- In a recent essay http://www.rense.com/general69/excc.htm
Michael James contends that the Federal Republic of Germany (BRD) is illegal
and illegitimate. Is he right?
- This is a subject with which I have some familiarity.
Over the years I've read quite a lot on German constitutional law and history.
I've carefully studied the German Federal Republic's "Basic Law"
(constitution), in both German and English. I'm also familiar with the
argument presented by James, which updates arguments that have been made
by Manfred Roeder and others over the years.
- First of all, some of the key "facts" presented
by James are just plain wrong. It is not true, for example, that in 1990
"Almost everyone in diplomatic circles around the world expected the
re-emergent German Reich to take over where the BRD had left off."
In fact, nearly every knowledgeable observer, including diplomats, anticipated
precisely what did happen.
- More to the point, the basic argument presented here
by James is little more than self-indulgent sophistry. It reminds me of
the argument made by people who refuse to pay US federal income tax on
the grounds that the 16th amendment to the US constitution was not properly
ratified. The argument that the German Federal Republic is illegitimate
has about as much validity as the argument that the US Constitution is
not valid because the convention that wrote it had no legal mandate to
do so, and because the constitution improperly replaced the Articles of
Confederation. One could just as validly argue that West Virginia courts
and police have no authority because the state was illegally separated
from the rest of Virginia in 1861 and improperly "admitted" to
the Union in 1863.
- The German Federal Republic is at least as legitimate
as the regime established in the aftermath of the First World War. The
constitution of Germany's "Weimar republic," promulgated in 1919,
was recognized as legal by most Germans, including the National Socialists,
in spite of the high-handed way that the republic was proclaimed in November
1918. Indeed, throughout the nearly twelve years of its existence, the
National Socialist regime recognized the 1919 constitution as legally valid.
- Since its establishment in 1949, more than half a century
ago, the overwhelmingly majority of Germans have accepted the Federal Republic
of Germany and its "Basic Law" as valid and legitimate. It is,
of course, also recognized by all other governments around the world.
- Legitimacy for a government or a regime is based less
on legalistic formality than on acceptance by its own people, especially
over time. On that basis, the Federal Republic of Germany is legal and
legitimate. Those who embrace with hope seemingly clever but empty arguments
such as those made by James will inevitably be disillusioned. And most
Germans will understandably dismiss those who make such arguments as hopelessly
out of touch with reality.