The Coronapocalypse Part 35: The Land of the Unfree and the Home of the Safe

I’ve started three times now to write a post on what has happened in Australia during corona and each time I’ve run up against a set of difficulties which made me stop. There has been no shortage of material to write about, of course. I could easily blurt out pages and pages outlining all the craziness: the army checkpoints, soldiers on the streets of our major cities, the police brutality, the endless cycle of lockdowns, the heartlessness and stupidity of the public health bureaucrats, the innumerable blunders from the government, the lack of accountability, the absurd fear-mongering from politicians and media and, perhaps most strikingly of all, the complete inability to raise a single dissenting voice that mattered to talk about it all. All of these things have gotten worse, not better, since corona began. Back in March 2020, the Prime Minister told Australians the truth: everybody would get the virus but only the elderly and immuno-compromised were at risk. That’s still true a year and a half later but that’s not what we hear from politicians now. Australia has deviated far from reality and it’s not at all clear how we’re going to find our way back. The only critical voices we’ve managed to muster have focused on the politics. For example, long-time media personality, Alan Jones, has been banging on about the incompetence of our politicians for some time now. But that’s the easy road to take. It’s pleasant to think that the only thing we needed was better politicians to guide us out of the mess. But the politicians, especially in democracies, can only do what the public wants and the actions of the politicians in Australia have had majority support. That reveals something about Australian culture and society. Or does it? How do we separate the Australian response from every other country? What do we attribute to fate and what to “character”?

The analytical problems to answer this question are several. Firstly, there is the fact that many countries around the world have imposed draconian measures during corona. Australia is not alone there. Is the difference just a matter of degree or does it point to something deeper? Australia has undoubtedly gone further than other countries in many respects. Australia is unique, as far as I know, in not allowing citizens to leave without permission of government. This was recently extended to include citizens who have returned to Australia temporarily but who reside overseas. That seems to be an extreme measure but is it meaningfully different from restrictions imposed elsewhere? Unlike other countries, Australia is defending a “covid zero” position and it is this fact which constitutes the second analytical problem in comparing Australia to other countries. Once the borders were closed, “cases” here dropped like a rock. Unlike any other country in the world except New Zealand, Australia was presented with the opportunity of “eliminating the virus”. Naturally, we took it. We then proceeded to tell ourselves that it wasn’t blind luck but good management. More than that, we told ourselves it was because Australians cared about each other more than other countries, especially the US where everything is just “about money”. If there’s one pattern that’s repeatedly popped up in Australia throughout corona it’s – pride goeth before a fall. No sooner had we finished patting ourselves on the back than the cracks started to show in the strategy courtesy of a never-ending procession of lockdowns. Melbourne was the first domino to fall in the winter of 2020. At time of writing, Melbourne is in lockdown number 6 while Sydney is in a lockdown that looks set to last longer than our epic three and-a-half-month effort last year. This all happened because, although borders were “closed”, Australia still had to allow its citizens to return home and we still had to let Hollywood movie stars and other notables into the country because, in the words of the Queensland Chief Health Officer, they brought millions of dollars with them (yes, she actually said that with a straight face at a press conference).  A quarantine program was set up but inevitably “cases” leaked out and outbreaks occurred. We didn’t admit the obvious fact that this was a problem with the strategy of having quarantine facilities in heavily populated areas. Even purpose-built laboratories full of trained staff often fail to stop viruses getting out. Just ask the people in Wuhan. In Australia, we turned hotels in the major cities into quarantine facilities and populated them with barely trained staff. The rest is history. It’s not like Australia has a shortage of land far away from population centres. It’s not like we couldn’t afford to build new facilities. The cost of our lockdowns counts in the trillions of dollars. It would have been cheaper to build a quarantine version of Dubai out in the desert than do what we’ve done. How long do viruses stay viable with the harsh Australian sun beating down on parched earth? Not long I would have thought. We’ll never know because the Australian government couldn’t organise it.

So, the lockdowns began. The first major one was here in Melbourne and, rather than admit a fault in the strategy and find a better way to do it, we found a way to pin the blame on the incompetent state government (yes, reducing every matter to party politics doesn’t just happen in the US). No doubt the government was incompetent, most governments are. But we pretended that the state government in New South Wales knew what they were doing. They were the “gold standard” and, as long as everybody else copied them, the strategy would work. That charade lasted all the way into mid-2021 when New South Wales let an outbreak occur which led to their current lockdown which has famously seen soldiers deployed on the streets of Sydney (hey, we had soldiers on the streets of Melbourne before it was cool). It was at this point that the hysteria levels were raised higher than they had been at any time throughout corona. Politicians in all states embarked on a shameful program of fear mongering. It had nothing to do with health and everything to do with the fact they had been caught with their pants down. Having been happy to take the credit when times were good, they ramped up the hysteria when things went wrong. In the meantime, the federal government had failed to secure the vaccines that were supposed to end the whole thing. As a result, by the time the current flu season is over, much of Australia will have spent essentially the whole winter in lockdown.

One of the earliest cultural critiques of Australia was a book called The Lucky Country by Donald Horne. To paraphrase the main message of the book: Australia is a lucky country run by second-rate people who share its luck. Corona couldn’t bear that out more clearly. Although I obviously disagree with the strategy taken by western countries in relation to corona, there’s no doubt that both the UK and the US were able to execute that strategy properly. Australia was not. We fell backwards into a zero-covid strategy and have proceeded to execute it with all the adroitness of a drunk wombat staggering through a nest of angry bull ants. Can we be held accountable for that? Does it reveal something about Australian society? Or is it unfair to blame politicians for an outcome they probably never believed possible and certainly would never have planned for? Would any other country have behaved differently if they had also stumbled into a situation where they got to “zero” and then had to defend that position?

A third analytical problem is one that is inherent in all analysis of Australian culture. It’s one noted by one of our earliest modern cultural critics, Robin Boyd: how to differentiate Australian culture from “international western culture”. Australia became a nation on 1 January 1901 but the split from Britain was hardly clean. Britain still represented Australia in foreign affairs until the end of WW1. Australia placed armed forces at the disposal of Britain in both world wars. Radio and television news announcers still spoke with British accents until well after the middle of the 20th century. Politically, the main turning point came when Britain refused to defend Singapore in WW2 and left Australia to fend for itself against the Japanese. We turned to the US for help at which point we swapped from being part of the British empire to being part of the US empire. Australia had been dominated by British culture prior to the wars and then became dominated by US culture after. Wherever “Australian culture” has been in the short history of this country, it has had to be found beneath these dominant cultures. In the British era, that culture was found in the bush. The Man from Snowy River or Ned Kelly still hold a place in the nation’s heart for that reason. It wasn’t really until the 1970s that a distinctly Australian urban culture started to show through in television, movies and music but it has always been dominated by US influence. Then came globalisation and multiculturalism to make things even more opaque.

I first encountered this problem in a practical sense when an Indian colleague flew to Melbourne for a project we were working on. On his first day we took him for lunch at a ramen noodle bar. Then, at the end of the week we went for lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Sometime in the middle of his second week, he came over and asked me for a recommendation for lunch – “where can I find Australian food?” he asked. That seemingly simple question proved very difficult to answer. What is Australian food exactly? I could have pointed him to Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, there was even a Mongolian restaurant nearby. But there was no obviously “Australian” restaurant. The same is true of Australian culture in general. It’s there but it’s hidden away. Boyd called Australian culture a veneer on international western culture. That’s one way to think about it. Another is that it is hiding beneath international western culture. Just like my colleague looking for “Australian” food, you have to ask for directions on how to find it.

