Not a day goes by that we don’t get insulted by the government. It insults us collectively, as a group, as individuals. But still, at the end of the day, the government itself is the one that feels the most insulted.
The latest, but definitely not the last insult came from the prime minister. Speaking about the vast state expenses, he said that women complain about maternity leave, which they wouldn’t get in Germany “if their lives depended on it”. This is not only a horrible analogy, but also an inaccurate one – they would be entitled to maternity leave without any threats to their lives. He went on to talk about welfare beneficiaries and described a person “strong as an ox” (another horrible analogy) who refuses to work because he gets money for each child, which means that the state is just giving him this “unearned” money (which is the definition of “welfare”. Otherwise, it would be called “a salary”).
A couple of days ago, he insulted everyone who complained about the heating. Here he also used an example of some imaginary “spoiled softy” who demands heating only to be able to walk around the apartment in his underwear, as if heating was some social benefit provided by the state and not a service we regularly pay for. Not only that, but the heating is a faulty service charged based on provisionary calculations by the provider (and not based on usage, as it should be), which we can’t save on even if we wanted to (turning off your radiators won’t affect your bill).
On the other hand, even if that imaginary citizen demanded what he paid for only in order to strut naked around the apartment (and not because he’s cold with his clothes on, has a baby or a sick family member), he’s entitled to it. Because the heating is not a gift which we should be grateful for and not complain about (especially if your teeth are chattering from the cold and you’re trying to avoid turning on the electric heaters, and thus inflating your electricity bill). And not only is that imaginary citizen entitled to be “spoiled”, but also to make demands, just like he would in any shop which is refusing to give him exactly what he paid for.
These weren’t even all the insults from last week – there are a lot that didn’t even make the list. We were insulted by public officials, anonymous public servants, by the press, on TV, etc. They insulted us just because they could, for what we think or what they think we think, for what we do or they think we would do if we were them. They insulted us tentatively, maliciously, ominously (some of them meant it, some were just being pretentious, but you never know when pretentiousness can become seriousness).
But still, out of all those insulted, only one filed a complaint for libel. The minister of police.1
Translated by Marijana Simic