American Playwright Punished in Berlin

I first heard about the American expat playwright in Berlin, C.J. Hopkins, in November 2020, when someone sent me a link to his essay The Germans Are Back! in which he wrote the following:

In case you missed it, on November 18, the German parliament passed a new law, revising the so-called “Infection Protection Act” (“Das Infektionsschutzgesetz” in German), that formally granted the government the authority to issue whatever edicts it wants under the guise of protecting the public health. The government has been doing this anyway, ordering lockdowns, curfews, travel bans, banning demonstrations, raiding homes and businesses, ordering everyone to wear medical masks, harassing and arresting dissidents, etc., but now it has been “legitimized” by the Bundestag, enshrined into law, and presumably stamped with one of those intricate official stamps that German bureaucrats like to stamp things with.

This revised “Infection Protection Act,” approval of which was rushed through the parliament, is not in any way comparable to the “Enabling Act of 1933,” which formally granted the Nazi government the authority to issue whatever edicts it wanted under the guise of remedying the distress of the people. Yes, I realize that sounds quite similar, but, according to the government and the German media, there is absolutely no equivalence whatsoever, and anyone who suggests there is is “a far-right AfD extremist,” “a neo-Nazi conspiracy theorist,” or “an anti-vax esotericist,” or whatever.

I took consolation in this essay, because it revealed to me that I wasn’t alone in noting the ominous similarity of the Infektionsschutzgesetz of 2020 to the Ermächtigungsgesetz of 1933. Both laws granted the state special power to “protect” the people from the “emergency” that threatened them.

For reasons that remain unclear to me, the majority of German journalists have apparently been unable to recognize “Emergency Power” declarations for what they obviously are—namely, instruments for suspending constitutional protections in order to establish dictatorial state power.

A paradox of German state conduct in recent years is that it most resembles the conduct of the Third Reich in its response to dissidents who compare its conduct to that of the Third Reich.

Most Germans have been so heavily conditioned to associate tyranny with the actual Nazis of the thirties and forties that they are unable to see that the tyrannical spirit may manifest itself in a completely different guise with completely different manners and speech.

It reminds me of Carl Jung’s observation that the people most likely to participate in horrible enterprises are those who smugly assume (during times of peace and stability) that they never would.

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