Archives For Government

There’s a big difference between politicians doing something, and politicians making it look like they’re doing something. What looks good for us, isn’t always what’s good for us. The image we are sold is can often be dissimilar to the product we end up with.

For instance, social distancing laws have created an image of police protecting politicians, instead of the police protecting the people. Look at how famously the police have broken their own social distancing rules while enforcing the will of the political class.

Another example is the sleight of hand when it comes to taxation, the important social welfare safety net and healthcare. Governments like to tell you that they’re providing for the people, when for the most part, all they’ve done is take from the people to provide for themselves.

The government takes money from one pocket, puts it in the other, and we all applaud them for it. This is after they’ve taken their cut for giving us the privilege of rights, freedoms, and access to services. If, and it’s sometimes a big “if”, they consider us eligible.

If I’m coming across as an extreme sceptic in the benevolence of government programs, it’s because I am, and for good reason.

I grew up in a government owned house, on a government housing estate. I come from an abusive, highly dysfunctional home, where my family never broke out beyond its dependency on government programs. My parents were decent enough people. My mother did the best she could with what she had. My father didn’t do a whole lot, but our house was always clean, and food was always on the table. While they seriously missed the boat when it comes to parenting skills, they were neither drug addicted nor negligent of their responsibilities as citizens. My parents were stuck in the welfare cycle, couldn’t get out of it, and in the end, gave in to the idea that they never would.

In 2015, not long after my father’s death, I learned he had a criminal record. The news wasn’t all that surprising. He was a proud man. Reason enough for why he never spoke of word it to anyone for over 40 years. He didn’t fear work or fear having to work. He’d convinced himself that his multiple run-ins with the law as a teenager in the 1960s, made him unemployable. The only job I remember him having was a four year stint in the army reserve during the mid-late 1980s.

My father may not have gone to prison, but the social system, and the broken family he came from put him in a psychological one. While partly of his own making, this psychological prison was enabled by politicians who benefited from keeping him locked down in the “benevolence” of the welfare state.

Though both my mother and father had worked off and on, neither of them ever held down a full time job. My mother worked once in the 1970’s, but as she tells it, my father held her back from continuing, because he was concerned about how much what she earned would impact his social security payment.

The system enabled, and funded my father’s dysfunctional way of life. (In some ways he was probably a victim of the unintended side-effects of Whitlam’s Welfare reforms.)

He was a die-hard Labor voter, and he opposed communism, even though he lived on welfare for the majority of his life. When, in later years I questioned Labor initiatives, and their policy platform, he always vehemently defended the hands that had led, housed, healed and fed him for decades.

It was murky subject matter. Still it taught me that Marxist justifications for the welfare state rarely, if ever raise people up. These justifications come undone, when welfare dependent citizens like my father, are paid in similar ways to an aristocrat. They enslave, rather than liberate. One person is chained to the state for their livelihood, while others are condemned to a life of servitude in order to provide for it.

Like an aristocrat, in order to provide for a particular standard of living, the wages of workers are garnished. The only social contractual obligation is loyalty to the political party who pays the most, and asks the least amount of questions.

Thus the government takes on the role of patron. The worker takes on the role of serf. The welfare recipient takes on the role of aristocrat. This benefits bureaucrats, politicians and political parties because through government dependency they can create voters dependent on them for everything. Through the generational welfare dependency cycle, government takes over the role of extended families, and church charity. By default the government becomes a god.

I’m not advocating against social welfare safety nets. I believe in hand-ups, not hand-outs. Work for the dole, TAFE, tax offsets like the family tax benefit, pensions, or a basic Medicare system all have reasonable justifications for their existence.

Any program proven to be helpful, as opposed to harmful, should be given an attentive eye, complete with the checks and balances of review, and reform, for the sake of empowering successful initiatives.

No true conservative fits the uncaring, heartless straw man created by greedy Marxists, whose own sense of entitlement rivals that of those they seek to tear down.

Compassion and good government demand a manageable, life affirming answer to the perilous, unsustainable bubble of the welfare state. It should remove itself from enabling the cycle of welfare dependency, with the aim of liberating the people they’ve made dependent on it. This is Magna Charta, where economics and civil liberties go hand in hand.

The popularity of Donald Trump is largely because he looks to empower people, not his political party. This is proven by the way in which his own party seems to always be playing catch-up, unsure of what to do with him. He challenges the status quo, and has been able to keep himself beyond the bipartisan, stagnated swamp of cozy “business-as-usual”, governmental control.

