Civil libertarian Conor Friedersdorf’s polemic in The Atlantic today (‘Australia Traded Away Too Much Liberty‘) illustrates the perils of writing beyond your ken. Conor, maybe shut the fuck up about Australia and concentrate on threats closer to home.
If you’re interested in liberties, you could start with your Supreme Court’s attack on Roe v Wade.
Unfortunately, politics is to intelligence as alcohol is to driving skills. You find yourself in the wrong lane dodging oncoming traffic but are too impaired to realise it’s you that’s the problem. So it is with Conor and his American libertarian rant.
We may share a similar acronym, but the USA is not AUS.
First and foremost, Australia does not have a Bill of Rights. Instead, our rights are a spicy melange of customary law, common law and statute, sections of the Constitution, and international law as pertains to human rights. We’re the only democratic country in the world without a Bill of Rights.
Maybe that’s why Oz is such a great place to live.
Conor assumes, unthinkingly, that we all share the same concerns, but that’s cultural imperialsm talking. As one former Prime Minister laconically observed, unlike Americans, “we don’t need to talk about democracy — we just do it.”
When an opposing politician urged the Human Rights Commission to examine a curfew imposed on Victorians (on the basis that rights and freedoms were being limited) Premier Dan Andrews responded, “it is not about human rights. It is about human life.”
I think many Americans believe the opposite. They care more for the unborn child than they do the living adult.
Even so, Conor had to reluctantly acknowledge that in Australia, despite it’s imminent collapse into totalitarianism, COVID-19 has killed only 4 in 100,000, whereas in the land of the free, 194 out of 100,000 Americans have died.
I’m no mathematician, but those numbers look good for us. 48:1 is an indictment on America, not Australia.
So keep your liberties Conor, and we’ll keep our grandparents. Admit that 48:1 is an endorsement, not repudiation, of the pandemic countermeasures imposed by our state Premiers, then get to work on your own problems. Like healthcare.
Because our’s pale to insignifcance by comparison. And we can live with a curfew a while longer.