To err is human; but contrition felt for the crime distinguishes the virtuous from the wicked.— Vittorio Alfieri
This past week it appeared that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) aimed to distinguish their actions through the pandemic from those of the wicked.
Dr. Lowe’s contrition did not exercise my thoughts, however, in part because he clearly needed to ‘fess up’, and also because it was clear to me very early that extraordinary measures were required of central banks as I said on 11 February 2020 (note carefully how early in the pandemic that was):
I expect that central banks will try absolutely extraordinary actions (as opposed to the already “extraordinary” actions that we have become desensitised to over the last decade). The problem will be how to safeguard the economy by creating activity when most activity runs counter to the best way to reduce the spread of the virus. We hardly want more people out and about shopping, or even working together. As I said above, I believe most workplaces will need to either put people on paid leave or working from home.
I was more focused on the release of the report of the Hon Virginia Bell’s Inquiry on Prime Minister Morrison’s secret ministries and reflecting back on my own writing and actions from that time.
And the former Prime Minister’s lack of contrition was not even the major issue I was pondering, after all, such behaviour is true to type in my long-held view of him.
It is clear, in social media feeds especially, that my two main sources for articles I choose to share are the Guardian Australia and Bloomberg.
But even these sources I do not hold back on criticising when it is warranted.
In the days after Morrison realised he should not go to the 2020 NRL opening round, and as we now know, about the time he took on his first extra ministry, on 20 March 2020 I published the article “The First Victim Of War Is The Truth“.
(Note, from 3 February through March 2020 here at MacroEdgo I published 12 posts dealing specifically with COVID-19 along with a detailed daily “Coronavirus Outbreak” report from February 9 and to refresh on the context of the events and my writing I recommend reading these, especially “COVID-19 Elephants In The Room“, the post immediately before the one mentioned above which I published 10 days earlier.)
In “The First Victim Of War Is The Truth” I allowed my sheer frustration with the media, and over the voices that were given space, and were not, to come out in response to an article in Guardian Australia. I had been arguing solidly for weeks to close the border before the pandemic got away from us like it was in the process of doing in Italy.
Then for the Guardian Australia’s political commentator Katharine Murphy to come out and say words to the effect that she was falling into line behind Morrison and giving him a pass to do what he felt was needed, while forgiving his failings from early in the pandemic, well it was all too much.
I really felt like I was a lone voice of reason in the nation!
I had been sending the editor of Guardian Australia everything I had written, a practice I have continued through to now, but will cease from here on, and I was disappointed with the editorial decision not to publish me.
This falling in behind Morrison, when his comments showed he was still inclined to follow his US and UK ideologues in Trump and Johnson, got the better of me.
Both the US and UK were clearly following a ‘let it rip’ path and the UK in particular found a convenient ‘strategy’- herd immunity from natural infection – to justify their inaction out of concern for economic impacts from measures necessary to minimise human loss.
I suggest that anybody who looks back dispassionately now with what we know occurred and what Mr. Morrison was doing in secrecy, well I think most will agree that the Guardian Australia editors made the wrong call and could have done a better job of serving their readership.
After all that has happened over this period, that dispassionate analyst knows that the prescience of my commentary has earned me the rare right to point out these failings. Not wishing to join any ‘team’ or be encumbered by a ‘label’, though, I realise that I will find little support.
Publishing several opinion pieces from someone who then in the Washington Times said, “One of the greatest scams ever inflicted on the workplace is COVID-19 hysteria“, that just proved to me how the Guardian’s editorial decisions can be found wanting. I must confess, however, it does sometimes make me wonder whether there really is such a great difference between media establishments.
I certainly will not be donating to the Guardian again, especially given how much I have promoted their writing over the past 3 years.
Still, I will say this: Now that we have seen a little contrition from the RBA, it would not be out of place to see a little from Guardian Australia, but I am gaining the impression that all within the ‘Fourth Estate’ are above such humility.
Finally, like for television media, I will be taking an extended break from blogging over the holiday season.
For those who celebrate and/or recognise annual milestones around this period, please receive my very best wishes.
The one affect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had for all of us, I believe, is to add punctuation to our perception of time.
Before 2020 the years seemed to fly by, but now it seems like time has slowed in many ways. For me, compared with 2019 it felt like 2020 was slowed around 10x, 2021 about 5x, and 2022 still about 3x (i.e. it felt like 3 of ‘pre-2020’ years had passed when I thought back to events from early 2022).
It is difficult to believe that around this time last year ABC breakfast were celebrating the recommencement of interstate travel (shortly followed by their apparent shock at surging COVID-19 cases) – it seems like years ago.
As a father of two young men becoming increasingly independent, I must confess that I do not regard the perception of slowed time as a negative.
Nonetheless, I do want to say that I believe that in 2023 we will all take more significant steps into our post-COVID realities and I see no foreseeable reasons why it will not be better than 2022.
I just suggest we all try to keep hold in our hearts of the Reset opportunity we were all presented with, and many of us have acknowledged and lived, and use that to continue working towards a better, more cohesive humanity living sustainably through smart, efficient and hasty progress.
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© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2022