Germans March Against Shutdown

The Associated Press reports on opposition by Germans to their government’s shutdown order. The AP, of course, has a position on the issue:

Thousands protested Germany’s coronavirus restrictions Saturday in a Berlin demonstration marking what organizers called “the end of the pandemic” — a declaration that comes just as authorities are voicing increasing concerns about an uptick in new infections.

Got that? The demonstrators are wrong! The AP wouldn’t want to get through an opening sentence without telling its readers what to think.

With few masks in sight, a dense crowd marched through downtown Berlin from the Brandenburg Gate.

Few masks in sight! How dare they?

Protesters who came from across the country held up homemade signs with slogans like “Corona, false alarm,” “We are being forced to wear a muzzle,” “Natural defense instead of vaccination” and “We are the second wave.”

They chanted, “We’re here and we’re loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom!”

When Germans protest against being robbed of their freedom, you know it’s serious.

Police used bullhorns to chide participants to adhere to social distancing rules and to wear masks, apparently with little success.

I doubt that the writers of the AP story appreciate the humor in that sentence.

Police estimated about 17,000 people turned out. The demonstrators were kept apart from counterprotesters, some of whom chanted “Nazis out!”

It is typical in Germany, as in the U.S., that people who object to infringements of their freedom are “Nazis.”

Protests against anti-virus restrictions in Germany have drawn a variety of attendees, including conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists.

Then they must be wrong. Of course, “right-wing populists” cover a broad range that would include people like us, and like most American conservatives.

Unlike the U.S., Brazil and Britain, Germany’s government has been praised worldwide for its management of the pandemic.

The obligatory anti-Trump spin that we find in pretty much every AP “news” story.

Absent from the AP’s account is any explanation–let alone a sympathetic understanding–of why many Germans have had it with their government’s shutdown. Via InstaPundit we see: Germany economic collapse: Nearly 10 YEARS of growth wiped out in nightmare for Merkel.

In the second quarter of this year, the German economy shrunk by a massive 10.1 percent compared to the first three months of 2020 as the crushing impacts from the coronavirus crisis become increasingly evident.

Of course, it wasn’t the virus that crushed Germany’s economy, it was the shutdown.

The huge crash in the April to June period was triggered by a massive collapse in exports and measures introduced in a desperate attempt to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

This will set alarm bells ringing in Germany as even in the worst three months of the financial crisis in 2009, the country’s economy shrank by less than five percent.

This is a point that is not made often enough: the costs of government shutdowns to “fight” the coronavirus are huge and indisputable. The benefits of shutdowns are speculative and hypothetical. In my opinion, those benefits are minimal and maybe nonexistent. Closing down economic and social life can indeed slow the spread of the COVID virus (or any disease), albeit at enormous cost.

But what is the benefit? The evidence increasingly shows that shutdowns merely prolong the inevitable effects of the disease. Instead of suffering only from the effects of the disease, we now suffer from the same effects of the disease, spread over a longer time, but in addition are experiencing the incalculable human toll caused by the shutdowns. I have yet to see any convincing evidence that this assessment is incorrect.

Sweden’s experience, while by no means a pure test case, is instructive. Sweden did not order an economy- and life-destroying shutdown, and early on, as anyone would have expected, the disease spread more rapidly there. That was the point. But now COVID in Sweden seems to have run its course, which is what diseases do:

The dreaded “second wave” here and in most of Europe is the inevitable result of temporarily slowing the spread of the Wuhan flu, or any other disease. The best course, I think, is to get it over with. Diseases are bad, there is no doubt about that. But we, and most European countries, have, I think, compounded the evil effects of COVID with foolish policies that have added unnecessary destruction to the inevitable toll of the disease.

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