To mark the end of the year that saw elected politicians of all political stripes impose what retired British top judge Jonathan Sumption described as ‘the greatest inroads on our civil liberties in two hundred years’ here are six Christmas musing or observations – from me to you, as the Beatles would say.
1. Whatever else we can say about the recent US presidential election we know for certain that whole mountains of mail-in votes appeared out of the blue; we know counting in some of the key states was suspended for hours without explanation; we know that party scrutineers (or whatever the Americans call them) were denied access to seeing the ballots and the count for significant periods of time; we know the counting just went on and on in a way that would embarrass a poverty-stricken country in the Third World; and we know that there are statistical anomalies that pile up one on another, all of which cut in favour of Mr Biden. None of that is really debatable. That said, what can Mr Trump do about this? The answer may well prove to be ‘nothing’, as seems probable. But why should it follow from that that Mr Trump has to give up and ‘do the decent thing’ so as not to delegitimise Mr Biden when the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself, as you know) have spent the last four years not attending inaugurations, giving him 93 per cent negative coverage before the virus when the economy was its best ever, weaponising the FBI and foreign interference FISA Courts against him, actually impeaching him in the House of Representatives for making a phone call related to what we now know – thanks to the New York Post – was Hunter Biden’s selling of influence, so for nothing improper at all. I, personally, would fight to the end. Win or lose, his 71 million voters deserve as much from Mr Trump. And unlike nearly the entirety of the rest of the modern political class, Trump is doing what he should and fighting.
2. Aren’t you sick of two-bit politicians and bureaucrats throwing around the phrase ‘follow the science’ as if they had a clue about the underlying substantive debate or what science even entails? I am just an interested observer but I reckon I’ve read a whole lot more about this Wuhan/Covid virus than Mr Morrison and pretty much all of the state chief medical officers – a position, by the way, that I’d never heard of before moving here. It’s a bit like ‘Australian of the Year’ where some ‘committee’ I didn’t choose picks the wokest, most PC, most in keeping with the druthers of the media and bureaucrat classes person and then pretends the rest of us would agree with its choice. On the coronavirus the science, if that phrase means anything, tells us that there is no country-comparison evidence that lockdowns do anything at all; that this virus is not at all dangerous to those under 20, or 30, or 50 or even probably 60, nothing worse than the flu; that the average age of death from corona in the US and here is higher (yes, higher) than one’s life expectancy or when one would otherwise expect to cark it; that there is little to no evidence that masks – in the real world, not in some idealised imaginations where we all get medical-grade masks, changed hourly, and know how to use them – do anything at all; and so on. This is all virtue-signalling theatre to protect politicians who have screwed up so badly they’ve impoverished huge chunks of their voters and indebted the rest.
3. Why do politicians, senior military types, judges on our top court and others effectively pass judgment based on conclusions in reports and the like that employed low standards of proof where there wasn’t even any cross-examination? What does ‘based on credible evidence’ even mean? It’s lower than proof beyond reasonable doubt. It’s even lower than the ‘balance of probabilities’ or ‘just a smidgen over 50 per cent’ notion used in civil trials. Yet however low it is, Morrison and Campbell can go on an apology tour based on it? Really? Are they trying to destroy the military? I wouldn’t punish my kids on that standard of proof.
4. Federalism is dead in this country. It really is. It was on its death bed before this pandemic. Now rigor mortis has set in. So we have world’s worst vertical fiscal imbalance, meaning the states spend like drunken sailors but don’t raise the moolah so are not accountable. The Liberal politicians wouldn’t know what competitive federalism was if it drove up and hit them in the face. Heck, they wouldn’t grasp the general notion of competition, or small government, or affordable energy, or fighting back against cultural Marxists who are winning battle after battle in the culture wars.
5. Speaking of the Liberal party, have you noticed how young think-tank types come out of, say, the IPA promising to be freedom-loving types to those doing pre-selection for safe seats or the Senate and then once elected may well occasionally talk the talk at some conference or other but never – and I mean never – walk the walk? Compare that to Britain where over 53 Conservative MPs recently voted against Boris’s and their own party’s ‘lockdown-lite’ and ridiculously heavy-handed tiered system. I can’t imagine any Liberal or National party MP in this country crossing the floor over anything at all. Only their future careers seem to matter to them. The way the right side of politics chooses its candidates in this country is woeful.
6. Speaking of hypocrisy let me say it again. The two states that imposed the harshest, most civil-liberties-impinging regimes during this corona beat-up were Victoria and Queensland, the former being massively worse than the latter and indeed imposing the second-harshest in the world. And which were the two states in this country where the lawyerly caste managed to strong-arm the Labor party into enacting bills of rights – purportedly to protect our liberties? That would be Victoria and Queensland. Listen to me carefully. As I’ve long said if you buy a bill of rights all you purchase is the views of the judges and the lawyerly caste. If they agree with the pandemic heavy-handedness (and most do) then all’s fine. It doesn’t matter a whit that as Sumption has pointed out these have been ‘the greatest inroads on our civil liberties in two hundred years’. Wouldn’t it be nice, then, if the invisible opposition LNP in Queensland and the equally invisible opposition Libs in Victoria pledged to repeal these bill of rights enhancers of lawyerly power? Heck, wouldn’t it be nice if Libs at the state level stood for anything and showed any sort of backbone about, well, anything at all?
Let me end on a happier note. It is a pleasure and a privilege to write for this fine publication with its discerning and excellent readers.
Happy Christmas to you all.
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