state

Rise of the Biosecurity State

16 February 2023

4.4 MINS

The journey from liberal democracy to bureaucratic tyranny — and iatrocide?

Editor’s Note: This incisive article by Ramesh Thakur highlights the inane rules to which ordinary citizens have been unjustly subjected through the course of the pandemic and beyond, and traces how governments came to exercise such unchecked power. Read the original article at The Spectator Australia and subscribe to them here.

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I am presently in India. We flew from Brisbane via Singapore, which is deemed a Covid high-risk country by India. Anyone transiting through Singapore must upload a negative PCR test in the 72 hours before departure from their home country. Think just how idiotic this is. I could have avoided the test requirement at the added cost and inconvenience of flying Brisbane-Doha-Mumbai.

The Covid test is carried out in Australia up to 80 hours before transiting at Singapore. By what magic is the test going to detect an infection from a crossing stranger in Changi terminal in advance of this happening? This is but the latest instance of voodoo Covid policies. It also perfectly illustrates the autocratic decision-making powers exercised by governments to impose science-illiterate rules to curb people’s free movement.

Downtrodden Down Under

Australia has been far worse in the sadism and inhumane cruelty inflicted on people going about their lawful business. In Mao’s Last Dancer, Li Cunxin writes about the techniques of re-education and critical self-reflection essays that schoolchildren were subjected to in Maoist China to correct any deviations from the approved Party doctrine in thought, speech or action.

I was reminded of that when reading about the treatment of Dr Sally Price, a Perth GP who chose to let her medical registration lapse rather than subject herself to the self-abasing conduct demanded by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. You know, the medical regulatory body that doesn’t engage in any censorship of Australia’s doctors, despite what Dr Kerryn Phelps — a former president of the Australian Medical Association and federal MP, no less, had to say in her submission to the parliamentary inquiry:

‘Regulators of the medical profession have censored public discussion about adverse events following immunisation, with threats to doctors not to make any public statements about anything that “might undermine the government’s vaccine rollout or risk suspension or loss of their registration”.’

The liberal democratic state reconciles two principles that can be in tension: majority rule and minority protection. It requires the government to obtain the consent of the people through regular elections, but puts limits on the exercise of state power, prioritising individual rights and providing institutional bulwarks against state overreach.

The ease with which vast majorities slipped into compliance with lockdown restrictions was as distressing as it was surprising: the way to prove your moral superiority is to demand destroying everyone else’s freedom. The acceptance of face masks in schools and community settings was disappointing.

Governments’ success in turning Western liberal democracies into citizen-informant states was shocking and dispiriting. State propaganda convinced citizens that others’ freedoms were the deadliest threat to their health, validating Edward Murrow’s bon mot: ‘A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.’ There are indeed two kinds of people: those who think the government works for them, and those who think.

Governments declared war on millions of unvaccinated citizens as Public Enemy Number One and deployed anti-terrorism laws and machinery against them, validating the ancient insight that the lamb looks to the shepherd to protect it from the wolf, but is in the end slaughtered by the shepherd.

All institutional checks on abuse of executive power — parliaments, the judiciary, human rights machinery, professional associations, trade unions, the Church and the media — folded when they were most needed. As Covid proved profitable for politicians, they prolonged the health emergency.

Historical Pathways

To understand how we got here, we must recall the way stations on the journey. Trigger warning: These are clearly the ruminations of a right-wing nutjob (sarcasm alert). The Cold War led to the rise of the national security state in which limitations on state powers were steadily lifted in the worldwide Manichean struggle against communism.

The size and powers of the military-intelligence complex were progressively expanded and individual rights and freedoms circumscribed. Acting abroad in violation of core American values — extrajudicial assassination of foreign enemies as determined by secretive processes, overthrow of elected regimes deemed hostile to US interests, military and economic assistance to friendly dictatorships as ‘our bastards’ — was institutionalised.

Then came the administrative state. The blurring of executive, legislative and judicial spheres represented encroachments on constitutional governance. Agencies and departments substituted regulations for legislation and replaced judicial processes with administrative determinations. Think of how Canada froze the bank accounts of protesting truckers and those who had donated to the Freedom Convoy. When administrative agencies can create, adjudicate and enforce their own rules with no need for parliaments and courts, the administrative state has swallowed the liberal democratic state.

Meanwhile, the reach of technology greatly expanded the state’s ability to snoop on people. Edward Snowden awakened us to the extent to which we now live in a digitised surveillance state. ‘Tech tyranny’ reached its apotheosis during the pandemic with the unholy polygamous marriage between Big Government, Big Pharma, Big Tech and Big Media/Social Media.

Have the pandemic management responses, deploying military-grade propaganda and psyops, been national security countermeasures and not public health directives all along, as argued by several commentators? The military was deployed to enforce lockdowns in Australia and New Zealand, influence public opinion in Canada, and spy on British citizens critical of lockdowns.

Securitisation of the pandemic response would explain the extraordinary efforts to enforce the stringent measures pending the development of vaccines, and then the remarkable shortcuts taken to roll them out under rushed trials, with no long-term efficacy and safety data, while downplaying the explosion of (greatly under-reported) serious adverse events.

Big Pharma has succeeded in medicalising life itself. In the UK, there is a proposal to allow doctors to prescribe statins to any adult, even if their ten-year risk of heart disease is below the existing 10 per cent threshold. The change would transform healthy people into patients.

In The State of Exception (2005), written to make sense of the expanded reach of the state in the war on terror, Giorgio Agamben explains how exceptional crises are used to justify the suspension of the legal order which exists to keep the executive in check. The strategy puts law at the service of structural violence and has the potential to transform democracies into totalitarian states.

The proposed new global pandemic treaty would grant the WHO Director-General the powers of a world dictator during any public health emergency he declares, including ‘mandatory detention, compulsory vaccination orders, lockdowns, border closures, forced medical procedures, and other authoritarian measures’.

I propose a neologism: ‘iatrocide’, as a hybrid of iatrogenic (meaning ‘induced unintentionally in a patient by a physician’) and genocide (itself a post-Holocaust neologism by Raphael Lemkin who initiated the Genocide Convention).

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Photo by Kate Trifo.

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One Comment

  1. Kaylene Emery 16 February 2023 at 9:14 am - Reply

    For those among us who struggle to come to terms with the infiltration of communism into our Nation – our world, I pray for discernment. The more we comply with current efforts to dominate us the more they will demand. It’s a basic element of training in hostage situations.
    May God continue to bless you…,,guest writer.

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