The case of the former German Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Anne Spiegel, (reported by The European Conservative) has once again provided evidence of the enormous discrepancy between aspiration and reality that characterizes the lives of our political caste. The fact that party-political alliances and enmities are publicly fought out in the media isn’t even worth discussing; of course, the Christian Democrats of the CDU led by Friedrich Merz had a party-political interest in getting a Green politician to resign, and of course the almost identical behavior by Ursula Heinen-Esser, Spiegel’s CDU colleague in the neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia, showed that there is little difference between these system parties and that they differ–if at all–only in the brazenness of the exploitation of their privileges.
The political rise of Anne Spiegel is a prime example of modern quota politics. She started out in the youth cadres of the Green Party during her student days and spent, after finishing her studies, a year backpacking around the world in the best hippie tradition. This was followed by three years as a language trainer at Berlitz, teaching German as a foreign language, after which she moved into the state parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate as a member of parliament. Her career as a professional politician was thus sealed; her professional experience outside of parliament or politics never extended beyond three years of working as a German tutor.
From a conservative perspective, Anne Spiegel deserves credit for her decision to have a family. Four children put her well above the average for German families (and even more so above the average of politicians), and she proudly told in an interview with the women’s magazine Bunte as recently as last December that her husband had been “taking care of the offspring full-time since the first child” and that he “really loves it.” She had her first three children as a member of parliament, with the fourth when she was already a minister in Rhineland-Palatinate. After the birth of the last child, she “only went on maternity leave for two months,” before returning to ministerial duties.
Anyone who has children of their own will confirm that there is no substitute for maternal closeness for children, especially in the first year(s) of life. This does not necessarily mean that certain circumstances may make it necessary to return to work earlier, but it is always a matter of compromise. Compromises that are made at the expense of the parents’ relationship with their children, but above all at the expense of the children themselves. Whoever brings children into the world assumes responsibility for them, and that also means that their well-being must be placed above the self-fulfilling dreams of one’s own ego.
But there can be no talk of this in the ideal world of green narratives; this world is dominated by the image of power-moms who can do any job just as well as a man (if not better!), and in which any family role can be replaced at will. Just earlier this year, Spiegel proclaimed in the Bundestag that “family is wherever people take responsibility for each other.” Granted, this quote might just as well have been said by Mario Puzo’s Godfather, and in view of how ardently she was defended by Green party friends and representatives of the media after the recent revelations, certain parallels to mafia structures do indeed come to mind.
So far, so green. But this propagated self-image shattered against the rocks of reality when Spiegel gave her now infamous speech, in which she gave a highly emotional account of the stresses to which she and her family had been subjected, and which ultimately had to serve as an explanation for a four-week vacation in France. Suddenly her husband, who as recently as the end of the previous year “really loved” his responsibilities as a full-time dad of four, had comparatively low stress-resilience since suffering a stroke in 2019. And her children, though uninfected at the time, had suffered so much from the pandemic that the “family was reaching its limits.” All this was presented in an emotional tone that was permanently on the verge of breaking out into tears in public.
All this is understandable. Life does not always run on rails, not even for successful politicians. These matters don’t have to be discussed in public, and it’s understandable that people want to present themselves positively and radiate success. Nevertheless, the question remains as to how this fits in with her claim made as recently as last year that “children and career must not be a contradiction–for anyone.” Spiegel told Bunte at the time that “life with children is colorful, exciting and thrilling” and that she “loves this bubbliness.” However, the question arises as to how much of this she actually got to experience in her everyday life as a politician and minister?