Trump understands that there are times when the government needs to get out of the way.

In contrast, Australian politicians seem clueless. Labor leader, Anthony Albanese wants to extend Scott Morrison’s Job keeper and Job Seeker COVID-19 lockdown compensation, way beyond the initial six months allocated for it.

This isn’t a policy that helps Australians. It’s a policy that benefits the federal Labor Party. What Albanese really means is that Labor plan to politicize any COVID exit, shifting the language, and purpose of Job Seeker/Keeper from “covid countermeasures compensation”, to a pay rise for people on welfare benefits, who don’t have a legitimate exemption.

In his first major public appearance in months, Anthony Albanese should have been insisting on the return of civil liberties. He should have been calling for a way out of the police state, instead of advocating the kind of welfare dependency that benefits the welfare state.

Scott Morrison doesn’t get off easy either. Add China’s chest beating to Leftist calls for COVID-19 countermeasures to be permanent, and the Prime Minister is facing a damaging political storm. If Scott Morrison thought that he could avoid having to make Trump-like decisions, he was wrong. How he answers China’s belligerence, protects Australian sovereignty, and how he restores civil liberties post COVID-19, will be the defining of his Prime Ministership. If he fails here, and Labor continue to remain tone deaf to the Australian public, Morrison may not see a second term as P.M.


First published on Caldron Pool, 13th May, 2020.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020.

I took some serious heat recently, after raising questions about the usefulness, function, role and consequences of using the Australian Government’s recent COVDISAFE app. I outlined two areas of concern, then was forced to address a third. My primary point was about precedent. The second concerned emotional manipulation; peer pressure, and the third, data security.

Objections to this included asinine responses such as “it’s un-Christian not too”, that I wasn’t’ “loving my neighbor” and that “people will die if I don’t” sign up for the app. The more astute arguments included “Romans 13 and how it commands us to submit to the government as an institution put in place by God.” [i]

The less astute included an outright dismissal, saying my argument was “crap.”Another ridiculed my point about the app being almost on par with taking an ersatz Hitler Oath. (Not an irrational concern, given the social pressure and hostile responses.)

Most of the reactions only served to solidify the precedent and emotional manipulation points. Once we accept as the norm, governments labeling people, places or things arbitrarily as being “hazardous to public health”, how long will it be until this new normal is applied by less benevolent forces to the Israel Folau’s of the world? Or even those, like me, who share Margaret Court’s view of marriage as being the biologically compatible, God ordained union between a man and a woman.

An app that encourages people to potentially stigmatise, be suspicious of, and distance themselves from their neighbour, on the basis of that person having or (are being suspected of having?) an illness, isn’t all that conducive to Christian love, pastoral care or freedom.

Likewise, using emotional manipulation, regardless of how unintentional, to get people to sign up for the COVIDSAFE app by unfairly accusing them of not being a Christian, loving or Christ-like.

We’ve heard this same asinine, emotional manipulative non-sequitur before during the same-sex marriage debate, discussions about Islamic terrorism #illridewithyou, abortion, transgenderism, Apocalyptic Climate Change…really, any Leftist cause.

Speaking out against the potential abuse of power, manipulation, and manipulative political processes, in standing up for civil liberties, is living out a love for neighbour.

Since when did a no questions asked loyalty to politicians, or allegiance to an ideology such as Leftism, become a yardstick for being a Christian?

Starry-eyed supporters of the COVIDSAFE app seem more in tune with those condemning Jesus for liberating people designated by authorities as unclean, than it is supporting Jesus’ care for the wounded, vulnerable, downcast or outcast.

I doubt my detractors would align themselves so quickly with any statement like, “Yo, Jesus, did ya get that app about lepers, mate? No. Why the bloody hell not? Do you want people to die!?”

If this is justifiable on a social distancing level, than why not develop an app to also report the threat of STD’s, AIDS, Hepatitis or HIV? The fact we don’t, and won’t, indicate that COVIDSAFE, and the general response to COVID-19 is more about politics, than science or authentic Christian living. [ii]

If this is justifiable, and in the interest of public health and safety, why not fund an app for non-smokers to ping off the phones of people who choose to smoke? If you wouldn’t support this, and yet are starry-eyed about the COVID-19 app, why wouldn’t you support it?

Let me be clear. I agree with responsible social distancing. I agree with temperature testing. I agree to a slow reopening. I agree with defeating this virus. I agree with better hygiene management, because this, to me, is showing genuine care for others, based on a basic common sense justified by objective morality.

