As Brisbane residents wait for news about what seems to be an inevitable lockdown, we ought to recall the words of British statesman William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806):
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
Obviously, COVID-19 is a serious infectious disease, but the measures our governments are implementing to control it are infringing our basic liberties and slowly accommodating the bulk of the population to totalitarianism. By all means, governments should use their powers of persuasion – the Premier has 18 spin doctors after all – to persuade people to wear masks and limit their movements, but please don’t legislate against ordinary behaviour and use the police to enforce draconian restrictions which are causing great social and economic hardship.
A new lockdown seems inevitable. If we don’t do the right thing, the Premier, or rather Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young who may really be the one in charge, will be forced to make us do the right thing, Courier-Mail reporting suggests:
Ms Palaszczuk yesterday said she hoped that Queensland would be spared from “tougher action” by taking the “precautionary measures”.
In the seventies and eighties, street marchers in Brisbane chanted “Queensland Police State”, with some justification. But Special Branch never had access to COVID Check In app data, which Queensland Police are now using according to the Brisbane Times:
Queensland police have used data collected by the Check In Qld app, despite assurances from the state government it would only be used for contact tracing purposes.
Brisbane Times can reveal police accessed check-in details as part of an investigation into the reported theft of an officer’s gun and Taser from a regional pub.
I’m increasingly worried we have leaders with no appreciation of history or philosophy, who don’t appear to realise they are adopting the measures and language of a totalitarian state.
Please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email comments, questions, suggestions, or hot tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.