Written by Christopher J. Wilkinson
The detention of Novak Djokovic sets a dangerous precedent for future liberty.
Due to contest the Australian Open, Djokovic’s visa was cancelled despite Tennis Australia issuing him an exemption. He’s claimed to have tested positive for COVID on December 16. Now denied entry to the country, the tennis star faces deportation and is currently being held in an immigration detention centre where conditions have been reported as worse than prison. Australia, which as of January 9 reported a total of 2,367 deaths attributable to coronavirus with a survival rate of 99.4 per cent, has presently implemented a ‘no jab, no pay’ policy which denies tax relief to parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated in addition to compulsory vaccinations for all residential aged care workers effective from September 17 2021.
The politicisation of sport is nothing new. For some, the England team “taking the knee” in support of Black Lives Matter at last summer’s Euro Championship drew unfavourable comparison to the Nazi salute observed during a match against Germany in Berlin, 1938. The primary interface the British public has with tennis is Wimbledon; images of strawberries and cream with a glass of Pimm’s and crisp white sports attire permeate in the mind. Contradictions to such popular imagery are typically glossed over for fear of disturbing social order; see The Emperor’s New Clothes (1837). The Djokovic case is an intriguing exception, but there is a clear motive behind such high-profile coverage of an otherwise politically adverse story.
Media commentary, quick to identify Djokovic as a vaccine sceptic, has during the past two years expressed an openly biased, credulous adherence to government policy thereby preventing individuals from making informed decisions regarding their health and wellbeing. Meanwhile, senior public officials and investors with interests in private pharmaceutical firms are set to make substantial profits as vaccine rollouts proceed. Why the lack of scrutiny? To deny there are never any side-effects from vaccines is to deny the truth. To deny there were alternative options available to the British government in its handling of COVID, such as the Swedish model, is to deny the truth. Journalist Walter Lippmann acknowledged that news and truth were mutually exclusive. The underlying truth is hardly a secret – there’s an agenda at the heart of every individual, organisation, even government that may run counter to our own.
The methodology behind the agenda is clear. COVID passports for large-scale entertainment venues, enforced quarantine for the unvaccinated travelling abroad, increased business dependency on government, and financial punishment for non-mask wearers in wider society equates to a rudimentary form of identity-driven behavioural economics; an economics that leaves the door wide open for the implementation of a Chinese-style social credit system. Relentless propaganda, ubiquitous slogans, and political messaging fuels an egotistical confirmation bias among those unable to think critically through lack of appropriate information or education. The wearing of blue surgical masks, the presence of hand sanitiser stations in commercial establishments and the declaration of one’s vaccination status act as subconscious virtue signals; an appreciative endorsement of the agenda. Our issue should be weighted between the circumstances we find ourselves in combined with the individuals enforcing arbitrary policies converse to our own instincts and sensibility. I often say that common sense isn’t common to some people.
In 1981, Dr Perry E. Gresham identified that Adam Smith’s enduring concept of natural liberty was determined by sensible individuals opting for freedom if given a choice; swimmers escaping China and border-crossers escaping East Berlin are given as pertinent examples. The cultural shift away from liberty today is identifiably forced by a combination of state power and media influence. Djokovic’s choice-affirmed opposition to vaccination combined with his undisclosed vaccine status make him an outlier in a socioeconomic system geared towards authoritarian tyranny where choice and privacy are perceivably undesirable and dangerous. His detention serves as an almost theatrical reminder to the millions of other outliers about the consequences of non-compliance with this system; services denied, fulfilment prevented, life experience limited, life degenerating into mere existence, the human soul crushed. In the case of Austria, a country that will make coronavirus vaccination compulsory from February 1 2022, non-compliance will likely result in a monetary fine with potential imprisonment for non-payment. An ugly precedent has been set. The seeds of a global two-tier society have been sown. Lippmann, in his seminal work Public Opinion (1922), remarked that when civil liberties are in jeopardy, the human spirit is in jeopardy and that ‘should there come a time when they have to be curtailed … the suppression of thought is a risk to civilization which might prevent its recovery’. Since our context is one of restricted movement, control of information, censorship of free speech, suppression of protest, and profit-driven state-corporate scientism, we must ask whether the liberty-destroying way of life forced upon us constitutes a legitimate risk to human civilisation and progress today. To them, the truth doesn’t matter if it doesn’t suit their agenda. To them, Djokovic’s story provides assistance not obstruction.