Here’s a little thought experiment for you: imagine that you had gone to sleep at some point in the past few decades, and then woken up in 2021. What on earth would you make of the world? For argument’s sake, I’ll choose my starting-point as 1987: mostly because that year marked off the “Australia Card” dispute.

“Australia Card” was a Hawke Labor government proposal for a national ID card. The reaction was furious, even within the Labor party: one government senator resigned, while a backbencher said the card was “un-Australian”, and should be called “Hitlercard or Stalincard”. The proposal was so fiercely resisted that it forced a double-dissolution election.

Waking up 35 years later, then, an Australian Rip van Winkle would be astonished to find Australians willingly using a computerised system that electronically monitors their every public move. If resistance to the ID card in the mid-80s was fierce, a national surveillance system would surely have been greeted by riots in the streets.

So what the hell happened?

Australians were broken, that’s what.

Tyrants know how to tame wild horses. They know speed is not their friend. Slow and steady allows the wild horse to grow accustomed to its bridle. Fast and furious turns into a cruel rodeo.

Breaking a horse fast necessarily involves cruelty. A horse broken that way will never forget the whips and spurs. A horse is only properly tamed with patience and time.

“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

Pat Miller, “Willfully Ignorant”.

This is what has happened to Australia, and most of the West. We’ve quietly tolerated piecemeal encroachments on such fundamental rights as free speech: political correctness becoming “hate speech”, becoming outright censorship.

Unless resisted, there will quickly come a tipping-point where state power is just too overwhelming.

There is a kind of race going on between the regime’s ability to consolidate its power and those on our side to build up the courage to publicly express dissent. Visibility. That is our weapon in this psychological war. But it has a best-before date if the silent good people wait too long before speaking out[…]

No individual voice can break the regime’s illusion of consensus. Waiting for others with a higher pain tolerance to do the heavy lifting is a guaranteed path to failure. The illusion of consensus can only be broken by the sum of millions of brave citizens finding the courage to raise their voices to say what they think, one by one, all around the world, despite the risk of repercussions. The real heroes in this battle are the millions of citizens who come out from behind a veil of anonymity, at home, at work, with friends, with family and neighbors to add their voices to the counter chorus. Their words are not important. A joke, a meme, or the courage to whisper “bullshit” is all that it takes. Saying it publicly is all that matters.

At this stage, it seems as if the battle for freedom is lost. But, is it really?

In fact, the thirst for freedom is stronger in more people than we realise – and it doesn’t take as many as we might think to topple our would-be dictators.

That is why change always starts from the fringes; change begins with a committed minority that refuses to be cowed.

Once an idea is adopted by 10% of the population, research shows that this is the psychological tipping point when ideas, opinions, or beliefs will be rapidly adopted by the rest of the population. A noisy 10% is all it takes.

This is something the left, credit where it’s due, learned long ago. With devastating results. Consider just how short the interval between gay marriage being a joke even on the left to becoming unquestionable orthodoxy. Ditto transgenderism.

So when will the liberty-minded centre cotton on?

Our freedom is not as far out of reach as you may think.

By my guestimate, we have long since crossed that 10% threshold in public opinion. We are just waiting for all those who share that opinion to come out of the shadows and start making noise, outside of the anonymity of social media, so that their frightened peers can see them. We have the necessary 10%, we just need that 10% make themselves visible in order to turn the rest of the crowd.

Julius Ruechel

They’re making a lot of noise in more places than the media want you to know. Massive crowds are protesting in Europe, forcing police in France and Italy to slink off with their tails between their legs.

The violent protests in Melbourne were just the tip of a movement gathering in strength across Australia. Tens of thousands marched in Sydney and Brisbane. A week later, hundreds of smaller protests sprung up in regional centres.

The media-political elite are desperate to keep this stuff off the TV news. Because, once word gets out, as the East German Communists found, small movements swell into an unstoppable tidal wave.

All it takes is the courage to say “No” and say it out loud.

It’s not often that you get to see the instant a dictator realises that they’re screwed, but such a moment was captured for posterity in 1989. When Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was relentlessly heckled by a Bucharest crowd, the jig was up and he knew it. Watch his face around the 2:30 mark, then listen to his increasingly desperate efforts to shout the crowd down.

Four days later, he was shot by his own thugs.

Imagine if the families lined up on each side of the ridiculous barricade dividing NSW from Queensland, in Coolangatta this Father’s Day weekend, had simply hopped over the wall.

If the police had moved in and arrested dads in front of their children, the brutality of the regime would be laid bare. If they had stood back and more and more had peacefully disobeyed, the spell would have been broken as quickly as it was in 1989.

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Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...