Angela Merkel's unpopular goodness

Until the humanitarian situation of the refugee crisis became unbearable, Chancellor Angela Merkel had always been an aloof pragmatist of power. But when dead children started to wash up at the shores of the European Union, she decided that the moment had come to offer desperate people refuge.

She made that decision when she was riding a wave of public approval and her popularity was quite high. Now many seem to have turned against Ms. Merkel’s welcoming embrace of those fleeing war zones. Part of the reason is that, in some areas, life in Germany is considerably less comfortable. Friends who work in the government on the refugee crisis profess helplessness in the face of the challenge.

Ms. Merkel’s detractors may have a point: Her choice possibly put the safety of her country at risk. Her impractical humanism will likely cost her the chancellorship. But, at the same time, her actions saved the soul of Europe.