By Paul Collits

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

W.B. Yeats

In 2012 the sometimes controversial but always prescient Charles Murray penned a book called Coming
, which I reviewed all those years ago.

The review was aptly titled “A Society Split in Two”.

The argument of Coming Apart is that the American nation is indeed “coming apart at the
seams—not ethnic seams, but seams of class”. It is coming apart socially and culturally, seen
through the divergent trajectories of the white upper class and the white lower class since the

Broadly, Murray laments what he sees as the fracturing (since the 1960s) of the great “American
project” – the creation of a free society underpinned by a virtuous citizenry in which people are
empowered to pursue their own versions of happiness. 

In addressing the very real and very serious divides then emerging in the USA, Murray could not possibly
have known what lay ahead almost a decade on – the absolute crushing of the freedom and rights of a
newly formed underclass that has been created by a dictatorial Covid State and is being excluded from
civil society.

We are, indeed, coming apart but in ways that Murray could not envisage.

What he described was merely a taster for what those on the Christian fringes, and possibly others with
an apocalyptic bent, regard with quite serious belief as the end times. The times we are now living
through, though, for many, the term “living” is a greatly exaggerated description for what we are going
through. In Australia, of all places, life has become a dystopian nightmare that is simply not believed by
many people overseas.

Mark Steyn recently picked up on the theme, now transferred to a very different time of political
distress in his adopted homeland. He invoked the famous poem written by W.B. Yeats in which, post-
World War One, the poet lamented that “the centre cannot not hold”.

This sounds chillingly familiar in 2020s Australia, who sent so many of its young to fight for freedom in
the very war that weighed so heavily upon Yeats. What would those brave, foolhardy Aussies make of
the state of play today, where the nation we inhabit is, literally, falling apart.

The context for Mark Steyn is a debate going on among the disaffected in the United States faced with
Covid fascism, stolen elections, the politicisation of core government agencies and the demonisation of
the new, unvaccinated deplorables as “domestic terrorists”, no less. All on the watch of one who is
simultaneously evil and, patently, clinically unfit for office.

Here is but one exchange noted by Mark Steyn.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: When do we get to use the guns? No, and I’m not — that’s not a joke. I’m
not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to
steal before we kill these people?

Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, was not anxious to go down this road:

KIRK: I’m going to denounce that and I’m going to tell you why. Because you’re playing into all
their plans and they’re trying to make you do this… They are trying to make you do something
that will be violent that will justify a takeover of your freedoms and liberties, the likes of which
we have never seen. We are close to have –

AUDIENCE MEMBER: They’re already doing it.

KIRK: Hold on. We are close to having momentum to be able to get this country back on a
trajectory using the peaceful means that we have [at our disposal]. They fear us holding the line
with self-control and discipline, taking over school board meetings.

They are the ones that are willing to use federal force against us. And I know that people get fired up. We are living under fascism. We are living under this tyranny.


But if you think for a second that they’re not wanting you to all of a sudden get that
next level where they’re going to say, OK, we need Patriot Act 2.0. If you think that, you know,
Waco is bad, wait until you see what they want to do next.

Steyn concludes that Kirk is trying to thread a difficult needle: “We are living under fascism” and “tyranny”,
but it is not yet time for getting out the guns.

This is not the normal discourse of a settled constitutional order going back two hundred years.

No, indeed.

Steyne, never short of a tweak of erudite grandiosity, goes on to quote himself from his book After America:

Look around you. From now on, it gets worse. In ten years’ time, there will be no American Dream. ‘After America’? Yes. It will linger awhile in a twilight existence, arthritic and ineffectual, declining into a kind of societal dementia, unable to keep pace with what’s happening and with an ever more tenuous grip on its own past. For a while, there may still be an entity called the United States’, but it will have fewer stars in the flag, there will be nothing to ‘unite’ it, and it will bear no relation to the republic of limited government the first generation of Americans fought for. And life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be conspicuous by their absence.


“When do we get to use the guns?”

Of course Styen chose the quote for maximum sensationalism.

But you don’t have to go far and listen very hard to hear speculative comment about why Australians have been so supine in their acceptance of blizzards of liberty destroying regulation, little or none of which appears to be going away very soon; despite some ‘opening up’ in Sydney and Melbourne after twenty long months of misery.

And the answer usually comes back to, Americans are armed, while Australians, post the Port Arthur massacre, have been disarmed. The most violent displays are now reserved for thugs in uniform, from pepper spraying grandmothers and protestors cringing in corners, to mounted officers, military on the streets and helicopters overhead, scenes which have now been seen around the world.

