Fun fact: Hitler opposed vaccine mandates.
Godwin’s Law states that the longer a conversation goes online, the more likely it becomes that someone will invoke Hitler or Nazis. Hold onto that idea for just a second, we’re going to come back to it shortly.
On Thursday, the heads of Germany’s states and the federal government came to an agreement to implement a stricter vaccine mandate policy that will require people to show proof of vaccination or a recent recovery from coronavirus infection before being allowed to enter anything other than essential businesses. Under the agreement, Germany is expected to pass a vaccine mandate that will require citizens to get inoculated against the deadly virus. In the meantime, unvaccinated people will be subject to strict limits, allowed only to visit essential businesses like the grocery store or pharmacy until they decide to get the jab.
Do you see where this is going?
Germany is in an incredibly difficult position. The country is currently facing a significant spike in coronavirus cases, and now there is concern about the Omicron variant spreading globally. Making matters direr is the fact that Germany has a lower vaccination rate than neighboring European nations, driven largely by the country’s vocal and radical anti-vaccine movement. So, the country’s leaders decided that a crackdown in the name of public health is unfortunate but necessary.
The political right disagrees. It took exactly 0.001 seconds for the first conservative to compare Germany’s new vaccine mandate to the policies of Nazi Germany — though it’s hard to know who said it first because literally every single one of them had the exact same thought at the exact same time. Throw a dart at Right Twitter and you’ll hit some ghoulish take about how this is basically the same thing as the year’s long persecution and deportation and later, mass murder of Germany’s Jewish population in the 1930s and 1940s.
Here’s a quick sampling: Dave Rubin, who has argued that calling people Nazis is cultural appropriation, responded, “Train ride to special showers, perhaps?” to a tweet asking how Germany will identify the unvaccinated. A smart and good observation from someone who has regularly held uncritical conversations with and provided a platform to white supremacists.
Wendy Rodgers, a state senator in Arizona with connections to the far-right anti-government militia group the Oathkeepers, said “Germany is becoming itself again. Groups of people cannot buy or sell unless they take the Mark of the Beast,” before warning that “The New World Order is here.” It’s a bold warning from Rodgers, who has previously echoed the words of the ethnonational Great Replacement theory that claims people of color and Jewish people are trying to replace white people. She’s been condemned by Jewish groups for her rhetoric.
InfoWars commentator Paul Joseph Watson took to Twitter to post, “Germany using emergency powers to segregate, stigmatize, persecute, and ultimately imprison an oppressed minority. What could possibly go wrong?” Watson should know better, seeing as he’s been ostracized himself by the alt-right for allegedly being a part of their weird conspiracies about how Jewish people run the world. But hey, anything to rile folks up — and it’s not like Watson is shy about blowing the antisemitic dog whistle, anyway.
Tim Pool and his hat got in on the action, too, tweeting, “Germans getting back to their traditions.” Pool, of course, was once photographed sharing a meal with a collection of white nationalists and Nazi sympathizers and has, on multiple occasions, hosted people who spout white supremacist rhetoric and Neo-Nazi talking points.
Also, just for the record, it is the literal Nazi party in Germany that is responsible for the ongoing vaccine disparity in the country. The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party has embraced the country’s past, invoked Nazi symbology and rhetoric, and most recently has been leading the charge in anti-vaccine and anti-mask campaigns.
Finally, just to come full circle and fulfill Godwin’s law: Hitler opposed vaccine mandates.