WWhat hubris to speak on behalf of everyone and to want to delegitimize the liberal order. “Only” because you think you’re on the right side. There is always a “good” starting point, even among the “lateral thinkers” and in the early days of the RAF. If you weren’t allowed to take to the streets against lockdowns and health policy or against a state that was still infiltrated by old Nazis, against a capitalism that was perceived as devastating, then this state would no longer be a free one.
Although gatherings don’t need good goals at all. They are simply allowed and do not require justification and can of course also take place spontaneously and without registration. But the targeted exploitation of freedoms to harm others is no longer free. Just as freedom of art does not legitimize violations of the law, freedom of opinion does not give license to hate speech and insults, the freedom of assembly, which is undoubtedly also constitutive, is not a disguised right to resist the democratic order. Or should the storming of the Reichstag become the norm?
But even those who have the majority there are not allowed to do whatever they want. Disproportionately restricting the rights of others and tearing down the cornerstones of the community is something that even democratic representatives are not allowed to do. So even when a movement has successfully marched through the institutions, it – its leader – is not entirely free. Even directly elected officials sometimes fail to recognize this. They are not sacrosanct because they (repeatedly) won a personality election. Majorities can give temporary mandates or lead to laws. But mandates and rules also have a framework.
This is one of the great achievements of civilization. If it were otherwise, we would have unfree conditions, especially (initially) for the minority(s). This was particularly evident in the EU states of Hungary and Poland. Clear majorities are used as a license for self-sufficient action. First to curtail the independence of the judiciary and to tame the media, then to limit fundamental rights. Those who even have constitution-amending majorities can turn the state upside down quite a bit.
But certain rights cannot be restricted. Not in the European Union – there is also a sanction mechanism here – and beyond. In many places, a constitutional court ensures that the basic order is not violated. It is particularly perfidious to appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court for “civil disobedience” or even resistance. The judges in Karlsruhe have indeed put pressure on the legislature in the system of “checks and balances” with a view to climate change. If Karlsruhe were to authorize resistance, the system would be at an end anyway and we would be in a revolutionary phase, which corona and climate “lateral thinkers” are working towards.
That is why it is so questionable to ennoble these enemies of the constitution, to show them sympathetic understanding because they stand up for supposedly better things. Of course, an occasional rule violation can also be part of the protest, but that’s obviously not what climate activism is about. With a view to the world clock, targeted blocking and damage should be done.
Noble political goals cannot play a role when it comes to observing rules. Anyone who wants to wake up the government must not harass their fellow citizens. If you want to wake up your fellow citizens, you can do so in a variety of ways, which can also be annoying. But no one needs to wake up.
To act quickly
Even internationally, the breach of international law can only be sanctioned by the states and courts, but basically by individual willing states. The (still expandable) reaction to Russia’s war of conquest against Ukraine shows that a community of convinced states can also act quickly. The free community of values is quite closed, but not in individual measures. How should it be any different in democratic states?
It is therefore quite possible that there will still be no agreement in the fight against climate change. But what is the alternative? Abandoning Democracy? Who showed the way? Even then, steps would have to be agreed across the board. No, nothing works without conviction, without elections, votes and observance of the jointly set rules. Nothing good.
Anyone who sees things differently can try their luck in the realm of Putin or Kim. It’s still governed there. But not for long either.