While America has a Bill of Rights Australia does not. Our Constitution, dating back 120 years, has appeared frighteningly ineffective in combating the tyranny of government. There is no right to assembly, no right to privacy, no right to free speech in the Australian Constitution; and those who assumed they had the right to protest, or most recently to resist vaccine mandates, have been savagely disappointed.

Both sides of the insurrection argument are quite persuasive to one who has been locked up for
eighteen months, and counting, prevented from seeing one’s family, and now, like Novak Djoker,
mistreated by the State and pilloried by those who we once regarded as our fellow citizens.

We are all in this together, they say. No, we aren’t. We are coming apart. Anti vaxxer! Conspiracy theorist!
Covidiot! Leper! Scaredy cat! Jew! Not a nice country, this.

And, dare one even mention the Chauncey Gardiner at the pinnacle of powerlessness in Canberra, who
on the rare occasions that he appears in public, spouts (or gets one of his lamentable parliamentary
hacks to spout, on local radio, paid for by us) some platitude like “we have been through some rough
times lately together”.


Or else Scotty from AstraZeneca does something else to ruin the country, like adopting former Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s failed climate policies rejected by we-the-people not too long ago.

Or he announces a distraction like some ludicrously expensive Plan B purchase of submarines that will take decades to appear. It requires more than a little gall to outsource decision-making to underlings during the crisis that is tearing his country apart.

Has he even noticed what is going on?

Someone please pass Nero the violin.

Or, perhaps those of us who thought that Morrison’s predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull was the Manchurian
Candidate were one prime minister too early.

Those overseas shaking their heads at the plight of Australians being governed by militarists, all in the
cause of what is, by every sane standard imaginable, a Lilliputian “crisis” of the tiniest medical
significance, despite the falsely bloated case numbers and misattributed deaths, also often point out
that we have ben disarmed.

By John Howard, in 1996. This is especially the reaction of Americans, whose much cherished second amendment rights we are quite familiar with.

Which leads us, naturally to the plight of those south of the Murray.

It is worth a debate whether the peculiar brand of monster fascism indulged in by the Premier of
Victoria – let us not besmirch these pages by uttering his name – is a difference in degree from all the
other fascist premiers, or a category difference. The Murdoch press assumes the latter, and with the
likely passage of the new “emergency” powers all but certain, thanks to prostitutes, Marxist greenies
and animal lovers in the Victorian Upper House, who would disagree?

On the other hand, those of us who regard the thug on the Yarra as merely the worst of an evil bunch, also have bucketloads of evidence to make the case that the Melbourne Monster is but one of six-of-a-kind all trying to out-do one another in inane viciousness towards the citizenry.

The latest demonic legislation in the Garden State – or whatever they call it now – is so close to Hitler’s
1933 enabling acts as to be not funny.

According to Wiki P:

“The Enabling Act (German: Ermächtigungsgesetz) of 1933, officially titled Gesetz zur Behebung
der Not von Volk und Reich (“Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich “), was a law that
gave the German Cabinet —most importantly, the Chancellor — the powers to make and
enforce laws without the involvement of the Reichstag and with no need to consult with
Weimar President Paul von Hindenburg. Critically, the Enabling Act allowed the Chancellor to
bypass the system of checks and balances in the government and these laws could explicitly
violate individual rights prescribed in the Weimar Constitution.”

Godwin’s Law about the first person in any debate to call his or her opponent a Nazi now seems passé,
what with all the Australian Nazis now running around in so-called democratic parliaments doing
brutally realistic impressions of the German dictator. Indeed, Hitler would, no doubt, have admired
many of the things visited upon dissident Australians in these times, and the sheer chutzpah of those doing the visiting.

Here’s a couple more quotes for you:

From “They thought they were free: the Germans 1933-45.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

“This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.”

—A philologist colleague of Milton Mayer’s, Chapter 13, “But Then It Was Too Late”.

And here’s another one:

“The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway.… Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.

“Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?

“To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head”.

“They did what?!?”, you can imagine him saying in one of those spoof Hitler videos.

No, calling someone in power in Australia these days a Nazi is a very mild form of abuse.

With borders shuttered, with rubber bullets in the back the new method of community policing, with
militarily supervised curfews, with “no jab no job”, with the new Jews not permitted to visit the shops
for much needed retail therapy – literally therapy, in view of the serious crisis in suicide and depression
we are experiencing – with dissidents not allowed to leave the country, even to get on a plane, why
would Hitler, or Stalin or Ceausescu, for that matter, not be seriously impressed with the efforts of those
who, alas, include people calling themselves liberal.

