Rights into the Covid dustbin

What does New York Mayor Bill De Blasio have in common with most right-of-centre commentators on, say, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News Australia. To be fair, most everything is probably not the correct answer. However, what they do have in common is an appetite to relegate our inalienable or God-given rights to the category of privileges dispensed at their whim by our political masters and their apparatchiks. Refuse the vax and there go your rights into the dustbin. Apartheid revisited. Though at least blacks were allowed into designated sections in theatres, restaurants, sporting arenas and trains and buses in the southern states in the Jim Crow era.

This time around, no theatre, restaurant or sportsground or pub or gym for you, if you don’t toe the line. Or, I wonder, church or train or bus? Supermarkets, obviously not (I think) but will they make you wear a sign. A mask to symbolise uncleanliness. Exactly how far will they go if you don’t submit to the medical experiment. And at what point in the persecution of fellow citizens will our ‘conservative champions’ feel uncomfortable occupying the dark side. Or will it become too alluring.  Hard to resist pleasing the crowd. Face of conservatism 2021

Clinging to sanity, steeled by two young women

Don’t watch Gladys’s interminable daily Covid updates. Just clinging on to sanity as it is. But Bolt said again last evening that she was the best of the premiers. He showed a clip of her revealing to the hermit people of NSW that tens of people die of heart disease each day. Death is “horrible” she said, but it happens.

Apparently, we are to be pleased that in her 50th year and eighteen months into the pandemic she finally understands that earthly bodies, yes each and every one, including alas those of premiers, succumb to entropy. Death and taxes as they say blight us all. Now from the mediocre, to wit the mischief of premiers, to the uplifting.

Met a Dutch young woman in the foyer of my apartment building. Splendidly anti (this) vax she gave me hope. Bringing me down to earth just a tad, a female ABC listener approached the front entrance, seeing us talking unmasked, she shied away to the car park entrance.

Yesterday, while at the dentist to have a filling repaired, I struck up a conversation with the dental nurse. Yet again a young woman of spirit and defiance. There are more of us than you think she told me to steel my resolve. For the time being it has worked. I am holding out against the vax police.

An idle hour in the Covid era

Went to my usual café this morning to buy a coffee. While waiting on a stool outside, sans mask, not even knowing whether that’s allowed or not, I asked the owner whether he’d yet had the jab. Just making conversation.

He said he’s had the first one. AstraZeneca? I asked.  Yes, he said. How was it, I inquired? OK, he replied, before revealing to me that he hadn’t had it all. He knows my views but obviously took a moment to orient himself. He revealed that he had to say he’d had the jab. Some customers had reacted badly when he’d said he hadn’t and he was concerned that they wouldn’t return.

Sneaked into the local newsagent unmasked, with the right money, and scurried out with my newspaper, feeling I’d bucked authority.

Afterwards, I sipped my coffee on a bench talking with a friend; neither with mask in sight.  I keep my coffee in my hand long after I’ve drunk it lest the fuzz come by.  A masked man walks by looking intently at us. Looks like a scold but I pointedly say good morning and he responds. Could have been wrong.

When inalienable rights aren’t

It’s the exception that proves the rule is one of the more profound of expressions. Often misinterpreted. Replace ‘proves’ with its synonym ‘tests’, and its meaning becomes clear.  It means, as Catallaxy readers would know, that if the rule breaks down in exceptional circumstances, then it isn’t a rule at all. It has a Popperian quality. It only needs one contradictory event to undo a theory or a rule.

We have Covid, the exceptional circumstance. The rule in this case is that our freedoms are inalienable and protected by our representative and democratic governing principles and practices. Well, how well has that rule stood up? We now know, there is no such rule. Our inalienable rights (e.g., to meet with our friends and family, to assemble, to earn a living, to eat out, to travel) are privileges dispensed by state premiers and their public health apparatchiks. Sure, they can be restored. But can we never again describe them as rights. We have ceded them to executive government.

Like standover men, governments allow you to go about your business for a price. Those choosing to be unvaccinated will soon find out. Think of dissidents in North Korea, in China, in Afghanistan for a parallel. OK you won’t lose your head, but your life will be made miserable.

Can no longer spot muppets

Living during lockdown in Sydney meant we didn’t have to wear masks outside. That important freedom distinguishing us from Melbourne. That ended ten days or so ago. Can’t remember what date. Days merge into days these days.