Even if you dismiss these statements as obligatory PR talk, you have to ask yourself how it is possible that the mother of four, two years after her husband’s stroke, burdened herself in the beginning of 2021, in addition to her position as Minister for Family, Women, Youth, Integration and Consumer Protection in Rhineland-Palatinate, with the Ministry of the Environment on top? Was she so passionate about politics that she could not turn down this opportunity? Was the Ministry of the Environment in Rhineland-Palatinate a personal lifelong dream? Was she by far the most competent and most determined candidate for this post? At least the last question can be answered with “no” after the events surrounding the disastrous flooding and poor state response to it in 2021. Apart from the more idealistic speculation, there is also the possibility that it was simply another well-paid post that Spiegel was hoping to take on en passant. After all, until then she was considered one of the Green power women of the younger generation, and the Greens make no secret of the fact that appointments are made primarily on the basis of gender, and only then on the basis of competence.
If interpreted benevolently, one could argue that Spiegel overreached herself when she took on the environment ministry on top of her other post. That can happen. But if we are to believe Spiegel’s story, it should have been clear to her at the latest after the catastrophic floods that she and her family had overreached themselves and would in no way be able to meet the actual requirements on them in case of a crisis. In this situation, it should have been obvious to resign from at least one of her posts as quickly as possible and to find a balance in which both her family could function and Spiegel herself could live up to her duties as a politician. At this point, at least, it should be remembered that this is not just about Spiegel’s stressful family life, but that 134 people lost their lives in one night during the 2021 floods, and that Spiegel’s mismanagement of the situation had at least contributed to this disaster.
But Spiegel did nothing of the sort. After the four-week vacation in France, things apparently worked out again, she kept both offices and only gave them up when she was appointed Federal Minister for Family Affairs at the end of 2021. The next step on the career ladder, an offer she obviously–mindful of Puzo’s Don Corleone once again–could not refuse.
Do Spiegel and consorts actually believe this life lie? Or do they know that they ultimately subordinate everything to blind careerism, in which competence, interest in the subject matter, and personal responsibility are only shallow phrases, because they have long since convinced themselves that none of their predecessors would have even come close to bringing these qualities into office? Spiegel’s web of lies is opaque in that it is not clear whether and to what extent she herself reflects on these questions, or whether she is simply breathlessly chasing the next promotion on the career ladder. Whether it is her chats sent after the flood, characterized by cheap managerial jargon, when she worried about the “wording” and the “blame game”, or the aura of calculation in her press conference when she said, turned sideways, that she had to “tie the whole thing up”–all this lets us glimpse into the world of thought of a generation that believes it can have it all and outdo the competition with simple models of world-explanation and cheap newspeak.
The Anne Spiegel case exposes the lies of green feminism. Whether Spiegel’s emotional statement was calculated or not, it nevertheless reveals an inexorable reality: that someone always has to foot the bill for these propagated lifestyles. Of course, it’s not just highly paid politicians who suffer, but society as a whole. Because in those cases where people don’t have a minister’s salary to afford a full-time dad and four kids, both parents have to work and increasingly put child-rearing in the care of the state. And those that want no hurdles in their way towards vocational self-fulfilment–like so many politicians–ultimately opt to have no children at all.
All this affects families in their entirety: mothers, fathers, children. As Minister for Family Affairs, Anne Spiegel would have had the opportunity to draw lessons from her own experience, to strengthen families, and to protect them from the ever-increasing encroachment of professional obligations. Instead, she only fulfilled her function as a party apparatchik and was primarily committed to the equality of alternative family forms. Ideology is everything, and the party is always right!
Ultimately, it does not matter whether the lie of these life designs is propagated consciously or unconsciously. What is decisive above all is that the prevailing moralism in our society has made doubting the feasibility of these life plans suspect in principle. The caste of politicians is no longer defined by special competence or even exemplary behavior, but merely by the fact that they represent the supposedly morally unassailable points of view on a variety of things–regardless of whether these conflict with each other or not.
It is not only the Anne Spiegels of this world who pay the bill. All families are affected, and even women who do not consider themselves feminists can no longer escape the social demands of this profoundly anti-family feminism. If we are to mend this injustice, we must start by putting the finger into the wound of the life lie of these propagandists themselves!