Weird drivel is expected from some of the far right in the US, and in this pandemic, microphone bully Glen Beck did not disappoint, when he said that old people should sacrifice their lives to COVID-19 so the US economy can keep running at full strength1. Of course, like Alan Jones and his ‘coronavirus is just the health version of global warming’2, Beck, like Jones, was recording his disgraceful rant from the safety of his own home, far away from the virus-ridden streets where his listeners drag their knuckles. It is seemingly acceptable for other, especially poor or old people, to die, as long as the money keeps rolling in for Beck, and Jones. The reason these hypocritical bullies are so dismissive of people is because as businesses close or their income decreases dramatically, advertising, which is the lifeblood of the radio stations from which Jones and Beck blather, will be one of the first budget line items to be given the boot.
Even weirder drivel is coming from the televangelists in the US. Perhaps the weirdest of them all is 83 year old, much reupholstered and repainted Kenneth Copeland, who is worth about $US750 million and flies around the US in his private jet. He is a preacher of the prosperity gospel, the same sort of drivel to which Brian Houston, of Hillsong infamy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, ministers Alex Hawke and Stuart Robert adhere. After some time ago claiming that the coronavirus pandemic will be “over much sooner than you think” because “Christian people all over this country praying have overwhelmed it,” Copeland recently appeared on his television program, staring-eyed, furrowed-browed, with brownish teeth bared, summoning the “wind of God” [does god eat turnips?] to destroy the novel coronavirus during a recent sermon. He said “I blow the wind of god on you. You are destroyed forever, and you’ll never be back. Thank you, God. Let it happen. Cause it to happen.” He had previously claimed that viewers of his show can be cured of COVID-19 by touching their screens, and that those attending his sermons in person would be healed. Most pertinently, however, he has urged viewers to continue paying tithes despite losing their jobs amid an unprecedented high number of unemployment claims within the last few weeks3. Like Beck and Jones (see above), Copeland and his ilk are mostly concerned that the suckers who subscribe to his televisual jesusing keep kicking the tin. After all, private jets are expensive to run.
Initially, it was clear that Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not keen to shut down the economy to save lives until he was dragged kicking and screaming to do so by the ‘national cabinet,’ especially by the premiers of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria4. Now Morrison has apparently realised what must be done, despite his use of spin5 and the confusing drivel which sometimes comes from him and others who often front the cameras6.
There have been the occasional instances of seemingly uninformed drivel emanating from the Murdoch stable of asses, such as Jones2, Dean and Creighton7. However, this latest effort by the Institute of Public Affairs’ (IPA) Gideon Rozner takes the cake as the most egregiously disgusting instance of the lack of concern for the lives of Australians. Rozner has released a video [see Appendix for text] calling for the immediate reversal of the lockdown8. He says, incorrectly, that the lockdown has “decimated our society, ruined thousands of lives, turned Australia into a police state and worst of all, put hundreds of thousands of Australians out of work”. It hasn’t decimated our society. Indeed, it has shown many of us how we depend on the people who keep utilities, the health services, and food services running. Many of these people depend on the minimum wage and penalty rates, which are things the Institute of Public Affairs wants to abolish. Rozner tries to pretend that getting people back to work it is all about people having “the dignity of work”8. There is little dignity in working two or more casual jobs just to feed your family while still being below the poverty line. Rozner states that it is time to return to normal; “It’s time we were allowed to start rebuilding our lives, and rebuilding Australia. It’s time that these restrictions were eased”8. One of the quotes which betrays Rozner’s main concern is: “It’s time to allow for the sensible reopening of churches, restaurants, cafes, bars, community sport. Do it safely, with appropriate social distancing measures in place”8. Appropriate social distancing measures would be difficult to enforce when a Catholic priest is handing out crackers, or when kitchen staff are putting the finishing touches on your main course, or when café staff are cutting a slice of cake for you, or when bar staff are handing you a middy of old, or when you are tackling someone while playing league, rugby and soccer, or when attempting to block a dunk in basketball, or a goal in netball. Ending the lockdown now is even more dangerous when recent research indicates that the coronavirus may not only be transmitted by droplets from people coughing or sneezing, but by aerosol as they simply exhale9.
Like the microphone bullies, religious nutters and Murdoch hacks to which I referred above, Rozner is not in the least concerned about the dignity of work, or the decimation of society, or the poor buggers who have lost their jobs. All Rozner is concerned about is that the money keeps flowing, specifically toward the donors to the IPA, thence to the IPA. This is also clear from the fact that the IPA is the premier climate change denying organisation in Australia, along with the ‘ruperters’ in the Murdoch media and sections of the Liberal and National parties. They care not for people, or the future of the planet, but for the profits to keep flowing. The funding of the IPA has always been largely secret, but it is clear that much of it comes from Murdoch’s organisations, Gina Rinehart and large fossil fuel companies such as Exxon, Shell, Caltex and BHP, as well as a few denialist think tanks in the US10. So, Rozner’s call for Australia to end the lockdown, thereby likely increasing the community transmission (which is limited at present), and have us end up like Italy, Spain or the USA, where many thousands are already dead and many, many thousands more will die. However, that will be perfectly fine, so long as he and his organisation get a bit of cash out of it.
Appendix: Transcript of Rozner video
The coronavirus outbreak is a serious public health issue and we were right to take action early on to contain the spread. The time to start ending this lockdown is now, but our response to the coronavirus outbreak has decimated our society, ruined thousands of lives, turned Australia into a police state and worst of all, put hundreds of thousands of Australians out of work. Many, many more will join them. More and more Australians will miss out on the dignity of work; the hope and opportunity and meaning that comes from the thriving economy, a vibrant society. More and more Australians will be thrown into loneliness, isolation and worst of all, the total absence of hope. So it is time to start ending this lockdown. It’s time that state and federal governments came up with a plan on how to end this lockdown, and then told us what it is. It’s time to start returning to normal. It’s time we were allowed to start rebuilding our lives, and rebuilding Australia. It’s time that these restrictions were eased. It’s time to allow for the sensible reopening of churches, restaurants, cafes, bars, community sport. Do it safely, with appropriate social distancing measures in place, but do it; not in six months, not in one month, now. Because Australians are not meant to live like this, and we cannot allow this to go on any longer. Enough is enough. It is time to begin to end this lockdown, now.