If you place a frog in cool water and slowly raise the temperature, it's said that you can boil it without it noticing and fighting to free itself. I never tested this, as I liked frogs too much. During my childhood in southeast Australia, I could walk out into the backyard, lift a piece of wood, and pick up 2 to 3 frogs every time. Virtually every piece of wood.
The cacophony of frogs at night after rain sometimes kept us awake. We used to go down to the showgrounds and fill our gumboots with tadpoles we scooped from the horse troughs. But by the time I left home at 17 years of age, the frogs were gone. We did not notice that happening either, until it was over.
Australia is a world leader in the extinction of amphibians. This was just a small corner of that problem, set deep in Dan Andrews country. Australia is also a world leader in the extinction of human rights and Western concepts of democracy. That came about the same way. It came to the boil so slowly that, still, hardly anyone has noticed.
If you are an average Australian, you have no cultural memory of being colonized, being invaded, fighting for independence, of civil war or of fighting to overthrow a dictatorial regime. Things are different if you are an indigenous Australian, but that is quite another story. For the majority, government is a benign and motherly operation that was set up by the British crown to oversee the taking, 'settling,' and administration of land, so you could bring up your kids and play footy.
As a democracy based on people who believed in giving those of similar appearance a fair go, we saw ourselves as basically freedom-loving, willing to fight for a cause elsewhere, but never considering we might actually have to fight for a cause back home.
Turning up the Heat
Three years ago, a variant of a coronavirus that targeted the elderly was reported near a lab in China that worked on modifying bat coronaviruses to make them more infectious to people. A ship carrying a lot of old people, the Diamond Princess, then became a microcosm of virus transmission while at sea, but hardly anyone died. So, we (i.e., the whole world) knew that this was not a virus that would harm the vast majority of people, especially working-age adults and children. Bad for some, but mostly a bad cold.
Then a few things happened that people everywhere seem to prefer to excuse or forget but shouldn't. They happened in much the same way, often with precisely the same messaging, in a lot of countries, which is interesting in itself. But Australia was a particular case because the population proved so malleable. This is just a part of what Australian governments did, but don't want to face:
- People were put under house arrest, in some places for months on end, allowing them to leave for an hour or two every day for a short walk if they did not meet others.
- People were forced to cover their faces, despite extensive evidence showing masks won't make any significant difference.
- Businesses that families had built for generations were forced to close and go bankrupt.
- State borders, formerly a sign on the side of the road, were closed and patrolled by the police and military, preventing ordinary Australians from going to their parents' funerals or taking kids to hospital.
- Schools were closed despite early studies showing they were not where significant transmission happened.
- Camps were built and used for mass incarceration of perfectly healthy people, pulled from their families.
- People were required to register their ID to enter shops and purchase fuel, so that the government could later track them.
- Then, police covered in black body armor, hanging off armored cars, were sent through the streets of Melbourne to intimidate and abuse the public. When this was insufficient to instill full compliance, they beat people up in the street, even old people. Then they fired rubber bullets at people who thought they should be able to meet with their mates, right outside the Shrine of Remembrance (a place once sacred to Australian culture).
- They even arrested people, at home and in front of their kids, for organizing meetings on Facebook.
- And the national borders were closed to keep people like me from visiting family and friends in my own homeland (despite my passport asking other countries, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen of Australia, to give me safe passage).
Australia was under a brutal dictatorial regime (factually), and most people loved it. Their media pretended the government was protecting them from chaos, that the rest of the world was dying, and only far-right extremists supported human rights in a 'pandemic' that killed at an average age of 80. By shooting at people and beating up old ladies, the government was keeping them safe. Just as governments were supposed to.
After treating their public like criminals, the governments made a confidential deal with a large pharmaceutical company, pre-ordering hundreds of millions of doses of an experimental genetic medicine that had been shown in animal trials to spread through the body, increasing fetal malformations and pregnancy failures. Calling it a vaccine rather than a genetic medicine, they avoided trials that would look for increases in cancer or genetic malformations (as of course are required for genetic medicines). They avoided testing it on pregnant women but told them to take it anyway.
Stadiums were even filled with kids to mass vaccinate them, despite their vanishingly small risk of dying, and no evidence that vaccinating them would protect others. People were then told they would not be allowed to work or study unless they were injected with this new drug.
Building on Success
Now Australia, like much of the world, has an unusually high adult mortality that does not seem to be related to Covid. But the media, who have been very supportive of the people who made a lot of money from all this (some did), continue to play the role that official media in dictatorial regimes usually do. So most Australians don't even know.