Before the Wuhan virus I radically underestimated both the cohesion with which the leftist ideas operated in every sphere of our social and political life and their effectiveness in neutering dissent, both within and without their class. I knew they were regnant but I thought we had time to marshall some form of organised resistance. I have now come to believe I was wrong.
Until now we have only experienced political correctness in its authoritarian rather than totalitarian form. I have a strong intuition that is about to change very quickly. I am almost wholly convinced that we will not have the capacity or the will to resist the Left when it chooses to deliver the coup de main to what remains of our liberties and our institutions. You might disagree with me, but I suspect you will not regard it as being as extravagant a prediction as the same one made a fortnight ago would have been.
And I invite you to reconsider my words at the end of this week and in view of what follows.
Politicians, CEOs, heads of professional associations and unions, mainstream broadcast and print journalists and editors, bishops, teachers, administrators, professors, police inspectors and judges all speak as one about the magnitude of the risk presented by the Wuhan virus.
I am going to refer to the group of people just described as the clerisy. I prefer that expression, which was invented by Coleridge in the first part of the nineteenth century, to intelligentsia, which is Bolshevik in origin, and to elites, which has a note of envy about it. Whatever the collective noun used, I will assume you know who I am talking about. They are the people through whom the leftist programmes, triumphant in every sphere of our culture, are daily implemented.
These are the folk who have the power in our present social dispensation to tell us what we must do and even what we must think, and they have concluded that the risk presented by the virus is so great that we should close down significant parts of our economy and that fundamental state services such as Courts should forthwith cease to function and that we should isolate ourselves from our friends and neighbours. We must stop playing sport. We must be prohibited from attending church. We must immediately alter our habits of living in a hundred other ways.
I strongly disagree with their assessment of the risk. I am not a scientist but I can read and understand the essential propositions contained in scientific publications and I have read all I can find about this latest form of the SARS virus. I say that our response to the virus in Australia is grossly disproportionate to the magnitude of the risk, especially here in South Australia (where, as I write, one person has died of it).
My assessment may turn out to be right or wrong but it is not wrong of me to make it in such circumstances; the information available, for example, about the efficiency with which infected but asymptomatic people transmit the virus may change — and if it did my assessment would change. I make my honest layman’s assessment based upon the information presently available and many reflective and reasonable people with whom I speak with agree with me. Many remain silent because they fear that if they are wrong the corporate and social media consensus will wreak terrible revenge upon them and their reputations. Yet some citizen-sceptics are speaking up.
But no dissenting voice ever emerges from within the clerisy.
I infer from this that as a class they are invested in maintaining a heightened sense of crisis and are sanguine about any lasting damage inflicted upon our nation by the response they have authorised.
Do they perhaps believe they will be quarantined from the economic losses their lockdown entails? They might, and it would be reasonable for them to have that view. The Adelaide-based Federal Circuit Court judges, for example, who have decided there will be no trials in their Court for the next four months, as a prelude to that announcement made trials practically impossible anyway by not allowing counsel to tender a document for fear of it infecting their courtroom associates! (Other courts have stayed open but with daily trial times radically reduced and litigants and lawyers being corralled into video and telephone interlocutory hearings.) But these judges will continue to receive their salaries just the same. Their lifetime employment and their unreducable remuneration is guaranteed by the Australian Constitution, even though they are in a practical sense now unemployed save for catching up on many undelivered judgements. Physically barring litigants from access to the court out of an altruistic concern for their health or the health of their staff costs them nothing.
Most of the clerisy are employed by the State and many of those who aren’t, such as CEOs and AMA and Law Society presidents, have a symbiotic relationship with the public “service” anyway. I have written about this elsewhere. But their financial immunity does not explain why the clerisy have so enthusiastically embraced the catastrophist response to the virus in the first place. It does not explain how they all come to be in lockstep about lockdown.
