This virus has sickened and often times killed the old and vulnerable. That is the least of what it has delivered. It has delivered despotism, police brutality, journalistic delinquency, and lies, deceptions and misinformation; and, most depressingly, the truth about the parlous state of our civilisation. In virus veritas, is an apt play on words. First to despotism. It is hard to know where to start.
Despotism now pervades the body politic. Power exercised in a cruel or oppressive way is my dictionary’s definition of despotism. If you were to add power exercised capriciously, senselessly and unevenly, and without proper scrutiny by parliaments or courts, it would better fit the diktats of state premiers and their public health officials over the past eighteen months.
Imagine a daughter being denied access to her dying father, children held isolated from parents, a sick child denied nearby hospital treatment, restaurants and cafes locked down without notice, food rotting away. State borders closed with residents given hours-only notice to return home. Exceptions made for footballers and other assorted celebrities. Prohibition on leaving the hermit kingdom of Australia.
Schools closed without any medical rationale, forcing parents to home school; often migrant parents with poor English. Playgrounds closed, who knows why. Churches closed. Useless outdoor mask mandates. Five-kilometre limit on straying from home. Prohibitions on meeting with family members, consoling aged relatives. Huge fines for non-compliance with any of the useless and cruel diktats.
Vaccine mandates, in other words medical apartheid, on the way. State-wide, Victorian construction industry closed down out of pique that a few CFMEU members got a bit violent with the façade of the CFMEU office front – objecting in large part to their union’s feckless opposition to those vaccine mandates. Peaceful assembling outlawed, unless in the communist cause of BLM.
Tyranny without end. Quite simply and literally, we are in the midst of the greatest attack on civil liberties by government during the entirety of modern Western civilisation. Nothing like it has been seen before. And this, to ward off (and forlornly) a virus which kills very few in the overall scheme of things.
You can’t run despotic government without armed enforcers. Enter police forces. No one of sense undervalues the role of the police. Thugs and crims would run the streets without them. But that’s their main job; to keep thugs and crims off the streets. It is not to move law-abiding grannies off park benches. But once governments give them the responsibility and power to prevent people from going about their normal affairs, it inevitably gives license to some within police forces to act like the thugs they’re supposed to put away. It’s in the nature of the beast.
Imagine arresting and handcuffing a pregnant woman in her own home for an innocuous Facebook post which she offered to take down. Imagine, pushing an elderly woman to the ground and directing pepper spray into her face. Imagine firing rubber bullets, which can do serious harm, into an assembly of citizens exercising their democratic right to protest government policies and actions. Incidentally, imagine members of the same police force kneeling before BLM protesters. You can’t quite figure that out? Neither can I.
Imagine throwing people down, careless of their heads head hitting the ground. Imagine firing teargas into protesters. Armoured cars, black of course, with roof turrets for ease of firing at citizens. No, I am not talking about Venezuela or Mogadishu.
With no political opposition, only the Fourth Estate was left to defend civil liberties. Alas, for the overwhelming part, it became and is a cheerleader for government. In fact, urging governments to achieve ever greater heights of tyranny. Why is Bunnings still open, reporters asked? Why didn’t you lockdown sooner, harder?
When construction workers and other freedom supporters peaceably occupied the steps of The Shrine in Melbourne on September 22 and were dispersed by charging police firing rubber bullets and stun grenades, the headline in next morning’s Australian newspaper read, “Absolutely disgusting.” And, no, this was not referring, as it should have been, to the police.
Only when Victoria’s black-shirted police trespassed onto their particular patch, banning helicopter flights over central Melbourne, did reporters object. What the media ought to have foreseen is that providing a free ride for governments and police to destroy civil liberties would eventually and inevitably put freedom of the press in the firing line.
To lies. No edifice of despotism-cum-police brutality-cum-media complicity is built on the truth. Lies sustain it. Lies from start to finish. Lies, or to be more very generous, misinformation, started with modelling. Recall the nonsense numbers spewed out by Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College London modelling back in March 2020. Hyperbolic, made-up, numbers which generated worldwide panic. Even Donald Trump was mesmerised by them. And the modelling hasn’t stopped.
According to Public health England and Cambridge University, up to September 17, 2021, vaccinations have prevented 123,100 deaths in England. Bear in mind, lives saved is an ever-inflating number. Previously, to 23 July, a figure of 60,000 was published; to 12 August, 84,000; then 112,300 before the latest imaginary number. Up they go, additional lives saved miraculously with each iteration of the statistical model. Run it again, Scotty, and save some more lives. Seemingly, the escalation will continue while ever living people can be identified as would-have-been-dead without the vax.
There is no way to check these numbers. They’re counter-factual. Statistical artifacts. Misinformation. Reliance on statistical models, purporting to reflect complex reality, plagues reasoned debate. You can see the same thing in the climate debate. Accurately modelling large complex natural systems is an insurmountable task. Trying to do so may assist in understanding what’s going on. But it is a first order mistake to believe that predictions from such models have any worth.
From modelling misinformation to straight out lies; promulgated by governments and by the media. I can’t remember the first but that Donald Trump advocated drinking disinfectant came early in the piece. There are too many to list. What follows is just a few.
Lies that HCQ and ivermectin are dangerous drugs. Lies that flattening that curve would be the end of it. Lies about building up health resources to deal with spikes of infections. Lies which highlight “cases” as a meaningful measure of the extent and degree of sickness. Lies of omission about the underlying health of any younger person dying. Lies which conflate dying of the virus with dying with the virus.
And then there has been the constant scare talk unrelated to reality, frightening people into compliance. The deceptive lack of perspective on the relatively few COVID deaths. When will people be ever told by government and health spokespersons that about 460 Australians die each day of all causes. Never, is the answer.
Scott Morrison describing the death of any ninety-year-old, with serious underlying health conditions, as a “terrible tragedy,” sums up the crooked times within which we live. As does Gladys Berejiklian, undermining civil society, by telling people that when going outside they should assume that they, and anyone they meet, has the dreaded virus.
Now, lies are on the brink of creating apartheid with the latest unfounded scare that unvaccinated people are a threat to those vaccinated. Digital passports creating two classes of citizens, echoes of Jim Crow, are being readied by the technocratic arm of the state. You can think of more examples of lies and deceptions. There are many. It’s an empire of lies.
When all of the despotism, police brutality, lies and deceptions are put together, they manifest a failure of our civilisation to stand the test. Freedoms that we thought were protected by representative government, by parliaments, by an independent press; and, importantly, by custom, crumbled under the inept management of a disease of limited lethality. Just one political leader of stature, federal or state, might have made a difference. No one. Just wall-to-wall mediocrities with autocratic tendencies.