print close

How does Germany get out of the state of emergency?

by Karl Müller

Since the summer of 2015 Germany has been in a permanent state of emergency. Not only former judges at the German Constitutional Court and constitutional law professors like Udo di Fabio and Hans-Jürgen Papier complain that the government is breaking and undermining the rule of law. Both represent the attitude of many of the country’s citizens. Already several months ago Professor Karl
Albrecht Schachtschneider explained in detail where the law was broken on the government’s side when dealing with refugees in Germany.

“The struggle for law never ceases”

He has entitled his latest book  “In Remembrance of the Law” (2016, ISBN 978-3-86445-272-7). The book, a collection of basic articles from the past two years, makes clear that the state’s breach of the law has not only begun in last year’s summer. The breach of the law is more comprehensive and more fundamental, than it has been discussed in public. Already in the preface Schachtschneider’s criticism of the development in Germany is clear: “My belief is: All people are doing well, if the legal principle is realized. In every situation, the law is impartial, so perceptible. No one is authorized to place himself above the law. Who thinks that it is possible to live up to an alleged state of emergency by application of injustice, is making himself the sovereign, if he has the power to do so. He elevates himself to the position of the people’s master who are at his mercy. Freedom and dominance are incompatible.” And just as clear is his principle of life: “The struggle for law must never cease. We must not tire of it.”

The resentment among Germany’s citizens is enormous

The political world tries to appease the enormous resentment in Germany about the past months’ policy by ceaseless announcements of programs, proclamations of innocence and especially  reassurances. Here just one example of meanwhile innumerable ones: While, in view of the immigrating refugees, the German Minister of the Interior publicly gave the impression that the situation at Germany’s borders was “clearly stabilized”, the chairman of the German police union, Rainer Wendt in an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” from 25 January clearly disagreed with him. He considered the statements made by his Minister of the Interior to be “sheer nonsense”: “In view of  these statements by Mr de Maizière I can only shake my head. If the minister explains, that the federal police is capable of registering up to 3,500 refugees a day at the border, this is absolute nonsense and without any realistic foundation.” Reality, in contrast, is as follows: “No more than 800 of the about 2,000 people currently coming to Germany every day, are fingerprinted and photographed. […] All others are simply waved through and directly brought to the initial reception institution. […]”. The Minister of the Interior probably thought it was “absolutely necessary to announce a success message”, which, however, “is not at all backed by reality”. What is the mood of the local officials? It was “desastrous, they feel humiliated and abandoned by the politicians, in particular by the Federal Minister of the Interior.” The result: “One can definitely say: The police has never been at its limits to such a degree”. Rainer Wendt then adds what many already suspected: “No one knows the exact number [of refugees in Germany], not even the politicians in Berlin. We have only information about the number of asylum seekers who have been registered at the initial reception centers in the country. The tens of thousands of unregistered persons, who  are in Germany, additionally, are not recorded by this elicitation.”
And even less than half of the registered refugees have applied for asylum. The newspaper gives the figures from official German statistics for the year 2015. Less than half of the 1.09 million registered refugees in Germany, i.e. only 0.47 million, did apply for asylum.

Cui bono?

It would be nothing to fill many more pages with such inconsistencies – and for many citizens in Germany many such pages have already come excessively to full awareness. The result is that not only individual politicians, but also the state itself loses its basis of legitimacy more and more. The result of that again is that the public confidence in the state and its institutions will be lost. The possible consequence is that there will be a recipe for chaotic conditions and a return to the rule of force.
So there is no alternative to a return to the rule of law.
Serious personalities hope for a return to the rule of law through an exchange of the leaders in politics. Maybe this is a part of the way. Scepticism would be expedient. In any case: Most citizens do not have direct influence on such procedures. The course of the “Arab Spring” is a strong warning.

What can we do?

But what can citizens do? The most important task is to strengthen community building: to set dispute and disagreements aside; to realise that it is about the future of our own country; to focus on the common affaires, especially the peaceful coexistence for the good of all; to deepen the equitable and dignified human cohesion in private life and in the field of neighbourhood and residential community; to envision oneself as a citizen of Germany, to activate one’s civic awareness and to be absolutely determined to live like a citizen: to speak up and speak and write against injustice; to stand up for what is right; to use the political rights, that every German has, more than hitherto: in meetings, clubs and parties, in elections … and: to demand louder and clearer than before what the Basic Law (“Grundgesetz”) codifies in Article 20: “All state authority emanates from the people.” And: moreover it says that the state authority is also exercised through “voting”. It is an appalling injustice that the German people are still deprived of voting! Which citizen really knows today that he is actually the sovereign?! Perhaps it would be a first step to deliberate which substantive political issues essentially belong into the hands of the citizens.
Indeed, Germany is facing a crucial decision: No citizen can honestly want a continuation of the policy as before. This is a threat of dictatorship. Turmoil and rule of force are no alternative. The “solution” cannot be left “to those up there” either. In the meantime many are concerned. If not now, when then take the necessary steps?!
Today Germany and its citizens face demanding tasks. First, it is crucial to analyse which political agendas are connected with proceedings that allegedly befall like fate. For example, if a speculator and national-state opponent like George Soros is full of the highest praise for the policy of completely open borders to refugees (so again in an interview with the German Wirtschaftswoche of 4 January 2016), then you have to assume that it is not about a humanitarian concern. Secondly, all European countries, and especially Germany, face the task of renewing their national state, in order to create a liberal, constitutional, socially just and democratic situation. Third, a new form of cooperation within Europe has to be found, which is equal and serves peace. Today the European Union has so many fundamental birth defects and structural deficiencies, which remove it from what even the Basic Law stipulates in Article 23, namely to create a united Europe that is committed to “democratic, constitutional, social and federal principles and that guarantees a protection of fundamental rights essentially comparable to the German Basic Law”. That will not be achieved without the citizens.     •