CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The Expansive Corona Police State

Apr 9, 2020

The growing list of statist horror stories should have us all very concerned:

It seems that I must now start a daily list of corona horror stories – not of the disease itself and its impact, but of government overreactions and Big Brother madness. And once again I must state – for the 87 kazillionth time now – that yes, there is a place for sensible and measured government intervention during times of national emergency. But if the cure becomes worse than the disease, then we must call it out.

I am not one of those many servile sheeple who are giving governments blank cheques here, arguing that whatever they do must be right. Sorry, my job as a responsible citizen is to ask hard questions and to hold my leaders to account. Sometimes they will get things right, but sometimes they won’t, and none of us should just allow the state to do whatever it wants.

If these examples were all just one-offs, or the exception to the rule, that might be one thing. But these sorts of stories are now becoming the norm, and plenty more examples could be mentioned here. This really is getting to be a real worry. So let me share some more horror stories, first from Australia and then from overseas, with the headline, date, opening paragraph(s), and source of each.

Six months in jail, $11,000 fine for leaving home without a ‘reasonable excuse’
March 31
Anyone in NSW who leaves their house without a “reasonable excuse” could spend up to six months in prison and face an $11,000 fine under an emergency ministerial directive gazetted overnight. The public health order, which enacts Sunday’s recommendations of the national cabinet, gives police sweeping power to enforce the latest round of restrictions designed to limit the spread of coronavirus in Australia.
www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/six-months-in-jail-11-000-fine-for-leaving-home-without-a-reasonable-excuse-20200330-p54fg8.html

Victoria Police fine group of friends playing cricket for breaching social distancing rules
April 8
A group of mates have played probably their most expensive game of cricket after Victoria Police fined each of them for breaching the state’s social distancing rules. Video footage shows the officers writing up the group of five for “having a game of backyard cricket”.
www.news.com.au/national/victoria/news/victoria-police-fine-group-of-friends-playing-cricket-for-breaching-social-distancing-rules/news-story/4d7431ad9b4ed652ca3c515defb77450

Police hotline swamped with COVID-19 calls as Victorians dob in neighbours
April 8
More than 600 calls a day are flooding into the state’s crime reporting hotline, as Victorians rush to dob in neighbours who flout COVID-19 social-distancing rules. Victoria Police has seen calls to the relatively new police assistance line spike by 50 per cent in recent weeks, with people increasingly phoning to report mass gatherings and isolation breaches.
www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/police-hotline-swamped-with-covid-19-calls-as-victorians-dob-in-neighbours-20200408-p54i5g.html

Extra 1.4 million Australians out of work in wake of COVID-19 pandemic – 3.92 million (27.4% of workforce) now unemployed or under-employed
April 8
The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic hit the Australian economy hard in mid-March when Australia’s Federal, State and Territory Governments began introducing restrictive social distancing and self-isolation rules to stop the spread of the infectious virus. The early signs on the new restrictions are good from a public health perspective as the rate of new cases has substantially reduced ever since restrictions began to be introduced in mid-March. However, the restrictions have also had a huge impact on the employment situation of many Australians – particularly in customer focused industries such as hospitality and retail businesses that have largely shut-down.
www.roymorgan.com/findings/8363-roy-morgan-unemployment-and-under-employment-march-2020-202004080900

Finally, and to put all this in perspective, while Australia is shutting down churches and so many other services and businesses, abortion mills are still freely operating. Australia has 25 million people, yet so far it has 51 corona deaths. Every 5 hours that many people are killed by abortion. Let that sink in.

And consider these shocking stories of Statism run amok in America:

Coronavirus stay-at-home order in California has police giving citations to people watching sunset at beach
April 6
Nearly two dozen people were issued citations at a beach on Friday for violating California’s stay-at-home order meant to slow the spread of coronavirus in the state, according to officials. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday the tickets were issued to 22 people who were “watching the sunset, having picnics near the beach” in Encinitas, located 25 miles north of San Diego.
www.foxnews.com/us/coronavirus-stay-at-home-order-california-police-sunset-beach-encinitas.amp

Louisville Mayor Forbids Churches From Holding Easter Sunday Drive-In Services
April 8
The mayor of Louisville, Kentucky says churches will not be allowed to hold drive-in services on Easter Sunday. Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, said he made his decision with a “heavy heart.”
www.toddstarnes.com/faith/louisville-mayor-forbids-churches-from-holding-easter-sunday-drive-in-services/

