The Real Pandemic

For many months now a pandemic has been sweeping the western world. A disease that is a threat to health, our livelihoods and our very way of life. No, not covid-19, but a far more dangerous virus, that has infected the minds of government politicians all over the world: authoritarianism.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to, feelings of distrust and contempt for the public; brazen disregard for the rights of autonomous human beings; and the perverse delusion that governments are entitled to control our lives.

It is indeed a sign of sickness that society is willing to sacrifice the futures of the young to protect the health of the old. To sacrifice our mental and physical well-being, to avoid a short-term illness. To sacrifice our rights and freedoms, for the illusion of safety.

And it is an illusion. The danger that covid-19 poses pales in comparison to the damage of the authoritarian virus. An elevated suicide rate, increased drug abuse, and widespread poverty are all foreseeable and inevitable consequences of the lockdowns and will be felt acutely for years to come. For example, Oxfam has warned that 122 million children will be plunged into extreme poverty, resulting in a death toll of 12,000 deaths per day by starvation

But that is always the lie of authoritarianism. The notion that you can trade freedom in exchange for security. But the price is never worth paying. Because there is always going to be risks in life. Driving a car is a risk, drinking a beer is a risk, going on holiday is a risk, eating an unhealthy snack is a risk, opening your front door is a risk, to live your life is a risk. And if we fearfully allow our governments to decide what risks we may or may not take, we may find that what we are left with, is a life not worth living.

There are medicines for this illness, however. By championing individual, telling the truth in the face of media lies and resisting the government’s attempts to restrict our freedoms we can vaccinate ourselves against pernicious strain of authoritarianism.


Ross Gibson: Is an active member of the SLP


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