What is partly at stake in these analytical issues is the age old question of free will versus moral determinism. The deterministic way to look at it is that, through the vicissitudes of fate, Australia accidentally ended up with no covid and then had to defend that position because, well, who wouldn’t? According to this way of thinking, even the US would have done the same if they had managed to close the borders in time. I doubt that’s true but it’s something that is not really testable anyway. Within the Jungian paradigm I have been using in recent posts, the question is somewhat moot. When the archetypes take over, free will as determined by the ego (the conscious mind) disappears because the ego itself has been overwhelmed. Looked at this way, the difference between Australia and the US is simply that we have been overwhelmed by the archetype far more. That raises all kinds of questions as to why. I don’t intend to try and answer those here. What I will do, is sketch out why I think the archetypal analysis helps to explain Australia’s extreme overreaction, an overreaction that has even recently caught the attention of mainstream analysts in the US who look on in horror at what is happening here and wonder whether their politicians have something similar in mind. They are sort of right. There is an element in the US who would love to copy Australia. But I think that what has happened in Australia could never happen in America. Corona has laid bare the real cultural differences that exist between the two countries. Within the archetypal analysis, Australia is The Orphan and the US empire is The Devouring Mother with the big pharma interests representing the Munchausen by Proxy side of that archetype. That works as a political explanation, but it also works culturally. Australian culture and history is very Orphan-like and US history is not. We used to refer to Britain as “the mother country”, for example. It wasn’t until the 1970s that we threw off the “cultural cringe” according to which we were necessarily inferior to the grand cultures of Europe. Australia was originally set up as a penal colony. We were abandoned by our “mother”. Disowned. Orphaned. But also utilised. Australia was initially a naval outpost of the British empire and is now a naval outpost of the US empire. Politically and culturally, we have never been fully independent and autonomous. We imitated first the British and then the Americans. That’s true in politics and culture. When given the chance to take autonomy at a referendum on becoming a republic in 1999, the country firmly voted No. We were still not ready to take our future in hand; still not sure enough in ourselves to transcend the institutions of democracy that we had inherited from our mother. By contrast, the US went to war with its mother and well and truly asserted its independence. Donald Horne said that Australia never “deserved” those institutions. They were part of our luck. We had inherited them but never earned them the hard way like America earned its independence. When given the chance to come up with a new institution of our own, we were unable to do so.  

Australian culture shares a number of traits with The Orphan archetype. On the positive side, we like to get along with people. We are pragmatic and unpretentious to a fault. We are realist and conservative in our realism. Australians err on the side of caution in stark contrast to the US which errs on the side of big, idealist dreams. The shadow traits of The Orphan are also present here. Cynicism, complaining, victimisation of others, powerlessness and worrying. Australians tend to be cynical especially towards politicians. But this is merely an affectation. When the chips are down, as we have seen during corona, we turn to politicians to save us. The Nanny State has been dominant here for a long time. The victimisation of others can be seen in what is known as Tall Poppy Syndrome where people who set out to achieve something out of the ordinary are cut down to size. Our anti-intellectualism and anti-elitism are other examples. Again, this is in stark contrast to the US where the achiever, the entrepreneur and the iconoclast are celebrated. Powerlessness and worrying have been at the core of our corona response. A common response to anybody who questions our response to corona is “what would you do?” or “there’s no other option”. We have been unable to raise a single dissenting voice because no sooner does somebody speak up than they are cut down to size. Having silenced those who would speak out, we say there is no alternative except what the government tells us. This pattern was already evident in Australian history. We used to accuse people of being “Un-Australian” if ever they said something critical of the country. If you spoke up, you were invited to “leave if you didn’t like it”. In light of our new border policy, I suppose this quip now needs to be updated “ask the government for permission to leave if you don’t like it.” Earlier in our history, this led to a stifling atmosphere of conformism which many of our most talented artists and thinkers escaped by going – guess where? – back to the mother country in Britain. We thought we had thrown off that conformism, docility and servility in the 1970s but clearly we have not. There are alternatives to lockdowns such as shown by Sweden and Florida (and now Alberta) but we have convinced ourselves that the path we are on is the only one even though it’s increasingly becoming clear that the path we are on is a road to nowhere. I mentioned above that Australian culture “hides away”. This is much like The Orphan. We just want to fit in. We prefer to be liked than respected. We don’t want to stick out. And ultimately, as corona has shown, we just want to be “safe”.

The notion of protection and safety has been at the centre of Australian political and cultural debate for almost the entirety of the nation’s short history. It is captured nowhere better than in the “White Australia Policy” which, in some form of another, was in place all the way into the 1970s and was still being actively defended by politicians as late as the 1960s. That policy is summed up very nicely in its own language – “This country shall remain forever the home of the descendants of those people who came here in peace in order to establish in the South Seas an outpost of the British race.” An outpost of the British race? This is a reminder that the language and beliefs around “race” were not limited to the Germans in the pre-WW2 period. It also makes explicit how the Australians of that time saw themselves: just a part of the British empire. To be fair, there were genuine issues of security at play. The population of Australia was so small relative to the land mass as to be a weakness militarily. There were also real economic issues. Much like immigration in the modern US is favoured by agricultural business interests, it was those interests which sought cheap labour primarily from the pacific islander nations (it’s noteworthy that right in the middle of corona Australia made special exemption for islanders to enter the country as they still form the backbone of the fruit and vegetable workers in this country). It was partly to protect local workers from such a reduction in wages that The White Australia policy was implemented and supported by the average worker. Against this backdrop, it is at first glance surprising that Australia should have transformed so quickly into one of the more successful multi-cultural nations in the world but that is what has happened in the last several decades. Interestingly, The Orphan archetype predicts this. Orphans get along with people. They are unpretentious and pragmatic. These are useful traits supporting a policy of multi-culturalism. Within this broad historical arc, one can see why Australian culture would be so hard to find. We went from the cultural cringe of subservience to the British to the multi-culturalism and globalism of the American empire very quickly. We have faithfully served the interests of both empires and have been among the most enthusiastic proponents of the neoliberal agenda in recent decades. Robin Boyd already noted in the 1960s that this tendency to imitate first the British and then the American trends implied a culture that was not certain in itself. For Boyd, whose preoccupation was architecture, this amounted to an unwillingness to deal with the problem of “place”. The Australian veneer was a mask that hid a deeper uncertainty. In the words of one of our great poets, A D Hope, Australians were second-hand Europeans who clung timidly to the edge of alien shores. In archetypal terms, we still do not feel at home even in our own country and in our own skin. This is uncertainty of The Orphan who has not established its place in the world.

Australian culture is talked about so seldom that it’s hard to get a grasp on what foreigners think of us. Americans in particular think of Australians via the stereotypes of the movies and television. We are Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin wrestling crocodiles and drinking beer in the sun. When George W Bush visited Australia during his presidency he said Australians were like Texans. That’s not true at all. Australians are far more like Californians. No surprise that the closest exponent of our corona response in the US has been California. We are one of the most urbanised countries in the world and our big cities are really big, even by US standards. Unlike the US, we lack the large number of small inland cities and our rural population is so sparse that it is politically almost irrelevant. To a large extent, modern Australia is the big, international city where you can eat food from all corners of the world and see people from all nations. It is the cosmopolitanism of Los Angeles or San Francisco but without the squalor and homelessness.

It was in a conversation with three foreigners who were living here that I got one of the more surprising bits of feedback on Australian culture that I have heard. In the group was an Indian, a Malaysian and a Singaporean. All three were professionals who had moved to Melbourne for work. The subject of Australian workplace culture came up and one of the three, who had clearly been mulling over the subject for some time, said “Australians are two faced”. This got me intrigued. I had never heard that said about Australians before. In fact, I had barely heard anything negative said about Australians before. I asked her for clarification. The root of the problem was a part of Australian culture that I was very familiar with – our extreme aversion to conflict of any kind. Australians will do anything to avoid an argument. In this we show our British roots, only Australians tend to copy the American style of forced positivity as a cover for our insecurity. This is the flip side of The Orphan’s inter-dependency strength. Orphans are good at getting along with others. But that strength can become an imperative for consensus and an unwillingness to hear dissenting opinions. Everybody must get along, or else. We have seen that in stark terms during corona with an almost complete inability to raise a dissenting voice. In the workplace, this manifests as an unwillingness to talk frankly with colleagues. It was this which had annoyed the Malaysian woman I was talking to. According to her, in Singapore and Malaysia it was normal to be told to your face by a colleague or superior if they thought you were doing something wrong. It was considered the right thing to do. In Australia, nobody does that. Rather, people will complain (another trait of The Orphan) to a superior and then it’s the superior’s job to handle it. That’s what this woman meant when she said Australians were two-faced. They say one thing to your face and another thing behind your back.

