Why, and when, has it become a bad thing to just be “you” and look after your own best interest?
Years ago, I remember reading a random article on that pinnacle of (neo) liberal press, The Guardian, that described China’s advantage over the (loosely defined) western world as them being all about “us, us, us” – while “we” have grown to be all about “I, I, I.”
And that’s how they’ll beat us, the strange comment, that somehow stuck in my mind, said. At the time I dismissed it as no more than an effectively worded attempt to prove that even a highly imperfect collective in the end trumps whatever highly accomplished individuals can come up with.
But now, I came across this same wording once again, almost verbatim. And it’s not in the Chinese press – a leading Australian website is now denouncing those not willing to be tracked by their government for coronavirus concerns as “the new anti-vaxxers.”
So what the follow-up hit-piece is saying is that those who don’t use the tracking app, COVIDSafe, are basically bad people. (There’s also an attempt to invent a new word – “anti-appers” – but it’s not clever, doesn’t roll off the tongue, and is therefore a fail.)
Nevermind that there’s actually no vaccine for coronavirus, so the reference to “anti-vaxxers” is empty. It’s all about denouncing, in as few keywords as possible, those folks reluctant to willingly turn over all their private data to a phone app launched by a government.
“Now anti-appers are hindering public health with their fearmongering claim that their privacy is at risk. Like delusional conspiracy theorists, they appear to believe that the government’s COVIDSafe app is some Big Brother-style super surveillance system,” article says.
“Selfishly, they regard the “me” as more important than the “we”, though fortunately the government has the power to stop their family tax benefit payments if they fail to meet immunisation requirements,” the author then shockingly states.
What’s interesting about this follow-up “article” is that this unwillingness is described as being “all ‘I, I, I and me, me, me’.”
Which brought back memories of that old Guardian article. As it was then, so it is now – of course it’s all “I, I, I” and “me, me, me” – that is why Australia is a democracy and has a capitalist economy.
But individualism – that millions born into collectivism can only dream of – is now painted in the press of a supposedly free country like Australia as a very nasty thing.
The only question is: Why?