Is the division we have been feeling in NZ over the last two years now simply settling into a ‘good old-fashioned’ class war? One where ‘class’ is now defined by moral virtue, not so much as the school you went to.
There was a particular tone behind the words of people who expressed their disapproval of the recent occupation of the Parliamentary lawn. It often had an air of superiority about it, which suggested that the division over this pandemic and resulting vaccine mandates is no longer about health or saving lives, if it ever was.
Whether it’s an exchange on social media or a mainstream news item, the undercurrent of ‘intellectual snobbery’ (as journalist and commentator Karl Du Fresne put it) towards so-called “anti-vaxxers” is almost physically palpable despite the growing resource of information that the real danger of the Omicron variant is only that of a common cold and the benefits provided by the vaccines are, well, at best, weak.
Add to that the early promise by the Ardern Government that if 90% of New Zealanders took the vaccine, things would return to normal.
Instead, we have an almost four-monthly vaccine subscription programme that has redefined freedoms as privileges returned to you in exchange for ongoing compliance.
It’s an unscientific bribe that is lost on many.
Just look around at the adherence to mask wearing despite ALL of the professional health advice, even from the government’s own so-called experts, that masks do very little to prevent spread of the virus.
Yet those who express their disdain of ‘anti-vaxxers’ remain steadfast.
They virtue-signal about the 99.5% survival rate from the virus with an ‘abundance of caution’ retort. They shut down any talk of conflicting interests or suppression of alternative views by parroting the government-issued “misinformation and conspiracy theories” retort. They ridicule any mention that there may be large-scale corruption at play and demand to know “why would our government try to hurt us!?”
The divisive psychology at play behind this pandemic suggests that in this current climate, the population seems to fall into two general tribes.
There are those who are intimately connected to their intrinsic human consciousness and have their primal gut instinct intact. Then there are those who have had this ‘sixth sense’ programmed out of them; who unwittingly have sold their soul to a system that has preyed on their ego since birth, apparently making them highly governable.
Both seem to have a common disdain for the other which seems to come from the belief that the other tribe is ‘putting lives at risk’ in one way or another.
From spending time at Camp Freedom nearly every day over its 23-day lifespan, yes, there were a high proportion of “quirky” characters; non-mainstream, non-institutionalised types. (If you’re from the other, more governable class, then based on the laws of attraction you would most probably have engineered your world to surround yourself with people similar to you. The ‘salty hoi polloi’ on Parliament lawn would probably be a ghastly experience for you, let alone the humiliation you might suffer should your class-peers see you having anything to do with them.)
Yet everyone who took part manifested a unity, acceptance and kindness (not to be confused with the PM’s brand of ‘kindness’) that lay over the Freedom Village like a warm blanket. The so-called “River of Filth”, as Labour MP Michael Wood spat out in Parliament, consisted of white and blue-collar workers, self-employed, unemployed, entrepreneurs, beneficiaries, alternative life-stylers, students, gang members, tradesmen of all skills, business owners, professionals, consultants, Hare Krishnas, Christians, Atheists, rich, poor, homeless … from all over the country, all sharing a common consciousness in what was a truly classless micro-society for 23 beautiful days.
But the ‘gov-media’ had an agenda, and it was certainly not to let out the truth that industrious Kiwis had created something akin to a fully-functioning, modern medieval village on their doorstep in defiance of Ardern’s traffic light regime.
It was like an incarnation of the Gaul village of Asterix & Obelix, complete with ‘Caesar Mallard’ looking down his nose at the exasperating rabble of dissenters from his castle’s balcony. And the people on the lawn weren’t dropping like flies from Covid. It was almost comical.
So, the gov-media resorted to casting the worst light possible on the general character of the protestors as being feral; violent; antisemitic; and pitying them as deluded and stupid conspiracy theorists.
Time and again they paraded so-called victims of the protest across our screens such as 17-year-old student, let’s call her ‘Phoebe’, from a local College claiming protestors yelled at her to “take off her mask” as she walked down the street. Phoebe also happens to be a passionate Labour Youth Party member with a blog and a social media channel rich with photos of her posing with Labour Ministers.
Then there were the ‘faeces fallacies’ – claims of poo-throwing and toilets being plumbed into the city stormwater system, the latter of which we unequivocally dispelled here. Oh, and let’s not forget the “acid-throwing” at police which phone footage later revealed police got a bit over-excited and accidentally pepper sprayed their own comrades.
But they knew they didn’t need to substantiate their claims because the gov-media know how the minds of the governable class work: they’ll gobble down everything the mainstream media spoon-feed them as truth, lubricated by their own bias and sense of superiority over ‘these types of people’.
Were people angry at times during the protest? Yes. But it was purposefully framed by using the more negatively charged term ‘violent’ in most media accounts. Anger is as legitimate as any other human emotion. It often compels action, including positive action. Most protests in history have been because people are angry with the way everything is going. And besides, what exactly is the appropriate way to respond when your own government wholesale dismisses your concerns and uses the police and media to report blatant lies to manipulate public sentiment against you? Wave your handkerchief at them?
Add to that the rise of woke ideology over the last decade, which seems to have seriously marred some people’s ability to judge an actual threat from a perceived threat (… but that’s a whole other blog).
Just as an aside, does anyone recall much condemnation from ‘Liberal’ Kiwis of the foul rhetoric protestors directed at Donald Trump in his time as President? At one US rally, protestors mounted a paper mâché version of his head on the end of a pole complete with ‘blood’ dripping from the severed neck. At another anti-Trump protest, a life-size piñata was made of him that protesters could beat with a baseball bat!
Any instances of anger or “unhinged” behaviour at Camp Freedom up until March 2 was swiftly acknowledged and tempered by the others: “Bro we get it, but acting like this will just play into the hands of those trying to dismiss us. We need to come from a place of peace” was how it went.
So, is it feasible that everything the gov-media said about these folks was delivered via a political ideology that has long-forgotten it’s original core values of tolerance, equality and governance for ALL New Zealanders?
Was the demonising and deriding of the character of those at Camp Freedom simply a campaign of State-sanctioned bullying of a minority by a majority who have defaulted to inherent snobbery in the face of crumbling Covid science?
The people on Parliamentary lawn were united in their demand for the government to stand down from granting itself the power to coerce and force what goes in people’s body.
To stand down from granting itself the power to undermine democracy in the guise of an emergency.
And to stand down from deliberately re-framing Kiwis’ concerns about mandatory vaccinations simply as a lack of respect for the safety of others.
Are these really such ludicrous things to ask for?
Updated 4 April 2022
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