The State versus the Individual

“Somehow Australia has gone from ‘protect your health’ to ‘if you don’t let us protect your health we’ll destroy your life’” – Alexandra Marshall, Writer.

Approximately 16 million healthy people are currently in lockdown in Australia. 16 million healthy people currently being subjected to mental anguish and loss of livelihood. The lockdown crisis is much worse than COVID itself.

The narrow-mindedness of our government (both national and state) is such that it has prioritised avoiding death by COVID above all else. They make us stay at home because we’re at risk of (nay, at war with) COVID, but their tunnel vision is putting us at greater risk of many other deadly things. Self-harm and suicide attempts, for example. I’m in Canberra. We have only been in lockdown for a few days, but we are told that it will go for at least another two weeks. Even though we have a spacious home and a big backyard, my teenaged children are already becoming despondent about their short-term future. They sit in front of a screen for most of the day, engaging in soul-destroying online lessons, only leaving their station when I succeed in cajoling them outside for some sunshine. But I can’t imagine how hard it must be, particularly for young people, who have been locked up in their homes for almost eight weeks in Sydney, without hope of the situation ending much before Christmas. And I ask myself, why is mental health and the risk of youth suicide deemed to be less important than avoiding COVID? Imagine someone who is thinking about suicide, who breaks the rules and leaves their house. Maybe they visit a friend. They tell the authorities they just had to get out of the house because they’re not coping. Why should this be treated less seriously than the risk of COVID? Our individual right to judge what is best for us has been trampled on for the sake of the government-dictated rights of society at large.

Our government should not have the right to control its people to the degree that it is, no matter what’s at stake. Even lives. No one has the right to do this to free citizens. What’s more, we all know the risks by now and we are prepared to accept them. “But you’ll overwhelm the hospital system,” adherents to tyranny exclaim. Well, perhaps the government/s could put more tax payer dollars towards extending and improving hospital facilities instead of wasting it on testing the healthy and paying them to sit at home. Not to mention building quarantine facilities.

Of course the government should give health advice, and most people will follow it. But they cannot and should not force people to follow it. The way our governments are responding to citizen unrest and to their own failed efforts at “controlling” a virus that can’t be controlled is by forcing more restrictions on people – and that is a terrible thing for society. My only hope is that the more draconian and ridiculous the government mandates become, the less the people will comply.

Our nation, once “young and free,” is now under tyrannical rule that shows no sign of abating. But sadly, the majority of the population seems to agree that vaccination is our only way out. This leave them susceptible to turning against their fellow citizens; those of us who don’t support the narrow narrative. These people, like our government/s, believe that death is to be avoided at all costs. But they are being disingenuous. If they were truly concerned about death to such a degree, they’d also be pushing for lower speed limits on our highways, the removal of junk food from our supermarkets, the banning of cigarettes and alcohol, to name a few. But no, they are happy to focus exclusively on a virus from which the average person has a greater than 97% chance of recovering and a greater than 99% chance of not dying.

And what seems most irresponsible to me is that many public figures, journalists in particular, are directing ill will towards fellow citizens who disagree with the ‘vaccine as silver bullet’ theory. Here are three examples. Joe Hildebrand’s recent article, titled “People who refuse to get vaccinated are no longer decent members of society,” Peter FitzSimons’ words, “the enemy is not just COVID itself, it is that motley collection of anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists and bag of assorted nutters. And you nutters need to be told: once we do get vaccinations to the point that everyone who wants one has got one, having two tiers of access between the vaxxed and unvaxxed is a no-brainer“ and finally, the pièce de résistance,  Caroline Overington: “I would force people to get vaccinated whether they wanted to or not. If someone approaches my front door and they’re not vaccinated, they’re not welcome.”

Aside from objecting to mandatory vaccination, as all freedom loving citizens should, I also object to (and find ridiculous) the tracking and tracing of both viruses and people. Governments should not have the right to perform this overreach on our behalf when we have not consented. I refuse to be a part of this insane tracking system. No check-ins for me. I’ll stay away from society’s trappings for the moment and if things don’t change, it may become permanent, along with some of my unvaccinated friends. For if we are excluded from society, as is happening in France and elsewhere around the globe, we will have no choice but to form a new way of life; our own “new normal”. In time, it may be quite common to see large groups of the unvaxxed picnicking in outdoor parks and fields while, to pinch a Kath & Kim expression, the smug chunts sip their Cardonnays in fancy restaurants, having of course scanned their social credit passports for the authorities on their way in.  

About Sonia Bowditch

Writer on society and culture in Australia. And short stories.

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