Perhaps one of the silver linings of the Coronavirus is a return to more concern for our neighbour. Especially when it comes to manners, and personal hygiene – practising a level of care, long forgotten; one discarded by the inconsiderate, self-destructive abandonment of healthy Western traditions. I’d welcome this because it has to do more with collective and individual responsibility – people free before God, for God, and accountable to God, not enslaved to government-as-god ruling madly without accountability.

Contrary to the sentiment coming from most of those applauding the app, COVIDSAFE does not make people using it magically immune to COVID-19.

It does however make you susceptible to potentially being denied service and employment if you don’t have the app. The government admits this latter point in its 78 page COVIDSAFE information manual, and doesn’t appear to be discouraging any third party application from denying employment or service to anyone who doesn’t have the app.

“3.19.4 The Australian Government has also given clear indications that it will not be mandatory for any person to install or to use the App. However, there may be a potential risk of circumstances in which a particular individual does feel pressured to download the App (e.g. a supermarket insisting on customers showing that they are using the App before being permitted to enter the store; or an employer insisting that their employees demonstrate that they are using the App before being permitted to start or continue work).”

It’s worth noting a report published during October last year, where The World Heath Organisation concluded that “active contact tracing is not recommended in general because there is no obvious rationale for it in most Member States.”

We don’t need a nanny state to wipe our noses.

How long will it be until sneezing in a public space automatically triggers a COVID-19 alert? Or worse, individuals quickly come under suspicion for blowing their nose into a tissue, or simply coughing in public.

If this sounds ridiculous, look back at panic buying. Look at the irrational, ludicrous interpretations and enforcement of social distancing laws, based on hysteria, hear say, or presumption. See the mounting examples of neighbour spying on neighbour, and neighbor denouncing neighbour for suspected breaches of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Look again at the reaction against anyone opting out of getting the COVIDSAFE app. Look also at how Cory Bernardi was treated for refusing to sign up for the app. Bernardi, the only person on the Skynews panel giving a defence of civil liberties, was told by host Prue MacSween to “give himself an upper cut”, and drown his concerns about government overreach in alcohol.

On the same panel, Melbourne City Councilor, Nicholas Reece accused Bernardi of not living in the real world, of making lofty “high school arguments about liberty and privacy.” It doesn’t appear that Reece fully understood the implications of his rebuttal. By placing Bernardi’s concerns over liberty and privacy, in the realm of school boy fantasy, Reece confirmed Bernardi’s point.

On the subject of data security, signing up to the COVID-19 app is not the same as signing up for an in-store card, or in-store credit. Those involve companies that operate under strict laws concerning privacy and use of personal information. They are accountable to the government, whereas the government is accountable to no one, but their party, their political supporters, and last of all, you the people – in a very, very limited sense.

For those who think that our fuehrers always know best, and will thus follow them blindly:

As Bill Muehlenberg and Matthew Littlefield have pointed out:

1. “ACT Policing has admitted it unlawfully accessed citizens’ metadata a total of 3,365 times, not 116 as previously disclosed in an explosive commonwealth ombudsman’s report on Monday. The new disclosures include a total of 240 cases that resulted in information valuable to criminal investigations and one that “may have been used in a prosecution”.
2. “When Canberra introduced metadata laws a few years ago, we were told they would only be used to find terrorists. But greedy councils were soon demanding access so they could catch litterbugs. Facial recognition tool Clearview AI was allegedly misused by members of Australian police departments.”
3. “Governments routinely go wrong as power grabs become the norm, and technologies are regularly used for evil purposes. Indeed, one clear lesson of history is what is merely ‘voluntary’ today far too often becomes ‘mandatory’ tomorrow – all for the common good of course.”

I get the point of the COVIDSAFE app. It’s to inform people of areas that have been recently exposed to COVID-19, and tell people to get checked if they’ve been exposed. What I question is its usefulness, function, role and the consequences of handing bureaucrats more power.

It’s one thing to look out for others; it’s another to encourage a precedent where innocent, domestic citizens/places are deemed by the government to be “unsafe” based on a virus they are unsure about.

Romans 13 may carry weight in why we respect the need for good government, but it doesn’t hold us back from questioning government initiatives like the COVIDSAFE app. Nor does Romans 13 discourage us from pointing out how our politicians, on both sides, have spectacularly failed, and still are failing, to give any reassurances about civil liberties; including how they will be respected, and reinstated, after the coronavirus counter-measures can no longer be justified under the current crisis.

