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'I Am Covid, Destroyer of Oz'
Peter Smith • 22 Aug, 2021 • 4 Min Read
Once a penal colony, always a penal colony.
Curfews, the army on the streets, extra police powers, rubber bullets. Mogadishu? No, it's Australia. Though, to be fair, rubber bullets have been confined so far to Melbourne. Apparently, those protesting lockdowns got a bit unruly. Bring out the Stormtroopers. And note, so far to August 21, there have been only 978 reported deaths from Covid-19, while since the first Covid death in March 2020 well over 200,000 Australians have died, publicly unmourned, from other causes. Perspective defenestrated.
Australia right now is a poster child for how western civilisation and all we hold dear can quickly go down the gurgler. What do we most hold dear? Our freedoms. Make those freedoms privileges, dispensed at will and whim by government. See people go along with it. Welcome to the servile state. True some people, relatively few in number, do protest. But hefty fines, jail time and, if necessary, rubber bullets will keep dissidents in check. It worked in East Germany, didn’t it?
I will digress for a purpose. Don’t want to get into Jane Fonda’s head. It’s probably a tangle of leftism in there which is best to avoid. I will say that she is the best looking eighty-three-year-old I’ve ever seen. So, unless she has a Doriana Gray portrait in the backroom, I can’t help but feel that her motives have been and are good. Misguided and bad are not synonymous. And even those who are misguided can be occasionally right. And so has she been.
As she rightly said, Covid is a gift to the Left. Whether it’s God’s gift we can argue about. Though, as a Christian, I do believe in predestination, hence it’s not unreasonable to assume that Covid is serving some celestial purpose. Personally, I doubt that purpose is to produce an earthly communist nirvana. At the same time, there is little doubt that those on the left feel a Chris-Matthews-type thrill going up their legs when surveying the havoc which Covid is bringing down on Western civilisation.
After all, if your objective is to remake civilisation in the image of a Marxist utopia, you first have to tear down what’s there. And that means undoing individual freedoms, before the presumed interests of the collective can be put in their place.
Been there, done that.
Ironically, the freedoms of Western civilisation can be more easily taken away because of the prosperity which those very freedoms have underpinned. People can be locked away and businesses closed down yet still everybody can be well fed. Well-fed citizens are less prone to rebellion.
Marx and Engels might have been right after all. Communism, aka The Great Reset, aka Inclusive or Cooperative or "Woke" capitalism, aka “building back fairer and better,” will potentially supersede free-market capitalism on the back of the material riches that individual freedoms have wrought. Hope not, but that’s the way it feels right now as I contemplate the outdoor mask mandate, which comes into effect right now, to supplement rules which restrict me from travelling not more than 5 kms from home and to one essential shopping trip each day. Talking to other people is largely verboten.
One of my sons-in-law runs a carpet repair business. He has established rules which he hopes will allow him to continue to earn a living. For example, customers can make arrangements to leave their keys in a particular spot so that the repairers can enter and do the job while the occupants either leave home or ensconce themselves in another room. Being contactless is the key to survival in this brave new world.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the strata committee of the apartment building where I live in Sydney has just announced that renovations to two apartments cannot resume because zero contact between workers and residents in common areas can’t be guaranteed. Imagine the effect of this abundance of playing it safe across all apartment buildings – on electricians, plumbers, tradesmen generally, never mind the anguish of those living in apartments with half-renovated kitchens and bathrooms.
Not too close!
Mind you, the nervousness of our strata committee might be justified. “Special powers” have been given to the New South Wales police force “to lockdown apartment buildings while health assesses the Covid risk [and] to declare a residential premise a Covid-risk premise and require all people to present to police during compliance checks.”
Like the "Delta variant," the madness spreads. From health bureaucrats, to politicians, to the media, to the police, to strata committees, and of course, to scolds on the streets. Hard to remember what it was like in the B.C. (Before Covid) era. “Yes son, we didn’t wear masks then and we used to mix with and talk freely to other people. It was all very unhealthy. Now the government keeps us safe.”
A caveat. Might be feeling too down Down Under. Here there is no countervailing view of any weight. All political leaders are as one. No Red states. No Ron DeSantis. Maybe we have to rely yet again on America to save western civilisation and put this nightmare behind us?
After a career in economics, banking and payment-systems management, Peter Smith now blogs on the topics of the day. He writes for Quadrant, Australia’s leading conservative online site and magazine. He has written Bad Economics, of which, he notes, there is much.