Climate activists can stretch their nerves enormously. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) knows this at the latest now. At the Catholic Day in Stuttgart on Friday, he answered the questions of the faithful – and was interrupted by an activist who shouted “Nonsense!”. Just as the chancellor was mentioning the jobs people would lose because of the coal phase-out.

At first the Chancellor continued to speak unmoved. But when the disturber doesn’t rest, Scholz blurts out: “I’ll be honest: These black-clad productions at various events by the same people always remind me of a time that was long ago, and thank God.”

The audience in Stuttgart applauded. Scholz had just made a statement that could be understood as comparing climate activists with Nazis – a derailment that has been making the rounds since Sunday evening. The climate activist Luisa Neubauer shared it on Twitter.

Yes, the culture of debate in the climate movement is pretty screwed up and too often characterized by a dubious understanding of democracy (or a pronounced lack of understanding of democracy). It’s the right thing to do to get out of your skin and to speak up on the public stage – and it’s probably just as beneficial for the chancellor as it is for large parts of the population.

You don’t have to put up with everything, not even as Chancellor. Incidentally, the same applies to craftsmen and teachers on their way to work or paramedics and emergency doctors on their way to the scene of an emergency, who are obstructed by radical climate activists who are stuck on motorways or intersections.

A minimum of courtesy standards on the one hand and understanding for fellow citizens on the other hand can also be demanded by frightened climate activists.

So it was right that Scholz drove the activists into the parade from the stage. His comment that the heckling is “not part of a discussion” but “an attempt to manipulate events for his own purposes” is understandable. Too often, climate activists act with great self-righteousness and an all-or-nothing attitude. Democracy is always characterized by consensus – and must remain so. So far, so good.

However, there is still the derailment that one would not expect from a communications professional like the chancellor, who has often sat on podiums: in this case, even to put the climate activists in the vicinity of Nazis is unworthy.

Of course, that was a reaction from the situation, without a script – but such comparisons are simply never appropriate: The Holocaust and other Nazi crimes are played down. An apology is due for this failure, Chancellor!

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