Monday, January 8, 2024

Protests and double standards: crying with Habeck, remaining silent towards the farmers

Telepolis Protests and double standards: crying with Habeck, remaining silent towards the farmers Article by Harald Neuber • 2 hours. Excitement over the blockades caused by agricultural protests. Benevolent acceptance of blockades by climate activists. Why the contradiction is problematic. A Telepolis editorial. At first glance, the political and media excitement surrounding the blockade of a passenger ferry last week with Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) on board is understandable. The hypocrisy only becomes apparent at second glance. Regardless of the motivation of the demonstrators at the ferry pier and their goals, the fact that the coercion of a minister who shares responsibility for the economic burden on a large part of the population is causing so much outrage requires at least critical comment. Many thousands, perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands of people have experienced coercion by demonstrators in recent weeks, months and years. Namely by the climate demonstrators of the “Last Generation”. Don't get me wrong: this wasn't a political comparison, but a technical one. According to general social morality, is it legitimate to coerce citizens en masse and deprive them of their freedom when the long-term goal of climate change is at stake? And is it morally legitimate to condemn this coercion as part of a form of political action against a minister who bears direct responsibility? This question will be raised in this text; it cannot be answered. Because the answer can only be the result of opinion formation across society as a whole. And here too a critical comment is required. Because many media, especially the public ones, seem to have made their verdict: blocking the short-term ministerial ferry: bad. Blockade of thousands of German citizens: okay. Unequal empathy Fee-financed editorial departments like that of the Tagesschau delivered, as politically ordered, the maudlin story of a family that was literally in the same boat as Habeck. And that wasn't fun, as you could tell from the text. The children in particular were afraid of the aggressive demonstrators and cried. Bad, without a doubt and above all without any irony. But where was the empathy for the crying children whose moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas were stuck in the “Last Generation” traffic jam? Who didn't come to their children's birthday parties, didn't come to friends' houses, didn't come to appointments? Witnessed the conflicts at the climate bonding line. Climate activists need to exaggerate goals and drama The argument of the supporters is predictable: it is not comparable at all, the fate of the farmers has nothing to do with the fate of the planet. But this argument only works if you work within the climate activists' mindset. This is not to deny climate change. But the drama of the situation and, above all, the question of the extent to which we can influence developments. It is not without reason that the Federal Constitutional Court's undoubtedly important and perhaps even groundbreaking ruling on the federal government's climate policy is often distorted. Because no, the constitutional judges have not asked the federal government to take more measures that would require taking to the streets and harassing a significant part of the population. The lawyer Thomas Groß also cleared up this misinterpretation of the Federal Constitutional Court ruling in an interview with Telepolis, although he is definitely one of the advocates of a vehement climate protection policy: The immediate result of the judgment was simply the obligation to add ten figures to an appendix to the law for the years after 2030, which was done quickly. However, parliament and the government were not obliged to take additional measures to achieve an actual reduction in greenhouse gases. In its justification, the Federal Constitutional Court simply warned that the obligations under the law must be implemented. So how can one justify roadblocks but condemn those of a minister per se? This can only be explained from the form of the action if it is based on partisanship. This can only seem cynical for the farmers and some of the consumers, who will feel the effects of higher prices. The street battlefield This double standard towards coercion and deprivation of freedom as a means of political activism also harms the politically legitimate criticism of those who appear to have marched at the Schlüttsiel ferry pier. The question of the political composition of the protest movement in front of the ferry last week and on the streets of the Republic this Monday must be asked. And this question is far less controversial than the first one.