About a year after that conversation I experienced the practical nature of this problem at work. I was in a meeting with a client. A representative of the client asked for something that made no sense. As this was related to my area of work, I had to deal with the problem. Rather than openly disagree which, not being a very good Australian I would have preferred to do, I did the next best thing which was to ask a few questions to have them explain why they wanted it. The reason they gave was self-evidently invalid and didn’t make sense. I had hoped the act of saying it out loud would make them realise the problem, but no luck. What I then wanted to say was – “we’re not going to give you that as it’s private information internal to the company.” That was the truth. But the truth would be disagreeing and we don’t do that in Australian workplace culture, especially with a third party client in a meeting. So, I said I would take an action on it and later raised it with my manager. She was also a foreigner – an Indian – who had recently arrived in Australia for work. As we had a very open and honest dialogue going, I apologised for having to make work for her and wished I could have handled the matter myself. I mentioned how this was good example of conflict avoidance in the Australian workplace. She agreed and said this was something that was annoying her too. She had spent the last several years working in the US and said that in the US there was a willingness to disagree openly. It wasn’t considered offensive to disagree and, in fact, to not disagree would make you seem a pushover. This seemingly banal occurrence reveals something about Australian culture. In its more extreme form, it is actually a form of predatory behaviour cloaked in niceness. That’s where the two-faced part comes in. It’s also there in the tall poppy syndrome; the tearing down of the person who dares break ranks and stick their head up even in the trivial matter of disagreeing about something that is obviously invalid. If you can’t even speak truth at that kind of basic everyday level, how are you going to speak truth when something important comes along? As one last bit of evidence on this, I was once in a workplace seminar on the subject of giving “negative feedback”. The strategy recommended was the “shit sandwich”. What you do is you start by telling the person something that you like about their work. Then you slip in the negative feedback that’s the thing that you really want to say and you finish with something positive. All that work and energy just to try and avoid speaking a basic truth that in other cultures would be taken care of with a normal conversation. Conflict avoidance creates work. Eventually the truth must come out but you do everything to avoid it; just like Australia is willfully avoiding the truth right now.

The Prime Minister of Australia decided to change the wording of the national anthem right in the middle of corona. He changed the line “we are young and free” to “we are one and free”. It’s hard to conceive a less opportune time to have made that change. We have been neither one nor free over the last year and a half. At time of writing, I am not free to cross the state borders of the country and countless people have been denied that ability in order to visit sick relatives or attend funerals. We are, however, still a young country. We changed the wording in deference to the aboriginals of this land who, having been here for fourty thousand years, can certainly not be said to have been young in cultural terms. I have been fortunate to spend some time in a modern aboriginal community and I can tell you that they have no problem with conflict avoidance or beating around the bush. They get straight to the point. In fact, I would argue that the direct speaking and larrikin spirit which used to be, and still is in places, part of the Australian culture comes from the original inhabitants. But the mainstream Australian culture is still European or, in Boyd’s phrase, international western culture. Being “young” and only recently semi-separated from the “mother country”, Australian culture is the culture of the child in archetypal terms. The requirement for safety is not, of itself, a bad thing. It is obviously a basic necessity. Where it turns negative is when it is clearly doing harm. This harm is at the core of The Devouring Mother – Child relationship and the harm being done is the stunted development of the child. To address this requires strength of character and the ability to speak truth. The absence of these is obliviousness and denial; the refusal to face hard truths. That is precisely where Australia finds itself now; endless cycles of lockdown and the escalation of failed policies.

Of course, this was all precipitated by our Devouring Mother: the US empire. Although the US empire runs mostly on “soft power”, every now and then things get real. Thus, Australia had to follow the US into the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars and now we have followed the US into the corona quagmire. The freedoms we thought we had were the freedoms that American citizens have and that are transmitted to us through US culture. But, as Robin Boyd noted, we have done nothing to earn them. And maybe we don’t really believe in them. What we believe in is “safety” at all costs. We continue on a cycle of doubling down on error all while there is zero public discussion about any alternative. This is all while it’s becoming as plain as day that the vaccines will not save us either in literal or political terms. How are our politicians going to get out of this when it becomes clear the vaccines don’t really work? Having spent so long terrifying the population into submission about the virus, how are they going to allow borders to re-open and “cases” to rise? Having shown zero leadership so far and apparently zero ability to predict what is coming, do they have a Plan B to fall back on? If not, it may very well be that Australia simply continues on the current path and keep the borders closed for many years. A lot will depend on what happens in the upcoming northern winter.

History has a sense of irony. The country has returned to our roots. The isolationism, conformism and parochialism are back. Maybe in some sense they never really went away. They were just hidden beneath the veneer of neoliberal globalism. It may very well be that Australians have grasped this fact at some level. We were one of the most enthusiastic supporters of that doctrine. Our behaviour is perhaps partly driven by the genuine uncertainty of what lies ahead. We watched on as Brexit and Trump happened and shook our heads. But these were harbingers of what we now see. We’ve all heard about the border wall between the US and Mexico. But border walls are going up in Europe now too. Neoliberal globalism seems to be evaporating right before our very eyes. Where does that leave Australia? I’m not sure we know and certainly nobody is talking about it. Dissenting voices are not allowed at the best of times in Australia and with corona they have been completely smothered. For that reason, I expect Australia will have to wait for other countries to show us the way forward. Just as we have had to wait for other countries to deliver us the magical vaccine which is the non-solution to our situation. And, finally, we will have to wait, probably decades or more, before Australian culture in whatever form it eventually takes can break free of the dependency we have on “international western culture”. Only once the US empire, our Devouring Mother, has retreated and we stand exposed to the world on equal terms will such a culture have a chance to develop. I used to think that time was far off in the future but it may be much closer that we think.

All posts in this series:-

The Coronapocalypse Part 0: Why you shouldn’t listen to a word I say (maybe)

The Coronapocalypse Part 1: The Madness of Crowds in the Age of the Internet

The Coronapocalypse Part 2: An Epidemic of Testing

The Coronapocalypse Part 3: The Panic Principle

The Coronapocalypse Part 4: The Denial of Death

The Coronapocalypse Part 5: Cargo Cult Science

The Coronapocalypse Part 6: The Economics of Pandemic

The Coronapocalypse Part 7: There’s Nothing Novel under the Sun

The Coronapocalypse Part 8: Germ Theory and Its Discontents

The Coronapocalypse Part 9: Heroism in the Time of Corona

The Coronapocalypse Part 10: The Story of Pandemic

The Coronapocalypse Part 11: Beyond Heroic Materialism

The Coronapocalypse Part 12: The End of the Story (or is it?)

The Coronapocalypse Part 13: The Book

The Coronapocalypse Part 14: Automation Ideology

The Coronapocalypse Part 15: The True Believers

The Coronapocalypse Part 16: Dude, where’s my economy?

The Coronapocalypse Part 17: Dropping the c-word (conspiracy)

The Coronapocalypse Part 18: Effects and Side Effects

The Coronapocalypse Part 19: Government and Mass Hysteria

The Coronapocalypse Part 20: The Neverending Story

The Coronapocalypse Part 21: Kafkaesque Much?

The Coronapocalypse Part 22: The Trauma of Bullshit Jobs

The Coronapocalypse Part 23: Acts of Nature

The Coronapocalypse Part 24: The Dangers of Prediction

The Coronapocalypse Part 25: It’s just semantics, mate

The Coronapocalypse Part 26: The Devouring Mother

The Coronapocalypse Part 27: Munchausen by Proxy

The Coronapocalypse Part 28: The Archetypal Mask

The Coronapocalypse Part 29: A Philosophical Interlude

The Coronapocalypse Part 30: The Rebellious Children

The Coronapocalypse Part 31: How Dare You!