Colorado father, 33, is handcuffed in front of his six-year-old daughter for breaking social distancing guidelines by playing tee-ball with his wife and kid in an empty park
April 8
A Colorado father feels local law enforcement owe him an apology after they handcuffed him in front of his wife and daughter because they claimed he violated social distancing rules by playing tee-ball.
www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8196337/Colorado-man-handcuffed-playing-tee-ball-wife-kid-park.html

And if you think none of this is a big deal, and these folks were all wrong in doing these things, let me draw upon one writer who has said some very worrying things about the situation in the US. She begins:

Do you remember the bill of rights? There are ten rights promised to Americans within it. Since the Chinese WuFlu pandemic hit, Americans have lost half of them and anyone who has studied human history knows the “temporary” loss of human rights is rarely temporary. Here’s a comprehensive list, for those of you keeping track of the recent assaults on civil rights.

She examines the five, and then concludes:

Currently, your government has made the decision that it’s going to be you and your liberties that must suffer for the possibility that they can save some people who are sick with a virus that most people recover from. There is no plan in place to save those of you who become sick from worry, depression, poverty, and the chaos the government and the experts have created.
pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/5-civil-rights-americans-lost-to-the-covid-19-panic/

Yes, some folks might quibble about some of these cases as to whether they were over the top or not. But the point is not if one or two cases are justified or not. It is the accumulation of far too many of these sorts of cases that is becoming a very real concern.

And of course I must once again repeat: Yes, some temporary measures and some infringements on freedom may be needed in times of a national crisis. And I am not saying that every politician is a closet statist. But when as much harm can be done by stringent and questionable measures as the virus itself, then at the very least we all must remain vigilant and keep asking questions.

And if you are convinced that I and others are wrong for sounding the alarm and raising questions here, then you might be part of the problem.

[1128 words]

19 Responses to The Expansive Corona Police State

  • I was saying to my wife last night how amazed and horrified I am at how quickly we went from she’ll be right mate to quick call the police the neighbour’s are having fun whilst in lockdown. You sort of expect some of the cops and politicians to go on a power trip at times like these. But the dob them in stuff was a huge shock to me. Maybe I’m too idealistic – I don’t know?

  • I agree with your general comment Bill that we should be asking questions and not simply assume that every restrictive rule is warranted. However, I think that every situation should be judged on its merits. egs The mother giving her daughter a driving lesson is not breaking any social distancing rule. Neither are father and son fishing off the shore. But if they went some distance out to sea and had engine trouble then they’d be expecting others (including the police) to come and rescue them. However the 5 guys playing cricket together were breaking the rule.
    Just how much the State has restricted our freedoms might be better assessed after the CV is over.

  • Thanks Graham, but two things. I did say this in my article: “Yes, some folks might quibble about some of these cases as to whether they were over the top or not. But the point is not if one or two cases are justified or not. It is the accumulation of far too many of these sorts of cases that is becoming a very real concern.”

    And if we wait to assess how much the State has restricted our freedoms only after CV is over, it will be too late. One does not just sit back as these draconian restrictions are happening, and hope that one day there will be a place to speak up. If we do not speak up now, we will have sealed our own fate. I would have thought that what happened last century with the various tyrannies that arose clearly teach us this lesson. Sorry, I will keep speaking out and sounding the alarm. This virus will pass, but we know that usurped power seldom passes willingly. We better learn the lessons of history here – and quickly – lest we end up repeating its mistakes.

  • Hi Bill. Thank you. I enjoyed your latest article. You are quite right in pointing out how quickly we have surrendered our freedoms. Some necessary but some questionable. It just shows what fear and panic will achieve in very quick time ably spread by much of the media. A friend discovered and sent to me two meanings for the word ‘virus.’ In short – 1) a toxic poison which infects (the body) and causes contagious diseases and 2) it is an influence which causes moral corruption and adversely affects the mind and spirit. I find the latter particularly interesting. Bill Gates has had a bit to say on the matter and as I understand it he said he is working with the government (presumably American) about when things will be able to re-open. He said it will be ok for schools to re-open but possibly other large gatherings may not be able to resume until a vaccine is developed – and we are all vaccinated! From what I understand companies he has interests in are working on vaccines which may take up to 12 maybe 18 months to produce. So he should know a thing or two about it and also warned some years ago this could happen. The effects on the body are devastating enough but the effects on the mind and spirit should not be overlooked and to be honest I firmly believe that the only antidote for the moral corruption and adverse affects on the mind and spirit this virus is causing, is a turning back to GOD with repentance, acknowledging that JESUS CHRIST is the (only) Way, the Truth and the Life. The choice is ours. Bless you Bill. Cheryl Ciccotosto

  • At present, words fail. Blessings Bill. Keep up the good work. Much appreciated.

