One role of the German Ethics Council is to issue warnings to politicians in euphonious words from a position of apparent independence, to which there is often no political reaction. Since Corona, however, the role of the Ethics Council has changed: a substantive independence from politics is no longer even feigned, no melodious and consequential reminders are addressed to politics – on the contrary: the largely destructive, antisocial and unconstitutional corona policy is supported in rather discordant tones.
The position of the fool, who is the only one at court who is allowed to tell the regent the truth without prejudice, is therefore not being used to any extent by the Ethics Council at the moment. If one defines a serious distance to public lines as the capital of the Ethics Council, then there is an apt expression for the consequences of the fact that since Corona many council members have given up their skepticism at the cloakroom: declaration of bankruptcy.
However, one should not demand any opposition in principle from the Council either, this must always depend on the content, other opinions, of course, can also be withstood here. In the case of the corona policy, however, the substantive arguments are so overwhelming in my opinion that continued support of the government line by the Ethics Council is tantamount to cheating the citizens.
Head of the Ethics Council: measures "escalate gradually"
In Markus Lanz's talk show on Tuesday, Alena Buyx, who has been the chairwoman of the German Ethics Council since 2020, burned down a firework in favor of the official vaccination positions: she not only indirectly blamed the unvaccinated (via the detour of quoted nurses) for poorer care for heart patients, for example. In order to increase vaccination protection, it is also necessary to "shoot from different pipes" and there is a moral obligation to vaccinate. In order to deal with the corona measures restricting fundamental rights, she also recommended an inconspicuous and "as basic rights-friendly as possible" increase in pressure:
"What you have to do now is to take a step-by-step approach, that you get it right as gently as possible, but still introduce enough measures. And you have to escalate them gradually, so to speak".
This attitude is not only inappropriate in its lack of distance from a very critical policy. The formulation is also a bit reminiscent of the frog in the saucepan, who only realizes too late that the water is slowly brought to a boil "highly escalated".
The conditions "escalate" - this is a cynical, but also accurate description of the strategy of the corona panic-mongers currently leading the way in media and politics. But one also wonders where the social division should still be "escalated".
The inappropriate and destructive corona policy cannot be justified with the real figures on excess mortality or hospital utilization. Nevertheless, the Ethics Council uncritically puts an "ethical" cloak over large parts of this policy. This provokes questions about the independence of the body.
Ethics Council Issues Blank Cheque for unequal Treatment
In accordance with its legal mandate, the German Ethics Council is to deal with ethical, social, scientific, medical and legal issues and analyze the likely consequences for the individual and society. According to self-definition, it is independent, the 26 members "exercise their office personally and independently", they may not be active members of the Bundestag or the federal government or a state parliament or a state government.
On the one hand, the Council has issued gentle criticism of the unequal treatment that has now been established in recent months: for example, a selective withdrawal of restrictions on freedom could only be justified for vaccinated people according to the Ethics Council "if it were sufficiently assured that they would no longer be able to spread the virus. However, questions of justice and the consequences for the acceptance of the vaccination strategy should also be taken into account".
On the other hand, in the same communication, the Council supported the questionable strategy of the government to avoid an official vaccination requirement, but to have it implemented by private individuals. An "ethical" blank cheque on unequal treatment is almost already issued about "freedom of contract– - even if the possible restrictions on freedom of contract "are mentioned in offers that are essential for a fundamentally equal, basic participation in social life":
"When it comes to the question of the extent to which private providers should or can be prevented from restricting access to goods and services offered by them to vaccinated persons, the freedom of contract must be taken into account. In principle, it gives private individuals and private companies the freedom to decide with whom they conclude a contract."
Lifting of measures is "anti-child corona policy"
The German Ethics Council also takes a questionable position in some statements on dealing with children since Corona. For example, the Council is currently criticizing a "anti-child corona policy", as media reports. But by "anti-child corona policy", the institution does not mean, for example, the mask, test and distance compulsion that is still being exerted on countless students. The Ethics Council demands – on the contrary – an extension of these completely inappropriate measures against the children, of course with the questionable justification of the "infection numbers":
"Especially in younger children, the number of infections is increasing enormously. Even if severe cases in children occur less frequently, hundreds of children will be affected by complications if there is a strong infection, "said the vice-chairwoman of the Ethics Council, Susanne Schreiber. "The protection of our children in schools must be a high priority. We owe them a social life that is as normal as possible and must ensure that their health is not endangered. An eyes-to-and-by mentality is not enough here," Schreiber said.
This positioning leaves one speechless. The quirk that the anti-child corona measures are still being re-sealed for "protection" has already been torn up in the network. But also the chairwoman of the Ethics Council, Alena Buyx, quoted at the beginning, agreed with this wrong view a few days ago on Twitter:
Meine liebe Ratskollegin Susanne Schreiber zum Schutz der #Kinder in @rponline. In der ggw. Situation Schutzmaßnahmen an Schulen zurückzunehmen, ist aus meiner Sicht falsch. https://t.co/IrSd0nbG9V— Alena Buyx (@alena_buyx) October 30, 2021
2G (under certain circumstances) "ethically justifiable"
There are also other voices in the Ethics Council. In a recent interview with the "Berliner Zeitung", the Ethics Council member Steffen Augsberg makes differentiated remarks about Joshua Kimmich, for example. However, the criticism of 2G /3G remains far too gentle for my terms at Augsberg. Alena Buyx has largely defended the 2G model a few weeks ago in an interview:
"From an ethical point of view, you have to say that of course 3G is better because you simply have more participation. But it must also be said that if the situation continues to deteriorate, then it is ethically justifiable to deal with this 2G, but very moderately."
The existence of an indirect compulsory vaccination was denied by her, revealing interesting positions on equal treatment of citizens:
"A duty is something that you can't escape, and of course you can escape the (2G model), I don't have to go to the club!"
According to Alena Buyx, the correct "understanding of freedom" of citizens is expressed in the fact that you "super participate in everything":
"And we have a very large part of the population who has been through everything superbly, who has been vaccinated very quickly and is still willing to continue to participate now. So I'm actually quite optimistic about how our understanding of freedom has changed."
Ethics Council in the service of the fear campaign
The Ethics Council chairwoman Buyx recently put herself at the service of the Corona panic campaign in an interview with the "Tagesspiegel". In the conversation, she opposes a "triage of unvaccinated people", which is natural and correct. But since a "triage" was neither carried out nor threatened at the time, the completely unnecessary thematization of this extreme measure can be classified as a targeted scaremongering:
"Such criteria should not play a role in triage. Of course, it is obvious where the intuition comes from, but there is no principle of blame for life-saving measures in the health care system. (...) As difficult as this is for those affected: withholding life-saving measures because the condition could have been avoided contradicts important ethical principles of medicine."