The opposite of Ostracism: on returning home

In two days time, I’m going home. Unless my flight is cancelled … again. Or Sydney airport closes, like Melbourne did. Or a ‘hotspot’ is declared in a strategic zone, perhaps? Who knows… The Premiers who are now in charge of the Balkanite of Hystralia are like a collection of naughty children swtiching a legal lightswitch on and off again rapidly, while a powerless mothering figure of a prime minister calls out: ‘You’re going to blow the bulb!’ Two people test positive in Queensland and Sydney is declared a hotspot.


I’m coming from Germany, a country with a 1 in 420 Virus infection level, to a country with a 1 in 1970 infection rate; a country that rates Australia as a ‘safe zone’ to arrive from … so if you live in certain parts of Victoria at the moment, you can fly to Germany, no worries mate; but you can’t drive to the airport. Or even, in most cases, leave your house.

There are very specific reasons why we could not reurn to Australia before now, and why we are leaving Germany now. I won’t bore anyone with these banal details. The fact that so many of my countrypeople seem to lack the most basic critical or even creative thought to come up with possibilities should force my hand, but, to use a good traditional Australian expression, they can shove it up their nose.

Which is where several things will be shoved to test me for this Virus going round, and maybe I’ll get a positive or a negative positive or a positive negative to the BIG ONE … COVID-19; or maybe not. The plane might crash, too. Or I trip on the stairs with the luggage. Or a traffic accident. There are risks to living; you manage them as well as you can and try to keep on living well at the same time. We’ve lived for a long time with an annual death toll on the roads using this kind of mindset without banning cars completely from the roads.

I’ll be going into two weeks quarantine in Sydney, then two weeks quarantine in Tasmania: four weeks total; let’s call it a month. During which, ironically enough, I probably have my best statisitical chance of catching the Virus in my country. A 27-year-old man was recently jailed for a month for stealing credit card details and buying $150 worth of takeaway food … so this must be equivelent in some way? Except … he didn’t have to pay for his detention. And he got the free fast-food in the first place. But statistics, I have learned, are really only useful to town planners and snake-oil salespeople.

Unfortunately enough, these are just the two types of people most in charge.

I’m a reader and a writer, so the quarantine is not so daunting to me. How they can make me pay for a service I never requested or wanted is an interesting more-than-a-side-issue, however. And if I get the Virus while I’m there … where do they stand, and where stand I? I’m not in the Clive Palmer level of funding background, however; not even in the ball park, so I doubt I can’t call the State on this and other rather fundamental points of order; so, like most average Joes, my hand will be forced: agents of the Balkanate with firearms will direct me, as opposed to (maybe) the Rule of Law that one would hope the State observed as a matter of course in their relationship to the nation.

I look forward to not having to check the News or the Facebook groups for updates on the lightswitch flicks and goings-on. I hope that the Tasmanian population I have witnessed on Facebook is indicative only of the type of Tasmanians who regularly comment on Facebook, as opposed to Tasmanians in general. I will be deleting Facebook permanently as soon as I know longer need to know about these histrionic kneejerk updates. And will certainly stop watching the News, which is only on a slightly higher level.

But most of all, I’d like Australia back. Then, I’d actually be home.


The Cultural Virus

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…

So, there is a time for a healthy mix of Bohemianism and Conservatism, and this I find ideal; but there is also a time for Conservatism to step back, as in the case of an artist in his studio, for example; and, equally, there is a time for Bohemianism to step back, as in the case when there is a cultural disease that threatens the capacity to be safely Bohemian and unrestrained to a viable degree, for example.

The problem with flus is that sometimes, the very mechanisms of resistance to the destruction of the body can be a conduit by which the flu destroys the body. To resist Fascism, we become the same (or worse) than Fascists, but try to still claim the integrity of being anti-Fascist. We live in these times. And our Civilization, that we call Western, finds itself in a bind. And it would not matter so much, perhaps, if it were strong and healthy. If it was still truly ‘a Culture’ in the Spenglerian sense, instead of being a Civilization: what Culture degenerates into as it declines.

So, if we take the recent Chinese Flu example and extend its response into the realm of this current Cultural Flu, we can look at our aged, withering Civilization as in a ‘vulnerable’ group. It is no longer hale or robust. It needs to self-isolate. And people need to protect it. It’s going to die … just as all cultures wither and die … but we, the living, were handed this from all those that went before us, those that have died; and we have a responsibilty to conserve its key elements (as a minimum) for those yet-born for as long as we can. So while we isolate our civilization, we need to attack the flu, stop it from spreading, take control away from that which is seeking to destroy.

Thuggery must sometimes be met with thuggery. This gives the non-thug pause, as well it should. But the longer we pause, the more the flu spreads, the more it strengthens. I expect those that fight the flu to meet thuggery with thuggery and I expect them to continue to understand the difference between thuggery and non-thuggery, and respond accordingly. In general, these people are our police forces. If they meet thuggery with too-strong thuggery, this is poor judgement and they should be held accountable for it, and corrected. But not to the same degree as if they met non-thuggery with thuggery. This is reprehensible and requires punitive action, of course. And this is not dependent on any feature of the person involved: race, sex, national background etc.

The longer we wait to step-back our Bohemianism and fight the Virus, the shorter the life of our Civilization for us now and those who come after, and the greater the chance that what comes after is something much worse than what went before, this rough beast slouching its way toward Bethlehem to be born.