Pandemic Impressions I: The Lie of Aufarbeitung and The Great Silence
Widespread complicity in catastrophic pandemic policies prevents their open repudiation. The consequence is a newly erratic and destabilised German politics.
This is the first of a four-part series on my own subjective impressions of how pandemic policies have changed culture, society and politics, and what I think it all portends. Part II, on The Great Turning Inwards and The Great Opting Out, is here.
There is in Germany much talk of the need for a pandemic Aufarbeitung, for a review and discussion of the dangerous and unusual policies visited on the populace in the name of exterminating a seasonal respiratory virus. The more this need is discussed, the more it becomes clear that a proper assessment is impossible, and that all talk of Aufarbeitung is a mere stand-in for our inability to be honest about what our state has done to us, and what we have done to ourselves, in the terrible months since March 2020.
Those actors best positioned to lead a public dialogue, namely the press and the broadcast media, are among the most complicit. The last thing they want is anybody to review all the truly crazy things they have advocated. The only political party not implicated in pandemic repressions, the populist Alternative für Deutschland, are by an informal and deeply undemocratic agreement of the self-professed democratic political establishment excluded from governing coalitions, and slandered as fascist, antidemocratic, antisemitic, racist and xenophobic by everyone with a microphone. They were right all along, but in the modern right-thinking German imaginary, they are not allowed to be right, not ever. That lockdowns were an obvious catastrophe, that mass vaccination was the height of folly, that the public vilification of the unvaccinated was profoundly wrong and in fact irreconcilable with the liberal values enshrined in the constitution – AfD politicians were clear about all of these things from the beginning, and it is not just a great embarrassment that their positions have aged so well. It is, in the mind of the average German, for whom politics are a perpetual morality play in which globalist progressive green policies are always right and their opponents always wrong, a baffling paradox, dangerous even to contemplate.
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