by PAUL COLLITS – THE pandemic produced many villains – and few heroes – across countries, governments, major political Parties, bureaucracy, legacy media, universities, the corporates, Big Pharma and Big Tech.
The years of living with increasingly oppressive restrictions and mandates is a tale of many complicit in tyranny and a few heroes of resistance.
One of Australia’s undoubted heroes of resistance has been the very author of these words, Ramesh Thakur.
Thakur is a political scientist, a former senior United Nations official, an Emeritus Australian National University Professor, and, most recently a columnist for The Spectator Australia and The Brownstone Institute, living in what has turned out to be an analytical and perhaps agitated retirement on the north coast of NSW.
I am sure Ramesh’s retirement plans did not include experiencing and subsequently chronicling a totalitarian dystopia. That came out of nowhere. For him, and for the rest of us.
But chronicling a totalitarian dystopia is precisely what he has been doing, culminating now in the publication of a very substantial book, titled Our Enemy the Government: How Covid Enabled the Expansion and Abuse of State Power.
The first thing to note about the book is its title, borrowed, no doubt, with knowing irony from Albert Jay Nock’s Our Enemy the State, published in 1935.
Nock was an essayist and one of the earliest and most famous leading lights of America’s libertarian movement. He was at the anarchist end.
Post-COVID, Ramesh Thakur might well feel sympathy for Nock’s position. Clearly, in the anarchist tradition, Thakur sees government as “the enemy”. This has all sorts of implications for political obligation.
Thakur’s book will stand proudly alongside some of the other chronicles of public health dystopia, including the works of Alex Berenson, Scott Atlas, Naomi Wolf (two, now), Robert Malone, Robert F Kennedy Jr (also two), Tom Woods, Laura Dodsworth, Mattias Desmet, John Stapleton, Sharri Markson and Gigi Foster (with Paul Frijters and Michael Baker).
Mercifully, the list is growing. All power to those who are contributing.
We might also include an emerging literature on the coming new world order, not unconnected to the COVID affair. Here we can note the work of (USA Libertarian Party candidate) Michael Rectenwald and Michael Walsh.
At least there are two 2024 presidential candidates who somehow have noticed that there has been an attempted global totalitarian takeover. Another, Florida’s heroic Governor Ron DeSantis is also up to speed.
So, there is a critical, dissident, narrative attacking literature emerging. It will continue, and it will matter. Recording the true story of COVID matters, deeply.
That Australia has produced several works on the pandemic period is, as old Lefties used to say, “no coincidence”.
It is illustrative of three aspects of the response down under.
First, outside China, Australia’s regime was just about as bad as it got. Second, the willingness of most Australians to hand over their freedoms without demur was astonishing to many, both here and overseas. Third, Australia is (with Britain), leading the way in non-inquiries.
This has raised the need for those outside the establishment to undertake their own deep analyses of what occurred on the watch of a political class that has, since Daniel Andrews unilaterally declared COVID exceptionalism “over” last year, shamefully looked the other way.
Thakur himself has given us a succinct overview of both the book and the era: “It’s a story of venal, incompetent politicians and brutish police – thugs in uniform – acting at the behest of power-drunk apparatchiks.
“Medically idiotic, economically ruinous, socially disruptive and embittering, culturally dystopian, politically despotic: what was there to like in the COVID era?
- Billions, if you were Big Pharma.
- Unchecked power, if you were Big State.
- Power over the whole population of a State and fame with extended daily TV appearances on all channels, if you were a chief medical officer.
- More money and power over the world’s governments and people for the WHO.
- Template for action for climate zealots.
- Dreamtime for cops given free rein to indulge their inner bully.
“But anguished despair, if you were a caring, concerned citizen who loves individual freedom and autonomy.”
The book isn’t only about Australia, by the way. Its lessons are for readers everywhere, certainly across the Western so-called democracies.
While Australia was at the forefront of the world’s pandemic policy crimes, it wasn’t alone. These crimes were global, and Ramesh’s book covers the territory.
He analyses the course of events in his own native country, India, for example. He covers the non-medical interventions, the vaccine wars, the silencing of dissent, the sins of the regulators, the media “lickspittles of State power”, the failure of international institutions like WHO, the failures of parliaments, the descent of the Anglosphere into authoritarianism, the maskism and the linkages between COVID management and climate catastrophism.
All are bundled into an all-encompassing, critical analysis of the State’s crimes. A frightening attack by the State on the governed.
For Thakur, it has been a complete demolition job on liberal democracy’s fundamental principle of the consent of the governed. This book is a comprehensive demolition job. Footnoted and researched, and reasoned. Meticulously.
The failures were, at bottom, a crisis of politics. The seasoned political scientist in Thakur focuses on the “thin-virus-line” that separates democracy from dictatorship.
It is almost as though Ramesh’s predecessor AJ Nock saw COVID coming.
