From the Substack post on November 19, 2021, by eugyppius.
Austria has announced a general lockdown and Europe’s first population-wide vaccine mandate. Below, the Austrian writer and translator Martin Lichtmesz reports directly on conditions there. Translated in haste, given the importance and urgency of these developments, from the original at Sezession im Netz.
It looks like I was too optimistic last month.
Unfortunately, there can be no talk of any “Corona twilight” in Austria right now. Our government, under the leadership of the unelected shadow chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, has now ordered, in rapid succession, an escalating series of “tightened measures,” and their repressive character dwarfs all that that has preceded them. I published a detailed account for the magazine Freilich.
This escalation reached its climax today: All of a sudden, the government has announced a “full lockdown" beginning on Monday for all of Austria, as well as a “fixed” general vaccine mandate from February 2022 (coincidentally corresponding to the end of flu season)1. This also means forced “boosters” for everyone who thought they were finished after the first two jabs.
Although this style of governance has been ongoing since March 2020, the brazen authoritarianism of these decisions and their attendant massive assault on the liberty of the people – unchecked by any constitutional concerns or even rational considerations – has become deeply frightening. Our country can now justly be called a dictatorship.
“All of Austria from Monday under total lockdown" – “A general vaccine mandate is coming for everyone in Austria”
First there was a “2G” rule for leisure facilities2. Now we have a “lockdown for the unvaccinated,” who are no longer allowed to enter various stores and public spaces and have to provide reasons to the police about why they are leaving their homes. Austrian police officers now demand Corona certificates from people walking in the backwoods of Upper Austria, and they patrol Viennese supermarkets to make sure that the unvaccinated pariahs are indeed buying only food, not toys (this is not a joke).
All of this is clearly done for the sole purpose of punishing and blackmailing those who remain unvaccinated. Schallenberg freely admitted this. As the Kurier reported on 15 November, when it comes to “vaccination refusers,” the Chancellor “has lost all understanding”:
“There is a group of people who have demonstrated relative immunity to the vaccination and information campaigns by the government and the media for almost a year,” Schallenberg said, finding it “regrettable” that “it seems to take a mixture of incentive and pressure to get people to accept vaccination.”
So anyone who, despite these “vaccination and information campaigns” (which have depended on carrots and sticks from the very beginning, not just now), decides differently from the dictates of the government – that is to say, anyone who does not eat up the propaganda unconditionally – is now demoted to second-class citizenship as punishment and subjected to petty harassment.
In Vienna, the state has already embarked on the next stage of psychological terror, by removing the power to decide from the hands of the unvaccinated entirely, and booking “vaccine appointments” against their will. They will be informed of these by mail. This means that the names of the unvaccinated are already registered in databases. They will probably also record the names of everyone who doesn’t come to his appointment or cancels it. At least cancellation is still possible – but for how long?
“Minister of Labour demands: Without test or vaccination, no more access to the workplace – and also no salary.” – “RKI-chief Wieler says, ‘we really shouldn’t give those who don’t want to be vaccinated the chance to evade vaccination by testing their way out of it.”
All of this will very soon come to Germany. There, too, pandemic administrators are openly foaming at the mouth, dispensing with every inhibition and pretense. Their faces are growing harder and uglier.
RKI chief Lothar Wieler has remarked that “we really shouldn’t give those who don’t want to be vaccinated the chance to evade vaccination by testing their way out of it.” And we thought the point of 3G was to prevent the spread of a virus! Some have even hit upon the idea of financially bleeding the vaccine refusers. The Minister of Labour, Hubertus Heil (SPD), demanded: “No more access to the workplace without testing or vaccination – and no wages either.”
This effectively amounts to holding hostage or jailing anyone who decides against the jab. Their thinking, after all, has been declared erroneous, irrelevant and misleading by the independent fact-checkers. The step to actual incarceration doesn’t seem very far.
When will the police be at the door? When will vaccine refusal have criminal consequences? When will it result in fines of the sort that will destroy people of modest means? In the climate that is descending around us, anything seems possible. Social, legal, and medical-ethical standards are rapidly disintegrating, state overreach is becoming the norm. Already, among the unvaccinated, the feeling is spreading that they are outlaws and have their backs against the wall.
Of course, these “tightened measures” at the expense of the unvaccinated have not had the slightest effect on “the numbers,” which, according to the press, are once again “exploding.” They have finally, and totally predictably, resulted in this “lockdown for all.” Perhaps they intended this from the beginning, and were merely waiting for a dramatic spike to cause emotions to boil over.
This renewed “lockdown for all” will make a lot of people who have dutifully gone along with everything to this point extremely angry, and so the political and the media establishment have already provided a target for this anger and frustration: The blame for everything – for the lockdown, the high incidences, the high ICU occupancy, the alleged triage, the corpses piling up in the corridors, and so forth – lies with the well-poisoners, the “vaccine refuseniks”, the “hesitants,” the “Querdenker”3, etc. No few people are now openly wishing death upon these noncompliants.
