Power excess without end: Politics suffers from "long covid"

by Milosz Matuschek Thursday, Aug. 05, 2021 at 5:03 PM
marc1seed@yahoo.com www.academia.edu

"Whoever should once play with the state of emergency to restrict freedom will find my friends and me on the barricades in defense of democracy, and this is meant quite literally," Willi Brandt once said. And what are the citizen sheep of today doing? They are lining up for their second vaccination injection.

Power excess without end: Politics suffers from "long covid"

Since Corona, politics has been intoxicated with a gain of power as seldom before. But power is not simply returned, it must be snatched away.

By Milosz Matuschek

[This article published on July 27, 2021 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://miloszmatuschek.substack.com/p/machtexzess-ohne-ende-die-politik.]

1968: When Germans still went on hunger strike for their basic rights. (by G.Friedrich - Self-photographed, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10178995)

Sorry, maybe it’s a stupid question. But what is actually the goal of the anti-covid measures? Well, you could say: to end the pandemic, of course. And then again, of course, with ending the pandemic, ending the measures. So the goal of the measures is to end the measures. As logical as it sounds, the belief in this has become naïve.

After all, the impression since the beginning of the pandemic has been completely different. Since the beginning of the pandemic, politicians have been constantly changing the narrative, desperately searching for new figures, panic factors and pseudo-threats in order to keep the population in the bullpen for as long, as hard and as repeatedly as possible. First the flattening of the curve, the protection of the elderly, the R-value, the prevention of the overload of the health system. Meanwhile, it's all about vaccination cards and childhood vaccinations, even though in almost fully vaccinated countries, like Israel most recently, the numbers are once again through the roof. The solutions offered today are always the problems of tomorrow. The Corona logic is that there is no logic except that the endless loop of the power process must not stop.

Long Covid is a power grab syndrome

Politics needs the measures like the drug dealer needs his addicted customers. It needs Corona more urgently than it needs an end to the pandemic. Because an end to the pandemic means that more attention will be focused on the mistakes that have been made. At the end of the pandemic, the hour of reckoning begins, the big clean-up. Politics and its carousel of experts are suffering from Long Covid, an acute power grab syndrome that has infested the lungs of democracies, the free expression of opinion, parliamentary processes, as well as thinking in terms of alternatives and pragmatic solutions. This contradiction of interests in the state-citizen relationship has become openly apparent at the latest since the beginning of the pandemic - and has so far remained unresolved. For the conflict is as old as the state itself.

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely," is a well-known phrase by Lord Acton. In ancient Rome, the affairs of state were transferred from the Senate and consuls to a dictator for a period of six months in a situation that threatened the existence of the state during a war. And, of course, even in democracies there can be the situation where immediate action by the executive is necessary in emergency situations. But the current handling of power and the state of emergency in today's democracies speaks volumes about their real condition, one must unfortunately say: their infirmity. The emergency today is actually a moderately severe flu with at best slight excess mortality and at the same time a reduced number of intensive care beds. In Germany, the Corona measures were last extended secretly in night and fog sessions of the Bundestag in a reading on an amendment to the law on foundations. The history books of tomorrow, they will be ugly to read if written honestly. The elected representatives of the sovereign actually meet after dark to take power away from the sovereign. If the actors of democracy already act in this way, there is no longer any need for enemies of democracy.

History repeats itself with reversed signs

The betrayal of the people by the representatives is currently joined by a "betrayal of the intellectuals" (Julien Benda) to critically accompany democratic processes, as well as a total failure of the last instances (where they exist), the constitutional courts, to critically examine and curb the excesses of power. History is just repeating itself with reversed signs, and one does not even have to go back to the time of the Roman Republic, which was at best a rudimentary form of democracy. In the 1960s, it was left-wing students who sensed in the emergency legislation of the then German government a return of the National Socialists' enabling laws and took to the barricades. Horkheimer and Adorno assisted intellectually. The latter recognized a "joy of necessity" and found: "Once one feels sure of what all one can cover with the emergency laws, opportunities to practice them will already find themselves.

Institutions become disreputable

Today, the extra-parliamentary opposition can be found among the lateral thinkers in Germany or in Switzerland among the "Friends of the Constitution," who just launched a new referendum with record approval. The academic and journalistic mainstream, on the other hand, today finds itself in the team of the Notstandsfreudigen, or spoken in the categories of the 1960s, in the team of "Kurt Georg Kiesinger," the only chancellor of the Federal Republic, by the way, who was also a member of the NSDAP. But what was then an Adorno is today, unfortunately, only a Richard David Precht. And in his last book, Precht probably believes he is emulating Kant when he claims to have discovered the supposed civic duty of government obedience, but he only ever comes out as a Schmalkant in Heinrich Mann's "Untertan". So what can one expect?

We live in a time in which institutions are becoming disreputable again; they seem clumsy, dysfunctional and musty. In such a situation, politicians might be tempted to pack one power excess on top of the next in order to still keep their reins of power in their hands. So what will come next if the next mutant can't be taken seriously either? A blackout? Military on the streets and closed banks? Fears of a cyber attack are being stoked right now; the "World Economic Forum" recently had one simulated in the "Polygon" simulation game. That makes people sit up and take notice. In October 2019, the WEF already played a leading role in "Event 201," the simulation of a coronavirus outbreak in Brazil. What then happened in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, is now history.

"Whoever should once play with the state of emergency to restrict freedom will find my friends and me on the barricades in defense of democracy, and this is meant quite literally," Willi Brandt once said. And what are the citizen sheep of today doing? They are lining up for their second vaccination injection and hopefully planning their summer vacation.

I don't know about you, but I always think of a song by Chris Rea. And no, it's not "Looking for the summer". It's "Fool (if you think it's over)."

If what is reported is a problem in the Federal Republic, it is not recognized by a supermajority. I was on the Allensbach Institute website last Sunday, where the Sunday poll showed a 70% approval rating for the media parties. If we have "power excesses" here, they are (democratically) wanted.

Magdalena Schubert

Original: Power excess without end: Politics suffers from "long covid"