Despite the positive messaging from the Queensland Government yesterday, Brisbane’s lockdown has been extended by at least 24 hours, because of two new cases on the south side, causing considerable angst among more than one million people and ruining weddings and causing florists to throw out flowers and restaurants to throw out food. Luckily for Sunshine Coast residents, the new COVID case in their region was found late in the day, so Sunshine Coast residents are now out of lockdown. Our Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young was so embarrassed over her anti-vaxxer-type comments earlier this week that she couldn’t possibly have embarrassed herself further by reneging on the lifting of the Sunshine Coast lockdown. So Sunshine Coast residents will have at least one or two days of freedom, before they are at risk of lockdown being re-imposed.
In my post last night I noted that even though the COVID laws are bad laws, we need to follow them nonetheless. Up-and-coming Brisbane economist Brendan Markey-Towler made a great comment on LinkedIn on my post which read:
Not quite. Lex iniusta non est lex is a well developed doctrine. It’s really more of a prudential question whether the penalty and consequence is worth the protest.
“Lex iniusta non est lex” is Latin for “An unjust law is no law at all”, which according to Wikipedia is associated with St Thomas Aquinas and was quoted by Dr Martin Luther King. That’s pretty heavy backing! Unfortunately, the state government controls the police force so it can enforce its bad laws, even though they may be incompatible with natural law and arguably completely illegitimate. That said, Brendan is correct that it comes down to a prudential question. We may be getting to the point where civil disobedience (e.g. that shown by the Newstead beauty salon owner) to protest these heavy-handed restrictions is justified.
Incidentally, I interviewed Brendan again recently for my Economics Explored podcast on the topic of Public Choice theory, which takes as its starting point the assumption that politicians and bureaucrats are self-interested. In a state where our political leaders are willing to go on a junket to the Tokyo Olympics at the same time as they are restricting our liberties, that seems like an appropriate assumption.
Please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, you can email comments, questions, suggestions, or hot tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.