QED

Authoritarianism in the Air

Up until a few days ago I was sticking with Glady Berejiklian. This current ridiculous lockdown tested my resolve. But then, I thought, let’s look at the unenviable position political leaders have put themselves in.

First, they slavishly followed China in adopting lockdowns. Bear in mind that this is the first time in the history of epidemics that general lockdowns have been applied. And, I understand, none were ever contemplated.

Don’t want to be conspiratorial but those fake pictures from China showing people dropping down in the street had a purpose. People shown being rounded up and locked in their homes had a purpose. A safe assumption: the Chinese communists are not stupid. An equally safe assumption: they calculate what they do and what they show.

My conclusion is that they wanted the Western world to cripple itself. Of course, they had help from Neil Ferguson and his fellow Imperial College (UK) hysterics in mid-March 2020. Mind you, even they, in their report, did not recommend general lockdowns. True, it is mentioned in passing, but it is not part of the “suppression strategy” which they advocated.

Unsurprisingly, California was one of the first to go full monty. Fauci and epidemiologists around the world soon got on board. What power, basking in the limelight with politicians and the media in thrall! A heady brew.

Second, political leaders, to a man and woman, hid behind medical gurus.  Not our fault you are thrown out of work, your business ruined, they claimed. Blame the expert advice. Follow “the science”.

Powerful political leaders, thinking at first that they were calling the shots, quickly became pawns in the game. To use New South Wales as the example, when Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says jump, it is now clear that Gladys jumps. I could equally have cited many others, including England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty. Sure, Boris Johnson was recalcitrant at first but after a personal dose of COVID he soon started paying obeisance to the chief.

What are politicians now to do? If they are advised to lockdown, they must. If infections spread after a lockdown, well and good. They can say we needed to lockdown else it would have been more terrible. If infections fall after a lockdown, well you can guess the rest. But imagine the fallout if they ignore advice to lockdown and infections spread. It keeps politicians up at night in a cold sweat.

Of course, having being promoted as gurus, medical advisers are too in a bind. The safest course for them is always to advocate restrictions and lockdowns. There is no downside – for them.

So, you see, I was willing to give Gladys some slack. And, for a time, she was the least-mad of the premiers. What soured me? This is what soured me just a few days ago: “Don’t relax. Assume everybody in and around you has the disease, you have to,” she said.

This comment is quite beyond the pale, even in these lunatic times. We apparently have to treat all those we meet, or who pass us by, as lepers. Disease-ridden vermin, from whom to shy away. It is so, so destructive of civil society. 

I cannot vote for her again; at least unless she recants. She just took a step too far for me to handle.

One Nation, Fishers and Shooters, informal, who knows? It is dispiriting if one dwells on it. So back to China.

Presumably, the virus escaped accidentally from the Wuhan lab. To think it was deliberate is, in a word, unthinkable. But, having accidentally let it escape, China hid it from the world and allowed international travel while apparently restricting domestic travel. To me that is tantamount to an act of war. But I don’t know, maybe I’m old fashioned.

Probably, Xi Jinping and his comrades are quite happy with the focus being on the origin of the virus. I wouldn’t be surprised if their indignation isn’t calculated to encourage such focus.  First, it is hard to prove conclusively. Second, it takes away from the evident deceit and lies which occurred once the virus was abroad in Wuhan: the faking of the severity of the illness and the reckless endangerment of the rest of the world.

“Facts, Hastings, facts, those are the cobbles along the road on which we travel,” says Hercule Poirot in Murder in Mesopotamia. Facts are not the road on which dictatorships travel. They deal exclusively in lies and deceptions. When you think about it, North Korea, Iran and China come readily to mind, but then what of the lies and deceptions which are part and parcel of climate change, and now COVID?

Inconvenient facts are hidden. Exaggerations abound. Emphasis is given to cases (most of whom are so un-sick they don’t know they have COVID) and not to hospitalisations and certainly not to deaths.

Figures in the UK appear to show plunging hospitalisations as the Delta strain becomes dominant (95 per cent). Of course, Public Health England attributes this outcome to vaccinations. Nevertheless, the strain seems to be less pathogenic, as is generally the case as viruses evolve. Killing the host isn’t productive. In any event, have we heard anything intelligent about this from our chief health officers?

Let’s see, around 80,000 Australians have died from all causes in the first six months of 2021. Each and every one a tragedy, of course. Only one COVID-related death has been recorded in this time, none from local transmission. This is not a perspective which fits the narrative. Don’t expect to hear about it.