Deeper civilisational and historical currents are carrying us along here. The clerisy are doing the job that used to be done by the clergy, after all. By that I mean it is they who now underwrite what passes for the moral content or imperatives in public policies in fields as disparate as educating children, deciding where our immigrants come from, capital punishment, abortion, mining coal, Aboriginal special treatment — and, most recently, responding to putative health crises.
As far as the Church is concerned, only one corner of it ever gained admission to the clerisy and that was the decaying liberal Establishment one. For years the only Christian voices heard on the national broadcaster said the same hostile, carping, censorious things about traditional Christian faith. I haven’t watched the ABC for years so I don’t know who now provides their Christian perspective. Waleed Aly, perhaps?
Governments in Australia have instructed the churches to close their buildings. With a few exceptions for funerals and weddings at which only very few people are permitted to attend, Christians have been excluded from attending their churches. Receiving Holy Communion in Anglican and Catholic churches, already early in the “crisis” reduced to receiving the consecrated bread in the hand only with no provision for communion from the consecrated wine in the chalice, has now been completely forbidden and those two pillars of Western Christendom have been utterly unresisting to this directive. Their compliance is not at all about wanting to save the old and the other putatively vulnerable victims of a virus. Reasonable regulatory measures could be taken to dissuade and, if necessary, exclude those at risk who insisted on attending an Easter service and whose families were acquiescent in their decision, though it would surely rarely be necessary to exercise them.
Most Anglican places of worship are so empty on every Sunday anyway that congregants could have a whole pew to themselves and be at nil risk of catching the most infectious of diseases. Yet so many of their bishops and priests and wardens have embraced these enforced closures with enthusiasm. They are plainly not people who believe in the gospel that is preached in their church. It is the Easter season, but for them death has not lost its sting at all; in fact, the prospect of a mild short-term illness is sufficient to abandon their worship. And to think that they used to sing “Grave, where is your victory?” at this time of year! Give me a break.
What an impostrous band of quislings these prelates have turned out to be, they and their accomplices in the laity. A virus which shows no sign at this stage in Australia of being more epidemiologically significant than the flu frightens them into utter faithlessness. They have meekly obeyed the edict of a secular Marxist like Victoria’s Daniel Andrews to bar the faithful from worship, and they would continue to do so, I suspect, if Andrews declared he was never going to revoke it. That is because they lost any desire to be part of a dynamical Christendom a long time ago. On the contrary, they have sedulously and successfully undermined it.
Churches led by such people as these deserve to have their deaths hastened and their pusillanimous display in the face of this virus may do that. As long as the matchless Anglican liturgy and Book of Common Prayer are preserved the passing of the Anglican Church of Australia itself will not be missed by anyone. The same goes for its Catholic counterpart: the remnant faithful can retain and protect those holy traditions, like the rosary, which are now officially neglected and even despised, while the institution itself, and the functionaries who cling to it, disappear forever and go to their service behind the high, grey walls of the State.
In fact, if the Wuhan virus turns out to be the actual plague the media and other parts of the clerisy seem so determined to conjure, we will need strong, faithful pastors and priests who believe in their Creed to instruct and uphold us as we re-acquaint ourselves with rampant death and with the return of other old civilisational constants such as violent conflict over limited resources. Young men of character have had no interest in joining our spiritually deracinated established churches for half a century at least. A real viral scourge with all of its challenges may call them away from the effete preoccupations which is all our unillumined age has ever left them. But it will be in new and revitalised (and persecuted) churches they will find a home and pick up their cross. Most of the existing priesthood in the old established churches will pack up the sacristy silverware and sell off those churches not already turned in to restaurants or intimate apparel boutiques and take up new positions in the clerisy, as academics or youth social workers, or superannuation board members perhaps. The clerisy always looks after its own. It helps that the departing will take their booty with them, of course.
I live next to a primary school. As their classroom numbers dwindle, I watch teachers continue to turn up in the morning, now busying themselves with designing online lessons for the extended shutdown they rather too-sanguinely contemplate. They know that no government would dare to suggest they take leave without pay. Parents are worried too and not about their children falling ill with a respiratory infection; they know the odds of that happening are fantastical. It is the prospect of being burdened with the supervision of their own children between the hours of 8.30am and 3.30pm each weekday. Continuing adherence to the clerisy line on this crisis has them in a real bind, for the persons on whom they would normally and reflexively off-load such responsibilities are the same people that line requires them to regard as acutely vulnerable and in need of strict sequestration — the children’s grandparents.
