Is life good why or why not

Constitutional lawyer on exit restrictionsVolkmann: The right to life is not the highest good

The restriction of many fundamental rights is justified time and again with the right to life and the right to physical integrity. Both are important, but not the highest good according to the German constitution, said Uwe Volkmann in the Dlf.

"The basic right to life is an important basic right in our constitution, but it is not the highest good in our society. The highest good is human dignity, which the constitution has deliberately placed at the beginning of the Basic Law and which takes precedence over all other rights."

The legal philosopher Uwe Volkmann sees the liberal society in Germany in danger (Deutschlandradio / Uwe Volkmann)

The state has and takes the right to dispose of the lives of its citizens, for example with soldiers who are sent on missions. The only thing that is inviolable according to the German constitution is human dignity. The fact that this is considered the greatest good and inviolable in Germany can be seen again and again in the discussion about organ donations.

Information from the Federal Center for Health Education on organ donation (picture alliance / dpa / Waltraud Grubitzsch)

Montgomery (German Medical Association) on organ donation - "Above all, we need people's conviction"
The logistical and administrative problems related to organ transplantation in Germany could be solved, said Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Honorary President of the German Medical Association, in the Dlf.

Volkmann: Restricting basic rights is dangerous for our coexistence

The exit restrictions and the associated restrictions on fundamental rights would also have an impact on our future coexistence. Freedom of movement, free exercise of professions, political meetings - none of this is currently possible, said Volkmann in the Dlf. Should this situation persist, it could call the principle of our free society into question as a whole.

All articles on the coronavirus (imago / Rob Engelaar / Hollandse Hoogte)

The moral imperative

On smartphone displays, as a closing formula in e-mails or messenger messages, in TV commercials: You can read and hear "Stay healthy!" or "stay home". The constitutional lawyer is critical of such appeals:

"We already have a moral imperative that regulates our behavior."

In the current situation, this is a very sensible goal to avoid the spread of the virus, but:

"But it is something that we can only afford for a limited period of time, otherwise it will fundamentally change the idea of ​​how we live together. In short: We can now try to hold out for a few weeks, but it is not something we can support ourselves with a year or two. "

A free society also needs regulators:

"Even a free society lives from the fact that not everyone makes use of their freedom at all times."

But he observed increasingly that the "exercise of freedom" in society is characterized by fear. Fear in society is increasing and infecting it like a virus. He therefore expects a responsible policy to take this fear away from the citizens and not to restrict everything from the outset like a prevention state.

"It cannot be the goal of current politics to avoid contagion and thus the spread of the disease at all costs. Such an absolutism of disease avoidance is not a goal that can reasonably be achieved."

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In the long run, considerations would have to be made, says Uwe Volkmann in the Dlf, because the current situation is not sustainable in view of the follow-up costs. In addition to the follow-up costs for the economy, which "can be grasped with the hands", culture is particularly affected by the corona crisis.

If the "current regime continues, two months, three months", one can be relatively certain that the cultural landscape will suffer as a result, with unpredictable consequences.

Statements by our interlocutors reflect their own views. Deutschlandfunk does not adopt statements made by its interlocutors in interviews and discussions as its own.