My point: China is the archetypical twister of truth in common with all dictatorships. While we accept, even in democracies, that truth is a casualty of war, it now seems to have become the casualty of both climate change and COVID.  Pardon me for being worried. I sense the tell-tale signs of authoritarianism in the air. Call it the Great Reset. Whatever it is called, it is inauspicious.

20 comments
  • Harry Lee

    Facts are of utmost importance eh.
    So are the conceptual frameworks within which facts are generated and their meanings imputed, and implications and consequences considered.
    But anyway.
    Now, what are the types and degrees of animal suffering in Halal slaughterhouses, here in Australia, and are the animal rights activists the least tiny bit aware of the answers, or even of the need to ask the question?

  • Ceres

    A great timeline/history of the fiasco, Peter.
    In Australia it’s 16 months on and most of the world have learnt a lot about the virus, you know, pesky facts, and moved on. Not so Australia where it’s getting worse with snap happy reactions to a couple of cases.
    Where are the reporters like Chris Kenny actually grilling these unelected CMOs, demanding answers to the most basic questions instead of cowering before them.
    Are Australians so dumbed down they choose to be ignorant and kept “safe”.
    It’s very depressing as there is no end in sight despite Morrison’s so called 4 stages out. Like to see the States adhering to that vague document.

  • Peter Bannister

    One reason for the low vaccination rate in Australia is that many Australians can actually think for themselves. They don’t say much but every so often overturn the government. Sadly, politicians today aren’t interested in the silent majority and continue to promote policies that are actually harmful. But they wouldn’t know that would they ?

  • Ceres

    By the way Peter you struck a chord about how you may be forced to vote. Labor left us a long time ago and now it seems the Liberals are doing the same, although to a lesser degree.
    Fed up my husband joined One Nation, last week. Mark Latham speaks common sense as does Malcolm Roberts and Pauline has improved a lot, although still a bit garbled at times. How else to get a message through to the Libs?

  • Peter Marriott

    Beautifully argued Peter. Your application of the same arguments they use for wasting billions on the demand side in an economic depression fits the bill nicely….i.e. if we didn’t do it, things would have been much worse etc. Very early in the whole business I was using the simply syllogism, if it’s got webbed feet, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck, and applying it to Wuhan, with the only high level virus lab in all of China & already suspect in an earlier virus spread, was only a tiny step, especially when one reads it was built by the French who had the expertise, not the Chinese, and controlled by the PLA of all people. Looking back on it not long after, to when I strolled around the transit lounge in Singapore airport, on the evening of 31st of January 2020 waiting for my connection to Brisbane, and saw the people streaming in masked via the concourse, direct from China ( even Wuhan) and the Singapore Airport staff and security preventing me from taking a seat in the area, & already testing everyone coming down them, with thermometers to the forehead, the seed in my mind was easily sown. I’m also pretty sure that it was an accidental escape due to the Chinese not really being able to put the very stringent quality control procedures necessary tightly in place…. 24/7. I also agree with your voting changes….I’ve been doing it for some time and I’m an ex card carrying member of the LNP, but I wish we had non compulsory preferential voting and non compulsory voting in general….It’d get their attention and bring them back to the real aims and philosophy of a true conservative party on the right, where it belongs, In my view….in fact it’d do the same for the Labor Party I think.

  • Peter OBrien

    Ceres and Peter Smith,
    with you all the way re NSW libs. Keen was the first straw, now Mitchell flying wingman for Bruce Pascoe.
    It’s One Nation for me in the seat of Kiama, if they field a candidate.

  • Harry Lee

    Best to deal with reality.
    In this case, only the naive would expect the Libs and the Nats not to slide Left when the ALP and Greens are so successful with voters.
    That a democracy would collapse into a morass of parasitism and anti-factuality was foreseen in Ancient Greece, where democratic forms were first trialed. And warnings about this eventuality were certainly sounded by the Founders of the USA.
    Of course, the Libs and Nats will continue to slide Left-Greenist. This is because there are too few non-marxist/non-greenist voters who can be bothered to organise themselves to bring proper weight and support to bear on the Libs and Nats.
    Voting at election time is just one factor in what is required to maintain non-marxist/non-greenist democracy.
    Complaining about the Libs and Nats, while not getting smart, not getting tough, not being prepared to spend one’s own time and one’s own money, every week, and learning about how to deal with political power in local branches in perpetuity-
    -is just plain victim-think.
    And this kind of victim-think is as bad any victim-think that the ALP and Greens -and the ABC and the marxists-greenists in the education systems- use to propagandise the ordinary people to vote Left-Greenist.
    That’s Reality, right there.
    (I’ve heard from some people that they have worked in local Lib branches to try to save proper Lib policies, to no avail. Lesson: An individual who has little stomach for the reality of political combat will of course be defeated. What is required is for dozens, hundreds, thousands, a couple million proper Australians to self-organise, to self-fund, and to self-mobilise in this never-ending campaign.
    Awaken to reality, and fight as required, or be enslaved -that is the message from history.

