Not making it up, Robert Gottliebsen in Friday’s Australian (paywalled): “Those without a vaccination certificate will be seen as walking timebombs to be avoided by the vaccinated.” Then there’s Prue MacSween expressing discomfort on Sky News on Thursday evening about sitting on a plane next to an unvaccinated person. And I was unfortunate enough, while watching a movie on one of the free-to-air commercial channels on Friday night, to see three actors of comparative youth sorely struck down with COVID, so we’re told, infected by an unvaccinated Untouchable.
Switch to Saturday morning’s news, effectively now a COVID bulletin. NSW cases 1599; Victoria’s 450; how many are sick enough to require hospitalisation? Who knows? Us underlings, who pay the salary of government officials, have long since been put on a need-to-know basis.
Case numbers have been steadily trending up despite week upon week of border closures, soul-destroying lockdowns, useless masking and pointless curfews. Does this mean that the onerous diktats have failed and will be removed forthwith? Clearly not. Without them, don’t you know, things would have gotten worse.
These are failsafe diktats. Cases go down, they’re working. Cases go up, they’re working. But if that throws you off your centre of balance. There’s more.
The art of gaslighting is going beyond anything Charles Boyer inflicted on Ingrid Bergman. We are being told with a straight face that the unvaccinated pose a threat to the vaccinated. How can that be? They’re vaccinated! They are protected. That’s why they got vaccinated. Why else would they get vaccinated? Yes, I am being driven around the bend. It’s working.
In this case, too, the circumstances stretch gaslighting to a whole new level. This is what we think we know at this stage. The vaccinated can catch the virus and pass it on. The viral load they have is the equal of the viral load of the infected unvaccinated. The advantage of vaccination is not that it gives immunity, like conventional vaccines, but that it cuts down on the incidence of serious disease.
So, Ms MacSween can relax sitting next to the unjabbed on a plane. Whether vaccinated or not, they can pass on the virus to her. However, the hope is that the vaccine is protective and prevents her from being laid low. However, hold on! Suppose she, as a vaccinated person, contracts the virus and passes it on to her unsuspecting fellow traveller who for whatever reason, perhaps because of some medical impediment, has not been vaccinated?
You see where this goes. We are being told in a masterful Goebbels-like exercise in propaganda that the unvaccinated pose a threat to the vaccinated when, in fact, it is precisely the other way around. It is victim-blaming. It was your fault that the mugger struck you from behind. And there’s more.
It has been mooted that the virus by being able to circumvent the vaccine, infect the vaccinated and then jump into a fresh host, might gain a virulence it might otherwise not acquire. This, of course, poses an additional threat to the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated are the victims in this drama. Yet they (we) are described as the villains.
And we’ll soon be outed as villains. “Walking timebombs” even, to be excluded from participating in many aspects of the ordinary business of life. It would be a mistake to think that displaying our unclean state, with some outward symbol, some badge, is completely out of the question. This is Australia 2021.
We’ve experienced capricious authoritarianism, children separated from parents, children prevented from visiting their dying parents, seen police wrestling women to the ground, hand cuffing a pregnant woman in her own home, heard of neighbours dobbing on neighbours and being encourage to. It’s not the Australia we thought we knew. Sadly, I suppose it must always have been there, beneath the surface. The test of the pandemic has brought it out in all of its ugliness.
Finally, you might note, I have avoided the one argument which has superficial substance. Getting vaccinated will lower the strain on hospitals. OK, so will eating less, drinking less, smoking less, sunbaking less, having less casual sex; avoiding ocean swimming, boating in stormy weather, mountain climbing, bush walking, over-strenuous exercise and climbing ladders; driving slower and, in my case, looking more carefully before crossing the road, etc, etc, etc.