Worldwide pandemic management varied. However, a common thread was manipulation and coercion to ensure compliance. In this essay I want to look at how Governments bullied their citizens during the pandemic, taking the actions of authorities in Australia and especially New South Wales and Sydney as a case study.
First, some general remarks about bullying. When we mention ‘bullying’, oftentimes the first thing that comes to mind is schoolyard scuffles or workplace harassment. However, bullying more generally is a social construct that describes the establishment of a power imbalance and the maintenance of control for the benefit of the bully. Power and control are established via a strategy of designing circumstances to ensure reliance and compliance and there are many different tactics used to establish that stronghold. Some tactics include threats, fearmongering, withholding, gaslighting, lies, making the rules, changing the rules, punishment, exclusion, social isolation and ‘nudge’ coercion to name but a handful of nefarious methods of manipulation.
In domestic violence, this can be one partner having authority over all the finances. In sexual abuse, one might have photos and evidence to hold as a threat to ensure compliance. And in government, citizens perpetually need to beg for handouts to survive catastrophes, have to follow dictated punishable directives and need to seek authority for permissions and approvals to do anything. Many of our systems are geared so that to reach any solution requires government to approve it.
When problems are presented that require solutions and the solution relies on a hierarchal structure, the ultimate control and authority is afforded to the apex authority. Where the decision-making by the apex is then made that provides advantage to the apex and disadvantages the lower echelons, that is toxic leadership.
However, a significant factor in the success of an apex leader is to have a support team. The establishment of yes-men, sycophants and cliques establishes a stronghold that protects the top dog from lower echelon disobedience or rebellion.
Why do toxic leaders make decisions that benefit themselves? Power and money.
How do they get power and money? They establish a stronghold.
How do they establish a stronghold? Bullying and harassment.