Flat White

Did we learn anything from 2021?

4 December 2021

9:00 AM

4 December 2021

9:00 AM

The last two years have been packed with chaos.

Politicians have gone mad with power. Division has run rife throughout society. Citizens have turned on each other. Lockdowns have been imposed and lifted only to be reimposed weeks – sometimes even days later…

In the words of The Thick of It’s Malcolm Tucker, it has been an ‘omnishambles’. That said, the absolute sorry state of society has shed light on significant issues that must be addressed, and valuable lessons that we all must learn, if we hope to avoid further insanity in the coming years and well into the future.

The first lesson is this: freedom should never be taken for granted, not even in a democratic nation.

If the era of Covid has taught us anything, it is that freedom is never a given unless it is explicitly enshrined in and protected by law. It has become increasingly clear that while freedom may not be the government’s to give and take, they will certainly use it as a hostage to get their way if they can. We have seen many a nation’s politicians removing their citizens’ rights and freedoms only to dangle them as an ever-elusive carrot. Just when you think you have done what you need to do to be rewarded, they move the carrot further back. You never really get what you want, even if you have held up your end of the deal.

Freedom is something that must be defended.

The only nation that has maintained some semblance of real freedom throughout this living hell is the United States – some states more than others. America’s freedom is being protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which is a document we may need to consider replicating in some regard. The leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has left many of us on the side of liberty wishing we had leaders like him here in Australia. Sadly, all we have are a ragtag bunch of wannabe tyrants, each desperate to acquire as much power as they can.

While many citizens have gone along willingly with the orders issued by their leaders, if the latest protests are anything to go by, there may yet be a battle for freedom in the land down under.

That brings us to our next lesson: once you give politicians a taste of immense power, they will go to any length necessary to obtain more. Their quest for power conducted under the guise of ‘keeping us safe’ has led to the erosion of individual liberties and the establishment of medical tyranny.

Over the last two years, they have found ways of increasing their political artillery while trampling all over the Australian Constitution in the process. ‘Two weeks to flatten the curve’ has mutated into totalitarianism and a pandemic of government overreach.

The Premiers have abandoned the national roadmap agreed to at National Cabinet, with each of the states travelling down winding roads that lead to further misery. Daniel Andrews’ pandemic Bill has passed and he is ready to ruin whatever remains of Victoria. Annastacia Palaszczuk’s vaccine mandates are putting people out of work. Mark McGowan continues to keep the WA border shut. The list goes on…

Meanwhile, the man at the wheel of the country, Scott Morrison, has seemingly fallen asleep, allowing it to veer off the path to true freedom and crash and burn until it scarcely bears a resemblance of the nation it once was. Despite his promises, he has come up empty and the people of Australia have well and truly paid for it. I suppose there is another lesson in there: you cannot trust a politician to keep their word.

Moving on to our next lesson: a crisis will unveil the true colours of everyone it touches.

Something that has been noticeable throughout the pandemic is the contempt between individuals who were once civil toward each other. Friendships have been broken and families torn apart, all because people have become wound up in Covid hysteria. Instead of respecting one another’s views, people have resorted to insults, name-calling, demonising, and dehumanizing. This has, of course, been egged on by those in power who have themselves made disparaging remarks. They have created numerous divides among the people, a tactic that has helped them to gain more power and control over society. They have also weaponized fear, using it to create panic and further division, and to paint those who do not comply as the enemy.

Consequently, people have become erratic and irrational – fearing those who do not make the same choices as they do. They attempt to justify the rules created by the government to segregate society by saying it is for ‘public health’. They praise and celebrate politicians who have behaved like dictators, thanking them and calling them heroes. They argue that healthy people should be confined to their homes, unable to participate in society. Some even go as far as to wish illness and suffering upon those with different views. Citizens have become plagued by a mass psychosis caused by the glorification of politicians and ‘experts’. There is nothing rational nor healthy about it. Society itself cannot function so long as this inanity continues.

This brings us to our fourth and final lesson: a society divided is doomed to fall. This one has become incredibly poignant and will remain so as we progress into 2022.

Division is the great weakness of a society. Once it is sown, those with certain motives will capitalize on it for personal gain. Division is the tyrant’s greatest friend. It leads to chaos, to societal breakdown, and to destruction. Over the past two years, it has been utilised to create the perfect conditions for politicians to take more power than they were given upon their election by the people they now rule over. They have turned citizen on citizen, friend on friend, and neighbour on neighbour. They have used inflammatory language to pit those who have had the vaccine against those who have chosen not to take it.

While the people fight against each other, those in power look down on them with glee, corrupted by the power they have granted unto themselves. So long as society remains divided, the powerful become stronger.

As the great President Abraham Lincoln said: ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ Unless the people can understand the psychological warfare at play here, our free and content society will inevitably collapse into a dystopic realm in which hope for true freedom is all but lost.

There are likely other lessons that have been learned from the past two years, but these four are the standouts.

To ensure a free society prevails, it is crucial that we take these lessons on board and remember them – not only now, not only over the coming years – but for decades and centuries to come. Our history, be it recent or distant, exists as a deterrent to making the same mistake twice. If we fail to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

Joel Agius is an independent writer. If you would like to read more of his work, you can do so at JJ’s Outlook.

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