The Coronapocalypse Part 32: Book Announcement

The Coronapocalypse Part 33: Everything free except freedom

The Coronapocalypse Part 34: Into the Twilight Zone

The Coronapocalypse Part 35: The Land of the Unfree and the Home of the Safe

The Coronapocalypse Part 36: The Devouring Mother Book Now Available

The Coronapocalypse Part 37: Finale

63 thoughts on “The Coronapocalypse Part 35: The Land of the Unfree and the Home of the Safe”

  1. Hi Simon,

    I have enjoyed and appreciated your Coronapocalypse postings. The title of this one, “The Land of the Unfree and the Home of the Safe” says it all. Well done.

    I think your analysis of the of the collective Australian psyche is spot-on. We are a derivative culture; immature, insecure, unsure of who we are and what we stand for. We also share in the same comforting but ultimately destructive delusions as the wider industrialized “West”: the myth of Progress, a faith in the power of “Science” to conquer Nature and forestall and even defeat Death.

    Yes, our political class generally merely reflects these traits.

    These facts, and that our nation is a Island Continent, where it was possible to implement, and for the populace to actualize (briefly, unsustainably) the elimination of the plague, and I believe you have all you need to explain how we (and the New Zealanders, and other actual or virtual Island nations) got into this mess, and why we’re now stuck.

    Thanks for doing your bit to try to break the spell. I’m having a crack via an alternate channel also.

    Cheers from my self-imposed and Australian-governmentally indefinitely extended exile in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

    Andrew Celestina

  2. Andrew – it makes you wonder what sort of pseudomorphosis (to use JMG’s phrase) Australia is capable of when the time comes. With the exception of city states like Singapore, is there any other country on earth with a larger proportion of the population who are city dwellers? If the cities become unviable, would there be a “back to the land” movement? And without such a movement, how would the cities become viable again? The theme would make a fascinating novel. Might ponder it some more. Feel free to post a link to your “alternate channel”.

  3. > is there any other country on earth with a larger proportion of the population who are city dwellers?

    England perhaps? The ‘countryside’ there is quaint and pretty, but if you go off the tourist trails many of the cities are seemingly endless with a lot of relatively miserable living conditions. For comparison, you could fit the entire country of England in only a small portion of the arable farmland in Australia.

    On the general theme and where to next, I’m doubtful that there will be any rational cause for a resolution. Given that the covid phenomenon itself is highly irrational, it follows that the resolution will be too, and thus trying to foresee how things may turn out is a fools errand. The outcome will of course be backfilled with plausible causes to give the appearance of a rational response, but I doubt it will hold up to scrutiny in any way – exactly like the logic of the current situation falls apart as soon as you look at it clearly.

    I suspect that situation will suddenly be ignored for something else shiny and high distracting – which is what is concerning me at the present – where will this spin out next? Note that I don’t think that can be predicted – when it was all the rage to hate on on single use plastics (which again is was highly irrational, thus only shopping bags and drinking straws were ever a concern), I had the wish that it would all just pass and we could get back to sanity. Now I’m rather wary of making the same wish here, because everything could well spin out even further in a completely different direction.

    The particular challenge I see for Australia and NZ is that neither country has a solid enough cultural foundation to backfill with in a way that will calm people down to the extent that our society can weather the storm, so to speak. Florida and Texas could somewhat consciously take that route because stating the pandemic is over can easily be explained by ‘freedom’, and even though it isn’t actually true the founding myth appears strong enough to hold (for now anyway). The UK is trying a similar tactic based on a cultural idea of ‘strength’, but I think the jury is out on how well that will hold.

  4. Excellent essay mate. You should flesh it out a bit more and publish it as a book.
    One nit: pseudomorphosis is a term Spengler used. I think he appropriated it from geology. And we would be in a pseudomorphosis now as we are cast into a shape that is not our own.
    Being German by birth (well, sort of anyway) i notice that aussies are quite similar to Germans in many ways. Not so much the avoidance of conflict, but they certainly are pragmatic and unpretentious. Germans also never had to fight for their freedom and democracy and are just as unenthusiastic about it as aussies. And i think Germany is descending into madness at roughly the same rate as Australia.
    If you turn this essay into a book, a comparison of countries would be very interesting.
    The book probably won’t sell but you can expect the gratitude if future historians.
    Posthumously of course.

  5. Daniel – that’s an interesting point. If you were a politician trying to steer Australia out of this, what cultural memes could you call on? What would Crocodile Dundee do? Well, nothing. He’d be out bush and wouldn’t give a damn. Same as Ned Kelly. Gallipoli wouldn’t help either. We don’t really have anything in our history to get us out of this which is probably why we are in it to start with. Australians have a very different notion of “freedom” to the US. Their freedom is all about freedom from government. Our freedom is the freedom granted to us by government, even if that means government removes our liberty to protect the common good. That idea is very entrenched in our culture. That’s part of why we are in such a bind.

    Roland – thanks for the clarification. It would be a fascinating book. Not sure how I would research it as travel to other countries is off the table for the foreseeable future. But, yeah, what do Florida, Sweden, Tanzania and Alberta have in common that they are apparently able to see the light while the rest of us stumble in the darkness.

  6. Hi Simon,

    Far out dude. Few essays have smacked me around the head like yours just did. Oh the temerity to lay before us all the festering sores at the core of our culture. Respect. We’re like a two year old set free to run amok and all we can think about is hey, hope mum is there to pick us up when we eventually fall over face first in the dirt.

    I remember the days before the Neoliberal globalism agenda kicked in and worked as a factory accountant at businesses that actually produced things, not just sold things. I was a really young bloke, and then the trade barriers were stripped away, they told us that we would be the smart country. We liked being thought of as smart, but maybe it’s just me, I didn’t think closing the factories down was such a bright idea. And it was the Hawke Keating governments that promoted and implemented the idea, people wanted cheap stuff after all, and they were like a wolf in sheep’s clothing – but it had popular support. It was sad to see first hand the machines shipped off to countries who would later sell stuff back to us.

    And I’ve seen death at the hands of those who now tell us to trust them this time around, but I dunno. How do you tell them that messing up previously has instilled a credibility issue which is kind of hard to personally get around? So much weirdness these days.

    Respect for a truly fine essay.

    Cheers

    Chris

  7. Chris – it’s sometimes said that we’re about 20 years behind the US. I think we might be just about to catch up on the question of not believing the government and media. Seems like half the US no longer believes a single thing the government says. By the time all this business is over, Australia might be the same. Or, more scarily, we might double down and outlaw anybody who doesn’t believe what the government says!

  8. Yeah, saw that Christensen bit. Of course, everybody was so busy tripping over themselves to denounce him they accidentally gave him blanket publicity.

  9. Not sure how much you monitor the news over here in NZ, but the government has just announced it’s plan on how to open up – https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/449010/covid-19-risk-based-border-to-open-from-early-2022-pm-jacinda-ardern

    With the way things are unfolding I do not have any expectation it will be followed however. As soon as ‘delta’ escapes here the plan will go straight out the window.

    And on a general note, I have been thinking about conscientious objectors in WWI, which from my understanding of history was the last time such a significant, detached, hysteria was active in western countries. If you consider that the objectors were some of the few seeing things for what was actually happening, it gives a whole new appreciation of what they undertook. History books often mention the hysteria of war, but I sincerely doubt even the authors of those books really appreciate what that meant at the time. I certainly didn’t, but I am starting to understand now.

    And somewhat chillingly that hysteria only subsided after immense human death, not only self-inflicted by the war but then further intensified by the subsequent (real) flu pandemic. And then the roaring twenties kicked off. Makes one think.

  10. Daniel – I may be reading that wrong, but it sounds like NZ has a never-ending elimination strategy in mind. At least you call it an elimination strategy. Over here, nobody admits that it is even though that is clearly what is being pursued. That’s a good point about the objectors. Australia voted twice against conscription in the wars. I hate to think what would happen if we had a referendum on mandatory vaccination.

