Has Australia Gone Covid-Mad? Part 02

Australia has been getting some uncharacteristically negative international headlines due to its perceived extreme reaction to Covid-19, including covid-camps. In Part 02, we look at why this has been the case. Remember: When you understand a problem – the what and the why – you are halfway towards a solution.

In Part 01, we learned that the world is alarmed by Australia’s response to Covid-19. Is this warranted? In Part 02, we will look at some of the reasons for the Covid-19 response, mostly in Australia, but also the greater world scene.

While ‘lockdowns’ and ‘vaccine mandates’ are not unique to Australia, it is the seeming overreaction and strong-armed tactics that have the world gasping. Such actions were once reserved for totalitarian regimes run by illiberal despots. Now they are happening in a parliamentary democracy, once part of the free world, serving and representing the people.

However, the latest reports out of Australia are sobering: the rise quarantine camps. One camp at Howard Springs, Northern Territory, is currently housing people, including those who do not have Covid-19, but were exposed to someone who does. Queensland does not want to be left behind. It is building two ‘Wellcamps,’ with an undisclosed amount of taxpayer money, that will house up to 1,500 people. The putative purpose is to avoid further lockdowns. Built next to a local airport near Toowoomba, but not near a tertiary hospital, the federal government is supporting one of the camps. Even an Australian senator, Alex Antic, was housed in a camp. Fines of AUD 5,000 are levied against anyone who goes beyond their veranda without a mask.

If we are going to solve a problem, first of all, we have to understand what is the problem and why. Once this is done, you are halfway towards the solution.

What factors have determined Australia’s heavy-handed Covid response?

  1. Irrationality: Why was it that seventy percent of the nation was locked down at one time for under two-hundred Covid cases nationally? Even Tasmania contemplated lockdown, though it had zero cases! It is the fear factor – and fear causes irrationality. Another country that, ‘freaked out’ over Covid (a phrase used by their own media) was Israel, which almost killed its lucrative tourist industry in its feverish attempt to stamp out the virus.
  2. Media: Criticising the media as ‘fake news’ has become a blood sport. Yet because of their influence over society they apparently played a role in Australia’s Covid response. They have been accused of overstating the dangers, criticising the restrictive state and national government for not going far enough, and ridiculing those who protested for their freedom. Omitting information that should be public knowledge is also a problem; it is also failure to uphold journalistic standards.
  3. Progressivism: This century-old political theory, which believes big government to ‘solve our problems’ and ‘meet our needs’ philosophy, is very strong in both major political parties and throughout the organs of society (media, education, entertainment, and judiciary). With the notion of ‘government knows best,’ the temptation to become coercive is ever-present. It is no coincidence, that more progressive state governments in Australia, like blue states in America, are generally more Covid restrictive.
  4. Power grab: Like money, power is highly coveted, and addictive. Once seized, it is hard to let go. Some political leaders are sincerely concerned for the people’s welfare and believe their policies are for their good. Yet others, whether local political leaders or globalists, are motivated to increase power by exaggerating and exploiting a public health emergency. The recently passed Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management Bill 2021) in Victoria is considered an enshrinement of unchecked power, even though the government claims there are safeguards; the Victorian Bar Association is not convinced. Thousands have protested in Melbourne against this bill, which increases executive power and proposed heavy fines for violation (individuals $22,000, business $109,000, breaching quarantine is $90,500 and/or two years in prison. This is a serious threat to democracy. Professor David Flint says: ‘There was never, and there is now, absolutely no justification in overriding democratic rights for the sake of health restrictions.’
  5. Isolationism: Australia, the island continent, has understandably been careful about imports and quarantines so as not to endanger its unique ecosystem, flora and fauna. Apparently, during the 1956 Olympic ‘Friendly Games’ in Melbourne, the city was not so friendly to the equestrian competition. The horse races were held in Sweden instead of Australia! Yet, to hermeneutically seal Australia from the outside world, and even each other, is unhealthy and dangerous. A return to normalcy and common sense precautions is in order.
  6. Bureaucracy: The United States government employs millions of civil servants, including administrative ‘experts,’ whose regulations have the force of law. This is the case even though no one voted them in! According to the US Constitution, Congress alone is the law-making branch of government. However, it was Congress decades ago who delegated their law-making power to the bureaucrats. The US Supreme Court, sworn to uphold the Constitution, has apparently gone along with this arrangement in past rulings. The administrative state is strongly progressivist and clearly undemocratic. In an emergency, these ‘experts’ who claim to ‘follow the science,’ are dictating to the politicians and the people ‘the way things should be.’ Politicians are happy for these ‘eternal tenured’ bureaucrats to make the decisions and take the blame if things of wrong. If Australia’s bureaucracy is similar to the United States, then Covid has virtually invited abuse of power. This elite class designed regulations and restrictions from which they personally are insulated.
  7. Apathy and acquiescence: Many Australians accepted lockdowns, masks, and restrictions as being short-term and helpful. But as the ‘Give us two weeks to stop the spread’ became open ended and ongoing, how long will the public tolerate this? Victoria’s police have been accused of brutality in confronting lockdown protestors (while apparently tolerating BLM protestors and even ‘taking the knee’). It is important to get the facts first, reject disinformation, and, if brutality did happen, it needs to be confronted.
  8. Culture War fallout: The on-going ‘culture war’ between secular progressives and cultural Marxists — The Left — versus traditional values conservatives — The Right, has been in overdrive during the last few years. Nerves are raw and emotions high. Therefore, it is easy for both sides to respond, act, and overreact to allegations of tyranny, whether real or imagined. We need to do our utmost to get the facts and not jump to hasty and inaccurate conclusions.

 

Next time, we will look at some positive thing we can do to turn the tide.

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