What the federal and state governments agreed on Sunday in a conference call is now “contact ban” . As of Monday, more than two people – with the exception of families and people living in one household – may no longer come together in public.
A “curfew” was not imposed, other federal states imposed “exit restrictions”, including Berlin. Leaving your own home is only allowed for valid reasons.
The new rules are drastic for some, for example for young people. For most, they will feel gradual. Because no matter which administrative term is stuck on top: The country is already in a state of emergency anyway.
Public life, as we knew it, is cut down to the absolutely necessary. In fact: less than what is necessary.
This Monday we are finally reduced to unconnected fuselage communities, to a coexistence in the core family unit. We still live side by side, but we are no longer a society.
Economy in Wachkoma
Everything that distinguishes society from mere coexistence has been canceled for the time being, namely the relationships we have choose and actively create and what emerges from it: business relationships, industrial relationships, networks, friendships, art, culture, products.
The Bundestag will meet somehow, the government will rule. But already the economy is being transferred to the wakeful coma with billions of aid and loan commitments until further notice. No matter what politics calls it now, it’s brutal. That was never there.
And yet it is correct. The fight against the virus is a classic social cooperation problem: the problem affects everyone. To solve it, everyone would have to act fully in the common good and at the same time act against their own immediate interests and instincts.
The Germans have managed to do this better and better in the past few days, and that’s great, an echo of society in the de-society. But in the end it wasn’t enough. Statehood was created to solve cooperation dilemmas. It is now needed and it is good to see that it is doing its job.
Given the political considerations to be taken, the decision was not that difficult. The highest good that we know was weighed against the freedom of the individual: life itself. Because as difficult as it may be for a few saturated post-war Germans to grasp it, it is about life and death.
It is about preventing human suffering from asphyxiation thousands of times. It’s about gaining time to flatten the curve. In order to expand hospital capacities, to provide respirators, protective masks and protective clothing.
Nevertheless, the details of the decision were wrangled – by some, like Markus Söder, out of a desire to be profiled, by others from a democratic impulse . In the end, it doesn’t make much difference for the already rather hermit-like life anymore whether you can stand alone or in pairs.
The next question is: How long can the economy take? The federal government is digging deep into its pocket to buy time to fight viruses – but that doesn’t bring more than a delay. And, no less important: how long can we endure this?
In the cracks of the dust-dry German regulation and behind the facades left and right of the ghostly streets, there will gradually be a gnawing feeling of hunger for sociality Spread out – by company.
“At least two weeks”, the rules now adopted will apply. As long as that means gritting your teeth, observing the curve – and weighing up the benefits and harm again and again.