  11. Hi there,
    Do you think are highest ideals find their home in our sporting teams?
    Even in the midst of this, we’ve packed off athletes to the Olympics, “won the right” to host another one and now I think I heard we’re bidding for the soccer?
    Then there’s the AFL G.F and “The race that stops a nation”
    Layer over that our love of the “punt”.
    Oh and don’t forget our extreme skill at “houses and holes”.
    Hmm, I think you’re right Simon, it’s going to take a major event, be it financial or a mass of “unexpected” health events connected to all of this madness, or some other “black swan” to shock us out of our delusions.
    Baring any ability to affect change at this point, I think the best thing one can do is try to stay as healthy in mind, body and soul.
    That’s what I’m trying to do.
    I’ve started a small weights routine again and for the last couple of weeks, Ive been doing the LBRP in the afternoon, as well as just the Cabalistic Cross in the morning.
    My motivation was probably more to help deal with the loss of my dog, but I also think it’s beneficial for all this mess, and for whatever is to come, too.

  12. Helen – well, apparently your Chief Health Officer has just said the olympians will need to quarantine for 28 days before being allowed back into the state. That’s not very sporting. I suppose it’s no surprise from the woman who has “heard about this thing called football” :). Now is definitely the best time to take care of yourself in whatever way you can. Not sure if you have chickens, but I would estimate my chickens spend about an hour a day straightening out their feathers, taking a dust bath or lying in the sun. Clever birdies.

  13. Is it before returning, or in total 28 days, including their detention here, because of arriving via Sydney?
    Whatever it is its pretty cruel and shows that for the powers that be sports people and events are pawns in their game to be used in whatever fits their narrative at the time.
    Off to the Olympics? Go for gold!
    Returning? Get in that room and stay there. Well decide when you can come out.
    She’s been immaculately groomed since this thing began, apparently when the whole distancing rules first began, it didn’t apply to her and her hairdresser!
    Yes I’ve had chickens in the past,
    they’re strangely fascinating creatures!

  14. Thanks for link. Good to see some politicians breaking rank, but with her emotional response she is more part of the problem than the solution.
    What we would really need to do is to stand back and rationally think about where we are and where we want to get. I can’t see that happen anywhere anytime soon.
    As individuals we should maybe study the history of the witch hunts and how to survive them. I’m not saying this is what will happen, but at this stage it is a very real possibility.

  15. Helen – of course, it’s all “science”. You must have different science in South Australia 🙂

    Roland – the government’s vaccination target is pure fantasy and they know it. They also know that it will turn the plebs against each other. I would be worried except the whole narrative should fall apart before it gets serious. The question is, what will the next narrative be?

  16. The current state of Australian politics:-
    – State Premiers say they are just “following health advice”
    – Health bureaucrats say we are just waiting for the vaccine
    – Vaccine manufacturers have a clause in the contract saying they are not legally responsible for the vaccine
    – National cabinet ties a move to the “start of normality” to 70% and 80% vax rates with a cheeky little side note about booster shots
    – When asked, state premiers say the 80% vax rate thing is just a guide and we’ll re-evaluate when we get there

    In other words, democracy is indefinitely suspended in this country until some arbitrary time when some random group – is it the politicians or is it the health bureaucrats? – decide to give it back. Thus far, the Australian public has no problem with this arrangement.

  17. “He changed the line “we are young and free” to “we are one and free”.”

    Ha! For the sake of geriatric citizens? 😛

    (Yes, I saw you wrote it was because of the aboriginals. But the above is what first occurred to me…)

    Anyway, this was quite an interesting post to read. I’m not terribly familiar with Australia (I’ve never been there, nor have I had all that much contact with Australians). But as you say, Australia is defending a Zero COVID position. I think just about any other country would have gone equally nutty if it had found itself in that situation. Nothing much will change until the virus starts spreading in the community, with even strict lockdowns unable to fully suppress it. Well, it appears that Australia is in the early stages of precisely that (i.e. lockdowns no longer able to fully suppress the virus). The real question is: what happens now? Well, some insanity and panic, obviously, but what happens after a few weeks of that?

  18. Irena – the changing of the wording is a weird synchronicity. Maybe he wanted to divert attention from how badly we have screwed young people during corona over a disease that’s of no risk to them. You are obviously a moral determinist. Maybe my view is too skewed by the US. They are the only country founded on freedom. Australia was founded on the opposite of freedom and we’re currently revisiting our roots as a prison colony. Unfortunately, we have no leaders in this country and that is what is needed to get us out of this. Even Boris Johnson could name and a date and then stick to it. We can’t even do that.

  19. Simon: “You are obviously a moral determinist.”

    Not quite… Yes, I think any country, having wound up in a Zero COVID position through no particular merit/blame of its own (essentially, it was an accident of geography) would have gone equally nutty. But then once the position becomes obviously untenable (as in: the virus starts spreading, despite everything), well, that’s where you can expect to see real differences between cultures. I think.

  20. Re: the US

    I really wouldn’t want to be in the US right now! Over there, it’s increasingly “get the shot, or get fired,” and not just for health care workers, either. I know, I know, Florida, etc. But in much of the country (=US), the situation seems even worse than in Europe.

  21. Irena – nobody can be blamed for the start of corona but by now we can definitely be held responsible. In Australia, it just gets worse and worse. I’ll give you just one example. In Sydney now, if you are a single person and you want to visit your partner, you must register the name of your partner with the government AND your partner must live within 5 kilometres of your house. That is just plain humiliation. As a friend of mine put it “is nothing sacred?” No, nothing in sacred in Australia. We have no standards and no principles whatsoever other than to be “safe”. And that’s why I think the archetypal analysis works to explain the situation.

  22. Simon: “In Sydney now, if you are a single person and you want to visit your partner, you must register the name of your partner with the government AND your partner must live within 5 kilometres of your house.”

    Okay, that sound like something out of a laughably bad movie. My condolences. 🙁

    Anyway, when I heard Australia suddenly had “cases,” I wanted to congratulate you. That’s a necessary (though not sufficient) prerequisite for Australia getting out of this mess. It was just a matter of time, of course, and that being the case, earlier is better (you’ve already suffered enough, after all). The only way to keep the virus out permanently would be to go full blown Sentinelese: kill anyone who enters the country.

  23. Irena – yeah, the numbers keep going up in Sydney which is blowing many an Australian’s mind. Lockdowns are supposed to work. They were supposed to be the whole secret to Australia’s success. Anyway, the government will just keep ramping up the restrictions. The flu season will end shortly and they’ll be waiting to take the credit.

  24. “History has a sense of irony. The country has returned to our roots. The isolationism, conformism and parochialism are back.”

    Hmmm….

    I wonder if returning to its roots is a common thing in other countries – like, do we all revert to our founding myths in times of crisis (or pseudo crisis)?

    The US has more than one myth, though. The “throwing of the yoke of tyranny in the name of freedom” story is one, as are the Wild West gunslingers and self-reliant pioneer stories.

    But there’s also the strong Puritan streak, where people left the old world to found a colony that would let them live by strict religious rules, and everyone had to be righteous – or else. I think that puritanical mentality has a way of reared its ugly head in other contexts as well, as hate-filled xenophobia or self-righteous McCarthyism. The “Karen” phenomenon almost feels like it too might be channeling the dour, finger-waving, witch-burning Puritans of old, doesn’t it?

    Here in the US, we’re still free to move about, and right now life is superficially semi-normal even in most of the blue states.

    But tyranny is looming as we speak. NY and LA and possibly some other cities are implementing vaccine passports for certain events. Right now it’s indoor dining, theatre, night clubs, and such, but give it time, I’m sure the passports will spread to other things (when does it not?). And yes, more an more employers are mandating vaccines.

    My perception is that the US does have people who will resist, but the problem is, I don’t know what percent of the population we are, or if we can hold the line on this.

  25. El – I struggle to understand the motivations of places like NY and LA. Surely it will be very bad for business if you ban a third of the population or more from spending money in those businesses. How many of these businesses are going to remain financially viable in that environment? That’s the main thing that should (in theory) bring the vaccine passports undone. Once enough businesses start closing down the government should change tack. I say should because government, at least here in Australia, appears to no longer care about the economy. Maybe it’s the same in the US.

  26. I too have been wondering what will happen when NYC and LA implement their “papers please” policies. Will enough people still want to visit the theatres and museums and other venues and dine at the restaurants, or will business drop off a cliff? Even if 30% of the population are supposedly unvaxxed, that doesn’t mean that 30% of PATRONS are unvaxxed. My understanding is that there is evidence that the unvaxxed are the one who’ve been getting out an about more, so businesses may find that they lose more than 30% of their custom.