  • When we as Bible believing Christian study the text regarding the in-flow of State power to our lives until the man of perdition is revealed, it’s always been an intriguing question – ‘what’s the path to world dictatorship – what’s the mechanism and how does it play out?’ I can’t help but wonder, with no exit-plan for the state of things, if we’re not perhaps seeing the ‘birth pains’. With cash being further demonised, greater surveillance powers (using mobile phones), greater sympathy for a world authority to come into place, it’s an interesting time to be alive. Time to preach the gospel even louder.

  • In 1775 Patrick John Henry gave his famous Liberty or Death speech [1]. Just a few days ago Dr Scott Lively sent a message to Donald Trump urging him to reopen the economy and gave a timely reminder of that speech [2].
    As far as I understand democracy and the rule of godly laws were never won by appealing to democracy. They first had to be established by military means. And I am not talking about forcibly changing a person’s heart to becoming a Christian. The enemy of our souls exists in the supernatural realm – not within human flesh. When Ephesians says we fight not against flesh and blood but “against principalities, against the powers , against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against the spiritual wickedness in high places”, it means only the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy spirit can change someone from being an agent of Satan to being a saint.
    But I am not talking about changing the heart of an individual or a whole nation. I am talking about changing the behaviour of a person whether they are a Christian or heathen. Godly parents are not told only to pray over their children but if necessary, use also the rod. The Bible tells us that the authorities do not wield the sword for nothing. We do not have correction centres for nothing and sadly these sometimes cater for fallen Christians as well.
    Nations are required to maintain the military to protect themselves from foreign invaders. Whilst our nation came under threat from Spain in the 16th century, France in the 18th and 19th centuries, Germany and Russia in the 20th century, we not only prayed but we also attacked the enemy and prevailed. But what happens when a king or government wages war on their own people and not only their people but their faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and his Word alone, as happened with King Charles 1st and thereby become the enemy? What happens when our government becomes the instrument for Satanic forces which are determined to destroy the church, the Word of God, its people and the democratic process no longer works?
    Throughout history wicked laws and constitutions had to be countered by eternal vigilance and force of arms. When a government, like that of the UK under the thrall of the abortionists and Sodomites sends a message to the nation that LGBTs will enforce pink law and dominate the world with the backing of its military and police [3], we know that only mass resistance through any legitimate and even military means will restore the rule of God’s laws. The government declared war on God and the British nation decades ago and have won battle after battle without our side firing a single shot. This might sound over dramatic but when have we ever lived in such extreme and extraordinary times as today, when the enemy backed by our own government and Queen, forcibly takes away our children and hands them over to homosexuals who murder them, even in the womb at the rate of nearly 20,000 per month and serves notice on the British people by saying, “There are no borders or boundaries when it comes to LGBT human rights. No nationality, no culture, no belief system can stand in the way of the historic quest for LGBT freedom.” and “What we have to do is to smash heteronormativity in the home, in the schools and in the community”, what is it we do not understand? We must indeed fight, not on the beaches, in the fields or in the hills but in our churches, homes, schools and communities and wherever the abortionists and LGBTs have established their strongholds, by whatever legitimate means we have at our disposal. And that may mean a military option as it was during the Civil war and the American War of Independence.
    At present our nation is ruled by fear. We have lost the freedom to speak, think or worship in line with the Word of God. As a nation we have become craven and paralysed by the cultural Marxists, secularist and humanists. We need fear all right, not a fear of man, but a holy fear of God and the earthy authorities, instituted by God to maintain his holy laws. Bring back discipline, corporal punishment, capital punishment and a military who are not frightened to wield the sword against all evil doers.
    [1]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbghWFMLyiA
    [2]https://youtu.be/OOrOwjoMQKA?t=112
    [3]https://youtu.be/RbtlkF_ycrM?t=96

    David Skinner UK

  • Well said, David, as a nation we have become paralysed and chloroformed from speaking the truth, standing for the truth, contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. When the state becomes the oppressor Christians need to become emboldened to use God given opportunities to expose the works of darkness, to reprove error and lies. While nations are being shaken to the core our Lord and Saviour is also at work calling man to humble himself and pray. The LGBT abortion lobby unashamedly force their ideology on the weak and most vulnerable – the unborn baby, school children. Even the frail and elderly are subjected to this culture of death with euthanasia or ‘mercy’ killing. Yet we Christians have the power of the Holy Spirit to lead us in righteous judgment. But judgment must first begin in the house of God where many leaders passively embrace antiChristian beliefs. What leadership when the Anglican Archbishops apologised for the hurt caused when the CofE defined marriage as between a man and a woman : https://christiantoday.com/article/archbishops-apologise-for-hurt-caused-by-sex-and-marriage-statement/134126.htm
    Yet the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Pr.9:10; 2 Cor.5:10.

