I’ve had some weird encounters with hostile people over the years.
I’m not just talking about the arrogant online troll, who comments on every social media post correcting gramma, or misconstruing every word to argue a point the post was never actually making.
Sure, they exist.
The online world is packed with people whose mental health issues are enabled by anonymity, non-face-to-face interaction, and the ability harass without any real-world consequences.
Like the person who repeatedly calls me an “anti-vaxxer” for articles written supporting censored medical professionals, savvy politicians, discernment, and informed consent on COVID-19 related medical procedures.
Then there’s the odd fellow who likes to tear down others in order to make a name for himself.
This gentleman persistently harasses me with slurs, and accusations.
Rarely does he argue the point, instead of arguing the man.
Very rarely does he have a kind word to say, or an actual argument that isn’t tainted by ad hominem or confirmation bias.
On the best of days, I have little patience for intellectual pissing contests, or those described by Roger Scruton as ‘intellectual masturbaters.”
Yesterday, he picked the wrong day to peacock his self-righteous hubris on my Facebook page.
Apparently, encouraging people to look after their health because of unhealthy public health orders makes me an extremist.
In this man’s view, I’m no better than the Taliban.
There’s a thin line between just criticism and abusive dishonesty.
The confronting reality for Australians is that he’s probably not alone in this view.
There are plenty of Christians and Christian leaders encouraging unchristian policies that harm people in the name of “helping” them.
They’re so driven to deny Christ over culture that they’re happy to submit Christ to the culture.
COVID culture has given rise to mentally unwell neighbours, who are plugged into the propaganda matrix.
They have become the government’s eyes, ears and subsequent accuser.
It’s so twisted that “loving God and loving their neighbour” has come to mean throwing their neighbour under the bus.
That’s a long-winded way of saying, I get it.
On Friday, I visited my mother to drop off food cooked by two of my daughters.
All the advised precautions were adhered too.
I social distanced, wore a mask the entire time and stayed outside for the duration of my brief visit.
This didn’t stop my mother’s unmasked, late 50s, neighbour from the house next door bursting out of her front door to interrogate my mother and me.
The neighbour was a complete stranger. This didn’t stop her from pouncing on us as I was getting ready to leave.
Defending my mother forced me to stay longer than I’d intended.
From her small veranda this person demanded to know whether or not I had permission to visit, and if I lived in the area.
I asked her why.
She replied, “I’m protecting myself.”
I politely told her to mind her own business.
The interrogation continued, so I pointed out to her how what she was doing was what’s wrong with Australia today.
As politely – and as best I could manage through a cloth mask – I reminded her that the ANZACs didn’t die for what she was doing.
They didn’t die for a culture where people lived in constant fear, and where neighbour saw it as their civic duty to denounce neighbour.
She was smug, smiling and not swayed.
The viciousness obviously brought her some kind of twisted sense of euphoric hold on power.
Fed up, I told her: call the authorities, or go back inside, close the door and hide under the bed.
She then went inside got her phone and “began recording me” (quote unquote), goading me to keep on talking.
My mother’s neighbour then persisted on lecturing me about how what I was doing was illegal.
I argued that there was nothing illegal or wrong about loving my neighbour.
Not deterred, this woman continued to maintain that I was breaking public health orders.
I said those orders are creating a public health crisis.
Then I asked her, if she agreed that looking after my mother’s emotional and psychological well-being was an important part of healthcare?
To which she said, “still breaking the law.”
Frustrated, I told her to stop being a communist; a covid Nazi and reminded her of the “zero covid” status in our regional area. (a correct statement at the time).
My mother is in her late 60s. She has had major anxiety issues and has wrestled with depression off and on in life.
Lockdowns are not a healthy prescription for her.
Care packages are a small relief. Especially from her grandkids.
Not one bit of my reasoning swayed this next-door neighbour.
I then said to her that she was buying the ABC’s propaganda.
To which she laughed and said “oh, ah, I get it now. You’re one of those religious conspiracy theorists.”
She pointed her finger at me and repeated the words, “Religious conspiracy theorist. Religious conspiracy theorist.”
To her, I was a criminal. Like my internet hater, I am no better than the Taliban.
In other words, loving on my mum – caring about her overall well-being – made me the equivalent of a “domestic terrorist.”
My adherence to COVID-safe protocols didn’t matter, even when I pointed this compliance out.
The whole nasty and unnecessary conflict ended with me pushing back on her straw man accusations, telling her that the name calling proved she knew I was in the right.
With her still recording, I got in my car and left.
Some may rightly say that this neighbour was acting out because she’s been driven to live in fear.
I would agree, if it wasn’t for how premeditated her attack on me seemed to be.
It was clear to me that government sanctioned suspicion and hatred for neighbour empowered her smug false sense of self-importance.
Just as my internet hater peacocked his false sense of superiority later that same day, this neighbour tried to bully and intimidate my mother into submission.
I’m not writing in order to ridicule this poor deluded woman.
I’m writing in order to point out how situations like it are the consequence of reckless policy making by an out of control and dangerous bureaucratic elite.
The “we’re all in this together” crowd appear unconcerned with how their requests for neighbour to police neighbour cause paranoia, division and hatred.
Giving the public a blank cheque to denounce each other was always going to be a problem.
What’s mindboggling about it all, is how few politicians there are willing to acknowledge just how debilitating and problematic; how deleterious this power and permission is.
These kinds of permission are ripe for abuse.
They were always going to end up as a weapon in the hands of abusive people, more than they were a tool for genuinely concerned citizens.
To borrow from former atheist and victim of Communism, Richard Wurmbrand,
‘I will never forget my first encounter with a Russian prisoner, an engineer. I asked him if he believed in God. He lifted his eyes toward me and said, “I have no such military order to believe. If I have an order I will believe.”
‘He was a brainwashed tool in the hands of the Communists, ready to believe or not on an order. He could not think anymore on his own. This was a typical Russian after all these years of Communist domination!’ (Tortured For Christ, 1967. pp.26-27)
Ronald Reagan once said, ‘let our friends and those who may wish us ill take note, [we have an obligation to each and the world] never to let those who would destroy freedom dictate the future course of life on this planet.”
May it be so.
First published on Caldron Pool, 22nd August, 2021.
©Rod Lampard, 2021.