The Express Road to Serfdom

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.

15 thoughts on “The Express Road to Serfdom

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Stuart, a very interesting read and I fear you are essentially right. I observed in one of my articles that I find the term ‘social distancing’ more than vaguely Orwellian, although on reflection it more accurately reflects the mindless smugness of the denizens of the Brave New World.
    One member of your clerisy is Peter Van Onselen who essayed a particularly pointless piece in today’s Australian, a piece in which the main theme seems to be a morbid delight in the crisis – a doomsayer’s wet dream of ‘damned if we do and damned if we don’t’. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/why-australia-needs-to-brace-for-things-to-get-worse-in-coronavirus-fight/news-story/f4a12db090c786510ab35109aea25b47

  • ianl says:

    From the article:

    > “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”

    Why did that take so long ? The deliberate destruction of our power grids, those that allow our civilising activities to occur with reliable affordable energy, started two decades ago. Amongst others, I started to point this out but soon realised that most of the population not only didn’t understand it but refused to understand it.
    C19 is a true opportunity for the ‘clerisy’ to abuse their power with impunity, to undo those horrid “populist” decisions they so dislike. It has now not escaped the dimmest of the bulbs in the general population that the State police are there to enforce anything they are told to by this clerisy at the point of a gun, even being given the power of arbitrary decisions over trivia. The police genuinely regard this arbitrariness as a reward, a perk.

  • Alistair says:

    Don’t feel too bad Stuart. The Left itself has no will to power and will allow itself to be taken over by the Arabs. (cf Michel Houellebecq – ‘Submission’) or by the Chinese. They are all minions waiting for orders, not rulers.

  • Trevor Bailey says:

    “Delay is life,” as former Tory PM, Lord Salisbury, adroitly remarked. Today, the lives he may well have been talking about are friends and family of mine with co-morbidities. I bet I’m not alone in this deep concern. Wasn’t it Schopenhauer who realised life is lived going forward, but only ever understood looking back? Good luck with your battle to rival New York’s death toll. I’d rather stay home a bit longer and see what happens. Looking back, I can say delay was life to those I love.

  • pgang says:

    Stuart Lindsay, you express my own outlook with extraordinary complimentarity. I find it difficult to control my anger at what is happening to our culture, and I am most angry at my fellow every-day man.
    What I see is a social cowardice on an unprecedented scale. The ANZAC spirt? It would have done what it could for the vulnerable, called out the over-reaction as nonsense, and got on with living. It no longer exists. My young nephew marched out of basic training at Kapooka today. Nobody was allowed to attend the ceremony – it wasn’t even streamed for the parents. So much for our valiant warriors – heaven forbid they might catch a virus.
    As for government, we can now finally give up on the charade of conservatism. The liberal governments of NSW and Australia are nothing but tyrants.
    Our treatment of those trapped on cruise ships has been inhuman, and why? For fear that ‘someone’ might catch the virus. It is beyond the pale. And now those people are dead and dying.
    We invited our closest church friends to share Easter with us on Sunday but alas, they too have succumbed to the fear. So we will spend Easter alone, removed from the essential element of joining together with others of faith and sharing in the sacrament. It won’t be Easter. The established churches exist no more.
    I suggested a couple of weeks ago that I believe there is something supernatural behind what is going on, because something has removed the frail plank of rationality that has otherwise sustained us in our blindness. I think the established churches are in for a very nasty awakening as their capitulation to politics over faith has been the greatest obscenity of all, and they don’t even realise it.

  • lloveday says:

    Peter OBrien wrote “I find the term ‘social distancing’ more than vaguely Orwellian”
    I was pleased to see a sign in a small store asking customers to observe “Physical Distancing” – who conjured up “social distancing”?
    I find it even more so that politicians and journalists refer to “social isolation”. Surely the people referred to are physically isolated, but can maintain social contact via “social media”, or simply the phone.

