• Coming Out of the Woodwork

    Those Kiwis (plus a ragtag of others) who have seen fit to protest over recent days against lockdowns and vaccination requirements have actually done us all a favour, though not quite in the way they intended.

    They have revealed themselves to us, and reminded us that they exist. The picture of themselves they have painted for us is not a pretty one.

    We need to have it demonstrated that there are those in our midst who are so – literally – anti-social. Some of those who demonstrated are innocents, simply – and simple-mindedly – duped and exploited by others pursuing their own, and more nefarious, political and religious purposes.

    They have been duped into believing a variety of far-fetched conspiracy theories – such as Q Anon, or that the virus is not real, or that the vaccine will make you magnetic or change your DNA.

    But there are also those who are perhaps a little more able to think for themselves – though their thinking is strongly conditioned by an unusual view of how a modern and functioning society must necessarily operate.

    These are the people who seem genuinely to believe that to recognise any obligation to other members of the same society is somehow to diminish themselves, that cooperation for a common purpose necessarily prejudices the individual, and that any restraint or accommodation of the interests of others accepted in the general interest must be resisted in the name of “individual freedom” and “rights”. These are the “libertarians” who exist and have always existed in most societies, and who are opposed to the very concept of government or to any attempt to work together for the common good.

    These are the people who opposed seat belts and child restraints in cars – “it’s my (and my child’s) body and I can do what I like with it”. They agree with Margaret Thatcher that “there is no such thing as society’’, that we are all just an agglomeration of atomised individuals, and that there is no role for, or benefit to be gained from, working together and cooperation – no shared interest or purpose that can best be furthered or achieved together rather than alone.

    In economic matters, they are content to “let the dice lie where they fall’ – “the market will decide” and there is no role or need for measures designed to provide a safety net for the less fortunate.

    They seem to be unfazed by the degree to which their beliefs are at odds with the Kiwi way – and with the Maori view of the world. To them, the very concept of a team, of any size, let alone “a team of five million”, is anathema. The only “team” they recognise, it seems, is one assembled for the purpose of disrupting the rest of us. As the demonstrations showed, they are not only prepared to withhold their cooperation, but to go further and actively to frustrate the efforts that the rest of us are making.

    By coming out of the woodwork, they have at least shown us who they are.