This COVID situation has been a wakeup call in many ways. It has taught us that people will give in to fear, very quickly. It has taught us that our freedoms are as fragile as precious Ming dynasty China in a Spanish Bull parade. And it has taught us that many Australians are quick to think the worst of their fellow Australians who question government overreach.
You see, after being accused of wanting people to die, several times, for questioning our government’s COVID response, this really made me think. This is powerful rhetoric. After all, only bad people want people to die. You can’t debate this, right? Therefore, people who advocate for things that others consider risky, must be bad, or at least lacking in care or compassion, right? So I realized, wow! This is indisputable logic. Absolutely flawless. So where can we turn it next to weed out the bad people?
How about bartenders and bottle shop attendants? After all, according to the cancer council, nearly six thousand Australians die every year from alcohol-related disease.[i] Those are completely avoidable deaths. Deaths that only happen because bad people want people to die by selling them alcohol, right? Nearly 6000 deaths!
Think this is bad logic? So do I. But it’s been applied various times to try and quieten questioning of this situation.
Do you know who else used this logic? Prohibitionists in the early 20th century. They convinced the government to intervene to save lives, shutting down the alcohol industry completely in the US. It was a major travesty, created much harm, and multiplied many bad issues in the US, including crime, violence, and other social issues.
But, people who questioned prohibition at the time were shamed, ridiculed, and accused of supporting an evil industry. Maybe some even accused them of wanting people to die. They certainly accused them of supporting harm.
No one wants people to die. Not even people who give or sell others alcohol, even though it causes more deaths than many other things in our society. And certainly not anyone who questions our government’s actions, peacefully.
[i] 2018, “Alcohol causes nearly 6,000 Australian deaths in one year, cancer responsible for one in three”, Cancer Council WA, accessed on 9/05/2020