    As for the government caring about businesses, I think the answer is “only if they’re large corporations”. I don’t think any of the politicians implementing these policies care one whit about small business, or even business like Broadway.

    We also seem to have long since entered a alternate universe where covid is all that matters. It’s like a bizarre obsession, and as we’ve seen, our leaders are far too willing to destroy everything over covid. I feel like the mayors of NYC and LA are so far gone down the rabbit hole of covid-obsessed megalomania that any kind of cost-benefit analysis was discarded a long time ago. It’s all about “defeating covid” and mandating obedience at all costs.

  27. I’m probably a little biased given I live here, but to my mind the politician who has best encapsulated The Devouring Mother is our state Premier here in Victoria, Dan Andrews. He went viral round the world this week for punishing us for some indiscretions from a few rebellious children who decided to have a pub crawl. The video says it all – https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1427291891381506048

  28. El – that’s true about the obsession. Don’t forget, western nations spent a whole four years sending young men running into machine guns during WW1 and it only stopped when it couldn’t go on anymore, not because people came to their senses. When the archetypes take over, that’s the levels of crazy that happen. I’d say we’re in for the same thing now. It will stop when it can’t go on any more. To be honest, I think you’re in a better place in the USA. Things are absolutely mad here in Australia and I expect them to get even madder in the months ahead.

  29. We (NZ) are joining in the madness as of midnight tonight 🙁

    One interesting albeit small datapoint – browsing some of the corona related threads on hacker news today there is significantly more debate about downsides, limitations and unknowns with the serums. Not sure if it will continue, but seems like a small promising sign compared to the overwhelming group think previously on that site.

  30. Daniel – sorry to hear that. Had a quick look at the news. It’s all because of a single case, right? Did that guy even have contact with any known cases? If not, surely it’s most likely a false positive, especially if his wife tested negative. Oh, well, such logical questions don’t get asked. I expect the resistance to the “vaccine” will intensify one they try and roll out the booster shots. Whether it will be enough to make any difference is another question.

  31. I don’t believe they have a known transmission path, but there has been significant trouble recently with keeping the cases within quarantine facilities contained, so who knows. It’s inevitable that Delta will get into the community here, the question really is if this is it or if the waiting will continue.

    Re the pushback with boosters, that is part of it (some of the HN postings were about that directly), but I also think the Afghanistan debacle has dented the infallibility of the various governments and their behaviours. It’s not just the US that is embarrassed, many countries didn’t think to get their diplomats out early enough. The story is a notable chink in the armour of the delusion of competence by the powers that be, though whether it is enough to have any consquence (as you correctly question) is obviously yet to be seen.

  32. “Excellent essay mate. You should flesh it out a bit more and publish it as a book.”
    I agree. I have enjoyed reading the whole series.

    “Being German by birth (well, sort of anyway) i notice that aussies are quite similar to Germans in many ways. Not so much the avoidance of conflict, but they certainly are pragmatic and unpretentious. Germans also never had to fight for their freedom and democracy and are just as unenthusiastic about it as aussies. And i think Germany is descending into madness at roughly the same rate as Australia.”
    As I am a native German still living in his home country, I can agree on some points you raised but I would say that we are very high in avoidance of conflict. On a national level, this is obviously the case since WW2. On a personal level, it also seems to get worse, since you would otherwise be labeled with one of the current equivalents of heretic (in case of corona: vaccine denier or “Querdenker”, otherwise: climate denier, racist, right-winger, mysogynist, islamophobic or antisemite). So in order to avoid conflict (e.g. social exclusion), you just do not mention any idea that contradicts the mainstream opinion.
    I also would disagree that the Germans never fought for their freedom and democracy. There was a lot of fighting going on in the 19th century culminating in the failed revolution of 1848/1849 and a victory by the monarchy. There were a lot of assassination attemps targeting the German emperor Wilhelm the first. Then we had the revolution of 1918/1919, which resulted in a preliminary victory for democracy with an even harsher counterrevolution in 1933. Finally, Germany got it´s long lasting democracy in 1949 after more than 100 years of fighting. Sure, they did not get much freedom after 1945 by becoming a vassal of the US empire, but at least on the democracy front, they were successful.
    The waning enthusiasm of democracy in Germans seems to be related to the dimishing quality of the politicians across all parties and the impression that the politicians do not act in the interest of the population but major corporations instead.

  33. Daniel – the NSW Premier has started openly saying that they won’t get to 0 again which certainly sounds like a game-changer to me. If they can open up Sydney with cases still on the loose that might finally signal a way for Australia to get out of this. Yeah, the Afghanistan thing is very bad optics. The exact opposite happened to what Biden said which makes his statements on the vaccine a little less believable. Actually, if you think about it, in the last couple of years, the powers-that-be have got everything wrong. Not just a little bit wrong, exactly the opposite of correct. That’s actually pretty weird. How can they be so consistently and exactly wrong and yet not seem to know it?

    Secretface – thanks for that. What I find interesting these days is the degree of uniformity among the media. The Deutsche Welle, for example, runs almost exactly the same editorial line as the BBC in Britain or the ABC in Australia or the NPR in the US. That tells me they are financially-ideologically in the pocket of somebody which I assume are multi-national corporations and, as you mention, those corporations also own government now. That’s where the real problem lies and I think that also helps explain the uniformity of approach in all western nations during corona. Those media are increasingly turned against the public to try and enforce this absurd transnational conformity. I find the Querdenker thing quite amusing because if you had a headline in English “Lateral thinkers march through the streets of Sydney” nobody would know what it meant. How they managed to turn that phrase into a smear word is beyond me.

  34. “What I find interesting these days is the degree of uniformity among the media.”

    My thoughts are running in the same direction. Our current system is pretty good to hide the true decision makers with its multitude of NGOs, think tanks, global organizations, and multinational corporations. Somehow most of them seem to go in the same direction, supported by most of the media, maybe with controlled opposition to somehow keep the dissidents quiet.

    “Those media are increasingly turned against the public to try and enforce this absurd transnational conformity. I find the Querdenker thing quite amusing because if you had a headline in English “Lateral thinkers march through the streets of Sydney” nobody would know what it meant. How they managed to turn that phrase into a smear word is beyond me.”

    I have one funny anecdote regarding the Querdenker smear word. My mother is also very critical of the general political situation in Germany, but the Corona panic somehow scared her a lot, maybe due to her advanced age. When I told her, that I think, that the people wouldn´t have noticed a problem at all, if the media and politicians wouldn´t have reacted in full panic mode, she was shocked and asked, whether I am a Querdenker. So even her critical mind was overwhelmed by the propaganda.

    PS: This does not mean that I don´t believe the virus exists. I just think that the response was way over the top, as you also state in your excellent essays.

  35. I think in some ways we’re better off in the US, but the employer-mandated vaccines have me worried sick. I’ll probably be able to evade them (I hope) but my loved ones – I just don’t know. There are several people I care about who don’t want the experimental jabs but may cave in order to keep their jobs and pay the bills. And we don’t know what the long term effects of these shots will be. Maybe they’ll be fine – or maybe they won’t. We simply don’t have the long-term safety data.

    I can live without visiting NYC (I live nearby), although I will miss the museums and performing arts offerings that I grew up with and have enjoyed all my life. But how far and wide will this madness spread? I am truly frightened of where this will go before it finally ends.

  36. Secretface – not sure if you followed the story of Peter Daszak and The Ecohealth Alliance, which was the NGO that was funding the lab in Wuhan among other things. He, of all people, was put in charge of the investigation into the origins of the virus. Quite a number of scientists were rightly outraged at that but not a single one made it into the mainstream media. Just like all the other dissenting experts got no media time in the last year and a half. It used to be the case that if someone like a Robert Malone started speaking out, the news would be all over it cos it’s a huge story. Not any more.

