COVID-19, Coercion, and the Loss of Freedom

Commentary Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently took aim at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), accusing it of engaging in acts of “economic coercion” and foreign interference. Of course, Morrison is correct. Communist China, the home of wolf warrior diplomacy, specializes in economic coercion. If in doubt, let me point you in the direction of Lithuania, a small country making big impressions. Unlike the vast majority of the countries in the world that signed up to China’s dangerous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as “One Belt, One Road”), Lithuania refuses to enter into a Faustian bargain. Not only have the Lithuanians shunned China, they have openly embraced Taiwan. In November of last year, Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, the country’s capital. Later this year, Lithuania plans to open its own trade office in Taiwan. The CCP, embarrassed and enraged, has hit back, downgrading its ties with Lithuania and blocking a number of Lithuanian exports. The CCP has also asked some of the world’s biggest companies to sever ties with the Baltic state. As the latest report published by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) shows, this sort of coercion is common practice for the CCP. With little regard for the rule of law, Morrison was right to call out the CCP. However, when it comes to any talk of coercion, we must look at who exactly is pointing the finger. Morrison is, after all, arguably the most powerful man in Australia, a country that has become synonymous with the word coercion. Coercion is the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats. In Australia, up until very recently, if one refused to abide by the country’s strict COVID-19 policies, they could find themselves carted off to an internment camp. The Australian government has been coercing its own citizens for far too long. In November, Dr. Chris Perry, the head of the Australian Medical Association in Queensland, warned those who refused COVID vaccinations that they would lead the most lonely and wretched of lives. In his own words: “Life will be miserable without being vaccinated. You won’t be able to hide. There’s a whole pile of issues, a whole pile of problems if you try and get around the system.” In other words, resistance is futile. Of course, when it comes to coercive tactics, Australia is not alone. In fact, a number of other supposedly liberal nations have become increasingly illiberal. As Bloomberg reported last month, authorities in Greece and Spain are actively targeting the unvaccinated, hitting them with rather steep fines. In Greece, a country that laid the foundations for modern civilization, citizens and permanent residents over the age of 60 who have yet to be vaccinated are now required to pay monthly fines, with a starting price point of €50, roughly $57. The fee is set to be doubled in February. In Austria, parliament just approved mandatory vaccinations, despite large numbers of citizens opposing the harsh measure. Under the new law, those refusing to get vaccinated could soon be hit with a €3,600 fine, roughly $4,000. Interestingly, the abovementioned Morrison’s comments came at Davos, home of the World Economic Forum (WEF)—you know, the guys who promise that you will own nothing and be happy. As I have discussed before, the WEF is composed of powerful politicians and big tech players. The WEF is responsible for the Great Reset, which emphasizes the need for more social justice and wealth distribution. At its core, the Great Reset is socialism masquerading as progress, coercion masquerading as cooperation. In the words of Klaus Schwab, the head of the WEF: “Every country, from the United States to China, must participate,” and “every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed.” What’s needed is “a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism,” he argues. Remember, the opposite of capitalism is communism, which is inextricably linked with coercion and unmitigated misery. Around the world, authoritarianism is on the rise. Ever since the pandemic burst onto the scene, personal freedoms have been forsaken, with more and more power being placed in the hands of a small minority of highly influential people. When authoritarianism reigns supreme, the voice of the people is always silenced. Which brings us back to Morrison’s comments. China, lest we forget, is a country ruled by a tyrannical regime. As the murder of innocent people in Xinjiang shows, the CCP is guilty of much worse than coercion, be it economic or otherwise. However, many people reading this do not live in China. They live in the “free” world, a place that is becoming increasingly unfree. Of course, we shouldn’t stop calling out the CCP for its grave abuses. Nor should we stop calling out our own leaders for their own. We would do well to remember the following: once leaders get a taste for absolute power, they are very reluctant to give it up. Views expressed in

COVID-19, Coercion, and the Loss of Freedom

Commentary

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently took aim at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), accusing it of engaging in acts of “economic coercion” and foreign interference.

