Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann recently proved that even as a so-called father of the state, you shouldn't appear paternalistic: "You don't have to shower all the time," said the Green politician with a view to the energy crisis. “Even the washcloth is a useful invention.” This advice – especially from a top earner – may have had a scornful or cynical effect on many citizens, if they did not immediately classify it as real satire. But other people seem to be feeling the urge to turn saving energy into a kind of moral civic duty with the help of clever tips.
For example, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens), who advocates shorter and colder showers and cited himself as an example, although he had "never showered for five minutes" in his life. Habeck admitted the obvious – he had a salary “that others only dream of”. Berlin's Green Senator for the Environment, Bettina Jarasch, announced that she "only wash cats in the morning" - meaning: take a very short shower. She turns it into “a real competition”.
Anyone who now believes that only the Greens, who have always had the reputation of a do-gooder party, want to steer private behavior as narrowly as possible will be given the lie by Daniel Günther (CDU): Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister explained in the WELT interview that "certain Wellness offers this year belong to the kind of luxury that one should voluntarily do without. You don't necessarily have to go to the sauna in the coming winter." Some hotels have already switched off their saunas voluntarily, something like this does not always have to be "decreed from above". Well so what!
While it is undoubtedly right not only for cost reasons to save as much energy as possible now, all these statements are not only annoying and too much information on the part of those in government. But problematic.
First of all, for a practical reason: it is doubtful that many citizens will jump out of the shower or wipe themselves with a washcloth after a minute because they are being asked to do so with a finger raised. On the contrary: such appeals can also provoke defiant counter-reactions. Especially since body hygiene as part of the private sphere is not an area in which the state should intervene.
In addition, saving energy has long been a reality in this country for millions of people – especially those on low wages. And not just since Russia's dictator Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine with his murderous army. Electricity prices have been rising for many years, and gas prices have been rising since mid-2021. And: Do sly politicians seriously believe that the vast majority of the population has not long since independently prepared for the foreseeable dramatic cost increases in autumn and winter - and reduced their own energy consumption accordingly?
Citizens do not need patronizing tips from politicians. Such advice just stinks.
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