Flat White

COVID normal: life without freedom?

21 September 2020

6:30 PM

21 September 2020

6:30 PM

In recent months, you may have heard a new term being thrown around, in particular by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. “COVID normal” has become the buzzword of late but left many questioning what exactly it means. Well, there is a simple definition: COVID normal is code for life with limited freedom. It is something that should be rejected at all costs.  

The spread of COVID-19 saw people willing to cede their freedoms for some temporary safety. This gave governments the perfect excuse to seize as much power as possible. The more freedom we give up, the more power they gain. Now, after getting a taste for so much power, state Premiers are refusing to relinquish it and return the people’s freedoms to them. George Orwell once said, “No one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”At his daily press conferences, Andrews keeps touting what he refers to as “COVID normal”. This is his way of ensuring he maintains his newfound power for as long as possibly can, by instilling constant fear of a virus that most people recover from. Fear is a powerful tool used by governments for control. If you can get people to fear something so greatly, they are far more willing to part with their freedoms and thus become far more subservient to the will of the government.  

COVID normal will mean our freedoms are never fully returned to us, so long as the virus continues to circulate. Chances are COVID-19 will be around for many years to come. That means that our freedoms will continue to be impinged upon for a long time yet. Governments will continue to rule in such a way that they are considered more important than us, essentially creating a divide between the political class and the rest of us.  

Police will continue to be used as arbiters of overbearing rules and restrictions, being provided with more extensive powers to do so. Victoria is by far the worst, with the Andrews Government now putting forward a Bill attempting to bring in new powers that would allow police, and even public servants, to detain people for being “high-risk spreaders”, including those who would be considered by police and relevant authorities to be conspiracy theorists and anti-lockdown protestors. If passed, this would ensure police can pre-emptively detain those who have not even committed an offence.  

It is a slippery slope that could see any dissenters or critics of the Premier and his government detained. This is a strategy used by Communist governments. It has no place in a democratic nation. Yet for Victorians, this is what COVID normal could consist of. 

Restrictions are still in place, to varying degrees, in most States. Premiers are now using their State borders as political pawns, creating what could be termed “The Border Wars”, for their own political gain. Of particular note is Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has become so obsessed with the upcoming ctate election that she has forgone all good judgement and has put on an incredulous display of heartlessness, using the State border to NSW to preserve her own political career. Premiers also continue to abrogate powers to unelected health bureaucrats. The Chief Health Officers seem to have taken it upon themselves to act as the premiers of their states, with Queensland CHO Dr Jeanette Young even thinking she knows what is best for the state’s economy, which is not her job to manage. We elect premiers and state governments to take care of such matters, yet they do not seem to want to do their job at the most critical of times. Instead, they would rather focus on being re-elected before doing for the people who gave them their power and the privileges that come with it. 

So his is what a COVID normal will look like. Borders will continue to be used for the purpose of extending time in office. People will be detained for criticizing, or even simply disagreeing with the government. Police, like those in Victoria, will continue to abuse their powers to make violent arrests. 

Debate and dissent, indeed even protest, are tenants of democracy. They are what keep governments from being able to commit egregious abuses of power. So, when these governments attempt to stifle such things, it should cause concern for everyone under their rule. If you cannot fight for your freedoms, what hope do you have of ever getting them back?  

The great Benjamin Franklin once said: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” If we are to continue to cede our civil liberties to governments under the premise of staying safe under a COVID normal, we may end up with no freedoms left to give. 

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