For some strange reason, Germans are really touchy about anything that smells of the so-called â€œpolice stateâ€. It has to do with their history or something. And they have developed a hyper-sensitive sense of smell when it comes to this matter over the years, too. Stranger still, Germany has always been a police state in one form or another because this is precisely what the Germans want (they will vehemently deny this, however). The real issue is that their current one is apparently notÂ efficient enough.
That is why the planned creation of a centralized anti-terror database is causing and will continue to cause a commotion here. The Germans are not frightened of the police state per se (they already live in one), they are frightened of the idea of it becoming more efficient and effective.
Similar to the way thatÂ they have hundreds of Krankenkassen (state run health insurance companies) here (Japan has one), Germany currently has thirty-seven (37) crime-fighting agencies, too. This doesnâ€™t bother anybody though, you see. Talk about your police state. And now that these agencies may be getting the opportunity to start sharing information with one another and begin playing on the same flat world playing field (think globalization), everybody starts getting nervous.
Germans are very efficient, of course, but too much of it makes them uneasy. Or like a popular comic figure says here (Stromberg): “Zu viel Kompetenz macht unsympathisch” (too much competency makes you detestable).
And speaking of comic figures, this anti-terror issue was absolutely positively custom-made for Oskar Lafontaine and his side of the lunaticÂ fringe. He promptly proposed that German elected officials like Chancellor Merkel and big brother types like Bush and Blair be added to the database. Too much competency makes you detestable, you see.
Come visit me at Observing Hermann…