The State, according to Nock, “turns every contingency into a resource for accumulating power in itself, always at the expense of social power”. People become conditioned to accept their lost freedom and social power as normal, in each subsequent generation, and so the State continues to expand – and society to shrink.
Talk about prescient.
There have been two kinds of COVID realist. Those who were sniffing the totalitarian breezes from the start, and those who, while initially on board with China-style responses, subsequently saw the light.
Ramesh was onto the dictatorship very early on. His very first article appeared on March 30, 2020, its title: Coronavirus pandemic: sceptical question marks make for better policy than excitable exclamation marks.
And once he was involved with the beast, he didn’t let go.
In the book, which reads as a present tense, evolving account of the crisis, he identifies the culprits, the connections and the causes.
The culprits range from Neil Ferguson, “the Pied Piper of pandemic porn”, to the WHO, whose performance Thakur (a little generously, perhaps) describes as “patchy”.
He upbraids the “science deniers” and the “self-censoring” media. He identifies lockdowns as the tools of the elites involved in a class war, and a war of the cities on the countryside.
He pings the health regulators for not doing their jobs and of doing the bidding of their funders, Big Pharma, and he takes to task the journalist profession for abandoning ship.
Above all, the book is about executive overreach, the great scourge of our Western polities.
Indeed, all institutional checks on overreach and abuse of executive power – legislatures, the judiciary, human rights machinery, professional associations, trade unions, the media and parts of the Church – turned out to be unfit for purpose.
No one, but no one, roused himself or herself to challenge what was going on. Every last institution to which we might have looked for resistance was caught like a rabbit in the headlights. Or on the take.
The so-called Left departed the building. The Church-State separation dissolved without demur. Journalists obeyed their compromised Big Pharma management. Medical establishment institutions bowed before their benefactors. They flipped the bird at the Hippocratic oath.
As Ramesh notes, they were simply unfit for purpose. To put it politely.
What should happen now, on the slow walk back to liberalism? Ramesh would like to see criminal convictions for brutal police and their bureaucratic and political bosses and the reinstatement of workers sacked for refusing the vaccine, just for starters. The principle of informed consent must be reinstated.
Thakur’s final verdict on the future? Will illiberalism be rolled back or has it become a permanent feature of the political landscape in the democratic West? The head says to fear the worst, but an eternally optimistic heart still hopes for the best.
That doesn’t strike me as all that hopeful. What worries me the most is the utter non-interest by Jo(e) Punter in exacting any kind of revenge on the culprits. Even accountability.
Those who inflicted the plandemic upon us wish simply to “move on” and hope that we will all do likewise.
The resistance, of whom Ramesh Thakur is a leading light (and a worthy successor to Albert Jay Nock), is working to ensure that none of us just “move on”.
The future of freedom in Western democracies, not just Australia, depends on the success of the resistance. If no one listens to its leaders and takes heed of their warnings, we will be destined to have the dystopian dose repeated. Often. And worse.
Ramesh is not terribly impressed with those who seek an “amnesty” for their crimes. Not so easy. Not forthcoming.
There is one question for every reviewer of books. Who is the reader?
Is Thakur trying to change minds?
I recently asked Australian geologist Prof Ian Plimer whether his massive long-term efforts could swing the climate “debate” towards realism, given the climate madness across governments that shows no sign of being ditched.
His response was that he had to do it – or someone has to – to get the record straight and on paper, so that one day, when the historians come to review our era, they will find a truthful, written account. Sounds fair enough.
With an emerging counter-narrative literature emerging, where should we locate this contribution?
Ramesh Thakur cannot easily be dismissed as a “kooker”, as an “anti-vaxxer”. He adds a new and valuable dimension to the dissent literature.
As a result of such heroic contributions, we are coming closer to the full picture. There is still a way to go, clearly, as we wade through the various “non-inquiries” across the globe.
Non-inquiries that refuse to ask first order questions about health-driven totalitarianism. But having a high level, policy-based approach to the disaster is so very important to understanding the whole shemozzle.
Thakur is a man of the official international family. A UN man. He is a man of the academy. He has seen the world of power and of international governance, both as analyst and practitioner. No far-Right rabble rouser. Not an outsider with an outsider’s perceived ignorance.
He has brought an international decision-maker’s eye to this horrendous crisis. A crisis, as he sees it, of liberal democratic governance. High level stuff – and not so easily dismissed.
His highlighting of the policy disaster run deeper than just about his book, by the way.
His presence in the public square over the past three years has been consistent, measured, fact-based, questioning and reasonable.
He has been a force for the good. For reason. For common sense. The book is icing on the cake.
As a record of COVID lunacy you aren’t likely to get a better, fuller record than that provided by Thakur. There is much depth here to be plumbed. This is a complex story, written by a political scientist of international repute who has committed himself to address the deep issues that have plagued the world these past years.
And has taken the time to figure out what the hell has just happened.
Read the book. Note its messages. Send to friends. Hope that they will suspend their comfortable ignorance and embrace the uncomfortable truth.PC