What Habeck meant when he spoke of “pierce”.
Robert Habeck complains that a paper from the Ministry of Economics was “punched through”. The choice of words is revealing. What does “pierce” actually mean – if it’s not about earlobes? About a phrase secret-mongers love.
UOur Economics Minister is complaining bitterly that a draft of his house’s “Bild” paper was “punched through”. That is a breach of trust, a betrayal of a good cause, of the climate protection program. We are experiencing the consequences right now. Homeowners and renters fear unbearable costs. How much do heat pumps cost? What else needs to be done to make them work? Insulate the house and roof, replace windows and radiators, maybe add photovoltaics to the roof. On all talk shows, the issues are flipped back and forth. There are grants, the poorest should be helped, politicians explain to the traffic light. That doesn’t reassure anyone. The nation trembles between anger, existential fear and bitterness.
In all of this, I only miss one thing: the praise for the German whistleblower and for the “Bild”, who warned us in good time. You ratted out a plan that affects us all – outrageous, unexpected expenses for a house or rent. One should have known, say the defenders. Everything was already in the coalition agreement of the traffic light.
So no betrayal of secrets at all? no The timing was crucial. The law was in the so-called early coordination with the Chancellery, a preliminary stage for hearing associations and for coordination among the ministries. Anyone who informs us about this in good time has made a great contribution to the well-being and woe of the population.
So it would be good if they stopped complaining about piercings. Even the word piercen has something defamatory about it. Why is that? Apparently there is a metaphor, a pictorial comparison. But with what actually?
What can you pierce? The dictionaries name different things: tires on a car (malicious), a vein (accidentally), the earlobe (for jewelry), a mountain (for a tunnel) or a dike (for regulation). Something always suddenly flows out, the air from the tire, the blood from the vein, the water from the sea, lake or river. Significant consequences, some of which are intended and some of which are undesirable, often occur. This could be the source of the metaphorical transference. When information is passed on, a container is punctured, so to speak, so that what has been kept secret can flow out.
The english word Whistleblower, which came up in the 1970s, is a more neutral term. Probably derived from the phrase to blow a whistle – „uncover something (by blowing a whistle). A good translation into German has not been found. But to rat on (something/someone). uses a similar image.
Whistleblowers often suffer an ambivalent fate. The public praises them as courageous heroes. The secret-mongers respond with dismissals, lawsuits for damages, and criminal prosecutions. This is a core of our democratic self-image. Freedom of information, freedom of exchange of ideas, freedom to object.
Those who want to force their recipes for an energy revolution on us will gradually have to get used to this.