I’ve just finished reading Aldous Huxley’s classic, “A Brave New World”. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, as I don’t read much fiction. What surprised me even more though was to finish the book and then realise that it wasn’t fiction at all. I was living it!
Seventy years ago, Huxley envisaged a futuristic world where people are indoctrinated from an early age to believe whatever their governments tell them, and where critical speech and free thought are systematically suppressed, not primarily through force of arms but through education. If the treatment of Julian Assange – by government and by media – isn’t proof enough that we are living in this Brave New World, our response to this latest virus should remove any doubts.
Now … I’m thankful I’m out at Binacrombi as I write this – a long way away from people who can throw things at me and hurl insults. This is the problem. If you raise any questions about the virus or about the way it is being handled, you are immediately labelled a ‘pandemic denier’ who cares nothing for the countless people suffering.
Some of you may have seen the short video I posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago where I shared some of my questions about our government’s response to the virus – whether it was the only or best option. The response was overwhelming! Persons who I had respected referred to it as a ‘rant’, and so many complaints were made to the bishop that he rang me and urged me to take it down, lest he be forced to publicly distance himself from me!
Well … I’ve now been forced out of my job with the church anyway, so the post is going back up. You can see it below. If you don’t like what I have to say, and you don’t think I should be allowed to raise these questions, you’re in good company.
For the record, I am not a ‘pandemic denier’. I do take the latest virus seriously, and I am concerned about those put at risk by it. My question though is whether our response is a bit like Johnson’s Snakebite Antidote (pace Banjo Paterson) where the cure is far more harmful than the disease!
I am concerned about those who may die of the virus, but I am also concerned about how the lockdown has affected the mentally ill. Indeed, while I don’t see any clear statistics on the local situation, I can’t count the number who have contacted me, saying things like, “I don’t know how much longer I can handle this”, and I’m told by friends who work in the mental-health sector that there have been thousands of suicides resulting from these lockdown measures already.
I am also concerned for those at risk of domestic abuse. When I heard there had been a forty percent increase in cases of domestic violence in Italy, I was very troubled. Now I’m told that in our country it’s a sixty-something percent increase!
I’m also concerned about those who have lost their jobs and will lose their homes, and I’ve read that around two million people worldwide are now at risk of starvation due to these lockdown measures. I appreciate that some of these figures may be askew or inflated, but please don’t tell me that if I criticize the lockdown measures, that just means that I don’t care about people at risk!
It has amazed me – how virulent the outcry has been against those who raise these questions. The most public example must have been the two American doctors – Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi – who run a clinic dealing with Covid19 cases and who did an interview with a local TV station where they disagreed with their government’s approach. The interview was shared on YouTube and went viral, getting more than five million views, before it was taken down by YouTube because it apparently ‘violated community guidelines’!
Of course, I don’t know whether these two doctors were right or wrong in the statistics they gave or in the way they interpreted them. That’s not my area of expertise. What appalls me though is that at a time when you’d think we needed open discussion and shared wisdom, these men on the front line were shut down, after which they were attacked by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) both of whom issued media releases, accusing the men of seeking media attention in order to further their careers (while not making any attempt to refute their arguments)!
The criminalising of dissent – that’s what we are seeing. It’s what Julian Assange is being put on trial for. It’s what Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden and Morde Vanunu are suffering for. It makes good sense to keep your mouth shut in this brave new world but remember the wisdom of Pastor Niemöller:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
OK, I’ve said more than enough today, and I suspect a good number of you have already signed off out and unsubscribed. Fair enough. I don’t question your right to disagree with me or to not have to hear from me. For those still here, I was planning to leave a long list of links to articles for anyone who wants to look at divergent opinions about the virus and the way it’s being handled. I won’t bore you with all those links now. If you want my list, I’ll send it to you. If you want to watch that interview with the doctors, let me know that too. I downloaded a copy.
Perhaps I’ll leave just two links:
I found No.24 of the above 25 facts to be especially revealing – that Ed Snowden warned us that the corona crisis would be used for the massive and permanent expansion of global surveillance. You can see his video interview on that here.
Sorry. I said I’d only add two links. I’ll add one more as an extra video below, as I don’t think YouTube are ever going to delete Fox News (though I could be wrong).
If you’re still happy to stay in contact with me, why not join me each Sunday at midday when I stream a weekly Eucharist live from Binacrombi bush retreat via my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/fatherdave007). Hopefully, Sunday worship won’t be banned from the air for a little while yet. You might even consider supporting me and our community of Fighting Fathers out here at Binacrombi. All subscriptions at www.fighting-fathers.com will be gratefully accepted.
Keep up the Good Fight.