Cancelled by the ABC for Disagreeing with the Narrative over covid. By Adam Creighton, economics correspondent at The Australian newspaper.
Now Wikipedia declares me an “arch neoliberal”. It started suddenly in April when I wrote we “might be overreacting to an unremarkable virus”, eliciting an extraordinary backlash of bile. My fate was sealed around May when I admitted on ABC’s The Drum, when pressed, that I had recently shaken someone’s hand at a private party in Sydney. The revelation proved too much for audience and panel alike, and I haven’t been asked back since.
Nine years of regular appearances on the national broadcaster gone because I thought clinking elbows was almost as silly as imploring people to “stay safe”. …
Crimes in the name of “safety”:
Safety is the new salvation. I’ve come to loathe the word, but if Thomas Jefferson were writing today he’d exhort the pursuit of safety, not happiness.
We’ve willingly given up a range of human rights indefinitely, and at extraordinary financial cost, for a potentially minuscule reduction in risk.
For the first time in history, we’re about to embark on mass, quasi-compulsory vaccination of entire populations against a disease that poses negligible threat to most.
On all these questions, there’s no right or wrong answer, and I concede I’ve been in the minority. To my mind, the costs of mandatory lockdowns and mask orders, largely unseen and in the future, outweigh their benefits even assuming they work, which is debatable. And the precedent has been set for future governments when a more virulent virus arises, and when surveillance technology is far improved. Beware the Saving Lives Act 2035. …
Lockdown are rather pleasant for some:
For many in the public sector and secure corporate roles, it’s been a terrific year: same or more pay, more leisure, less work and extraordinary return on assets. “We’re all in this together” has been the biggest lie of 2020.
However, the biggest shock for me this year has been the bias of journalists in the traditional media towards greater government control. The free media depends ultimately on government restraint. At almost every press conference the NSW Premier, who has distinguished herself for common sense this year, is seemingly asked why she hasn’t made masks mandatory. Few, if any, have asked for a cost-benefit analysis of measures taken, which could easily have been produced given thousands of public servants were furloughed at home.
It’s been policy by emotion. You either want everyone over 70 to die or you don’t.
At the same time, 2020 has underscored the power of the traditional media in a digital age. No matter how financially diminished it’s become, the public are reading, or at least glancing, at headlines almost every waking hour. In unison it can be a propaganda machine capable of whipping up hysteria like never before.
Small businesses, run mostly by deplorable right-wingers, get hit hard by lockdown. (How convenient for left-leaning policy makers!) So many businesses and livelihoods were destroyed.
Still, covid is just nasty enough that I really don’t want to catch it. Nor do I want my parents to catch it. Closing borders seems like an efficient, low-cost, and worthwhile response.
This blog was calling for Australia to close its borders in February. If we had done it then — our slow-witted authorities finally closed them in late March — then Australia would not have needed a lockdown at all, and the economic cost would have been very much reduced.
Observe that the US is the only country whose first lockdown failed, because it did not close its borders. It only required roughly 100 infections per day coming into the USA to prevent its lockdown from reducing infections. (Modest lockdowns reduce R to about 0.95. So 100 infections become about 2,000 infections before dying out. In the US summer there were about the 50,000 infections per day, which would reduce to about 48,000 with an R of 0.95 if there were no new infections coming from outside.) Many planeloads of people are still coming into the US, every day, with no quarantine. The southern border is still open. They’re just not serious.
Remember Trump was talking of lifting the lockdown by Easter, way back in April? That first lockdown would have worked, like it did everywhere else, if the US had kept its borders closed. But the left/media kept mum about any notion of closing borders, because that would staunch the flow of illegals/left-voters into the USA. Strictly verboten.
The US right missed a great opportunity to close the borders (and maybe even build a wall) on health grounds, instead repeating Chinese propaganda that it “was just the flu” so we should just let it run, misquoting papers and pretending we were close to herd immunity even way back in mid-year, and then arguing about masks. The US lockdown is indeed a stupid failure that crippled Trump’s economy, but not for the reasons given by the US right. Huge own goal.
There is a lot of nonsense talked about covid. The only things that worth arguing about are closing borders and using antivirals — such as ivermectin and HCQ — to treat it.
Btw, Melbourne’s second wave was caused by just one or two infected people getting past quarantine. It ultimately required a hard lockdown for nearly four months to eliminate, because authorities were way too slow to lock down hard enough (infections grew to 700 per day at peak). Yet Melbourne is now virus free and life has returned almost to normal. Melbourne was a simple, isolated case proving that lockdowns do indeed work..
Most of Australia has, since May, not been in lockdown. Life goes on pretty much as normal, except no travel overseas.
hat-tip Stephen Neil