  • Peter Hitchens has been a lone voice of sanity on this issue and he has been very courageous standing up against the infantile hysteria coming out of the media, politicians and medical community

    https://youtu.be/2DmfA6D_02M

  • I wrote about the increasing digital surveillance, in what I’m calling “The Road to Digital Serfdom”. We’ve now seen the NSW use ANPR to enforce/monitor social distancing, Vodafone give up location data to the NSW and federal governments for the same reason. This is all going way too far, too quickly.

    https://www.melbournelibertarian.com/2020/04/the-road-to-digital-serfdom-and-the-police-state-are-intertwined/

  • Thanks again Bill, you’d be more aware than me of more cases of police being too zealous. I’ve just read in your latest post about your own experience when shopping. I live in W.A. and that wouldn’t happen here would it?
    I agree with you that we need to speak out now if we believe that our hard won freedoms are being taken away.
    When I said originally “Just how much the State has restricted our freedoms might be better assessed after the CV is over.” I was speaking about getting the big picture then. Of course we must continue to speak up then or whenever our basic freedoms, including freedom of speech are restricted. This certainly applies to Dr Jereth Kok whose situation you’ve written about.

  • Bill, this is a very rare occasion where I find myself disagreeing with you. I respect your views and see where you’re coming from, but to suggest anyone who disagrees with you “might be part of the problem” is, potentially, putting yourself in the same category as those with whom you disagree!

    I believe Trump may have been one of the first to claim the cure must not be worse than the disease – and he’s right. The question, though, is “Is it?” Equally, I doubt many disagree with the statement that there must be “sensible and measured government intervention” but the questions then centre on whether the intervention has been “sensible” or “measured”.

    Regarding the first question (the cure is worse than the disease), we do not yet know the final picture and so everything – including the answer to this question – remains speculation. Even then, there will be a lot of debate when balancing the life lost, the economic cost and, potentially the loss of any on-going liberties. At the end of this, those saying we should have done less will claim ‘victory’ if there are few deaths. Conversely, those who say we should have done more will do the same if there are a lot. In terms of Trump, the Democrats and the MSM will say he was wrong regardless of what happens!

    I am presuming the stats regarding the disease (apart from China) are accurate. If not, then we’re in a far bigger conspiracy theory – which I’ll leave alone! Those stats in the US, the UK and many parts of Europe are showing that without significant levels of intervention, the results are bad. I saw an article yesterday that the first case in New York was just 39 days ago. Now it is the world’s epicentre for the disease. The ‘best’ results currently appear to be where there has been ‘intervention’ (despite WHO advice!).

    Furthermore, whereas I’m as opposed to abortion as anyone, I do not believe it is logically valid to introduce this topic or to conflate it with Covid-19. I could, for example, equally argue that anyone suggesting we not make every effort to control this virus is supporting euthanasia given the disproportionately high numbers of the ‘elderly’ who are dying from the disease.

    This brings us to the other two questions of whether the measures are ‘sensible’ and/or ‘measured’.

    The thing that strikes me about this issue is how rapidly events are happening. It is less than 4 weeks since my wife and I raised the ‘hypothetical’ as to what we’d do in relation to providing day-care for our grandchildren if there was an outbreak in their pre-school. The following day, our daughter rang and, in her words, “took the decision out of our hands” and, a week later, our care – and contact – ceased when she started working from home.

    Given what has happened elsewhere, I believe the intervention in Australia, to date, has been ‘sensible’ leaving the question as to whether it’s ‘measured’. It’s fair to say that governments, by their very nature, are not usually classified as ‘agile’ meaning that with a situation such as this when they’ve been forced to act extremely quickly, there will be anomalies. Whereas I have no problem in highlighting these, the converse argument is that if people either flaunt the ‘social distancing’ rules or fail to self-isolate when returning from overseas – both of which have happened – then the risk of spreading the disease increases and, with that, the risk of people dying.