Back to Charles Murray, and that earlier book review:

Coming Apart is essentially about class, and about the ways in which two American classes have
changed in profound and unfortunate ways.

The book tells two separate stories, whose consequences, for Murray, together strike at the
core of American culture.

And equally, Australian culture.

A geographically concentrated elite attend the best schools, earn heaps of money and occupy positions of power in society. They know little of what life is like elsewhere. They meet at the nation’s elite colleges and mate, creating a state of “cognitive homogamy” in which bright rich parents will beget bright, rich children and thus perpetuate the new upper class.

This class is different from the old upper class in its far more coherent and cohesive shared value system, a system that places it entirely apart from the rest of the population.

As Charles Murray wrote in his equally fascinating book Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race and Class, with the spread of universal education an IQ that much above the average is enough to get you a college or university degree and see you on your way up the slippery ladders of bureaucracy to head government departments and fly at the pointy head of the plane. To become state premiers and even Prime Ministers.

They think they’re smart, but they’re not that smart.

And it is this very class that has created a world to that suits themselves; who are too arrogant, too self absorbed, and too convinced of their own cleverness to have any idea what the rest of the toiling masses endure.

These very people have manufactured a society which serves them very well indeed; but is a very ill fit for everybody else.

Thus it has proved with the Covid state.

Think inner-west Sydney, or the federal seat of Melbourne currently held by the Greens.

Most of what the old upper class had in common was its wealth.

The Covid class, who have most in common their university degrees, are concentrated in the cities and they make rules for low-case, low-vaccinated regional Australia.

Those who, back in the day, complained of city-centric governance could not possibly have predicted how this would one day be turbo-charged to the extent it has. Rules which literally make no sense in the bush – mask mandates, social distancing for the asymptomatic, lockdowns of the sublimely healthy, school closures for healthy children who literally cannot get sick from Covid and, worst of all, vaccine mandates – are beyond sense, beyond parody, and in place solely to allow the decision-makers to continue their perverse charade.

Regional businesses? Crushed. Small businesses? Discriminated against and turned into policemen, excluding their loyal customers who they have known personally for decades. Malls? Deserted, barren
wastelands. Sporting grounds? Robbed of their role in creating social cohesion and social capital.

Households? Isolated. The single, healthy elderly? Lonely and depressed.

We are, indeed, a nation no more. We are coming apart at the political and social seams. We are a
nation of warring States, of nasty Covid tribes, of fearful maskers, of supine organs of the once
investigative media, of ludicrous yet punitive rules, of decrees from on high that crush spirits afresh, of newspeak and doublethink, of smart-arses who put on Facebook gloating photos of themselves getting a
risky, unapproved, untested, ineffective needle in their upper arms.

We are now, effectively, in the early stages of a hot war, one that makes the cold culture wars look
positively puny.

Cancel culture is one thing. Now we have full-on cancelled the deplorables.

What is even more appalling, or alarming, as outlined in Human Diversity, in essence an in depth literature survey on all the latest research, and fully intended to change the debate, is that class is essentially hereditary, that despite all the talk of social mobility and freedom of opportunity, the single biggest indicator of what you will do in life is what your parents did in theirs.

If your father was a bricklayer, that’s what you will become. If your mother was a nurse, that’s what you will become. If your parents were poncy self important department heads, that’s more than like what you will become.

The injustices being laid into our society today will be cemented in place for generations to come.

Should we still even pay our taxes in the Covid fascist state? Where a goodly proportion of us who have chosen not to be vaccinated are denied the opportunity to access the services for which we pay. In a polity where the assumed bond – as per classic, liberal consent and social contract theory – between authority and political obligation has been so utterly sundered.

Irish born W.B. Yeats would, no doubt, nod sagely were he afforded the gift of time travel, and find himself today in locked-down, masked up, tiptoeing Australia. Looking about him and wondering, along with Charles Murray, what has become of us all.

Let that most beautiful of writers take us out with his famously disturbing poem The Second Coming; here in the antipodes, in these strangest, most alarming, most transitional of times, when all of us can sense that history is on the turn.

Yeats wrote the poem during the 1918-19 flu pandemic, which reserved its highest death rates for pregnant women. His pregnant wife Georgie Hyde-Lees caught the virus and was very close to death. He wrote it during her convalescence:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

For more on the poem The Second Coming: