The Other Side interview on federal debt and lockdowns

Earlier this week I spoke with Damian Coory on his The Other Side program about the massively expanding federal debt and the economic cost of lockdowns, among other issues. The YouTube video of our conversation is embedded below. Given the large protest against the lockdown we saw in Sydney today, it’s becoming clear many Australians are really hurting from the current round of lockdowns and they can’t see lockdowns delivering net benefits.

In my view, we should abandon these authoritarian lockdowns as a policy measure, and governments should instead rely on moral suasion. There is no doubt COVID-19 is a serious disease, and governments should be able to convince the public to act in ways consistent with limiting the spread of the virus. But, in a free society, governments should not rely on authoritarian police-state measures to achieve that objective.

Once upon a time in Australia, people used to say “It’s a free country.” We can’t really say that anymore. I often wonder how the Greatest Generation, those who grew up during the Great Depression, and who fought in or came of age during the War, few of whom are still with us alas, would have handled COVID-19. I can’t see them having put up with these lockdowns. Many of them would think we’re absolutely mad in how we’re handling this.

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3 Responses to The Other Side interview on federal debt and lockdowns

  1. Paul says:

    “governments should instead rely on moral suasion”
    The reason that we can’t is because many people won’t do the right thing, so laws and police to enforce the law are necessary. The reason they don’t, is because they don’t understand the necessity for lock-downs, or don’t care if others die, or are unwilling to do anything which interferes with their lifestyle or income or are conspiracy theorists or just simply foolish.

    Most of the war generation would have understood. They were conscripted, sent to war and died, they had all sorts of restrictions, no lights on at night (blackout paper was issued to cover the windows), ration books limiting the amount and type of food you could buy (irrespective of money), essential industry jobs meant you couldn’t leave even to join the army, shortages of everything etc etc.

    Authoritarian, yes – one has to be to win in a war or in a pandemic eg Prime Minister Curtin “every man, woman and child is now at the service of the government” – can’t get more authoritarian than that. Not business as usual. Appeasement doesn’t work.

    A pandemic, like war, is a threat to the nation. This Covid pandemic and the attendant measures to control its spread, has given the present day descendants of the war generation a very small taste of the collective action and sacrifice necessary to protect the nation, that their forefathers bore during WWII. When the next great war comes, as it inevitably will, hopefully this Covid generation will have learnt the necessity for collective national action.

    Those that don’t follow the sanitary rules against the virus and engage in mass demonstrations against lock-downs etc are, in military terms, giving aid and support to the enemy (the virus) – in military terms that is treason. Freedom comes at a price and so far Australians have not had to pay much, other than occasional lock-downs and masks. Such irresponsible and ignorant demonstrations endanger the lives of their fellow citizens and should be condemned and punished accordingly.

    • Gene Tunny says:

      Hi Paul, thanks for the comment. I’m unsure about the comparison of the pandemic to wartime. Unfortunately we have a wide range of infectious diseases. This is certainly a serious one, but it’s unclear to many people why this is considered so bad we have to impose such harsh measures. Obviously I’m not a public health expert, and maybe these harsh measures are the only way and will yield net benefits, but I’m very concerned we’ve panicked and over-reacted. Why have we progressively gone from a calm considered response in mid-March 2020 which was all about flattening the curve to one where we’re freaking out about each and every case. It doesn’t seem sustainable to me. Of course, if we’d built those remote quarantine facilities you’ve always been suggesting we may have avoided this dilemma entirely. Also, our botched vaccination rollout is a contributing factor to the mess we’re now in.

  2. Hasbeen says:

    The difference today are many. Firstly we can no longer trust our government to tell us the truth. I don’t know how many trusted the government to tell us only truth, but today we remember past governments for the lies they told us, or the incredible mistakes they mad, & often tried to hide in the past. How can we take the government’s word in the virus, or the Vaccines, when we doubt much of what they say.

    Perhaps as important is the lack of common purpose of the population. Large numbers of the more recent arrivals hate the old Ozzie. They appear to be here not to be Ozzies, but to get what they can fro themselves & be damned to those who hosted them. The huge immigration numbers have made a them & us attitude the norm. Governments who use immigration as a means to maintain GDP, with no regard to it’s effects on the existing population, can not expect the population to believe anything they then tell us.

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