    El – why are employers mandating the vaccine? Is it to try and escape liability if someone gets sick? If so, the vaccine is not going to stop that from happening anyway. So, I don’t understand the reason why a business would get involved. Insurance premiums? The one ray of hope here is that the Prime Minister has said employers won’t be able to be sued if an employee supposedly catches corona at the workplace. There’s no scientific way to prove that anyway so, in theory, it shouldn’t hold up in court but at least they are making that clear in law. For now.

  37. @Simon
    @El

    I would think that employers would be far more likely to lose millions if an employee had a bad reaction to an employer-mandated emergency-use-authorized vaccine, then if that same employee caught COVID at work. The world has gone mad, so it may be some time before those vaccine related lawsuits (against employers; can’t sue the pharmaceutical companies, heh) are successful. But eventually, the COVID hysteria will die down, and when that happens, lawyers will have their hands full.

    As for why employers are mandated vaccines: the world has gone mad, that’s why.

  38. Irena – true. Which is why I don’t understand why employers would want to get involved. But, yes, I keep bringing logic and reason into the equation. Silly me.

  39. Some of you might have seen this
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9882265/US-Comedian-says-Australians-like-lockdowns-theyre-lazy-descendants-criminals.html
    Factcheck:
    Partially untrue. New Zealanders are not descend from convicts and they love their lockdowns at least as much as we do.
    So, sadly one can’t trust the news even if it comes from a serious comedian.

    @irena interesting thought, that a high number of positive tests are a good thing. I think so too and it seems to me that at least the NSW premier might agree. She said even before the current wave of lockdowns that the virus is here to stay. And even the Dear Leader of Victoria is starting to make noises along those lines. Cases were up again this morning, this might get interesting.

    @simon I noticed too that governments consistently made the worst possible decision for a while now. At least if the objective is what they say it is. I have great confidence in the incompetence of governments, but it is hard to see how mere stupidity can lead to such an outcome.
    This would be an interesting topic for a post. Any chance?

  40. Irena’s right – it’s madness.

    But I think the rationale is that by mandating vaccines, they are one, virtue-signalling what a great company they are (we’re committed to being a fully vaccinated workplace! we’re a wonderful, enlightened, pro-Science company!), two, asserting control over employees (when has this not been a thing?), and three, setting themselves up to be able to “reassure” customers that they are a “safe” place to visit or do business (the place where I get my hair cut has signs at all the stations saying that the hairdresser is “fully vaccinated against covid-19”).

    Of course, there are problems with all of those notions, but I won’t even bother pointing them out – you already know, and they won’t listen.

    But I think those are the ostensible reasons.

  41. I agree that Dan gets the gong for no.1 dictator. Do you think he’s gotten more unhinged since coming back from his fall? Pain meds perhaps?
    Gladys is going kindly dictator and McGowan laser focused dictator.
    Marshall? Why marshmallow dictator of course!
    The others? I haven’t seen enough if to make a diagnosis.

  42. @Simon
    Yes, I have read about the whole Ecohealth Alliance issue. I would not say that I was shocked when I heard that the potential perpetrators were investigating themself, but I was pretty annoyed that nobody raised this issue in the approved media channels. I think that it is a normal tactic of the elites to cover up the reality via censorship, if the reality would otherwise dimish their power. The period leading to the German revolution in 1848 was also pretty high on censorship (the Restauration). Therefore, I am optimistic that there will be a change to the positive in the future, if you can speak of positive in the face of potentially fatal human habitat destruction (climate changes, ressource depletion).

  43. Every now and then the truth pops its head up and whispers hello – https://twitter.com/GandBLawyers/status/1427861462047854593

    Roland – It’s probably just cos I’m reading Jung’s Aion, but it really does seem to me that this is the end of the Aion. Fittingly, it’s the Aion of the Antichrist and it seems that he wants to go out with a bang. One weird synchronicity that occultists might appreciate, corona means ‘crown’ in Latin but the first sepiroth on the tree of life is called Kether which also means crown and, among other things, entails the end of the old and the beginning of the new.

    El – yes, no doubt people think that way. Imagine if antibody dependent enhancement turns out to be a big problem and all these companies forced their employees to take it. Are employers liable in the US for any side effects of the “vaccine” if they made it mandatory?

    Helen – all Premiers have gotten more unhinged this year because NSW broke the illusion that they knew what they were doing. Palachook might have a fight on her hands. Truckies are the one group of workers that can bring the whole country to its knees if they wanted to – https://twitter.com/sQuishChick_Oz/status/1427545501491023876?s=20

    Secretface – the weird thing about conspiracies these days is that they are hiding in plain sight. I stumbled across the Ecohealth story in the middle of last year without even looking for it. All you have to do is look up their website to know they’re dodgy. It’s obvious that reporters are deliberately not looking for the truth anymore. There may be a change for the positive. I think the official narrative is about to implode. The ramifications, however, are very hard to know and there’s no guarantee they will be pleasant.

  44. “It’s probably just cos I’m reading Jung’s Aion, but it really does seem to me that this is the end of the Aion. Fittingly, it’s the Aion of the Antichrist and it seems that he wants to go out with a bang.”

    As CG Jung is high on my Reading List, do you have any books from to recommend for a complete newbie? Aion sounds interesting just reading these two sentences.

    “the weird thing about conspiracies these days is that they are hiding in plain sight. I stumbled across the Ecohealth story in the middle of last year without even looking for it. All you have to do is look up their website to know they’re dodgy.”

    I think it is not necessary to hide them anymore, or at least be as secretive as in the past, due to the high amount of information available on the internet. Most of the population will never read the stuff and it is easy to smear the few readers as conspiracy theorists. At least, this is my impression with stuff like the WEF and other dubious organizations.

    “It’s obvious that reporters are deliberately not looking for the truth anymore.”

    I have the impression that the quality of journalism took a deep dive with the advent of the internet., as you now must be really fast to publish the news to generate enough klicks. Therefore, the easiest way to publish news is to get them from someone else instead of doing the necessary research of the topic by yourself.

    In addition, here in Germany, many (or all?) journalists understand themselves as educators of society. So called “Haltungsjournalismus”, to present all news as opinion pieces, is the standard stance of them. How can you look for the truth, if you have a preconceived opinion about the topic?

    Funnily, the “Bild”, the major yellow press newspaper in Germany, now seems to be the only newspaper, who investigates the blunders of the German government at all. As expected, it didn´t take long for some “activists” trying to smear the “Bild” as a Nazi newspaper to discredit them.

    “There may be a change for the positive. I think the official narrative is about to implode. The ramifications, however, are very hard to know and there’s no guarantee they will be pleasant.”

    In Germany, the population seems to be still pretty much online with the official narrative. I am already feeling slight pressure by one of my major customers to get vaccinated. Friends of mine also looked as me as if I am a madman, when I told them that I am still waiting on getting vaccinated.

    From 23rd of August, there will also be new Corona rules in Germany. Now, the hammer is coming down on the filthy unvaccinated. Until now the case incidence was the measuring stick for the severity of restrictions. This is now completely ignored. Instead, vaccinated and recovered people can proceed with their live normally if they present evidence. Unvaccinated people now must show a negative test everywhere in public institutions, which was not the case before. From October onwards, the plan is to have the unvaccinated pay for their tests by themselves. I am still hopeful, that these measures will be lifted after the parliament election in September.

  45. Roland – you think that’s bad, check out Trudeau on the campaign trail – https://twitter.com/TPostMillennial/status/1427677293866995714 It’s like every western nation is governed by demented kindergarden teachers with Grandpa Simpson in the White House overseeing the whole thing.

    Secretface – for some reason people say Jung is hard to read. I don’t find that at all. In fact, I find him a model of clarity. The first four chapters of Aion are actually a really good overview of his theory. You could start there or with Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. I started with his Red Book which is full on, but gives an excellent intro to the original experiences he had that led to his psychology and for that reason makes the later theory easier to follow.

    What sort of “public institutions” will you need to show your papers? Will they actually say “Ihre Papiere, bitte.” That wouldn’t be weird at all, would it? Actually, I saw the video of the cops asking for papers at cafes in Paris and my first thought was “the Nazis have re-occupied Paris.” Are any parties in the election opposing such measures?