I live in Gladys Berejiklian’s electorate. She’s obviously part of the overwhelmingly majority in her party; the new breed of green-left Liberals. Nevertheless, I still intended to vote for her. Sounding down to earth, looking homely and having an ill-advised affair endeared her to me.  She lost me some time ago when she warned that when we stepped outside we should deal with other people as though they were infected. It’s hard to imagine how destructive that would be of civil society.

One side effect of the new mask mandate is that I can no longer spot ghouls (def: those morbidly interested in death) – my rather pointed description of people, particularly young people, wearing masks outside when they were not required to. Someone in England who I read referred to them in kinder terms as muppets. Anyway, I can no longer spot the muppets – who I partly blame for encouraging the despotism of state premiers, aided and abetted by the wind vane Scott Morrison.

Colour blind in the trenches

I was watching Fox News earlier today. The names of six of the thirteen American soldiers killed in Kabul had been revealed. Their names and pictures of them were shown. It was clear enough that of the six, five were white.  Or so it appeared to me. Ordinarily, this would be a completely irrelevant observation. In fact, one out of place. What does it matter what colour they are? Brave men serving their country lost their lives.  But the execrable comments of Milley came to mind.

I wondered whether any of them suffered from “white rage” of the kind that General Mark Milley, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, claimed he was interested in exploring. Did any of them have white privilege I wonder, and how exactly did it help them.

Critical race theory, white rage, white privilege only exist in minds remote from the ordinary business of life, suffering and death, which is quite colour blind. And definitely remote from a battalion of soldiers fighting the enemy. I dare say the colour of your mate’s skin is the last thing on your mind. Milley, you would think, would know that. How people in his position come to think as he does is beyond me.

We must trust the government

Our Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said this in their latest weekly report dated 26 August: “Since the beginning of the vaccine rollout to 22 August 2021, over 17.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given. So far, the TGA has found that 7 reports of deaths were linked to immunisation from 476 reports [of deaths] received and reviewed. These deaths occurred after the first dose of the Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca) vaccine – 6 were TTS cases and one was a case of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP).”

See, I said to my friend, only 7 deaths – which is pretty good provided you’re not one of the seven. He came back, and cynically is the only way to describe it: “So, deaths related to vaccinations are not caused by the vaccine, but all deaths of people with Covid are caused by Covid?”

Tch, tch! I replied, we must trust government figures.

Australia First

I was at my church’s parish council meeting, via Zoom of course, on Monday when our minister referred to the call by Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop Kanishka Raffel for the government to accept more Afghan refugees. I admit to going off a little. In part I said that it would be compassionate if the archbishop was offering his spare bedrooms for refugees instead of advocating that thousands of people of a culturally-clashing background be imposed on unsuspecting peons out there in suburbia. Silence ensued.

There is an argument for accepting Afghans employed by the Australian Army. Maybe. Particularly if they were given that understanding. Otherwise, a simple rule should apply to anyone living outside of Australia who wishes to live in Australia. Will their immigration benefit the nation and its people?

This rule would not exclude refugees or any grouping of people. Nor would it give refugees any special pass. I constantly wonder why politicians think they were elected to project their moral virtue by admitting people into the country who are likely to bring with them more costs than benefits. To echo Donald Trump, Australia must come first. And I would add, second and third before we ever get to foreigners and then, note, it’s primarily up to them to make their countries liveable. Those remaining in Afghanistan to try to do that are deserving of our support.

Lockdowns good, freedom bad

I see that cases reached a new record or something in NSW today and Victorian cases continue to defy Daniel Andrews.  Clearly the lockdowns are working. Case numbers would be ever so much higher without lockdowns. Rising cases show that lockdowns work because they would be higher without them; just as falling cases some months ago showed that lockdowns work. People who doubt the effectiveness of lockdowns and cast aspersions on their architects and our caring leaders like Dan and Gladys are putting people in harm’s way. Stop it!

As you can tell, I believe that I am suffering from a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Unfortunately, I can’t get help because I’m scared to go out. Anyway, the local shrink is booked up with distressed young people.  I keep telling myself that we’re all in this together. Though someone told me via Zoom that saying this was now old hat. Apparently, it’s been laughed off the airwaves. Final thought: Must get a jab lest everyone unfriends me.

Yearning for B.C.

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.

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.

Like delta, 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. era. “Yes son, we didn’t wear masks then.”