    This raises the ethical question of which is worse, people ignoring rules applying to others (for example, to play cricket regardless of whether or not they’re fined) or, potentially, several people dying as a result of their actions?

    After 9/11, the introduction of the Patriot Act, and its subsequent abuses, in the US has shown we must be on our guard against losing freedoms. However, if we are to argue that deaths from abortion are wrong, surely we should also argue that we should be doing everything we can to prevent deaths from Covid-19 – regardless of some anomalies, many of which are being overturned when highlighted.

    Where I believe we must be extremely vigilant is when we start to emerge from this crisis and ensure then that there are no on-going limitations to our freedom such as the ideas of Bill Gates to have us all have ‘digital certificates’ which can be tracked – a major potential issue with any immunisation.

    I agree totally with your objective of being vigilant. However, to highlight the anomalies while there is still no certain path as to how to proceed and suggest that anyone who disagrees with you for sounding the alarm might be part of the problem is, I believe, quite dangerous. The Word of God is 100% accurate. Beyond that, I am always open to the belief I might be wrong.

  • Thanks Roger, but with 31 articles on corona now and plenty of clear cases of statist overreach and undo restrictions of liberty carefully documented, I will not repeat myself here. But a few quick points if I may:

    -I DID say “might” be part of the problem…
    -I have said around 87 kazillion times now that yes there is a place for some government intervention, and some temporary limitations on freedom may be needed.
    -As I have already said, if folks really think we should say and do nothing until everything settles, it will likely be far too late by then. The only warning worth its salt is done before it is too late – not after.
    -You completely miss the point I was making about abortion – it is simply to demonstrate some perspective.
    -And I guess I need to say it again: Australia has 25 million people. How many have died from corona so far?
    -I am simply asking questions in these posts – questions every single Christian and defender of freedom should be asking.
    -If we think the state can do no wrong in times like this, then yes we might indeed be part of the problem!
    -And no, I don’t think I am being ‘dangerous” in asking questions, highlighting concerns, and encouraging people to think and not just be docile sheep.
    -You are right about one thing however: you are not infallible – and neither am I!

    But again, I have discussed all this in great detail with plenty of evidence to support my questions and concerns. Thus I will just keep on sounding the alarm as God leads me thanks. So we might have to agree to differ here. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Nice to see the Stasi is alive and well! And expanded to so many nations!

    I wonder how many western nations will be adding a hammer and sickle to their flags soon?? (I have a eerie feeling SOMETHING is coming soon.)

    If a family huddles together as their house burns down I wonder if they’ll be arrested for violating social distancing guidelines???

  • Hi Bill
    A couple of points of clarification. You state I “completely miss the point” you were making about abortion and that you were merely trying to bring in perspective. I don’t believe I did – the point I was trying to make is that if we are pro-life in one area, we should be consistent.

    Equally, you continue to highlight the stats regarding death in Australia whereas I was highlighting those from overseas which are far worse – I guess that was my way of trying to bring in a different perspective.

    Finally, I did *not* say it was dangerous for you to raise issues – a claim you have repeated in a more recent article. What I *did* say was that, in my opinion, it can be “quite dangerous” to suggest anyone disagreeing with you might be part of the problem (even acknowledging the emphasis in your response on the word ‘might’). When I read your original comment, I felt it was virtually discouraging anyone offering a slightly different perspective to your own and saw that as an attempt to close down any debate.

  • Thanks Roger, but since you want to keep arguing with me here, I guess I have the right to make some replies on my own site!

    -There is of course absolutely nothing inconsistent about being prolife, and being wary of government overkill and overzealous policing – especially if I have said countless times now that there IS a place for some government intervention. So throwing out non sequiturs and setting up a straw man to cheerily shoot down really is not so helpful here I am afraid.

    -You and I happen to live in Australia, so it makes sense to keep the situation here in the forefront of our minds. And I still ask: how many Australian have died of corona so far?

    -If I really am ‘discouraging anyone offering a slightly different perspective to my own and attempting to close down any debate’ then why do I keep posting your contrarian comments, and those of my other critics!?

    -But I already said we will have to agree to disagree here. So we might leave it at that thanks, since no new ground is being covered.

  • The law with a sense of humour?

    Local police officer Vinod Sharma said (tourists who were caught taking a walk in Rishikesh, India) were each made to write “I did not follow the rules of lockdown so I am so sorry” 500 times.

    https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/world/tourists-forced-to-write-sorry-500-times-over-india-lockdown-breach/ar-BB12x6om?ocid=spartandhp

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