I predict holding the line here will be an early and major challenge for the clerisy. Parents might revolt. Even though they have been utterly silent as their children have been force fed the most extreme and psychologically damaging sub-Marxist gender ideology through Safe Schools and its equivalents, they will rouse themselves to protest if their state-paid au pairs remain unavailable for too much longer. Conscientious parents, on the other hand, may discover that their children having the chance while at home to read the classic children’s literature long-banished from the school library (or benefitting from and enjoying instruction in times-tables or spelling) leads them to a realisation of the utter redundancy of the modern school curricula and those who teach it.
Expect Andrews to be the first premier to address this serious challenge to the clerisy; state education departments and schools are the Left’s Ruhr Valley, after all, where their power is generated and their soldiers are armed. I predict that schools will be exempted from lockdown and complaisant civil servants and doctors will be found to rationalise and explain the exemption. What odds do you give me on that not happening? I thought so.
To take my World War II trope a step further, don’t expect to see any Guy Gibson emerge during the lockdown to lead citizen Lockdown Buster squadrons against Andrews or any clerisy-authorised initiative of government or on the lockdown itself. The saddest truth I have been obliged to acknowledge these last three weeks is that there are not enough true and independently minded men and women upon whom we can rely to mount any meaningful collective resistance to the madness and cultural self-abolition going on around us.
We even refuse to express and act upon our righteous anger at China for the permitting this virus to germinate in the barbaric live animal markets of the province which gives the disease its name and then suppressing knowledge of its existence and authorising its export around the world .We permit our government to continue to treat with and subsidise the communist-gangster nations and individuals who constitute and operate the World Health Organisation. The Director-General of WHO is a former Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front (Communist) minister, whose election in 2017 to the post was orchestrated by Beijing. Unlike Che Guevara, he does not even have a medical degree. We call the putative pandemic COVID-19 rather than refer to it by a name that tells us of its origins because he –– and the international gangster states who sponsor him –– told us to do so. Of course our media and especially the leviathan ABC are particeps criminis in this, as they have been in every leftist globalist initiative over the last 40 years, but what meaningful act have we, who well know their treachery, ever carried out to punish them or neuter them? None. We have instead contented ourselves with impotent lamentation.
It is an ostensibly conservative government that has promoted this self-lacerating national panic, the same government that served as steward at the desecration of marriage. Some conservative commentators will tell you, for so they are hinting, that when the panic abates the Liberals will be well-positioned to carry through a real dismantling of the architecture of the Leftist state apparatus, so desperate will be our finances. But we know know better from bitter experience. Liberal governments do not so much disappoint as never intend.
Every day during this lockdown I encounter friends whom I never thought would surrender the glorious privilege of being independent. I refer to independence of thought, and speech, and preference, even of mere unreflective habit. But they have done just that. I hear it and see and sense it. They casually use expressions like “social distancing” which I know none of them had ever heard uttered until two weeks ago; they rationalise their refusal to be angered when they arrive at the local sports ground to find their outdoor gym cordoned with police tape; they essay ostensible worry about elderly parents, safe in nursing homes, or their own health, even as they are aware only one person in our state, South Australia, has died; they have inured themselves to closed pubs; they are no longer discomfited by the masked faces that confront them when they walk down near-silent streets.
Am I being unfair to my compliant friends? Have I, too, succumbed to this impalpable regulation of my thought but refused to recognise it?
I look back at this article and ask myself why I wrote it. The answer I give is that I have re-assured myself that I have not yet forfeited that hold on who I am and who my forbears were nor on my Christian faith,and that gives me my bearings again. That is important because these last weeks have been a time, not of dangerous medical emergency, but rather, of precipitous cultural decline.