A Badge of Honour
by Yan Attias
26 September 2020
I went grocery shopping at our local supermarket this afternoon, and the kid at the checkout register must have been 17 years old tops. He looked bored yet intelligent, obviously trying to make some dollars during this Australian spring holiday. His name tag said Sam and there was something elegant and kind of handsome about him. He looked like a teenage version of Rock Hudson and for a second I thought he might make a good boyfriend for my daughter Tatum.
“How’s your weekend going so far?” he said to me.
I paused for a second and delighted in the fact that in my thirty some years of living in Western Europe, France and the Netherlands, no one, absolutely no one, had ever asked me at a supermarket how my weekend was going … so far. This was Australia I marveled, friendly, relaxed, welcoming.
Then I snapped out of this fantasy cloud I was briefly floating on, a taste of earthly paradise, triggered by a simple comment from a teenager at a supermarket mind you and fell back into reality.
“I got banned from Facebook for 24 hours this morning” I replied. “I’m kinda taking it as a badge of honour.”
He was surprised by my answer, I suppose he was expecting the usual checkout register chit-chat and smiled. I probably wouldn’t have bothered with a career cashier but a year 12 student would be able to appreciate my predicament surely.
“What did you do to deserve being banned?” he added.
“It was political” I said. I pulled out my telephone and read to Sam the warning I’d received from the Masters of the Universe a few hours earlier:
THIS POST GOES AGAINST OUR COMMUNITY STANDARDS ON MISINFORMATION THAT COULD CAUSE PHYSICAL HARM.
Rock Hudson was walking and chewing gum at the same time. He was scanning my Parmesan cheese, chicken schnitzel and strawberries with gusto while simultaneously engaging in an intellectual conversation.
“No kidding, what was the post about?” he asked.
“The irrational fear of a cheap and effective drug called hydroxychloroquine to combat Covid, it was a Quadrant article” I replied.
Who said going to the supermarket couldn’t be intellectually fulfilling?
I left the market strangely satisfied, a first, having had my neurons unexpectedly tickled, the poor kid still being probably traumatized by my answer (or maybe I awakened a Trump supporter). I sat in my car for a moment of reflection before starting the engine.
Australia used to be a country that championed free speech I thought. Not anymore. It had its free speech stolen by globalism, the GAFA oligopoly and various U.N. agencies. How could this possibly have happened?
Could it be that this obsession with quality of life, an Australian National sport to be sure, would render us blind to a leftist/globalist takeover of free speech in our lucky country and make us moribund? Could it be that leftist policies have made Australians addicted to an ever growing nanny state? Isn’t this problem the same worldwide?
I was banned from Facebook for 24 hours. The same Facebook that I rarely openly criticize. Big deal. A guy like me who loves rebelling against injustices actually takes Facebook noticing me and slapping me as a badge of honour.
And for what? For posting an article which I didn’t even write myself, from a serious website, one debating interesting issues on a wide intellectual spectrum. The article states facts about hydroxychloroquine, a word that still doesn’t have predictive spelling, from serious studies. Could it be that Australia, with the help of GAFA and various U.N. agencies, would rather scuttle her economy and kill multiple hundreds instead of giving this cheap and benign drug the benefit of the doubt?
Following the recent events in Melbourne, Australia and its not so slow dive into leftist totalitarianism, I am left wondering what, where, the last best hope is? Is it America, like Abe Lincoln labelled it in his annual message to Congress in 1862? If so, then our dear Donald had better win convincingly come November.
I have always said that Australia needed a Bill of Rights but I never really actively pursued it, discussed it, debated it, or fought for it. Is Australia ready for one? Does it have the guts to demand one?
These are the questions that keep me awake at night.
That and the hope that Donald Trump would finance a replacement to Facebook and Twitter during his second term, or shortly afterwards.