A German crackdown on a shutdown dissenter has a distinctly fascist feel

The Soviet Union, a socialist dictatorship, famously locked up dissidents in psychiatric institutions. Once there, they were subject to cruel tortures in the name of “restoring” their mental health. Word is now leaking out that the Germany government imprisoned a German lawyer in a mental institution for opposing Germany’s oppressive reaction to the Wuhan virus.

Germany has imposed extremely stringent shutdown measures in response to the Wuhan virus (although it is not enforcing them against Muslims). The country has had a national curfew in place since March 22. Under the curfew, people may not travel in groups of more than two people, unless they share a household, and they may leave home only for certain limited activities (e.g., work, sports, or buying groceries).

On April 3, Beate Bahner, a lawyer in Baden-Württemberg, German, issued a press release challenging Germany’s shutdown. In it, according to a translation at the UK Column, Bahner contended that the government’s mandates were “flagrantly unconstitutional, infringing to an unprecedented extent many of the fundamental rights of German citizens.” She argued, instead, that the policy should isolate those vulnerable to the Wuhan virus, rather than quarantining the entire population.

In addition, Bahner published a 19-page legal analysis entitled “Why the shutdown is unconstitutional and the greatest legal scandal in the post-1940s history of Germany.” In the conclusion to that analysis, Bahner made the following statement (again, the translation is from the UK Column):

Fellow citizens,

I hereby invite all 83 million of you across the nation to gather and demonstrate peacefully at 3 pm on Easter Saturday:

Coronoia 2020 — [Tyranny] never again. We rise up today!

In accordance with §14.1 of the Assembly Act, please give the competent authority prior notification of your intent to demonstrate.

Because Bahner rhetorically asked 83 million people to assemble on Easter Sunday, Heidelberg’s police announced that they would prosecute her for inciting people to violate a law (that is, the new law against public assembly). The police further informed Bahner that she was required to appear at the police station on the Wednesday following Easter for an interview.

On the Monday after Easter, though, Bahner’s sister got a long voicemail message from Bahner describing how the police, when she'd called them for help, instead handcuffed her and took her to a psychiatric institution. Once there, they subjected her to the same treatment that a terrorist would receive. Someone uploaded the message onto the internet:

Again, I am indebted to the UK Column for the translation of Bahner's recording. Bahner describes how, when a car was following her, she called the police for help. The police arrived but, instead of helping her, they handcuffed her and delivered her to a psychiatric clinic. Once at the clinic, she was thrown to the floor, banging her head. Bahner ended up spending the night on the floor in a locked room. “There was no toilet, no sink, though they did allow me water, and there was a bell I could ring, though they ignored it after the third time I pressed it.”

Bahner did eventually get upgraded to a room with a bed and access to a telephone, which was how she was able to leave the message describing what had happened to her. Once her message was uploaded to the internet, a local journalist confirmed that she was indeed being held in a psychiatric institution. When questioned, the police justified her treatment on the ground that Bahner seemed “confused.”

It’s entirely possible that Bahner is a confused woman who was a genuine risk to herself and needed psychiatric help. But of course, it’s just as possible in today’s environment that Bahner is a victim of a government reveling in the power it’s achieved thanks to the Wuhan virus.

In towns and states all over America, we’ve seen governments -- especially (although not always) those in Democrat hands -- throwing the Bill of Rights out the window. They justify what they're doing by saying that they’re “protecting” people from the virus. Lord Acton, of course, was correct when he famously said, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The problem is that people who are fearful will too easily hand over power to someone who claims he can protect them. Interestingly, Democrats seem more afraid of the virus than conservatives. They are more amenable to lockdown orders and they are more certain that anybody violating, or even talking about violating, the orders will instantly be stricken with the virus or will infect someone else. They're also certain that the hydroxychloroquine treatment will be unavailing. With that level of fear, it's small wonder that they cling to government as their rock and salvation from a fearsome invisible enemy.


This photograph seems apropos. Taken in Amsterdam, in 1975, it shows protestors agitating for the release of Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet dissident who spent twelve years in psychiatric prisons/hospitals, labor camps, and actual prisons. One of his primary targets was the way in which the Soviet government abused psychiatry to control political dissent: