It has taken roughly sixty years for Australians to succumb to the socialist yoke, but now, the evidence is all around. Only governments with a socialist mindset could contemplate $25 million for an indigenous flagpole or, countenance citizens waiting three months for a passport. Or establish a costly in-house public servant Harmony Council, a Rainbow Connection team and, a dedicated LGBTIQ unit, let alone sanction a school curriculum which indoctrinates students to believe their nation and its institutions are illegitimate.
And only meddling central planners could impose the rigidities and distortions which have led to Australia’s soaring energy prices and unreliable supplies. As the crisis unfolds, socialism’s fatal conceit demands market failure is responsible. The architects are never to blame.
The application of the yoke was gentle at first with infinite promises of prosperity, greater equality, and accountable government. But, despite promises, per capita economic growth over the past decade has slipped to its slowest pace in 60 years. And, rather than deliver equality, a recent Productivity Commission report found the wealth of the top 20 per cent of Australians has grown 68 per cent in the past 15 years compared to six per cent for the bottom 20 per cent.
Australia’s public service has been a major beneficiary. A decade ago, it represented 15 percent of the labour force. Today it directly employs over two million people or, 17 percent of all jobs. Public sector wage growth has outstripped the private sector 2.5 times, and, on average, government employees enjoy a shorter work week and greater workplace flexibility than the private sector which pays for it.
It’s hardly surprising. When both sides of politics are dedicated to passing more and more restrictive laws and regulations, many with criminal sanctions, extra public servants are hired to administer them. And so, power from the private sector is subtly transferred to a growing army of self-serving, unaccountable, politically active, bureaucrats who have quickly exerted their authority. This reality was graphically on display when Victoria’s ideologically driven police fired rubber bullets, at peaceful demonstrators protesting the world’s longest lockdown. This contempt for liberty saw a pregnant mother at home with her infant children, forcefully handcuffed for posting a politically unwelcome message on her Facebook page. These and countless other abuses of power, sent a clear message that government is free to do anything it pleases, while the people may act only by permission.
As appalling as the Victorian government’s actions were, so too was the silence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the political class in general, big business and big media. It was left to the outside world to express amazement and disgust.
Aside from losses of freedom, Australia’s clumsy lockdowns have left massive government debts, lost childhood education, a surge in mental illness and, an increase in serious cancer cases due to delayed diagnoses. These are accepted as unintended consequences. After all, governments along with their health ‘experts’ and media allies, have too much political capital invested in mandates to ever admit fault. Best to ignore once-mocked Sweden which refused to impose lockdowns and, has one of the lowest mortality rates in Europe and, fewer ongoing health and economic issues.
Winston Churchill was right. ‘Nothing’, he wrote, ‘would be more fatal than for the government of states to get into the hands of the experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge: and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man who only knows what hurts, is a safer guide than any vigorous direction of a specialised character.’
Despite Churchill’s warning, today’s political class is in the hands of experts. It hides behind them when convenient and defers to them on measures to control the behaviour of the ‘plain man’. Facial recognition is already in service. There is an app to measure personal emissions and, central banks are considering digital currencies which can monitor everything we do. A Chinese-style social credit system seems just around the corner. Under this new socialist order, there is close collaboration between big government and big business. Profits now give way to environmental, social and governance criteria. Directors are accountable to different standards and must reflect gender ‘diversity’. Wealth generation increasingly depends on government patronage and central bank largesse. Careers are influenced by sexuality and race, who you know and how ‘PC’ you are. Today’s fastest growing job title is, ‘Chief Human Resources Officer’.
These measures impede innovation, entrepreneurship, and social mobility. Inevitably it’s the poor, trapped in learned victimhood and despair, who suffer most.
But who will publicly champion our freedoms and heritage? When even the word ‘mother’ can cause offence and, being politically incorrect is career limiting and socially ostracising, it’s understandable that intellectual cowardice is everywhere. And advocates certainly won’t be found within big government or big business and least of all, given their ideological predispositions, within our schools, universities, or the media.
So, while Karl Marx’s deception, ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’, has been exposed, the enemies of individual liberty, equality, and free market capitalism, continue to hold ideological sway. It’s a sorry tale. These authoritarian elites maintain power through a ‘divide and rule’ strategy, rendering ‘national interest’ a meaningless term. Their assault on the legitimacy of our values and institutions also attracts the attention of unfriendly foreign parties eager to exploit divisions and sensing opportunities should a small nation, rich in natural resources, suffer societal collapse.
Australian governments ignore these threats. They concentrate on racism and pronouns and subsidise the world’s fastest per capita renewable energy roll-out. It may keep climate change critics at bay, but it is a futile gesture with serious economic and social consequences.
Clearly, neo-tribalism and superstition have overtaken national security. As Ayn Rand foretold, we are free to stumble blindly down any road we please, but not free to avoid the abyss we refuse to see. That abyss is rapidly approaching.
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