Of course, Morrison is correct. Communist China, the home of wolf warrior diplomacy, specializes in economic coercion. If in doubt, let me point you in the direction of Lithuania, a small country making big impressions. Unlike the vast majority of the countries in the world that signed up to China’s dangerous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as “One Belt, One Road”), Lithuania refuses to enter into a Faustian bargain.

Not only have the Lithuanians shunned China, they have openly embraced Taiwan. In November of last year, Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a representative office in Vilnius, the country’s capital. Later this year, Lithuania plans to open its own trade office in Taiwan. The CCP, embarrassed and enraged, has hit back, downgrading its ties with Lithuania and blocking a number of Lithuanian exports. The CCP has also asked some of the world’s biggest companies to sever ties with the Baltic state.

As the latest report published by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) shows, this sort of coercion is common practice for the CCP. With little regard for the rule of law, Morrison was right to call out the CCP.

However, when it comes to any talk of coercion, we must look at who exactly is pointing the finger. Morrison is, after all, arguably the most powerful man in Australia, a country that has become synonymous with the word coercion.

Coercion is the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats. In Australia, up until very recently, if one refused to abide by the country’s strict COVID-19 policies, they could find themselves carted off to an internment camp.

The Australian government has been coercing its own citizens for far too long. In November, Dr. Chris Perry, the head of the Australian Medical Association in Queensland, warned those who refused COVID vaccinations that they would lead the most lonely and wretched of lives.

In his own words: “Life will be miserable without being vaccinated. You won’t be able to hide. There’s a whole pile of issues, a whole pile of problems if you try and get around the system.”

In other words, resistance is futile.

Of course, when it comes to coercive tactics, Australia is not alone. In fact, a number of other supposedly liberal nations have become increasingly illiberal. As Bloomberg reported last month, authorities in Greece and Spain are actively targeting the unvaccinated, hitting them with rather steep fines.

In Greece, a country that laid the foundations for modern civilization, citizens and permanent residents over the age of 60 who have yet to be vaccinated are now required to pay monthly fines, with a starting price point of €50, roughly $57. The fee is set to be doubled in February.

In Austria, parliament just approved mandatory vaccinations, despite large numbers of citizens opposing the harsh measure. Under the new law, those refusing to get vaccinated could soon be hit with a €3,600 fine, roughly $4,000.

Interestingly, the abovementioned Morrison’s comments came at Davos, home of the World Economic Forum (WEF)—you know, the guys who promise that you will own nothing and be happy. As I have discussed before, the WEF is composed of powerful politicians and big tech players. The WEF is responsible for the Great Reset, which emphasizes the need for more social justice and wealth distribution. At its core, the Great Reset is socialism masquerading as progress, coercion masquerading as cooperation.

In the words of Klaus Schwab, the head of the WEF: “Every country, from the United States to China, must participate,” and “every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed.” What’s needed is “a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism,” he argues.

Remember, the opposite of capitalism is communism, which is inextricably linked with coercion and unmitigated misery.

Around the world, authoritarianism is on the rise. Ever since the pandemic burst onto the scene, personal freedoms have been forsaken, with more and more power being placed in the hands of a small minority of highly influential people. When authoritarianism reigns supreme, the voice of the people is always silenced.

Which brings us back to Morrison’s comments. China, lest we forget, is a country ruled by a tyrannical regime. As the murder of innocent people in Xinjiang shows, the CCP is guilty of much worse than coercion, be it economic or otherwise.

However, many people reading this do not live in China. They live in the “free” world, a place that is becoming increasingly unfree. Of course, we shouldn’t stop calling out the CCP for its grave abuses. Nor should we stop calling out our own leaders for their own. We would do well to remember the following: once leaders get a taste for absolute power, they are very reluctant to give it up.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published, among others, by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.