From “Coronapocalpyse” to Communism By Paul Walker

     I have assembled below a mass of articles and news items which I think have a common thread. Rather than put extracts from all of them, I think that the URLs are pretty self-explanatory. We have the new social distance rules, that have closed down gyms, restaurants, you name it.  I was told off by an ethnic gentleman in the post office today for being a few nanometres too close. Soon people will be carrying tape measures, and electron microscopes, to settle disputes, and in America, guns, of course. This social distancing stuff is right throughout the West, with Germany, for example going to the next step and banning public meetings of two or more people. Question, will this eventually apply in private households and make sex impossible? This a restriction on civil liberties greater than anything ever seen before in the modern West, and the powers that be want even more power, and more social control, with no public debate, it just happens:

“The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the coronavirus spreads through the United States. Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted. POLITICO also reviewed and previously reported on documents seeking the authority to extend deadlines on merger reviews and prosecutions. A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the documents. The move has tapped into a broader fear among civil liberties advocates and Donald Trump’s critics — that the president will use a moment of crisis to push for controversial policy changes. Already, he has cited the pandemic as a reason for heightening border restrictions and restricting asylum claims. He has also pushed for further tax cuts as the economy withers, arguing that it would soften the financial blow to Americans. And even without policy changes, Trump has vast emergency powers that he could legally deploy right now to try and slow the coronavirus outbreak. The DOJ requests — which are unlikely to make it through a Democratic-led House — span several stages of the legal process, from initial arrest to how cases are processed and investigated. In one of the documents, the department proposed that Congress grant the attorney general power to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”

The proposal would also grant those top judges broad authority to pause court proceedings during emergencies. It would apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings,” according to draft legislative language the department shared with Congress. In making the case for the change, the DOJ document wrote that individual judges can currently pause proceedings during emergencies, but that their proposal would make sure all judges in any particular district could handle emergencies “in a consistent manner.” The request raised eyebrows because of its potential implications for habeas corpus –– the constitutional right to appear before a judge after arrest and seek release.

     This suspension of habeas corpus might not get through in the US, but I doubt whether similar proposals would be rejected in Australia.

“I would like for you to consider something that California Governor Gavin Newsom just told the media very carefully… California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a Sunday presser said that martial law was not necessary to combat coronavirus in his state. “If you want to establish a framework of martial law, which is ultimate authority and enforcement, we have the capacity to do that, but we are not feeling at this moment that is a necessity,” Newsom said. At this moment? Does that mean that later on, it may become “a necessity”? And why would he even dare to use the term “martial law” anyway? Less than 200 Americans have died during this pandemic so far.  Yes, the numbers are rising rapidly, but no politician in their right mind should be allowing the term “martial law” to escape from their lips. That is just going to freak everyone out and cause even more panic. Without a doubt, citizens of California are already on edge due to the severe restrictions that have already been implemented.  In southern California, Orange County officials have decided to ban virtually all “public and private gatherings”… Orange County officials Tuesday took unprecedented action by banning all public and private gathers beyond those of a single household as jurisdictions across the world grapple with the spread of coronavirus. County health officer Dr. Nicole Quick issued the order effective immediately prohibiting “all public and private gatherings of any number of people, including at places of work, occurring outside a single household or living space.” And in northern California, nearly 8 million people have essentially been “locked down”… In Northern California, about 8 million people have been ordered to shelter in place. The Southern California city of Palm Springs issued a similar mandate. In all one in four Californians live in an area where there is a stay at home when possible order. Hopefully, these measures will slow the spread of the virus. But what if they don’t? And unless the other 49 states enact similar lockdowns at the same time, people are going to keep bringing the virus back into the state. At this point, COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire all over the nation.  If you can believe it, even a couple members of Congress have now caught the virus…”

     By this reasoning the draconian measures are simply not going to work. Of course, Australia has gone further in lock down, with states locking down, which makes sense.

     The short of the long is that across the West, sheer fear is making the populations more compliant than ever, as the political class churn away at freedoms, all seemingly necessary, of course. Yes, many restrictions are necessary to effectively deal with any disease outbreak, but there should be debate about some of the utterly radical policies above, especially some aspects of social distancing that will level businesses, and severely disrupt normal social life. There should, in a so-called democracy be such debate, but there will not be, since normal democracy, weak at best, is in self-isolation, and fear has replaced critical rationality, which was always in short supply.
 So, where will this all lead? I expect that this is really the end of the Western liberal values as we knew it, if the coronavirus continues longer term. The longer this goes on, the closer we move to a Chinese communist style system.

“Australia's chief medical adviser warned a 'new world' has emerged from the coronavirus crisis, where social distancing will be the new normal. With more than 337,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus spread throughout 192 countries - including 1,642 in Australia alone - the nation has taken steps toward a total shutdown. Brendan Murphy, Australia's chief medical officer, on Monday spoke of a new reality amid closures of pubs, bars, cinemas, gyms and restaurants. 'We are now in a different world,' he said. 'This world could last for some time... This is the world of social distancing. This is the new way of us interacting with each other all of the time.'”

     But what will be the long-term social impacts of this? Can a modern society function at all with such measures? It is all uncharted territory that should be discussed, but will not be. The future is rushing up to meet us, but few of us are philosophically prepared for what is coming.

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