Just when you thought that things couldn’t get any crazier, along comes this. In a recent ABC interview with ABC’s Leigh Sales, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this:
What’s important is… that we build up three things:
First of all, we have to have an even broader testing program – a surveillance testing network, which means we can get on top and identify any outbreaks early.
Secondly, we need to be able to have an industrial level type tracing capability of cases. Now, the manual arrangements that have been put in place by the states have been magnificent, but to ensure that we can lift our level of activity we need an even better system of tracing.
And thirdly, we need the capacity to respond to outbreaks where they occur very effectively and we’re seeing a form of that in north-west Tasmania right now.
So, if we can get those three things in place at a stronger level over the next four weeks then we believe we’d be in a position to reduce the baseline level of restrictions that we currently have.
Now in the current climate of fear involving COVID-19 many might think that this type of approach is to be commended, or at least permissible. But just notice what the Australian Prime Minister goes on to say next:
[Testing] wouldn’t be just where the issues are symptomatic or people are at high-risk. This would be more broader, a random type surveillance testing, because you need to know where it might break out at any point in time. Now, that is another level beyond where we are now…
When you say, sort of, random testing, would I get a phone call to say your neighbour has an outbreak so you need to come in for a test? How would it work?
Yeah, quite possibly. And even without that type of situation arising, because what’s called sentinel testing. It’s actually out there trying to see where the virus has moved where you may not even have an indication that there is a particular risk, because it’s basically trying to work out where outbreaks may occur and that’s how you stay on top of it.
Does this not sound eerily similar to a scene out of Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984? A quote often attributed to Aldous Huxley predicts a future that is now proving prescient:
There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.
If Orwell and Huxley had a love child, then the current political situation involving COVID-19 would have to be it. Welcome to age of Big Brother. Of the Brave New World involving pharmacological method. Or as Huxley would later describe it, “the final revolution”.