My point is ultimately about the precedence of citizens signing onto a Government program without question, emotive, even manipulative peer pressure to do so, and the danger it poses.

My point is about concern for people signing on to government program, run by politicians who haven’t bothered to reassure the people they represent that they are protecting civil liberties. Not one politician has done this, before or since the implementation of totalitarian COVID-19 countermeasures.

Break through the jargon, and the COVIDSAFE app is essentially an app that has the potential to monitor citizens. It allows third-parties to deny employment or service to anyone not carrying it on their phone. Throw in the reaction against those questioning it, and the fine print gives cause for real and rational concern.

We, the people are not the virus.

As I’ve said in the past, the warning of the 20th century to government’s and their people today is this: any justifiable counter moves against an enemy become unjustified if they make the government as tyrannical as the enemy it fights.


References:

[i] As far as Romans 13 goes, while I concede that it’s a fair point, let me say again, that there comes a time when it’s necessary to remind the government that they only have, because God gives.

[ii] See the brilliant briefing on COVID-19 by Dr. Erickson for more on this (Link). Unfortunately, YouTube has removed, and continues to remove all links to the Erickson briefing; more information here.

Image cropped and filtered from a photo by Fredrik Bedsvaag on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

I’m cautious of any and all mainstream news, including that which comes from conservatives. It’s good practice to read between the lines, and really take in what’s being said. Besides that, I do it because I’m no mindless drone. It pays to be informed.

Phil Robertson’s points here are excellent. I agree with most of them. I do, however, find myself conflicted about universal health care.

The package for any country has to have the right balance. There should be a safety net that doesn’t hinder the free market, but ensures citizens get the best care available.

While being fully aware of the arguments against government funded universal healthcare, being raised in a country that has a version of it, I see that the benefits of universal healthcare, outweigh the drawbacks, making it the only area where I find myself slightly at odds with what Phil has to say.

I’ve plugged this video on social media a few times over the years, simply because there’s a whole lot of good in it:

“Once you elevate government to where it supersedes God and you begin to think the government will feed us. The government will house us. The government will educate us. The government will provide our health care, once you do that you begin on a downward spiral and you end up where all the nations before of us have ended up.
We’ve removed God. We pushed him out of our culture and every way possible.We pushed God out of the public domain and we’ve got him pushed out of the way.
What we need to do is understand that worship is not about going to church worshipping and leaving worshipping God is offering yourself your body as a living sacrifice everywhere you are you point people to the God of creation everywhere you are work play 24/7 we have to implement that we’re gonna have more the same.”

 


 

back to HomeschoolSunday involved preparing curriculum for a new Homeschool term. This was made more strenuous by a letter we received the other day. In it we were reminded about stricter guidelines now being set up for home education in our state.

For those foreign to attitudes in Australia towards homeschooling, the best way to illustrate them is by stating that they range between indifference, curiosity, confusion and sometimes hostility.

The general notion is that since the Commonwealth (Federal Government) and States provide “free” schooling, why homeschool?

It is not always the case, but hidden within this is the cultural hang-up that wrongly views “kids as burdens to be offloaded, and their successes paraded only when the result reflects “exceptional parental conduct.”

I feel sorry for the school teachers who are overloaded, overworked, underpaid and largely have their role misunderstood. Granted, the system works up to a point. However it ceases to function effectively when the State (or any private institution) begins to walk away from endorsing the fact that teachers are professional educators, not substitute parents. Nor, to use a more blunt analogy, are they glorified baby-sitters.

Parental responsibility is still the most significant part in the effective education of children. This includes making time to not only be concerned about the place of education, but participate in the method of education and contribute to the progress of their child’s education.

It is part of a more broader political party view, but some State Government representatives in Australia, see Home Schooling as primitive, biased and regressive.

For example:

”Without the watchful eye of teachers, some children could end up trapped in abusive settings or left without appropriate learning opportunities,” Greens MP, Dr John Kaye said. (source)

Although helpful to some degree, this new bureaucratic push has some unhealthy weight to it. As a result it is being felt. So for now we are back to homeschooling, but for how long, I couldn’t say.

The good side to this fresh approach by our governing agencies is that it means some empowerment for homeschoolers. For instance, a more targeted practice in the art of “review, review, review” and the opportunity to promote the benefits of homeschooling to those generally unaware of the them.

This can only translate as support. Otherwise we’d be consumed by the fact that it appears as though it’s a politely veiled, politically driven, disincentive to continue.

(Original image credit: digitalart)