  46. Regarding Jung, I have heard this complaint that something is hard to read so often. Maybe this is due to the shortening attention span of the population. I have no problem with hard to read books (nevertheless I am currently not yet able to dare to read “The Decline of the West” by Oswald Spengler, which is starring at me every day from my bookcase). I will have a look into Aion and/or Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious.

    “What sort of “public institutions” will you need to show your papers?”

    I have selected an article about the new decisions by the federal and state government and copied they relevant sections from it down below. Basically, you cannot attend public indoor life with the 3G rule. The only exception seems to be food markets. They have some opening clause at the end of the paragraph, but currently most of the states are already above this artificial threshold of 35.

    “The core of the new decisions by the federal and state governments is the extension of the epidemic situation until September 11 and the entry into force of the 3G rule from August 23. This means: access only for vaccinated, recovered or tested persons with a negative Corona test as visitors in hospitals, old people’s and nursing homes, indoor catering, indoor events and festivals, use of services close to the body, indoor sports or lodging. If the incidence is below 35, states may provide for suspension of the 3G rule.”

    The AfD is against such measures but they were ironically successfully smeared as right-wingers by the media in the past, that I don´t think that they have any realistic change to get a lot of votes in September (around 10-15% maybe).

    PS: I have attempted very often to submit this comment now. Sorry for the effort.

  47. Secretface – I did philosophy at uni and we had to read Kant and Hegel. Compared to those two, any other author is easy to read. You mentioned you expect those rules to be dropped after the election. Why is that?

    By the way, I think it’s good news that the tests won’t be free anymore. Once people stop getting tested, this whole thing goes away. You know a bureaucratic committee is at work when they come up with meaningless numbers like 35. I remember once being in such a meeting where the number was 1.5. I challenged the person to justify the number and they changed it to 20 without batting an eyelid. Of course, the 20 was equally as meaningless it just sounded better.

    (P.S. Seems your other comments went to spam. I’m assuming that was because there was a link posted but that doesn’t make sense as other commenters have posted links. Strange.)

  48. As a Canadian, I have to say our politicians are not normally this incompetent. They are often quite bad, but the sheer atrociousness of this election campaign is something new. I figure it’s equally likely that they’ve just totally lost it and that something major is coming and no one wants to be left holding the bag.

    The thing is that it would be so easy for the opposition to seize on the “she-session” thing, but instead they’re going after Trudeau saying he’s not thinking a lot about monetary policy. This is a brilliant tactic, if people cared about it. But most Canadians don’t care about monetary policy; a lot of us don’t even know what it is! So it’s not going to reach most people; and the Conservatives have to know this. So there’s something very, very weird here.

  49. “I did philosophy at uni and we had to read Kant and Hegel. Compared to those two, any other author is easy to read.”
    I have heard that about Kant and Hegel. When I was around 20 years old, I tried to read Nietzsche. I failed miserably. Now, I don´t have any problems to read him, even though I would not consider it easy to read stuff. Maybe it has something to do with maturity and life experience to get into these texts better.

    “You mentioned you expect those rules to be dropped after the election. Why is that?”
    I could imagine that the current governing parties must keep up the facade until they are elected to not hamper their chances in the election (which does not work btw due to incompetent chancellor candidates). After the election, they could let the topic fade into obscurity and nobody would remember it, when the next election is conducted in 2025. This is pure speculation. I could also envision a scenario, where the parties building the new government double down on the useless measures to fight the virus.

    “By the way, I think it’s good news that the tests won’t be free anymore. Once people stop getting tested, this whole thing goes away.”
    I agree with this assessment. But I would consider it a problem, if the government insists on getting the unvaccinated tested every time they want to participate in public life.

    “You know a bureaucratic committee is at work when they come up with meaningless numbers like 35. I remember once being in such a meeting where the number was 1.5. I challenged the person to justify the number and they changed it to 20 without batting an eyelid. Of course, the 20 was equally as meaningless it just sounded better.”
    Your description sounds exactly as I envisioned such a decision about a threshold taking place.

  50. Kevin – Trudeau is doing the thing the “liberals” have been doing for decades of playing identity politics. The fact that he would try and marry that to a recession is dumb but only marginally dumber than what they normally talk about. I saw another video of him today saying how the unvaccinated would not be able to sit next to the vaccinated on trains and planes cos they will give them the virus. Is that kind of thing resonating with the public? I certainly hope not. It looks like we’re getting vaccine passports here too. I guess they have to find a way to reward the good children and hope to god nobody notices that the vaccines don’t even work.

    Secretface – it’s hard to know for sure but it seems to me they will try and create a segregated society. That fits with The Devouring Mother archetype. The issue will rest on how badly the vaccines go and how the average person responds. Once everybody who is vaccinated has caught the virus anyway, you would think people would realise what is going on. Unfortunately, the alternative is that they completely dissociate from reality.

  51. Simon,

    Oh, the underlying ideas are typical, but the way Trudeau is expressing things is truly atrocious. My comment is not on the underlying ideas, but the sheer incompetence being displayed in how everyone is choosing to express their ideas. I know a lot of people who agree with Trudeau but are still mocking how he said it.

    The really irritating thing about this election is that all the major parties are onboard with vaccine passports and mandates. The only dispute is how far it should go. What makes this very interesting is that there are polls which show that around 1 in 5 vaccinated Canadians don’t support vaccine passports for anything; while I don’t have any kind of hard data, I’m willing to bet that an awful lot of people who do support it think it should apply for things like concerts and sporting events, but not for travel, post secondary education, or to keep a job.

    If I wanted to try to come up with a way to push as much support to the People’s Party of Canada (our right wing populists) as possible, I’m not sure I could do a better job. They were sitting at around 2.5% in polls, but since these predate everyone jumping on the vaccinate-or-else-bandwagon I’m willing to bet it has gone up a lot higher, and if our politicians keep doubling down on vaccine passports and mandates, I expect them to emerge as a major political force after this election.

  52. Kevin – interesting. I’ll be watching the result with interest. Australia has an election coming up shortly. I expect our right wing populists (One Nation) to do very well. I think the real political reckoning for all this is probably still a few years away, though.

  53. https://www.miragenews.com/new-chief-health-officer-announced/

    Simon, as you probably know, you’re CHO was given the star treatment when photos emerged of his time treating patients in poorer parts of the world.
    Ive long wondered, given how ivermectin has been extensively used in many of those “poorer” countries, wouldn’t he have dispensed it, or at least know of its safety and efficacy?
    Has he been asked this?
    I note, he’s starting to show the strain at the mounting numbers of “friendly fire casualties” so to speak…

  54. Helen – good questions. I haven’t ever seen Sutton speak except in a few snippets that make it my way through the internet. I did hear about him walking off stage. Not surprised if he was stressed. Honestly, I have no idea how anybody could do that job. If I was him, I’d quit now while the going’s good.

  55. Helen – that’s very well said. Pity there’s no information on there about who is behind the site. Would be nice to have some high profile people putting their name to something like this.

  56. Simon, thank you for your explanation of Australia’s culture! There seems to be a lot under the surface that I never had a clue of, despite my grandparents’ living in Melbourne, despite having travelled there about ten times myself, and despite being spiritually very close to Japan’s other foreign Shinto priestess, who is from the Melbourne area. What has happened, especially recently, has been such a shock to me.
    One thing collapse and the end of globalism will bring about, I believe, is more distinction at the local level along with higher barriers to outsiders. I haven’t really noticed it in Japan yet, but for the most part the people here have no clue about the end of limitless resources and believe in a technoutopian future among the stars. I’m not sure what Japan’s archetype would be–this is a subject I haven’t looked into yet. This culture is marked by a love of the young and the new, though the national anthem talks of the eons, when “small stones have gotten big and covered with moss.” The Emperor’s family is the world’s oldest dynasty.

  57. Patricia – what’s happened here has been a shock to me too. Australia just doesn’t seem to have any cultural depth to fall back on to defend ourselves against what is happening. How are things in Japan at the moment? I recall hearing that the vaccination rates there are very low and that the public health officials have recommended ivermectin and other prophylactics. Sounds like a more measured and common sense approach to me. Do you think Japan can revert to older cultural traditions smoothly once the consumer society fails?

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