You’d have to see it to believe it but, even then, it’s hard to fathom. After reporting an infinitesimal rise in new Covid cases in New South Wales – 78 to be precise, and one death – Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant took the precautionary anti-Covid measures to a level that can only be described as insane, as she advised people to end ‘small talk.’
After admitting that it’s “human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly,” Chant, with just the right amount of quiver in her voice, chanted a warning that was indistinguishable from a command: “this is not the time to do that.”
“So, even if you run into your next-door neighbor in the shopping center … don’t start up a conversation. Now is the time for minimizing your interactions with others.”
With all the urgency her contorted brow could convey, Chant went on to remind the citizens Down Under how critical it is to continue practicing those “Covid-safe behaviors of staying at home, not visiting friends and family.”
Putting aside the fact that Chant addressed the roomful of reporters sans mask, and also failed to field a single question from the bare-faced hacks following her deranged soliloquy, there are other things to ponder. For example, how long are Australians supposed to remain speechless behind their oxygen-starved masks? Should residents sign up for sign-language classes as a new form of interaction? Will the police be called in the event that two people become dangerously chatty in a social setting? And although Chant is a full-fledged doctor, as is Anthony Fauci, the beleaguered US Covid tsar, would it be asking too much to get a second opinion from other medical officials regarding this severe injunction? Considering it is something that not even fascist dictators enforce on their peoples at the height of war? Yes, as it turns out, it would be asking too much. If the pandemic has proved anything, it is that medical second opinions, of which there are plenty, are no longer permissible.
Try to envision the utter inanity of the following situation, which sounds like a scene out of a Monty Python skit: two close neighbors, both of whom are masked and gloved and ghostly pale from lockdown conditions, accidentally bump into each other at the local grocer. After the initial shock of coming into close contact with one of those deadly germ factories known as humanus hysteriacus covidius, the two females, despite being ‘asymptomatic’ – which in previous times simply meant ‘healthy’ – give each other a polite nod before quickly scampering off in opposite directions lest they arouse any suspicion.
Such outrageous orders, which flog the concept of human rights into a bloody joke, could lead some free-thinking people who still inhabit this planet to entertain some cynical conclusions. For example, could it be that the Australian authorities, who have embraced some of the most draconian anti-Covid regulations in the world (authorities in South Australia have just ordered lockdown for a week after just five new Covid cases were reported), are less paranoid about the risk of people spreading the virus through casual banter than they are over what might be discussed in the course of these chance meet-ups?
As a proud member in the Five Eyes global intelligence ring, which the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed as a “supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries,” it’s mere child’s play for Australia’s cyber cops to censor what is being discussed over the internet. But monitoring what is whispered between masked neighbors over their shopping carts, well, that’s a different challenge altogether. And, let’s face it, Australians, perhaps more than any other people, are in desperate need of a national conversation where it is not just the politicians doing all the talking.
The tyrannical conditions that are being rolled out in irregular and piecemeal fashion – not unlike Chinese water torture that eventually drives the prisoner to absolute despair, if not insanity – in Australia, as well as in other Western countries, like Canada, New Zealand and the United States, should concern everyone.
Is the spread of Covid a serious matter? Yes, undoubtedly. But does it necessitate the extreme response that we are witnessing in hot spots around the globe? I would argue it does not. It needs to be remembered that acquiring Covid is not a death sentence. Not by a long shot. The majority of people fully recover from this illness, while children are amazingly resilient to it. Yet, the response to this disease has been anything but reasonable and logical.
The very things that make life worth living (and necessary to sustain life), like meeting with friends and family as well as participating in the global economy, an essential activity that puts food on our tables, should be absolutely non-negotiable, regardless what the emergency is.
Life is full of emergencies; that is an unfortunate fact that will never go away, no matter how hard we try. What has changed, however, with the emergence of Covid is the unsustainable belief that it is necessary to stop living to eliminate the risk of dying. Aside from being a logical fallacy, it is just plain stupid.
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