Commentary by Claudia Henzler
In an interview, Tübingen’s mayor suggested that there was no effort for old and sick people. From an ethical point of view, it is simply: completely wrong.
Boris Palmer crossed a line
Boris Palmer is annoying. For some unknown reason, the Mayor of Tübingen, who is officially a member of the Greens, has acquired a status as an entertaining taboo-breaker, whose thoughts are given nationwide attention. One shouldn’t blame the media for this alone: the man himself has an urgent need to communicate.
He became a media star in autumn 2015 when he turned against the refugee policy of the Greens. Since then he has played the role of the green rebel, who dares to speak supposedly inconvenient truths. He regularly speaks out with comments that seriously irritate his party, most recently through a Deutsche Bahn advertising campaign that, in his opinion, showed too many travelers of different skin colors.
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He published another book a few months ago. It is about the refugee crisis and that politics should be more fact-based and less good-willed. “First the facts, then the moral” is the title. One would really hope that Palmer, who studied history and mathematics as a teacher, would only talk about facts himself. But he probably likes himself too much in the role of provocative.
In an interview on Sat-1 breakfast television, he crossed a line on Tuesday, although in principle he said what others have already said: that the shutdown was correct in the beginning, but the measures should now be weakened. It is precisely this question that determines the current political debate: How can you balance health protection and other interests in this new situation, in which the spread of the corona virus has been slowed down?
But Palmer also said in the interview: “In Germany, we may save people who would be dead in six months anyway due to their age and previous illness.” He thus implies that only people die of Covid-19 whose life clock would have expired in six months anyway, which is a surprisingly little fact-based statement for a fact lover.
It also gives the impression that the prohibitions have always been superfluous. Above all, however, he suggests that there is no effort for old and sick people, according to the motto: They will die soon anyway. From an ethical point of view, it is simply: completely wrong.