It’s the stupidity, stupid! On technocratic populism

Even as it grows more menacing in point of imagery and political polemic, the Australian iteration of the anti-lockdown/anti-vaccination movement (if indeed it is a movement) still has the air of cosplay about it. As the prevalence of pro-Trump merchandise suggests, the particular idea of ‘freedom’ being channelled on the streets of Melbourne, Sydney and elsewhere is in many ways a cheap foreign import, with little local saleability beyond a few libertarian enclaves. Certainly the ragbag of conspiracy thinkers, anti-vaxxers and far-right elements that make up these so-called freedom rallies don’t seem to be particularly well informed about Australia’s political traditions. One guy in Mt Gambier appeared with a sign declaring mandatory vaccinations to be an attack on Australians’ 14th Amendment rights. Opinion is divided on whether he was able to find his way home unaccompanied. [More here.]