Had they been vaccinated – so goes their conspiratorial narrative – we’d all be free of Corona and the national government would not be forced by lack of alternative to impose these draconian measures. They’ve brought all of this on themselves. Whining just amounts to an insubordinate miming of the victim's role. They must be punished, educated, and forced, if argument and persuasion cannot help. The mob are so certain of themselves, they have even produced smiling priests who publicly boast that they have “no sympathy for the unvaccinated.”
Alas, this perfidious agitation and division, induced deliberately from the top down, seems to work very well. An atmosphere like that of civil war has descended upon the country. I would like to clarify that “both sides are not equally to blame,” as has historically been the rule in such cases. Some, in giving way to indoctrination, have become aggressive agents of the government’s agenda, and are now harassing the rest, who are totally passive and merely insist on their personal choice.
“2G doesn’t divide society. People who can and won’t be vaccinated, are doing the dividing. More specifically, there isn’t any division, only the secession of a minority. Anti-vaxxers use this division narrative mostly to portray themselves as victims. They’re not.” – “For over a year I’ve now done everything to protect my family and friends, I’ve observed all the rules and had all three vaccinations. And still it got me. I’m just so tired of it, so vaccine mandate now!” – “Vaccine mandate. Vaccine refusers must sign a form after counselling with their doctor, that they will refuse hospital treatment in the event of infection. Then they’d warm to the jab.”
Here are a few typical statements from the Twitter mob, led by the left-liberal blue-checks:
Vaccine refusers are causing such damage, both economic and psychological, through measures like the impending lockdown, that this intervention is socially justifiable.
Vaccine mandates: Those who refuse vaccination must sign a form during vaccine counselling with their doctor, that they will forego hospital treatment in the event of infection. Then they’d warm to the jab.
I really struggle to see how those who protest Corona measures & parties like MFG understand the word “freedom.” Because what is this freedom worth if it’s not accompanied by a willingness to show consideration for others and for facts?
I don't know any lawyers at the moment who seriously doubt the constitutional permissibility of compulsory vaccination.
What should really be understood is that we need a vaccination rate of over 80% - more easily achievable with child vaccination - plus the third vaccination for everyone after a maximum of six months, so that after this horror wave we don’t slide into the next one. This takes courage too.
Unanimous statement of my (vaccinated) pensioners’ group in the pub: Lockdown, okay. But only if the unvaccinated assholes are also forced to accept vaccination. Because we have them to thank for it. That’s just what everyone said.
If [vaccine sceptic and FPÖ-head Herbert] Kickl doesn’t call off his pro-pandemic demonstration Saturday, he should be held personally accountable for all violent acts brought about by his criminally irresponsible escalation.
The same idiots who, since the start of the pandemic, have taken to the streets against masks and contact restrictions, are now protesting vaccination that would make the masks and contact restrictions unnecessary. It’s actually hilarious.
These people need to apprehended by the authorities and subjected to radical, immediate removal. There is NO MORE "TOGETHERNESS" here. GET OUT, DUMBFUCKS!
Hanno Settele, Austrian state media journalist: “You don’t have to vaccinate all your children, just the ones you want to keep.” – Frank Ulrich Montgomery, chairman of the World Medical Association: “We’re experiencing a tyranny of the unvaccinated”
I won’t get into the many reasons why the doctrine of mass vaccination is false, here (“breakthrough infections,” the vaccinated as carriers, the illusion of herd immunity, the rapid fadcing of vaccine efficacy, the unprecedented side effect, and so on and so forth), and why vaccination must remain a free, individual choice. Patrick Lenart has already provided dispassionate reasoning on this matter.
The problem is that no one is interested in objections like these any longer. The eerily perceptive Michael Esders remarked on Twitter:
With 2G, 3G, 2G+, etc., they’ve created a chaos of rules that can scarcely be enforced or implemented. The general vaccine mandate then becomes a salvation, completely detached from any medical purpose – finally, clear rules again.
The system of mass psychological direction, which sends all negative affects, energies, discontent, anger and hatred at the “vaccine refusers,” is now firmly in place. Don’t delude yourself: We won’t shake this with numbers and arguments.
As for the vaccine-faithful, who are in the majority and fully empowered, and who have the political and the media apparatus behind them – they made up their minds long ago and can no longer be dissuaded by argument. They’ll never leave the unvaccinated alone; they’ll pursue them everywhere, to the last corner. They have erected mental defences to shield their doctrines from every doubt. They are especially convinced that all the irrefutable scientific arguments are on their side.
In the last few days, I’ve tried to explore what those in the land of the vaccine faithful are thinking right now. The results have been fairly devastating. One person I interviewed (A.) is an older academic from the left-liberal-bourgeois milieu; the other (B.) is a more middle-class, conservative medical specialist. Both conversations were conducted by e-mail. I’ve known B. for a very long time, and I suggested a personal conversation, which he brusquely refused.
Left, Michael Kretschmer, governor of Saxony: “Nobody in Germany will be vaccinated against his will. And the assertion that those who don’t want to be vaccinated will lose their basic rights, is absurd and malicious. Let’s unite in opposing fake news and conspiracy theories.” – Right, WDR Breaking News: “Vaccine mandates in care homes and hospitals.”
