‛Based on the data.’ Right!
After the past year, it has become cliché to reference the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm when they proclaim, “All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” But Letters to the Editor are one of my few means of protest, so I’ll cliché away!
The video circulating of the construction work continuing on the government-supported St Regis Hotel during the stay-at-home period is disheartening, aggravating to watch. And that’s not due to seeing the workmen and work being done, mind you. I applaud that. The general feeling of resentment is instead aimed at members of government who show such callous disregard for ordinary people’s livelihood. The caring government’s response has been to send those workers packing, too.
Work means livelihood, and self-respect should be sacrificed on their altar of political expediency. These same overlords see no problem with allowing certain workers to accept risks, or ensuring that they are top of the “essentials” list.
On a personal note, my home renovation, a project large enough that my wife and I had to temporarily relocate, having been delayed a year, finally kicked off last week. It has now stopped at the Government’s whim and the delay means extra time, cost and inconvenience to our lives, the contractors and suppliers.
Why was the risk at St Regis Hotel initially deemed lower than my home? This is not a selfish and uncaring question. Is it selfish to send out the supermarket workers while the rest of us stay home?
The most likely answer to my personal problem is that I am not part of the class of pigs. Same for most other ordinary people whose lives are disrupted in all manner of ways by those who pay no price. Worse, they seem to benefit from it judging by the career trajectory of a former Minister of National Security. Failing upwards seems to be the Government’s motto. Ditto for the Opposition, as it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins any more.
It’s time to end this charade of “following the science” or, as the Premier’s handlers like him to say, “based on the data”. A virus does not care what day you go shopping, when you come home or if you ate a substantial meal before ordering a drink. People are in a far better position to judge risk to themselves and loved ones than any pretentious premier, minister or other public health “expert”.
Based on the data is just a way of saying do as I tell you, which sounds good in theory, but this is the same talent pool that would close the best-performing public schools for “reasons”.
When those from on high deem themselves to be on the side of angels, there’s no end to the torment and disruption they will inflict because they view it as their moral obligation.
That’s me borrowing from the Christian philosopher C.S. Lewis, who said: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.”