In what sort of universe is it ever legal for the government to barricade you in your house?
A “hard lockdown” imposed in the Australian state of Victoria over the summer amid a surge in its coronavirus outbreak was “rushed” and deprived citizens of their rights, the state’s ombudsman concluded in a new report.
A summary issued by Victoria Ombudsman Deborah Glass on Thursday found that a strict lockdown implemented over nine public housing towers in July violated civil liberties and may have been illegal. It confined residents to their homes for nearly a week, leaving some without food or medicine.
“The rushed lockdown was not compatible with the residents’ human rights, including their right to humane treatment when deprived of liberty,” Glass wrote, adding that “the action appeared to be contrary to the law.”
“The investigation identified several cases where fulfilment of seemingly urgent requests for medication was delayed or neglected by authorities administrating the lockdown. Residents were in some cases forced to rely upon family or community volunteers to collect and deliver essential supplies.”
The official also criticized the measures as ill advised, given the state’s acting health chief was allowed only 15 minutes to consider the restrictions and their implications for human rights. She noted that “many of the problems associated with the lockdown appeared attributable to the immediacy of the intervention.”
Further, Glass said the state enforced the policy using “large numbers of uniformed Victoria Police officers,” which was described as “unnecessary and insensitive” by those living in the housing blocks.
“This aspect of the lockdown did not appear to have been the subject of noteworthy inter-agency discussion or debate,” she went on, saying authorities gave “insufficient consideration to how the significant police deployment was likely to be perceived … by residents.”
Responding to Glass’s report, the state government acknowledged it made mistakes, but forcefully defended the lockdown nonetheless, with Victoria’s Housing Minister Richard Wynne telling reporters “We make no apology for saving people’s lives, absolutely no apology for saving people’s lives.”
You can save people’s lives by making decisions for them in virtually every type of situation, and governments don’t do it because:
- They don’t actually care about saving people’s lives
- People have to have freedom to make their own life decisions
Frankly, thousands of lives were “saved” by these lockdowns – thousands of people would have died in car crashes and didn’t because they were locked in their houses (or driving on mostly empty roads to go to the grocery store).
This lockdown makes exactly as much sense as if the government had declared that there was an “emergency crisis” of people dying in car crashes and locked everyone in their houses to prevent automotive fatalities. It’s actually worse than that, because automotive fatalities are an absolute, in that you know a certain number of them are going to happen every day, whereas no one is really clear on whether or not the coronavirus is killing anyone who wouldn’t have died from the flu. We do know that the national death tolls are not increasing, meaning that more people are not dying in 2020 then would have without the virus.
People talk about communism as the ultimate situation of no freedom. But Vladimir Lenin himself would have burst out laughing if you’d suggested that during the revolution they lock people inside of their own houses – “surely, no one will go along with that!”
I cannot stress this enough: human beings have never, in the history of the world, been subjected to this level of abuse.
Obviously, individual humans have been subjected to worse. But in terms of an entire population – a government has never done this before, ever, and most people would not believe that it was possible.
Basically, after this, we are going to tolerate anything. If you will tolerate this, there is no conceivable thing you will not tolerate.
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