  • Andrewurban

    As the evocative, art-conscious, darkly humorous illustration to this article hints, the public instinctively understand the politics of the virus as crap – lots of it. Explains the shopping.

  • Harry Lee

    Oh I know!
    Let’s tilt at windmills.
    Or say the good old cliches.
    Or express gratitude for others who do so.
    Or express concern that the Saviour Team has not yet arrived.
    Or generally just be a spectator, perhaps by watching TV, while guzzling something pleasant.
    Just like they did at Gallipoli, and on the Western Front, and later in North Africa and in New Guinea.

  • ianl

    > … the strain seems to be less pathogenic, as is generally the case as viruses evolve. Killing the host isn’t productive. In any event, have we heard anything intelligent about this from our chief health officers?”

    The iron law of pathogen evolution, as I noted some time ago. Each mutation more infectious with lesser host-damage. (Gently amusing to see Peter Smith use the term, and correctly).

    As for our CMO’s commenting on this: yes to the first part on increasing infectiousness and definitely no to lesser host-damage part (that would damage their fear & panic lever), even though the empirical statistics from the UK show exactly this. Net zero C-19, elimination, is the aim which these people know is impossible, so they drape it in “no community transmission” spin – also an impossibility. The MSM do not know enough basic biology to understand the difference between infectiousness and lethality, so the denizens of the meeja constantly misuse the word “virulent” when describing transmissivity. This just ramps the fear and panic, which can now be measured by the amount of dibber-dobber occurring.

    The police happily act as enforcing thugs. In a way, I can understand this. In normal times, they deal constantly with the worst and saddest of humanity, they do at times risk their lives, they clean up the appalling messes on the roads and highways, yet most of the public tends to ignore them. Revenge of the Rejected.

    All of it is utterly disgraceful but far too entrenched now to change. Morrison’s and National Cabinet’s 4-step plan is an underwhelming nothing-of-consequence. By the end of the next week, it will be gone. What persistently remains is powerlust. Peter Smith is right to feel uneasy.

    Just yesterday, a London-Sydney plane seat fetched AUD $38,000.

  • Stephen Due

    Authoritarianism has been in the air for quite a while. Covid is just intensifying the bad smell somewhat. For example, the entire apparatus of the police state has been in place for some time – the heavily-armed police; the sophisticated, highly intrusive surveillance systems; the mass media constantly spewing socialist propaganda; the watertight system of personal IDs. Even the mobile phone, once eagerly embraced as a ticket to freedom, is now becoming a sinister instrument of our enslavement.
    The rise of an overbearing, ideologically-uniform public service is another factor. So is the growing social influence being exercised by giant, technologically-sophisticated corporations. The entire state education system has long since been retooled to work as a vast socialist propaganda machine.
    However the secularization of Australian society is the most dangerous component of the new authoritarianism in my view. Christianity in the past has provided a strong antidote, not only to the demoralising influence of secular atheism, but also to those who recognise no higher authority than the state. A Christian has a higher allegiance – not so the secularist.
    With every new imaginary ‘crisis’, such as climate change and the pandemic, the grip tightens. It is difficult to see how the last vestiges of our former freedoms might be preserved, let alone how what has been lost might be recovered. But the battle is certainly worth fighting. What have we got to lose?

  • Alice Thermopolis

    Truth is indeed the “casualty of both climate change and COVID”. And yes, “inconvenient facts are hidden” and “exaggerations abound”. The higher the stakes, the more emphatic the claims, hence the tactic of evoking the “precautionary principle”, which is not a “principle” of genuine science.

    The real truth is that Nature – incl. human nature – controls us: not vice versa; not the political class, chief medical officers or the brazen climate controllers training for COP26 in Glasgow this November.

    Climate pseudoscience has reached such a level of bogus “certainty’ our fate probably will be determined in a US court, at least according to this quote from a recent journal of environmental law:

    “The political sphere in the United States continues to be clouded with false debates over the validity of climate science. Things are far clearer in the courtroom, where to our knowledge no judge has questioned the scientific basis for the global community’s shared understanding of the causes and effects of climate change. [How could they?] But there are significant scientific issues that remain to be clarified, for law and policy purposes, and it may well be that litigation provides the forum for achieving that clarity.”

