The lady is new in business in our village. We chat a little. She does not live here, she comes from Etzwilen, a small village close to Stein am Rhein.
I know the village. “The people there have defended themselves against something”, I remember vaguely. “Yes”, she answers excitedly, “against the Geothermal project”. She tells me who and why they would have protested against it.
Then the experts had come and had spoken with the people. “You know, they always act in such a way as if we had no idea, as if we did not understand anything. However, we are citizens, and if we grapple with something, then we understand what it is. Firstly, they came up psychologically and acted so very understandingly. They said, they understand that we would have ‘fears’. However, the fears were completely groundless, nothing would happen. They would explain it to us. When despite this, we still did not agree, they became angry, and tried to exert pressure. However, we did not let them do this to us.
It is about our property and our village. They did not want to guarantee, that our houses would not be damaged, and to insure us against the loss of value, that, they did not want to do.”
This short meeting has shown me: People see through the spin absolutely if one tries to appease them, and to talk them into “consequential fears”. Everywhere it is the same: It does not matter whether it is about Geothermal, Curriculum 21, PIGD or “new ways in drug policy”, everywhere the know-it-all “experts” deal with critical citizens arrogantly. They try to convince them, that their doubts were only an expression of groundless “fears” of something new, they would not understand completely what it was about, and they could not understand it at all.
They, the experts, would simply “explain it all”. And take care: if one still confronts them with objective counterarguments, they turn nasty.
In former times, good faith had once been valid in our country. Today, the lie is acceptable at political level. Moritz Leuenberger, SP, the former Federal Councillor, boasts publicly to have lied to the people. “The climate summit in Copenhagen was disastrous”, “Thurgauer Zeitung” cited him. However, at that time he intentionally did not inform the media and therefore lied to them, so that the Swiss would vote for the reduction of the CO2 output. “Well, I believe, lying is legitimate if it causes something good.” And who determines whether “something is good”? Moritz Leuenberger?
Therefore, I find the lady’s conclusion – by the way completely in the sense of Kant – very appropriate: You can trust neither the politicians nor the media; you must make yourself a picture of the thing in order not to be fobbed off.
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