Germany’s Covid response reinforces a 1950s world view

Germany’s Covid response reinforces a 1950s world view

The most recent lockdown rules in Germany seem like they’re ineffective, inconsistent and cowardly.

These measures appear to me to be…

  • Ineffective, because limiting (private) movement to a 15km radius means a person could have a million interactions across their neighborhood, but not be allowed to drive out to the woods for a solitary walk away from people. They both feel restrictive without giving much relieve or hope for serious betterment.
  • Inconsistent, because these rules only apply to private lives, whereas if you’re on business, almost anything goes. As if the virus cared if you’re breathing as a private person or a business person. This punishes those who stick to the recommendations, and lets violators of the recommendations gain an unfair advantage. This creates an unlevel playing field and sets all the wrong incentives and signals.
  • Cowardly, because these rules are decided in the worst style of salami tactics, i.e. there’s no mention of the obvious truth and instead a meddling through from month to month because of political pressures; and the decisions clearly cater to the demands of white collar businesses — office jobs — over that of parents and other groups. These rules are built around lobbying efforts.

Personally, the most disappointed part for me, though, is another: It’s how the whole approach brings out a very awkward traditional and conservative side of German politics: The side that favors big old industries over new and agile ones. That favors employees over freelancers. That favors traditional single income families with a stay-at-home mother over literally any other type of family arrangement.

That last bit is maybe the worst: In the “traditional” conservative family model, the mom now stays home to take care of the kids while schools and daycares are closed, and dad drives to the office every day as if nothing had changed. If you’re a little more progressive and have two working parents, who aren’t necessarily employed but may be self-employed, barely any of the support measures apply.

The government clearly shows who they value and who they don’t. They value a 1950s family; not a 2020s family.