Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Radical Views of a Benedictine Primate

Notger Wolf, 66, is, since 2000, the Abbots Primate of the Benedictine Confederation. His recent interview with the German magazine STERN suggests that he has strong political views and is not afraid to voice them. Below are excerpts.

STERN: How much support would you give long-time unemployed in Germany?
Wolf: In any case less than Hartz-IV (the government's unemployment insurance).
STERN: But that is only 345 Euros per month!
Wolf: I am sure that there are jobs for many which are unemployed in Germany today. I would ask each one of them: 'are you really ready to take on a job even if it doesn't earn you much more than Hartz-IV? Just to protect your dignity?'. Man is similar to a muscle. If it isn't used, it wastes away. People often don't realize how much psychological damage they do to themselves through their inactivity.
STERN: Suppose as 45-year old metal worker, head of a family, just fired, comes to ask for your advice. Would you advise him to take a cleaning job?
Wolf: Yes. That may sound cynical but changes in life offer opportunities.
STERN: But his friends and colleages would declare him as stupid!
Wolf: Of course, that requires self-confidence. But he could reply: "Don't make fun of me. The same thing might happen to you tomorrow. Now I have more time for my family".
STERN: Again, how much support would be adquate?
Wolf: There is a fatal socialist pattern in our mentality which suggests that politics is only good and human if it puts social justice and social equality above all practical reason. That is nonsense. To offer everyone the same opportunties is correct but we have to stop this ridiculous equality doctrine. Men are different. If I give one person 100 Euros today, he might turn them into 200 Euros by tomorrow. Another person might spend the money in a bar. The unstoppable expansion of the welfare state is the best example how one can turn social equality fanatism into one's own prison.
STERN: You also coach managers. What can managers learn from a Primate?
Wolf: They can learn that, in the long run, only humane management will be successful. An exclusively profit-oriented environment destroys the corporate culture. It undermines motivation of employees. It reduces performance.
STERN: What is your anser to those who believe that our economies are on the wrong track?
Wolf: We have subjected ourselves to the desire that the state should solve all of our problems. Society is under the tutelage self-annointed virtuous politicians who chase the myth of social justice. These politicians sell us the state as a make-you-feel-good institution. We force them to try the impossible.
STERN: What must happen?
Wolf: Three proposals. First, let us release the state from its responsibility for our personal happiness. That is our own responsibility. It is sufficient when the state intervenes where real need is. There is no human right for a comfortable life. Secondly, let's stop the centralist efforts to legislate happiness for everyone. And, thirdly, those who govern must demonstrate the moral competence to protect the basis of a human society which finds itself threatened by new technologies and economic pressures. We are talking about eternal values here.
STERN: You are extremely frank. As the Abbots Primate, don't you have to act politically correct?
Wolf: No one has to do that; honesty is much more important! What disturbs me about political correctness is that it puts everyone under the suspicion of being anti-foreigners or anti-women. Political correctness is a great nebulization, a program to achieve moral slavery.


  1. Interesting interview although this is not a recent interview, but almost 8 years old...

    1. Thank you for pointing this out! Had not been aware of it.