Both felt that 2G and the “lockdown of the unvaccinated” were chaotic and haphazard systems, but couldn’t bring themselves to offer a clear condemnation of this ongoing absurdity. When I pointed out that these measures amounted to a disturbing erosion of the rule of law, I received little sympathy. They objected to my choice of words, to my saying that this kind of pressure was “terror.” Terms like “blackmail” and “manipulation” also elicited little reaction. Their empathy towards people beyond their own milieu and belief system was practically zero.
At the same time, I observed an astonishing ignorance of the arguments of those who are sceptical of vaccines and critical of measures, as well as a total unwillingness even to listen to these arguments – to the point of blunt, emotional refusal. Their own positions and arguments struck me as poorly thought through, their gaps and contradictions patched over in makeshift ways with rationalising propagandistic slogans. At base they still took for granted the scenario of March 2020: SARS-2 is a killer virus and lockdowns are an appropriate, expert-approved, and effective means of containing its spread.
I was fobbed off with phrases like “Covid really exists” and “hospital staff don’t think it's very funny.” B. said that I didn’t show enough “humility” towards the opinion of Prof. X or Dr. Y, and that I overestimated my scope for assessing the situation and that I “parroted” things that I’d picked up from some babbling Youtuber (the Lichtmesz-Sommerfeld law?4).
Left: FDP-head “Lindner no longer rules out vaccine mandates.” – Right: FDP Campaign poster: “Freedom has allies.”
At base, their arguments amounted to “trust the (artificially ensconced) experts, shut up and obey.” B. rehearsed to me precisely the authoritarian attitude that the government takes toward the disobedient. When I said that the relative incidence of infection between vaccinated and unvaccinated is distorted, because the vaccinated are tested less, he said that was a “lie.” That wasn’t the case for people around him; as far as he could tell, even the vaccinated were tested regularly!
A. supports a general vaccine mandate, but when I asked, she had no clear idea how this could ever be implemented “humanely” (see above). When I pointed out to her that a great many people accepted vaccination merely because they wanted “to be left in peace” or to keep their jobs, she replied that she herself chose vaccination out of “personal conviction and consideration of her interests.” To my question – “And if I don’t want to be vaccinated out of personal conviction and consideration of my interests, why do you want to force me?” – she replied:
I’ll leave you alone as long as you’re not requiring my or other peoples’ breast cancer operations to be postponed. Where does your responsibility for the collective, for the society in which you live, begin?
She also suggested that I sign a “living will” so that no operations would have to be postponed on my account. I imagine this is meant to absolve me in some partial way of the sin of remaining unvaccinated, since I’m willing to accept penance should it be necessary. (I’m rarely sick, by the way, and like everyone else, I’ve paid considerable sums into the healthcare system over the course of my life).
I found this so strange, I hardly knew where to start. To begin with, there is the strange notion that has been fed to people for some time now, that patients should be arranged on a moral hierarchy, according to whether or not they have taken sufficient precautions against their infection – but only in the case of Covid, the alpha-disease that now towers over all the others and around which the whole world must revolve. When has there ever been anything like this? Every year, as many as 60,000 Austrians die of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. No one seems to care about any of that anymore.
“Vaccine mandates for all – that’d now be the fairest solution. A minority vehemently resist, the majority complies: The government steered itself into a dead-end, when it ruled out vaccine mandates. The reason is a false definition of the term ‘Freedom.’”
The idea that the unvaccinated Covid patient “has only himself to blame,” is a freeloader, a social parasite or worse, is now rampant. Catching Covid despite being offered vaccination has become very nearly a crime. But how would it be any different, were A.’s surgery to be postponed because of some other more urgent emergency5? How many surgeries and medical treatments have been postponed this year and last year without any emergency at all, on orders from on high, to provide the necessary political optics?
So I replied: As I see it, it’s a) rather unlikely that I’ll end up in the ICU or even in the hospital with Covid at my age and in my condition. Theoretically, I could just as easily end up there b) with myocarditis or c) with Covid despite vaccination – and b) and c) also apply to her. But this was all futility. The idea is fixed: If you won’t protect yourself, you’re a threat to others. That’s what this whole edifice of moral blackmail is built upon.
1 Lichtmesz forwards highly plausible late-breaking rumours on penalties: “Whoever does not comply will face a fine of 3600 Euros. Whoever cannot pay will be jailed for four weeks. The vaccine subscription is also priced in: For refusing any subsequent booster, the fine is 1450 Euros – or once again four weeks of incarceration.”
2 2G allows only the recovered or the vaccinated; it is a ban on the unvaccinated. The prior scheme was 3G (which also allows access to vaccinated who can produce a negative test). There is also 2G+ (according to which the vaccinated/recovered are also required to test negative) and 3G+ (whereby the unvaccinated have to produce a costly negative PCR result).
3 Literally, the “lateral thinkers” – a populist grassroots Corona sceptic movement in Germany and Austria.
4 “The left is guilty of all the accusations it levels at its opponents.”
5 The delay of planned operations during rough flu seasons has happened time and again in Germany (and I’m sure in Austria too), with hardly any remark from the press.