News : Fleischhauer: Confidence eroded – Germany expects the next serious crisis
The FOCUS column by Jan Fleischhauer: Confidence is eroding: After Corona, Germany expects the next severe crisis
Are the enemies of the state right in the end? The question must be allowed, because politics has made many promises and not all of them kept. And so trust in the state is pretty much cracked.
At the height of the financial crisis, author Charles Moore, known for his conservative views, published a comment in the Daily Telegraph that led to the question of whether the bourgeois camp was right about confidence in the market. “It took more than thirty years for me as a journalist to ask myself this question,” he wrote, “but this week I feel that I have to ask it: isn’t the left right in the end?”
It is time to re-examine beliefs again. Once again it turns out that the arguments that have just been rejected could be correct, only this time those of the liberals, who have always distrusted the state. If politics and government fail to protect citizens, then one would not have to consider opposing the transfer of ever more powers, one would ask today.
A decade of rampant state belief comes to a crashing end in the pandemic. In a cruel real-time experiment, we experience what is to be kept of the promises of the state representatives that one only has to let them go, then security and prosperity would be ensured.
In truth, it is exactly the opposite: the more the individual citizen is dependent on state protection, the greater the likelihood that he will not reach the end of the year alive. This is not a polemical escalation, it is the description of the situation.
Belief in the state is deeply anchored in the psyche of the nation
The mortality risk in relation to the dependency on state welfare can even be defined quite precisely. You just have to take the daily mortality tables from the old people’s homes to hand. Those who live in a care facility because they can no longer take care of themselves have an x times higher risk of contracting corona than their sprightly peers who do not need any help.
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Now comes the crisis of confidence in addition to the health crisis. The latter will still be with us when we have long regained control over our lives. You are certainly not guilty of exaggeration when you predict that this crisis will shake the country more permanently than the fight against the virus.
That it is the state on which one can best direct one’s hopes is a belief that is deeply anchored in the psyche of the nation. Even two world wars could not change that. From my point of view, it would have been obvious to learn the lesson from history to allow a little more state skepticism – after all, the problem of the Germans has never been too much individualism and obstinacy. But Germans cannot think like that.
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It is extremely difficult for us to say goodbye to state belief. The majority still say that they think the political measures are right. The phenomenon is known from toxic relationships: even if the victim knows how unhealthy the relationship they are stuck in, it is difficult for them to break free. It is better to deny the situation or to convince itself that things will get better in time. When asked about his misfortune, it blames itself: it was too careless or too selfish.
Protecting life to suspend civil liberties
Isn’t that what we’re hearing? That we have allowed ourselves too much negligence? That we have disappointed the trust placed in us, which is why we now have to take tougher measures? This is also the case in the comments, in which the government’s course is described as having no alternative. Couples therapy would be called “enablers”. What is meant are people who prolong the relationship drama through appeasement or excuses.
There are crises that one cannot arm oneself against. They can only be endured stoically. But the pandemic is not such a crisis, and politics has never appeared so humble. On the contrary. The government’s promise was to do everything in its power to save lives. From this she draws the legitimacy to suspend fundamental freedoms to this day.
There is no need to repeat what has been neglected, starting with the arming of the health authorities, which are still unable to separate healthy people from infected people. But if politics does not keep its promises, why should the citizens continue to follow it?
Vaccination miracle follows vaccination disaster
The rulers draw the conclusion from their own inability that one really has to obey them now. Not a word of understanding or apology. Just hold out slogans and new instructions and unreasonable demands. It is precisely because the state has failed that the citizen should build on it. One only has to imagine for a moment that the responsibility for vaccine development would also have been in the Chancellery or in the Palais Berlaymont in Brussels. Does anyone seriously believe we would have ever got past the first test phase?
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The Chancellor said before the federal press conference that she could not understand the complaints about the slow start of vaccination. She phoned the founders of Biontech, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, to get an idea of the state of research. The two would do great things, so any criticism is out of place.
The fact that the Chancellor considers it necessary to hide behind the success of two entrepreneurs is even more devastating than any self-praise could have been. Nobody accused Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci that they weren’t working hard enough. Everyone is happy about the German “vaccination miracle”. Most people would have only wished that the private vaccination miracle had not been followed by a state vaccination disaster. If Angela Merkel and Jens Spahn had acted as carefully as the Biontech founders, we would not be facing the third and fourth lockdown today.
Once you’ve gotten used to curtailing citizens’ freedoms, you can’t just give up. On Wednesday, the rulers extended the lockdown. The next step will be to limit the financial freedom of movement.
This crisis of confidence will also have its beneficiaries
After the federal election in autumn at the latest, people will be asked to pay for the mistakes they made in Berlin. The fact that the right to dispose of one’s own income is also an essential right to freedom is an idea that has meanwhile been completely lost not only to representatives of the Left Party.
The collapse of the financial markets was preceded by a collapse of terms. Personal responsibility, entrepreneurial risk, the free play of supply and demand – everything that seemed to have made up the economic order turned out to be a farce when the banks were not punished for their colossal failure, but saved with taxpayers’ money. We are now experiencing a revaluation of values again. This time it is terms like democracy, fundamental rights, freedom that don’t mean what they seem to mean.
The journalist Claudius Seidl recently recalled that the hedge fund people who saw the financial crisis coming and therefore bet against Wall Street were conservatives disaffected by the cynicism of the financial economy: men like Steve Eisman and Michael Burry, who voted for Ronald Reagan and had donated to the Republicans and their views became more socialist the deeper they delved into the financial world.
Eisman and Burry made millions betting Wall Street by being the first to see what was coming. The new crisis of confidence will also have its beneficiaries. We just don’t know their names yet.
More about the corona pandemic in Germany
After the lockdowns, many people just want to get out – and hope for summer 2021. Most Germans will, however, go on vacation in their home country – and travel more sustainably. How we will travel this year.
Which head of government already talks about what he is not allowed to do? Merkel did exactly that when she pointed out the “cultural sovereignty” of the German federal states. As Federal Chancellor, she is not responsible for the schools; it is the state princes. Why did she do that?
Job centers must provide Hartz IV recipients with FFP2 masks free of charge. According to a ruling by the Social Court in Karlsruhe published on Friday, job seekers are entitled to 20 FFP2 masks per week in addition to the standard rate or EUR 129 per month in cash.
About the author
Readers love or hate him, Jan Fleischhauer is not indifferent to most of them. You just have to look at the comments on his columns to get an idea of how much what he writes moves people. He was with SPIEGEL for 30 years, and at the beginning of August 2019 he switched to FOCUS as a columnist.
Fleischhauer himself sees it as his task to give voice to a worldview that he believes is underrepresented in the German media. So in case of doubt against herd instinct, platitudes and thought templates. His lyrics are always enjoyable – perhaps it is this fact that provokes his opponents the most.
You can write to our author: by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @janfleischhauer.
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