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. 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. Anguished despair, if you were a caring, inquisitive reporter. In Australia Breaks Apart, John Stapleton, a retired journalist with over 25 years’ experience with the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian, chronicles the collective madness that suffocated Covidian Australia, but also the resistance movement that began hesitantly and grew organically. It is a tale of the many villains complicit in tyranny and the few heroes of resistance. “What will you tell UR kids? Did you rise up or comply,” asked a sign during the Canberra protests. It’s a story of venal, incompetent politicians and brutish police – thugs in uniform – acting at the behest of “power drunk apparatchiks”.
If you want to know or recall what happened, read the book. If you questioned and resisted from the start, take heart at the documentation for the record. If you belong to the Covid class in slow retreat from the wastelands you created and now leave behind, take evasive action. An extract was published in the Weekend Australian. Among more than 900 online commentators, one quoted Tony Abbott that in two World Wars, many risked their lives to protect our freedoms, but in the last three years, so many gave up freedoms to prolong lives. Some took Stapleton to task for failing to thank our great and good leaders and public health authorities for keeping us safe through the terrifying ordeal of the ‘rona wars. The persistence of the last attitude justifies the book’s publication. It’s an effort to chronicle and, if possible, come to terms with how an entire population was terrorised into fearing a virus and complying with arbitrary and draconian rules. Stapleton laments this is not the Australia he knew and loved. There evolved a co-dependency between the über-surveillance state and a Stasi-like snitch society in which “we are all guilty until proven uninfected”. The unleashing of state violence on peaceful protestors included militarised responses on the streets and in the air that drew gasps of disbelief from around the world. State over-reach included “an insane level of micromanagement”. All was done without providing any evidence and cost-benefit analyses in support. It’s all here in grim detail, possibly with generous dollops of hyperbole. But who can blame Stapleton, writing amidst the “height of totalitarian derangement” syndrome?