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The Resistible Rise of The New Normal Reich

Published: February 7, 2024 | Print Friendly and PDF
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So, the German authorities have filed an appeal to overturn my acquittal in criminal court last week. Apparently, their plan is to keep putting me on trial until they get a judge who is willing to convict me of something, or to bankrupt me with legal costs. Silly me, for a moment there, I was actually starting to believe this was over.

Let me quickly review how I got here for anyone just tuning in.

I am an author and a political satirist and commentator. In August 2022, I posted two Tweets criticizing mask mandates and making fun of Karl Lauterbach, Germany’s Minister of Health. Both Tweets included an image from the cover artwork of my latest book, The Rise of The New Normal Reich: Consent Factory Essays, Vol. III (2020-2021).

The German authorities did not appreciate those Tweets, so they (1) had them censored by Twitter, (2) had Amazon ban my book in Germany, and (3) dragged me into criminal court and prosecuted me on trumped-up “hate crime” charges.

Last week, a judge acquitted me of those charges, after which she launched into a tirade in which she insulted me at some length, and then strapped on a “Covid mask” and stalked out of the courtroom. During her diatribe, she made a big show of proclaiming that, by acquitting me of the fabricated hate-crime charges, she was proving that “Germany is not a totalitarian state” … you know, the kind of totalitarian state where books are banned, political speech is censored, and dissident authors are harassed by the police and subjected to ridiculous show trials.

The judge didn’t have much choice but to acquit me, because the relevant German law is clear, as my attorney had reminded her in his pretrial pleading, and because my case had received some international press. Also, the public gallery was packed, and there was a fair amount of independent media in the courtroom.

Unlike the German mainstream media, which have been churning out government propaganda like the proverbial Goebbelsian keyboard instrument for years, and which were too busy covering the totally-organic government-sponsored mass demonstrations against the government’s only political opposition to devote any attention to my political prosecution, the banning of my book, government censorship, and so on, some of the alternative German media are still interested in actual journalism.

The prosecutor, who appeared to be drunk or on some kind of high-grade sedatives, was very clearly unhappy to be there performing in front of a sold-out house. He spent the proceedings hidden behind one of those Plexiglass “anti-Covid” panels that cashiers still have to sit behind in grocery stores and other retail establishments, so I couldn’t make out every word he slurred. The gist of his argument was, although I didn’t intend to “disseminate pro-Nazi propaganda,” I nonetheless “disseminated pro-Nazi propaganda,” by comparing New Normal Germany to Nazi Germany, and “unnecessarily using a swastika in an artwork.”

My favorite part of the prosecutor’s argument was made in a pretrial pleading to the court, not during the actual trial itself. He accused me of “relativizing the Holocaust” because he claimed that comparing New Normal Germany to Nazi Germany is factually inaccurate, which assertion is revealing, and just staggeringly ignorant.

Here’s a translation of the excerpt from his pleading (emphasis mine):

…the accused is interested in relativizing this Nazi tyranny, which is also the aim of supporters of this ideology in a different form. By specifically using the swastika, the accused equates the crisis management measures of the years 2020-2022, which came about within constitutional procedures and were enacted and implemented by and through democratically legitimized institutions, with the dictatorial methods of the Nazi regime and thus – regardless of his intention – promotes the normalization of National Socialist ideas and actions.”

Of course, the history of the transformation of Germany into a Nazi dictatorship by means of “constitutional procedures and democratic processes” is extremely well-documented. In the election of July 1932, the Nazi Party won 37.3% of the vote and became the largest party in the Reichstag. On January 30, 1933, von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler Germany’s chancellor.

In the aftermath of the Reichstag fire, Hitler convinced von Hindenburg to pass the Reichstag Fire Decree, which severely curtailed the liberties and rights of German citizens. And then the Enabling Act of 1933 was passed by the Reichstag on March 23. This law gave the government the power to override individual rights prescribed by the constitution, because of a so-called “state of emergency.” All this “came about within constitutional procedures and was enacted and implemented by and through democratically legitimized institutions.”

The judge did her best to stop me from reciting all that history in court, to prevent me from “relativizing the Holocaust” again, right there, in her courtroom, in front of everyone, or to prevent the prosecutor from coming off as a jackass, but it was too late, her questioning had opened the door.

A hilarious episode then ensued, in which the judge projected king-size enlargements of my Tweets on a screen with an overhead projector, like the ones they used to use in elementary school, and then interrogated me at considerable length about whether the swastikas in the offending artwork were “on the mask” or “behind the mask.” For a moment, I considered requesting a recess in which to ask the artist, Anthony Freda, to prepare, sign, and telefax a notarized affidavit to the court explaining the details of his creative process and his state of mind at “the time of creation,” but I remembered that it was only 6AM in New York, which I thought might be a bit too early for Anthony.