    One day soon an activist judge will sniff the breeze, create a precedent and “achieve clarity”, Gaming the uncertainty is now the only game in town.

    Note the reference to “false debates over the validity of climate science”. How, one wonders, did the authors reach that “false” conclusion?

    Argumentum ad ignorantiam, argumentum ad populum, argumentum ad consequentiam, argumentum ex silento, or just an appeal to the authority of the UN and IPCC?

    However they did it, an appeal to “consensus science” doesn’t cut it. Remember the Hundred Authors Against Einstein pamphlet in Berlin 1933? His response: “Why 100? If I am wrong, it only takes one to prove it.”

  • pgang

    The un-repentance from her sex scandal wasn’t enough for you Peter? Sure did it for me.

  • pgang

    Perhaps socialism is a more accurate descriptor than authoritarianism. The latter is more of a subset of the former. All of these ‘policies’ and controls are direct outcomes of the socialist requirement for destruction of the human spirit, because that is all that they effectively achieve. It is amazing how many people are duped into believing lock-downs will control viral contagion. The happy thing for socialism is that it feeds on our fears and spiritual laziness.

  • Daffy

    @Stephen, don’t hold out too much for a Christian counterweight to authoritarianism. I attended a church service a little while back with a relative. It was Anglican. The prayers offered sounded like they were composed by either the ABC or SMH. Climate change got an imploring fearful mention But it was the Covid capers that dominated with fear, trepidation and imploring the logistics god to get supplies to India quick smart (not a mention of the plight of Indian Christians, mind you). There was even an amusing attribution of brotherhood to a Sikh temple up the road. Fellow humans, yes. But I didn’t think Christians regarded Sikhs as brethren. As fine a people as Sikhs typically are. Meanwhile the churches are eagerly the first to buckle and the last to shine the spotlight on the mendacity and deceit with which we are plied day in day out. At the same time the well paid in authority ride roughshod over the young, the ordinary wage earner and the isolated. Sheer contempt for the common person. One might expect the churches to react, but it’s crickets all round.

  • pgang

    Daffy, the churches are now an extension of the state by default. They have all complied willingly with the disruption of worship and the sacraments. It was up to the church to say ‘no’ from the beginning, and to stand firm in the resolution that it was their own choice to make, not Caesars’. Many Christians would have been forcefully detained by the police. Christianity would have been reviled by the media and thus most of Australia. So what. The outcome, in the end, would have been a victory for the faith. The current outcome is a total disaster for the church’s future.

  • Peter Smith

    Just a comment on Christianity, apropos comments by pgang and Daffy.

    First to Ms Berejiklian’s affair. Who am I to judge? She was lonely. Give her a break.

    On the Anglican church. Mostly muscular Christianity is out and green-cum-social equity is in. I look beyond it. Misguided priests and congregants are simply part of the rich tapestry of fallen human existence. Would a more biblically-focussed, conservative-minded, Anglican Church draw more people to it? Maybe, maybe not. The common reaction within the community to Covid does not inspire me with confidence. Being kept safe by government is the idol du jour.

  • pgang

    Peter perhaps I should clarify – it wasn’t the affair in itself, but rather who she was affairing with. Such a revelation would have ended a male politician, and rightly so. Her hubris was extraordinary.

  • Stephen Due

    Peter, pgang and Daffy.
    I can only agree that many churches in Australia have been supine at best in response to the pandemic regulations – the most recent in a long line of humiliating, ongoing backdowns over issues such as abortion, homosexuality, same sex unions, and transgenderism.
    It was my privilege, on Christmas Day 2018, to pray in our service for the congregation of the Early Rain Covenant Church, gathering on that day in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. Their pastor, Wang Yi, had already been jailed, along with his wife, because the church would not relent on the lordship of Christ. The CCP is a jealous god. Wang Yi’s last instruction to his congregation was not to stop meeting together. He and his wife remain in criminal detention, sentenced to nine years. All their assets have been confiscated. No one has been able to communicate with either of them since their arrest. Their only child remains in house arrest with his grandmother.
    What might those Chinese Christians think of us, when we fail to gather on the Lord’s Day, because we are afraid of a virus, or the police, or what the neighbors will think? We must stand firm in our conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord, not Daniel Andrews or Brett Sutton or their equivalents in other states. It will only get harder if we do nothing now.

  • Peter Smith

    That’s all very well Stephen Due, but it’s the minister who will bear the brunt. In my case he has a family to support. Of course, I agree with you in principal but the state has punishing power as, to a lesser extent do the powers that be at church head office.

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