My interview with controversial German politician Björn Höcke, politician for the right-wing-populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD). Höcke is the speaker of the parliamentary group of the AfD and is spokesman of the Thuringia Landesverband of his party.
His stand against the migrant influx and for German patriotism has brought the predictable “racist” and “Nazi” labels from the Left and the media.I let him describe his views without a filter.
Höcke told me, "Germans are fixated on one side, our dark side. We have like a 'guilt cult' that developed and it makes it impossible to develop a healthy national patriotism. But a state and a nation needs patriotism. Otherwise, a nation has no future."
He agreed to questions in English and I agreed to answers in German. Below is the interview in English, then in German and then the transcript in English.
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Here is the Interview with English translation:
Here is the Interview in German:
Björn Höcke Interview:
Dale Hurd: Why have you been so strong in your words against refugees?
Björn Höcke: I think we have to learn in Germany to call something by its name. Sadly, for a long time, we’ve built this system of political correctness. We are forbidding a lot of thinking and speaking, and this tradition is carried along by the leaders of political parties and politicians. And that makes it impossible to see reality and to come to smart solutions in politics.
Dale Hurd: What in your opinion was the German government thinking, what was its intention by inviting in so many migrants?
Björn Höcke: I don’t know what the government thinks. I don’t know what Angela Merkel thinks. I only know that Chancellor Angela Merkel is throwing our country into disaster and with us, also Europe. Therefore, I am putting myself forward so that the asylum rampage will be stopped, that the borders are secured again and that we have politics of sound thinking, so that we don’t ask too much of our country.
Dale Hurd: You have referred to the Nazi period as 12 dark years so I assume you have no fondness it?
Björn Höcke: No. I have no sympathy whatsoever for the Nazi dictatorship. It was a horrible dictatorship that we never want to experience again. I stand on the side of freedom but I have the feeling that our country is developing into an unfree nation.
Dale Hurd: You are branded a Nazi, but I want you to tell us your political philosophy.
Björn Höcke: We live in a time in which the leading parties and especially the left wing parties are using their words and definitions. Today in Germany everybody is a Nazi. Everybody is a racist. The one who is a patriot, who says yes to the future for his own country, that’s why you can’t take those words seriously anymore, because you give into how they play the game. I am conservative but I am also liberal. I am liberal on the economy and conservative on family politics. But, most of all, I am a patriot. I love my country.
Dale Hurd: And what is your opinion of the European Union?
Björn Höcke: With my party, Alternative for Germany, I am of the opinion that the European Union, the way it is right now, should not be allowed to continue that way. We need more democracy in Europe and less centralism. We need a Europe of fatherlands the way Charles de Gaulle talked about it many years ago.
Dale Hurd: And you are not a fan of American influence in the world. Is American influence in the world a negative?
Björn Höcke: I think that American foreign policy is positioned wrongly. I think the Americans and American politics has the will to shape the world and to export their ideas of democracy and human rights. I don’t think that works. Every nation has to find its own way into the future and no other nation, not even a big one like America, has the right to prescribe the way.
Dale Hurd: I assume that you think a big problem with the migrants coming into Germany is that they are Muslim?
Björn Höcke: Yes it’s a big problem. We are still a nation with a Christian imprint. Even though we have many atheists in Germany and in Europe, our values are from a Christian foundation. Islam is a religion that never reformed. It stayed in the Middle Ages. And I, living in Europe, don’t want to adjust myself to Islamic values from the Middle Ages. I’m of the solid conviction that we can’t take in millions of Muslims and integrate them into Germany and Europe.
Dale Hurd: Is it hard on you personally being attacked so much? Does it energize you or does it wear you down?
Björn Höcke: I am still a political newbie but I learned a lot in the last few months. In politics you need to grow a thick skin really fast to emerge unscathed. The attacks from the media in the past few weeks and months were extremely intense. And of course I am also sad about statements from the media about who I am. I see myself completely different. I see that there is a distorted picture of me in the media in Germany. But I believe that I really have to do what I am doing. I have to give my speeches the way I do, I have to select my words the way I do, because we don’t have much more time to wake up as Germans. I see myself in the position of waking people up, and I am taking a lot of hits, but I know that it has to happen.
Dale Hurd: In American patriotism is a virtue, but why does the dominant culture in Germany believe patriotism is wrong?
Björn Höcke: I ask myself this question a lot. I believe we Germans have a great history. We can be proud of our past. Of course we also have our dark times, no questions about that. And nobody wants to talk those bad periods away. But we also have to learn as Germans to respect ourselves and love ourselves and only then we can do politics correctly. I think the German people have a right to their future. The Germans are fixated on one side, our dark side. We have like a guilt cult that developed and it makes it impossible to develop a healthy national patriotism. But a state and a nation needs patriotism. Otherwise, a nation has no future.