I have been a long critic of Germany’s criminal speech laws, including its long criminalization of Nazi symbols. Now, Sven Pohl, 37, is facing charges in Germany for “heavy drug trafficking” after he triggered a raid due to his posting of a Nazi-themed breakfast. The police arrived being found with massive quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana.
Pohl’s undoing proved to be his hobby of producing Nazi-themed breakfasts.
While I am certainly sympathetic to the Germans in seeking to end the scourge of fascism, I have long been a critic of the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases, I view it as not just a violation of free speech but a futile effort to stamp but extremism by barring certain symbols. Instead, extremists have rallied around an underground culture and embraced symbols that closely resemble those banned by the government. I fail to see how arresting a man for a Hitler ringtone is achieving a meaningful level of deterrence, even if you ignore the free speech implications.
In this case, Pohl’s denial of free speech led to the more serious charges as a drug dealer. Making things worse, he has a prior criminal record for buying and distributing crystal meth and marijuana in 2014. He will also face charges for posting pictures of Nazis and Nazi symbols.