Flat White

Brute force cannot defeat COVID-19

26 September 2020

6:05 PM

26 September 2020

6:05 PM

Whether it is Daniel Andrews in Victoria, Gladys Berejyklian in New South Wales, Annastacia Palaszczuck in Queensland or the Novocastrian cuckoo in the West, the policies our leders have implemented to deal with the COVID virus have shared the same tried, soiled, hysterical reactions that every socialist government has found a need for.

First among those failed reactions is the belief that you are never wrong, even as you fail; and because you are never wrong, you are perfectly justified in using the police force to arrest those who think you are wrong and try to express that view and then as your personal bodyguard when you are so hated by so many that you have cause to fear the worst. 

There has not been much difference between any of these politicians in their approach to dealing with the virus: lockdown, masks, travel bans and social distancing. When the virus continues, because the virus will be with us for the rest of time, the government resorts harsher policies: more lockdown, masks, travel bans and social distancing.

If we time the commencement of these polices from sometime in March or even April, these governments have had almost six months to demonstrate their success. That we still have the virus and the lockdown, masks, travel bans and social distancing would indicate their failure. It is easy to blame the people in a free society but the policies have to fit the democracy; not change the democracy into something no one wants.

The virus will always be present and when the federal government opens our international border to travellers and they come knocking, the virus will recur and the state governments will resort to their tried and trusted [sic] policy: lockdown, masks, travel bans and social distancing.

If the virus cannot be defeated, cannot be ended forever and state governments are quite prepared to use force to prevent their citizens exercising their liberty and going about their business, interfering in interstate trade despite the clear proscription against it in the Constitution, then we are in a serious pickle. A vaccine will not wipe out the virus so the risk will always be there of a further breakout. 

And what is worse, is that the federal government, who could have brought this whole mess to a successful conclusion months ago, refuses to use its constitutional power to help us out of these statewide tyrannies; even sending the ADF to Victoria to help. The powers are there, but we have a government of cowards.

In fact, the state governments like their federal counterpart are not actually governing. They have handed political power to appointed medical experts to make the decisions concerning political rights, not our medical treatment. The overwhelming of the population have no need of medical treatment because they will remain unaffected by the virus, even if they contract it. Meanwhile, the unelected medical people make political decisions by pretending they are medical decisions.

In order to inject some sanity into Australia’s flirtation with Soviet medicine, we have to first identify the problems and then to attribute priority to those problems. That is a medical question and it needs to be answered by risk assessment. 

The first job is to identify those citizens who are medically at the highest risk from the Covid-19 virus, identified by specific criteria, such as age, pre-existing susceptibility conditions, residence, and so on. The same thing is then done to the next group at lower risk from the virus, according to the mortality rate. In this way, a government will know where the danger lies and can devote its resources to protecting the various risk categories with proportionate responses. 

That would do away with the sort of draconian laws that are designed to intimidate a free people into subservience. It would allocate public resources to groups in proportion to their risk from the virus. That would avoid the stigma that currently attaches to healthcare policies that are not applied to the thousands of people in black masks pumping the air with their fists and assaulting ordinary pedestrians. Police look on, taking the knee in support until they are ideologically purified then they do their master’s bidding and drag pregnant, pyjama-clad women from their homes in handcuffs for voicing their opposition to government policy. 

Were the policy to fit the disease, none of that would be necessary and Victorian police could get back to doing what they do best; whatever else that might be.

It is useful to be reminded of Winston Churchill’s essay on constitutional government:

Every self-respecting citizen in every country must be on his guard lest the rulers demand of him in time of peace sacrifices only tolerable in a period of war for national self-preservation. I judge the civilization of any community by simple tests. What is the degree of freedom possessed by the citizen or subject? Can he think, speak and act freely under well-established, well-known laws? Can he criticize the executive government? Can he sue the State if it has infringed his rights? Are there also great processes for changing the law to meet new conditions? 

Churchill was, at the time, warning of the risk from all forms of socialism, Nazi and Soviet, but it is a real concern to find that it has arrived in Australia under the guise of health care.

Dr David Long is a retired solicitor and economist.

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