Yes, the whole trial was as farcical as it sounds, but, the thing is, prosecutions like mine are never meant to make it into court in the first place. The game the German authorities were playing is somewhat like the plea-bargain game that the prosecutors play in the USA, which American readers will be familiar with from watching all those cop shows on television.

The way this game works in Germany is, they charge you with a misdemeanor crime, and hit you with a hefty fine, but one that is significantly less than what you will have to pay a lawyer to fight it in court. They are counting on you just paying the fine, and avoiding a trial, where a judge can double or triple your fine or even sentence you to prison. It doesn’t matter if they have no actual legal arguments to support the charges. It’s basically just a bullying tactic.

I have never responded well to bullies. I have an aversion to totalitarians, fascists, and other such authoritarian control freaks who get their rocks off intimidating, and dominating, and preying on the weak. My natural instinct, when threatened by bullies and other varieties of fascist creeps, is to get all up their faces and call their bluff.

Which doesn’t always turn out so well. Cops, for example, will just beat the living snot out of you if you get up in their faces, as will most of your hardened criminal types. But it typically works with petty public officials and other such “respectable authorities” … or at least those who are forced to maintain the appearance of adherence to the rule of law and fundamental democratic principles.

This is an important point, because it is The New Normal Reich’s “Achilles Heel.” I explained this in a previous essay, Pathologized Totalitarianism 101, back in November of 2021.

New Normal totalitarianism — and any global-capitalist form of totalitarianism — cannot display itself as totalitarianism, or even authoritarianism. It cannot acknowledge its political nature. In order to exist, it must not exist. Above all, it must erase its violence (the violence that all politics ultimately comes down to) and appear to us as an essentially beneficent response to a legitimate ‘global health crisis,’ and a ‘climate change crisis,’ and a ‘racism crisis,’ and whatever other ‘global crises’ GloboCap thinks will terrorize the masses into [a state of] mindless, order-following hysteria […] This pathologization of totalitarianism is the most significant difference between New Normal totalitarianism and 20th-Century totalitarianism.

In other words, this new, emerging form of global-capitalist totalitarianism cannot afford to look like “totalitarianism.” It can’t put on jackboots and black leather trench coats and start goose-stepping around with big fascist-looking banners, and putting people up against walls and shooting them, at least not here in the heart of the empire.

The only way this form of totalitarianism works is if people like my judge, and the countless thousands of New Normal Germans that have been out in the streets here displaying their unquestioning allegiance to the Reich, and demanding the banning of political opposition, and the segregation and persecution of “the Unvaccinated,” or displaying solidarity with Ukrainian neo-Nazis, or supporting Israel’s liquidation of Gaza, or whatever they’ve been instructed to unquestioningly support or display solidarity with tomorrow … the only way it works (i.e., this new totalitarianism) is if people, and not just German people, but Americans, and Brits, and Canadians, and Australians, and “Good New Normals” all throughout the West, are allowed to keep telling themselves and each other that they’re “the good guys,” the ones who are “defending democracy,” as they march us down the road to totalitarianism.

Yes, I know, I’m repeating myself. I am going to keep repeating myself. Because the only way this doesn’t all end in an extremely ugly and dystopian scenario is if we get through to those “Good New Normals.” I’m not talking about trying to convince them of anything, or winning arguments about “the virus,” or “vaccines,” or Israel, or Trump, or calling them names. I am talking about confronting them with what they are doing. I’m talking about short-circuiting their mental programming — even if just for a few fleeting seconds — by holding an accurate mirror up to them, and forcing them to look directly into it, and recognize what it is they’ve become.

That is what I did in criminal court last week. It’s why the judge was forced to acquit me, and why she felt compelled to deliver that tirade, and strap on her mask to make a big statement. She could have convicted me. She probably wanted to. In her mind, and in the minds of most New Normals, people like me are existential threats. However, to convict me, she would have had to watch herself make a mockery of the law and behave like a fascist … like a totalitarian functionary.

Call me a hopeless idealist if you want, but I have to believe that somewhere deep down inside even the most fanatical New Normals (or most of them anyway) is a decent human being, with principles, who does not want to be a fascist (or a least doesn’t want to look like a fascist), and who can still be reached, if they can be forced into the position that judge was forced into last week. I have to believe that each brief short-circuit, each momentary glimpse at themselves in the mirror, cumulatively, over the course of time, is eating away at their mental conditioning.

In any event, that’s the theory I’ve been operating under for quite a while. I guess I’ll try it out again at my next show trial.

CJ Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. His dystopian novel, Zone 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. Volumes I and II of his Consent Factory Essays are published by Consent Factory Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Content, Inc. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.

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