The parties roll over themselves with proposals on how to help the citizens. They fear the wrath of the streets in Berlin even more than Putin. What, so the anxious question, if the German opens up other sides again?

Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared that no citizen would be left alone. That should probably have a calming effect. For me, such an announcement triggers rather anxiety. I don’t like it when people push me too hard, especially not because of the state.

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In all parties, they roll over themselves with suggestions on how to help citizens in the crisis. The SPD wants to enforce help for tenants who can no longer pay their heating costs. Because the buck then hangs with the landlords, the landlords should of course also be helped.

The stupid thing about tax gifts is that someone has to pay for them too. Even the best welfare state support cannot overrule this economic law. Since it is not the politicians who are responsible for the relief they promise, others have to step in, in case of doubt the people who have just received the gift.

So now it’s time to fight the gas crisis. Not wanting to let anyone down sounds noble. What can you say about help in times of need? If you listen carefully, however, another motive runs through the announcements: a secret fear of the citizen. They seem to fear the wrath of the streets in Berlin even more than Vladimir Putin. It is sometimes just a small step from caring to trying to immobilize someone.

The question of the name of someone who takes offense at constantly rising heating costs is still unanswered. energy deniers? However, the energy price deniers are more in the camp of those who, until recently, denied any risk of inflation. So maybe: Energy transition lateral thinkers. That sounds ominous enough.

It’s strange: on the one hand, we see ourselves as one of the most progressive nations in the world. The federal government has just introduced a law to great applause, according to which one can change gender once a year. Changing your last name will be more difficult in Germany in the future than overcoming biology. On the other hand, we Germans are considered to be latently at risk of recidivism. In winter, the heating scarcely threatens to stay cold and the brown hordes are already marching through the Brandenburg Gate on the opinion columns.

Is evil lurking beneath the surface? Is the Nazi in us just waiting to break through again? That’s the big question. The political scientist Herfried Münkler, with whom I sat down for lunch, distinguishes three ways in which openly revisionist powers can be contained: appeasement, deterrence and reducing aggression through increased prosperity.

I haven’t followed the discussion in other European countries that closely. But my impression is that people there take the crisis with greater composure. A friend who swapped his desk in Munich for a balcony on Lake Maggiore two weeks ago reports that the gas shortage is not a big topic in the Italian newspapers. The situation in Paris or Amsterdam is also comparatively quiet.

Is it smart that our officials talk about their fears every day? I have my doubts. As you can see, the worried hand-wringing about how badly we would be doing without his gas encourages Putin to remind us of our dependence every week. Sometimes there is 40 percent of the guaranteed gas volume. Then nothing at all. Then something again. Then only 20 percent. You know that from the animal kingdom. There are dog breeds that really bite when an animal shows their throat.

In truth, politicians distrust citizens, hence the careful siege. She considers him to be flawed, politically unstable and unable to cope with everyday things.

Citizens, as seen by politicians, eat and drink too much. He works to the point of burnout and watches TV shows that dumb him down. In the supermarket he’s totally lost because the selection is getting bigger and bigger and he takes everything the advertisements tell him at face value. Of course, he is also easily seduced by simple answers, as the populists call their shawms. The political establishment speaks of the “vulnerable consumer”. Can you think of a nicer word for the counter-proposal to responsible citizens?

Former Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel suggested that Germans should work longer to maintain their prosperity. There was an immediate protest. But I think a lot of people secretly know that he’s right. The beginning of the German economic miracle, which made us good democrats, was not the 35-hour week, but a collective effort. Not everyone outside of the social organizations has forgotten that.

We don’t have to march right through to Stalingrad again. Two sweaters on top of each other and the heater at 18 degrees, that would be enough for a start.

• Read all of Jan Fleischhauer’s columns here.

The readers love him or hate him, Jan Fleischhauer is indifferent to the least. You only have to look at the comments on his columns to get an idea of ​​how much people are moved by what he writes. He was at SPIEGEL for 30 years, and at the beginning of August 2019 he switched to FOCUS as a columnist.

Fleischhauer himself sees his task as giving voice to a world view that he believes is underrepresented in the German media. So when in doubt, against the herd instinct, commonplaces and stereotypes. His texts are always amusing – perhaps it is this fact that provokes his opponents the most.

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