Does moral superiority mean something?

Harald Martenstein: About the longing for moral superiority

From time to time I receive such letters; the authors usually do not address them.

"I think you are a fascist. This one soup question from which your miserable existence feeds, how you manage it with your drivel yourself TIME to infiltrate in such respectable personalities as Fischer and v. Randow publish relevant contributions to social development, because you generate funds from contributions that are yourself picture should be ashamed. Why don't you sweep the yard, maybe you can at least do that and save us your supposedly philosophical outpouring. I mean it well, everyone where they belong. "

Dear Harald S., first of all I would like to congratulate you for sending this letter under your real name. Not all of your like-minded people have that much guts. I looked at your profile on the internet. You are, as our common first name suggests, no longer the youngest. We both have the same hairstyle. Like me, they like cool sunglasses. Would we like each other if we happened to get to know each other? Not be ruled out. Sometimes you like people even though they think differently than you do. Let yourself be thought of.

I didn't understand what exactly makes you so angry. You quote from a column in which I made fun of the null statement "Islam belongs to Germany". But the reason for your letter is irrelevant. You write that I am a fascist and that instead of being allowed to publish, I should sweep the court. I don't think you were even aware that in your anti-fascist exuberance you were recommending the very methods that fascist systems use in dealing with their critics. Everyone where they belong. The Nazis expressed the same idea as: "To each his own."

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Don't worry, Harald, this won't be a return coach. You are not a Nazi. You are a do-gooder. I do not consider the word "do-gooder" to be a bad word. I think it describes a type for which there must be a word. Of course, it is right to be for "the good". What exactly is "the good" will forever be controversial, but we can probably agree on a few things - no violence, human rights and so on. The do-gooder believes that in the struggle for what he considers "good", he is freed from all interpersonal considerations and all rules of civilization. Insults, humiliations and even violence are allowed. The FAZ I take from the news that the Berlin Antifa, anti-fascist fighters, has ravaged a pharmacy in Neuk├Âlln because the owner refused to sell the morning-after pill. Other anti-fascists - "in the best German tradition", as the newspaper ironically put it - smashed the shop windows of an association of anti-abortionists and sprayed slogans on the house wall.

Aside from the sex drive, no need determines human behavior as much as the longing for moral superiority. This sentence comes from Franz Werfel. Do-goodness is dangerous; it makes people mean, haughty and inconsiderate. Instead, we should all focus a little more on the sex drive.

May I allow myself to be wicked? I am also continuing to write this column because of people like you. You, Harald, actually make me feel socially relevant, even if only a little.

Harald Martenstein is editor of the Tagesspiegel.

You can find this article as an audio file in the premium area at www.zeit.de/audio