Australian Notes

Australian notes

28 March 2020

9:00 AM

28 March 2020

9:00 AM

Everybody loves borders now

What do Justin Trudeau, Jacinda Ardern, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the crazier fringe of the Greens party (here in Australia and indeed all through Europe too), Angela Merkel, Joe Biden and all the political commentators in Oz who hated the Abbott/Morrison/Dutton plan to stop the boats, what do they all now have in common? Wait for it. Get ready to lap up the irony of this. What is it? Well, they love borders, baby. Boy do they love borders. ‘We are the world’ has transmogrified for them into ‘We are New Zealand’ or ‘We are Canada’ or, well, you get the idea.

Turns out Tony Abbott and Donald Trump were right all along about walls and borders. They work. They can be necessary. Of course deep down everybody always knew they worked.

Were you sometime last year to have driven past one of the many pontificating Hollywood starlet’s homes in Los Angeles, you’d have found that she was smugly and sanctimoniously preaching on social media about no borders and no walls from behind her own personal, and extremely expensive, wall and border. God knows she’d have wanted to be sure to keep out any stray Republican voters who might happen by. Borders and walls do that. Just ask the Israelis whose strict wall-demarcated border has done a superb job of, you know, keeping people out (including people inclined to get on buses and self-detonate).

It turns out, then, that everyone’s ultimately in favour of borders – of having the tool, when needed, that will keep others out. People just differ on when using that tool is and is not a good idea. And any cynical visiting Martian who landed on earth in the last fortnight or so could be forgiven for thinking that the bulk of the West’s media class, its left-leaning professors and politicos and much of its upper judiciary all quickly fall into line with having borders that are ruthlessly enforced when it’s their own necks potentially on the line. It’s just a whole lot easier to strut and fret your hour upon the virtue-signalling stage when you don’t have to pay any of the costs. When you do have to pay them, you’re heard no more. All the sound and fury dissipated. All the holier-than-thou smugness gone. Turns out that if these people didn’t have double standards they wouldn’t have any standards at all. Who was it that once said ‘hypocrisy is the compliment that vice pays to virtue’?

Take the US. All the usual suspects (so your CNN, New York Times, MSNBC, even ‘our’ ABC here in Australia) who spent years claiming that Trump was a fascist dictator just waiting for his chance to become some North Korean-like leader for life (and so who needed to be removed from office under any guise whatsoever, be it the fake Russian collusion dossier, impeachment, anything) now are complaining daily that President Trump is too reticent in using his Executive power to shut down the entire country and take over the US economy. Go figure! Trump Derangement Syndrome is a strange beast. Some of its worst sufferers would most prefer any outcome that diminished the Donald’s re-election prospects. The related illness here in Australia sees various social media lefties delighted when their political opponents get infected with a life-threatening disease. That’s Dutton Derangement Syndrome.

And speaking of President Trump, any of you watching his daily news conferences? He’s very, very good. I mean that in a wholly unqualified sense. This type of crisis is something The Donald is remarkably well-equipped to handle, given his business background, deal-making skills and ability to delegate. And it shows. Plus, he’s not letting the press get away with its partisan nonsense – which is not to say he can stop the 95 per cent Democrat press corps from writing every story in the least Trump-friendly way imaginable. Unlike China it’s a democracy and he can’t do that. But what he does do is to call them on it. Every time. And they hate it; hate having their patent biases regularly highlighted.

No one would say Trump has been perfect in this crisis. No one has been, and certainly not Trudeau, Merkel and the EU. But despite all the garbage from most of the press, Trump’s done better than most. First Western country to close its border to the Chinese? The US under Trump, and most of the press at the time called him a racist for doing so. First to close the borders to Italians and the EU? The US. The preponderance of the press and the EU excoriated him for doing this. Both were key decisions later followed by everyone. He’s also closed the border with Canada now. Plus he’s spending money to try to keep small businesses going (bigly amounts) and he’s imposed the widest US social contact limitations ever. Suffice to say that polls in the US now show majority support for his handling of the crisis. But you wouldn’t know that listening to ‘our’ ABC.

Nor should you let anyone pooh-pooh the US health care system in this sort of crisis. For all its admitted failings and expensiveness, when push comes to shove the Yanks have more resources and more excellence to throw at this than any other country on earth. And it will show.

Which gives me a few last words to take issue with my Speccie colleague and friend Neil Brown. If Mr Brown thinks a Biden presidency will be a centrist one I can only say I’d like to be smoking what he’s been smoking. Joe Biden during these Democrat primaries has said: 1) he won’t send back any illegal aliens at all for 100 days and then only convicted felons; 2) he’s implied that he supports medicare for all, including for those same illegal alien non-citizens (which would be a world first); 3) he’s indulged in the worst sort of identity politics – promising jobs based on skin pigmentation and the type of reproductive organs; 4) his judicial picks will be über-activist. The list goes on.

Meanwhile Russia is nowhere near the threat that China is. And neither of those countries will be dealt with as firmly by Sleepy Joe as by The Donald. Neil, opting for Biden is like the Australian opting for Kevin Rudd. It’s dumb and you’ll live to regret it.

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