasively made, I find it hard to swallow such social and historical analysis simply because they squeeze so much into so few words. What worries me (this is a good kind of worry, btw) is that tend to assume that I have understood what the author says, but on second thoughts it becomes apparent that I really have not understood much.


  1. #1 PalMD
    April 9, 2009

    What I found remarkable was the author’s apparent blindness to the idea that this “Ordnung” may be the same type of phenomenon that allowed Germans to “follow orders” in carrying out genocide.

    So much word was done after the war on the “authoritarian personality”, etc, it’s remarkable that the author didn’t even do a little googling.

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