  • Stoneboat says:

    Good on you, Stuart. God always keeps a faithful remnant. And Christians, all of us, need to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith.
    The rot set in when Christians were duped into never judging anything – starting with themselves – and became pew warmers, accepting all manner of heresy into the church. Mostly, with never even a whimper. When Christians refuse to judge a false teaching, false teacher or false pastor in the church, when we refuse to deal with them in the church, then how can we expect to be a light to the world – to change the culture to Christ ?
    A culture changed to Christ rightly keeps God’s Law/Word as the final arbiter and is kept safe from the over reach and tyranny of ambitious men (even those men & women who profess Christ).
    It was an extraordinary act of faithlessness (and thus, sin) for the church to allow the nations to forget God (Psalm 9:16-20).
    The church has diluted the Gospel to simply lining people up at the bus stop to heaven and is now reduced to virtual prayer networks praying against the Wuhan Virus!
    Many will pray along the lines of 2 Chronicles 7:14. Praying against the Wuhan virus won’t work – and we should open our eyes to verse 13, because God surely is the potter.
    What is needed are fearless & faithful men and women proclaiming that Jesus won the victory at Calvary and is Lord and King over every area of life, now and in history. We might avoid blood in the streets if we, as a nation, turn back to God now.

  • pgang says:

    Easter message from my son’s footy club: ‘We all know what we need to do: stay home, stay safe, and save lives.’
    God help us.

  • leabrae says:

    A word towards the end of the first paragraph is prescient. The premier of South Australia seems determined to terminate the political life a member of his own backbench by giving him a criminal sentence. All other terminations are fine, so why not one more? The member concerned, Sam Duluk, has apologised for his foolish behaviour. Was anything about that apology less than genuine? Do the actions warrant a criminal charge? Why does the premier appear so keen on a conviction?

    It would not be because the Member for Waite had the temerity to ask questions in the party room, would it? Perhaps about energy, reliable and affordable, perhaps about abortion in a state where the health department seems determined to permit abortion under any circumstances and at any point in the pregnancy. In these circumstances a successful conviction would rid the party of one, possibly significant, dissenter (of the details I have no knowledge; I only surmise).

    The point brings us to Eric Voegelin who many years ago descried the prohibition of questioning as a ground for totalitarianism. And that prohibition is very much alive and well in South Australia, indeed has been for a good few years.

    One might add, regarding the general cultural environment of SA, a few words from a speech from a grazier and businessman and stalwart Anglican (he and his wife were responsible for the remarkable memorial window on the western wall of St, Mary’s Church in Burra). In August 1916 W. G. Hawkes thought: “were barbarism allowed to be triumphant then he feared that few would sustain their religious convictions” (Burra Record, 2 August 1916, p. 2).

  • Peter Smith says:

    So brilliantly put Stuart. I intend to pass it on to my Anglican minister who I believe is on the right side of things but, of course, is subject to the edicts of the pantywaists who run the church.

  • rod.stuart says:

    From the beginning of Chicom 19, there have been too many coincident facts for one to dismiss the idea that it is another farcical hoax dreamt up and perpetrated by the Deep State, augmented by the “claricy” (a wonderful word to describe them).
    The ‘climate change’ hoax has run its course, and a new one had to be invented to continue the scare campaign. While the global economy was ready to burst anyhow, this pin prick was created to cover for the real reasons and carry the long march forward.

  • Stephen Due says:

    Dear Stuart,
    Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write this timely and salutary article. It expresses many of my own thoughts and fears – and no doubt the thoughts and fears of many other readers. Yours is a much-needed prophetic voice. Never forget that the prophets of Israel were only frail men like us. But their strength was in God and their mandate was from God.
    I recall that even Elijah despaired, saying: “the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away”. But then I recall that God still had a mission for Elijah, and words of encouragement: “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him”. I Kings 19:14, 18 (ESV).
    The biggest dangers facing the small Christian communities in Australia today are, I believe, the temptation to sink into a stupor of mind-numbing, knee-bowing conformity – and fear. I believe we are called today to stand against the monstrous program of the neo-Marxist state. Let me assure all readers that this is what it is. My acquaintances in the public service in Canberra have Marx on their bookshelves, literally. This is no accident. There is no conspiracy. This is simply the result of the intellectual and spiritual evisceration of the nation’s privileged elites.

  • Wayne says:

    COVID-19 alternative acronym definition from the internet.

    China Originated Viral Influenza Disease 2019.

    Pass it on.

  • john.singer says:

    I wonder how many autopsies have been conducted on people who have died WITH the COVID-19 Virus? It must be performed to determine if they died OF the COVID-19 Virus. I suspect they have not conducted them because the result may derail their ‘coup d etat’.

  • norsaint says:

    Hear hear Stuart, well said sir. This “pandemic” is a hoax of the highest order. As for the reported “deaths”, we all know how statistics work. Here’s an interesting link to a story on how US hospitals and doctors have got a vested financial interest in grossly exaggerating reported casualties. I dare say the same applies in Australia.

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