Conspiracy theorists should be ignored

Demonstrations against corona measures : The conspiracy theorists are a minority - but they have to be faced

They are aggressive, they look crazy, and yet are popular. Conspiracy theorists contribute to the corona crisis bizarre fake news, rumors and doom fantasies, the number of participants in the rallies against lockdown, mask compulsory and other state protective measures is growing nationwide.

Not all protesters are opponents of the state, but the spectrum of fanatical anti-vaccination groups and other dubious groups such as "Resistance 2020" are apparently being heard, both on the Internet and on the street.

[All current developments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here in our news blog. We will keep you up to date here.]

Thousands of people came together on the weekend in Stuttgart, and week after week in Berlin the “hygiene” demonstrations were repeated.

In other cities too, people are protesting - and accepting the risk of being infected with the corona virus in view of the fact that the distances are far too close. Politicians and security authorities are concerned. Is the mood in the country now changing?

The risk that the mood in the country changes must be controlled

The risk cannot be ruled out, but it should be manageable. Even if corona deniers, radical opponents of vaccinations, citizens of the Reich, right and left extremists and other puzzles receive a lot of attention, the vast majority of the population does not seem to lose confidence in governments and virologists.

Last week, in the Deutschlandtrend survey, more than 65 percent said they were satisfied or even very satisfied with the federal government's crisis management, although the sometimes hectic debates about easing the lockdown irritated many people.

But in the Sunday question about voting behavior, the CDU and CSU come up with values ​​of up to 40 percent. Despite the continued weakness of the SPD, the grand coalition would have a solid lead over the opposition. However, the warning signs should not be ignored or belittled.

SPD leader SaskiaEsken is right when, with a view to the Corona denier, she admonishes, "we have to counter this and prove ourselves to be militant democrats".

The security authorities are also warning that extremists could penetrate further into the center of society with their slogans and bring about a surge in radicalization among ordinary people. The republic only saw this happen a few years ago.

Even in the refugee crisis, family fathers mutated into angry citizens

In the so-called refugee crisis, first the images of the welcoming culture dominated, then the ugly scenes increased. Not only neo-Nazi-attacked accommodations of asylum seekers, also honest family fathers mutated into militant angry citizens.

The Federal Criminal Police Office found in many racist attacks that the perpetrators had no extremist lead, and the nationwide election successes of the AfD testified that the mood had changed in parts of the population.

[Keep track of things: every morning from 6 a.m., editor-in-chief Lorenz Maroldt and his team report in the Tagesspiegel newsletter Checkpoint on the latest developments relating to the coronavirus. Register now for free: checkpoint.tagesspiegel.de.]

And this foundation of hatred and agitation, of racist resentment and contempt for the state and the supposed “lying press” is still there.

The potential base of corona deniers is not as small as one might want. In addition, left-wing extremists are now apparently approaching the right-wing despisers of the "system" in their hatred of the state.

The conspiracy theories must be resolutely dismantled - ignoring it would be dangerous

A dangerous mix. Violence cannot be ruled out either. Suspected left extremists carried out an arson attack on power cables near the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications in Berlin in April to protest against the development of the Corona app and an alleged threat of mass surveillance like in China. Such dystopias spread across ideological boundaries.

Nonetheless, the critics of the state's corona measures should by no means be criminalized across the board and labeled as crazy. The emotionalization would be fueled.

Rather, it appears necessary that an alliance of the sensible from the state, politics and civil society resolutely and objectively dismantle the conspiracy theories.

On the Internet, on the street, wherever it seems necessary, you also have to deal with crude theses instead of silently keeping them silent. That Bill Gates has no plans to enslave humanity with forced vaccinations should and can be explained in an understandable way. Every soul that is lost to the fanatics is one too many.

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