At first I couldn’t believe it. Then I read it officially on the Australian government website. Australian citizens are not allowed to leave Australia. There are Soviet-style exceptions of course, but if you are a normal Australian or a registered Australian resident you cannot leave the country. Now it’s fine for another sovereign state to deny entry of aliens into their country but as far as I can tell there is no reason to stop your own citizens from leaving your country to one that welcomes you, unless you are a totalitarian regime like East Germany in the days of the Berlin Wall or North Korea today.
This situation clearly demonstrates that many of the world’s governments are losing their way, or worse still, have found a new one.
Australia is not only a prison now for its citizens, it even has a high security part with the State of Victoria under house arrest and inter-state lockdown. Obviously, the economic consequences will be catastrophic.
With a toll so far of 800 deaths and 27,000 cases and only ever negligible growth rates, you would have thought a democracy would be okay to let its people leave, but this is a new world where they will lock you up for a Facebook post invoking your right to protest.
There will always be plenty of people in favor of the revoking of other peoples freedoms, but that doesn’t make it right and as we know, once curtailed control is infrequently relinquished.
As far as Australia goes, to me, it is not just what is going on there that is so shocking, but that it can happen to one of the coolest, most advanced and democratic countries on earth. One month a free country, weeks later a not-so-open prison.
Of course, it’s temporary, of course it is, of course. Just like the roadblocks in London built to stop Irish terrorists in the early 1990s. Temporary of course, until they were needed to stop “‘acid house ravers” partying, because the Irish had seen sense and stopped their antics. Long gone are the acid house ravers but still the roadblocks stand.
But let’s forget human rights, ignore the hundreds of years of struggle to free the individual from state totalitarianism and tyranny. Let’s forget the tremendous economic cost that in the long term will cost so much human life; let’s forget the ethics, look past the outrages against isolated individuals, the destruction of the younger generation’s education and prospects and instead focus. What does it mean for us?
It means if a country like Australia can lock up its people within its borders, there is no country not capable of the same or for that matter all sorts of things along that direction of travel. Last year we might have been singing Come to the Cabaret but the song could now quickly change to Tomorrow Belongs to Me.
So imagine this. You are an Aussie and you determine you are going to leave. The Mad Max Prison Australia is more than you can bear and you want out. You wish to flee like a Soviet-era East German.
Got Bitcoin? Here’s why you should.
Cash won’t get you far. Gold is going to be a problem. When they put out a warrant for your arrest for daring to try and leave your fatherland, your credit cards aren’t going to work for long.
The funny thing is I can hear people in my head saying “Just because you can’t leave doesn’t make you a prisoner.” I can also hear people saying, “It couldn’t happen here.” But it does and it could. Consider how likely it would have sounded to you that Australians would become prisoners in their own country.
Then you should think about having some Bitcoin.
If there isn’t a vaccine or the virus mutates or some equally worrisome pathogen shows up or economic collapse strikes or political meltdown. What then?
I have perhaps mixed with two many East Europeans who have lived through some spicy times, but I have to say, if you think it absolutely can’t happen to you, you are not prepared.
Chambers won Journalist of the Year in the Business Market Commentary category in the State Street U.K. Institutional Press Awards in 2018.