Why do I disagree with socialism?

Germany is slowly sliding into market-based socialism

The Germans are calling ever louder for the strong father state, which gives and directs. On many levels, Germany is slowly saying goodbye to the social market economy. Even the liberals no longer dare to call for tax cuts, a reduction in bureaucracy and less government.

Is Erich Honecker right after all? “Neither ox nor donkey stop socialism in its course,” the State Council Chairman boasted almost exactly 31 years ago, when his GDR was already close to its end. Mockery and mockery poured out over the thin man with the squeaky voice. Even for the most loyal SED comrades it had long been evident that the planned economists of the SED had gone into brilliant bankruptcy.

One should therefore assume that the Germans in particular would appreciate the advantages of capitalism and the market economy. The East Germans in particular should be immune to the siren sounds of the state economy. But far from it. The further the fall of the wall disappears in the fog of the past, the louder the calls for the strong father state, who gives and directs.

Alliances with the post-communists

This development can be seen most clearly in dealing with the heirs of the SED, who today call themselves the Left Party: Alliances with the post-communists no longer frighten even the Christian Democrats. Contrary to previous party congress resolutions, the new SPD leadership is consistently setting the course in the direction of red-red-green. Olaf Scholz, as candidate for chancellor, is inevitably accepted as bait for the not-so-left-wing electorate. The Greens are keeping a low profile, but when in doubt they also vote for a left-wing alliance, as can be seen from the state governments in Berlin and Bremen.

This is accompanied by a shift in the economic coordinate system. Although Germany now spends over a trillion euros - and thus soon a third of its entire economic output - on social issues, it is never enough. Not just since the Corona crisis put public life into twilight.

The prescribed lockdown only acts as a fire accelerator. Today, not even the liberals dare to call for tax cuts, bureaucracy and less government. Although Germany has meanwhile even ousted Belgium from the sad top position in terms of the tax burden, the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party can unconcernly demand new duties and even higher taxes. Of course, they are only intended to affect “the rich”, although they are broadly defined. Top earners in Germany are those who earn 1.2 times the average income (around EUR 46,000 gross per year). The CDU, who had moved to the left by Chancellor Merkel, opposed this at best verbally. Even the Bavarian CSU under Markus Söder is toying with black-green alliances and is now emphasizing the eco-social aspect in its program.

Aid packages on a large scale

On many levels, Germany is slipping from a social market economy to a market-based socialism. The aid packages to cushion the corona crisis, which now total 1.8 trillion euros, have a narcotic effect: Short-time working benefits that will soon be extended to 24 months and the suspension of insolvency law postpone the threatened drastic increase in unemployment figures well into next year. Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) is planning large-scale state investments in troubled companies such as Lufthansa. The German Association of Cities calls for the nationalization of inner cities to save the retail sector. The voters thank the debt makers Merkel, Söder and Scholz with their high popularity ratings.

In collective early retirement or working from home, the deepest recession since the Second World War seems quite bearable for many Germans. That lifts the mood - and feeds the illusion that the state has infinite financial power and that reforms are therefore unnecessary.

While the self-employed and freelancers do not know how long they can still afford rent and maintenance, pensioners, retirees and all employees in the public and semi-public sector do not have to worry about their regular income. On the contrary: The payments even increase in the Corona crisis. The civil service, which has long since developed into the largest employer - and is constantly expanding, is correspondingly attractive. Even before Corona, over 40 percent of students preferred a secure job in an authority to those in industry. The courage to be independent is stunted.

Property should serve the common good

So the weights are shifting towards the state economy, meanwhile the critical minds of the free economy are losing influence. This can also be read from the decline of the FDP. The ultimate advocates of ownership and reward must fear the five percent hurdle in any election. In the land of tenants, people who question the right to property protection, for example of property owners, as guaranteed by Article 14 (1) of the Constitution, have also garnered a lot of applause. On the other hand, paragraph 2 is common, according to which property should serve the common good. Three decades later, it seems to have been forgotten that with this argument the communists of the GDR also robbed entrepreneurial citizens of their property and drove the Soviet zone to ruin with its planned economy.

The planned economy in Germany is operated most consistently with the so-called energy transition. In the name of climate change, nuclear and coal-fired power plants are being forcibly shut down and entire areas are being messed up with monstrous wind turbines or solar plantations. The result: German private households pay the highest electricity prices at 30 cents per kilowatt hour, because all market laws are being overturned and the blackout has to be averted at ever higher costs. Benefits in terms of global CO2-By the way, load is zero.

Anyone who criticizes this is defamed as a “climate denier”. This is also reminiscent of the GDR, which stylized itself as a bulwark against fascism in order to nip any opposition in the bud. There is no need for a censorship authority today. In the new, democratic Germany, a great deal of consensus among politicians, associations, churches and large parts of the media puts everyone in the right corner who refuses to use gender verbal abuse, considers the European debt union to be a wrong path, and structural racism in large parts of society and considers the measures to combat corona to be excessive.

The GDR nostalgics are gaining influence

Even left thinkers, who call themselves intellectuals or philosophers, are on the side of power - that is, where the last well-paid contracts beckon. Today the new anti-fascists do not unite at the behest of above, but voluntarily to form “alliances against the right”. Which is why this danger has to be constantly evoked even when the occasion is trivial. The fact that the citizens of the new federal states in particular react sensitively to such bans on thinking and speaking is not counted as a democratic sensitivity, but interpreted as stupid rebellion. Eternal Ossis.

In contrast, the true GDR nostalgics gain influence with every government participation. Benedikt Lux gives a meaningful look behind the scenes: In “New Germany”, the former SED party newspaper, the green Berlin city councilor lists the successes of red-red-green security policy: “We have exchanged the entire leadership of almost all Berlin security authorities and there brought in pretty good people. With the fire brigade, the police, the public prosecutor's office and also with the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. I hope that this will be noticeable in the future. " Honecker would have enjoyed this development towards the GDR light, which today appears in the guise of eco-socialism.

Wolfgang Bok was editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper "Heilbronner Demokratie". The political scientist with a doctorate works as a freelance journalist and teaches strategic communication at Heilbronn University.