Paul Kelly states, “The complacency of the Australian public and the relentless invasion of the virus have driven leaders into draconian steps. Life in Australia will begin to be transformed this week” (The Australian, 23/03/20).
How to account for the national complacency that Kelly alleges? I was reminded of one of Aesop’s fables:
A shepherd boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers three or four times by crying out, “Wolf! Wolf!” and when his neighbours came to help him, laughed at them for their pains. The Wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony of terror: “Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep;” but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf, having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock. There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.
For decades now, the Australian population has been subjected to numerous apocalyptic predictions about global warming. “Only ten years to do something about climate change.” How many times has this, and like prophecies, been promulgated by an uncritical, compliant and scientifically ignorant media?
Australians are not stupid. At national elections they have shown that they are not taken in by hysterical predictions of “climachange.” The world goes on as it ever has, extreme weather events occur like they always have, bush-fires and floods likewise. Carpet-bagging researchers spruiking for “funding” have continued with their scare-tactics, but Aussies have become complacent about people shouting, “Wolf, wolf.” “Yeah, right” they say. As Graham Richardson says from time to time, “The mob will always work you out.”
But now we have a real and massive problem. An extremely virulent and dangerous virus is spreading like wildfire. It is not a computer-modelled simulation like climachange… it is really happening. But the laconic Aussie is very possibly thinking, “Ah well, just another scare campaign to manipulate me or relieve me of my hard-earned.”
If we are showing complacency in the face of all the medical warnings, maybe it’s because we have too often heard the cry, “Wolf, wolf!” when there was no wolf. But now, the wolf really is at the door.