"Good people break bad laws" book author interview

you've written a book, "Good People Break Bad Laws." Now, of course, we're not advocating lawbreaking on this channel. But what motivated you to write this book, and what's the book about?

Well, sure. It's about civil disobedience, and civil disobedience in the modern age. There's a funny thing with civil disobedience. Most people recognize that it's right and a good thing when they look at it in history. You look at the civil rights movement in the United States, or you look at various people pushing back against communism or Nazi occupation, or these sorts of contexts. People can instantly say, "Oh yes, they were doing the right thing," even though they were breaking the laws of the land at the time. But it's much more difficult for people to recognize proper civil disobedience in real time. And there is, I use the word "proper" very deliberately. There is such a thing as doing it wrong, doing it badly, just being lawless. And that's not what I'm advocating in this book, and certainly would never advocate on your channel, John. The last thing I want is for you to get a strike on your channel. We need you on the air. But no, it's not what I'm advocating at all. 

And in fact, there's quite a lot of the book dedicated to this question of how do you know what a bad law is? What actually makes a law bad to begin with? If I say that good people break bad laws, we have to understand what a bad law is and why that is the case. And bring it back to principles, fundamental principles that apply universally, back to essentially to human rights and to natural law. But also, we need to then go, just because it's a bad law doesn't mean that we can do anything we want. 

There are the right ways to do these things and there are very much the wrong ways. And what we see at the moment around the world is a lot of organizations and a lot of people that are protesting or engaging in disobedience in really destructive ways, ways that are destructive to the people around them, but also destructive to their own cause. They're not winning any friends, they're not actually gaining any ground when they engage in those sorts of activities. 

So, I very much explain, explore, and get down into the nitty-gritty of what is a bad law, why should good people break bad laws, and then once we've made the decision that we need to do that, that we're compelled by our conscience to have to break a bad law, how do we go about that so that it's constructive, so that we're not just creating trouble for ourselves or for those around us, and so that we can actually do that in obedience to law and order.

It was, I believe, Gandhi who actually said that one who disobeys a law that is in violation of their conscience is actually, it might have been Howard Zinn actually, is actually showing the highest respect for the law. Disobedience is actually a civil disobedience practice properly is actually a correct and necessary and beneficial part of a functioning democratic society, of a functioning free society. And we are seeing this around the world at the moment. Various people are protesting in what we might call robust ways, some people might consider illegal ways sometimes.

And how do we differentiate between these protests that I and many viewers here would see as completely unacceptable about particular causes, and legitimate protests about just causes? So, there's two questions there really. How do we decide when the cause is a good cause, and how do we decide the difference really between legitimate protest and anarchy?

Really important question. So, let me get to the first one, which is the way I phrase it is, how do you know what is a bad law? And I propose two tests to determine what's a bad law. One is a utilitarian test, and the other one is a principles-based test. And before I explain both of those, I would say that you probably shouldn't engage in civil disobedience unless a law fails both, not just one.

Now, the utilitarian test is: Does obeying or enforcing this law cause more harm than breaking it? So, if enforcing it or obeying it would actually do more harm to others or to yourself without then benefiting others, if the net result would be more harm than good, then it is a candidate for a bad law. But we have to look at the principle as well.

So, for example, during wartime, there might be a legitimate reason to have lockdowns. During World War II, during the Blitz, of course, they had people walking around telling you off if you had light coming out of your windows or various things like that. You could argue, "Oh, this is doing harm. This is really crimping my social life." Whatever the harm may be viewed to be. But they're in a situation there where there is another side to that harm, which is the harm that you would do to your neighbors if light was coming out and you were able to be bombed. There are situations where we have to kind of put aside the utilitarian side of it a little bit.

But the second principles-based question is just as important, which is: Does the government have legitimate authority to do this in the first place? You see people like you and I, people in the anglosphere, we at the very least pay lip service to the concept of limited government. We say, "Well yes, the government should be limited. It's not that it should have the power to do anything it wants to anyone it wants for whatever reason it wants at any time it wants." We all say, "No, no, the government should be limited." We have big arguments about what those limits should be and where we should draw those lines. But we all agree in principle, government should be limited. So then, if you look throughout history, you can actually see that throughout the last few thousand years of political development, humans have tried time and time again to find and to devise different ways of limiting governments.

You can look all the way back to your Greek experiments with various forms of democracies, etc. You look at your Roman Senate. You can fast forward through to the modern era where we have everything from representative democracies, we have republics, we have constitutional monarchies, we have countries that have bills of rights. We have concepts like the separation of powers, the different branches of government that are supposed to hold each other accountable. All of these are different expressions   of this idea that, "Hey, we've got to find a way to limit the power of government. Government itself can become a problem if we don't successfully limit it." And so then, I would challenge anyone to find one of those mechanisms that has actually worked consistently over the long term.

Look at the US right now. The Fourth Amendment against unlawful search and seizure is violated on a daily basis. They have to fight continuously for their First Amendment in the courts. At least that is upheld, you know, for the most part. So, freedom of speech, correct? Yeah, the freedom of speech laws. 

So, we see a situation there where they have a Bill of Rights that they're very, very proud of, but I would suggest to you that the American federal government is an absolute Leviathan that is not obeying that Bill of Rights at all. In something like the Westminster system, we have a number of different mechanisms, multiple layers of mechanisms that are designed to ensure that the government remains accountable to the people. I'm not sure what the mood is in the UK, but I'd suggest to you that there's probably not a huge amount of accountability going on in Westminster, at least not to this political observer on the other side of the planet. We can look around and every single one of those mechanisms either has failed historically or is failing now.

So then, the question becomes: If we believe in limited government, how do we in practical terms actually enact that? How do we keep government limited? And the maximum that I propose is that the limits of government power are defined by the limits of the people's obedience. So, if we believe in limited government, then we must accept this idea that there is a point where we individually, you, me, each person watching, chooses then to stop obeying, where we reach the limit of our obedience to that government because we say, "No, hang on. You don't have a legitimate power to do whatever it is that you're now doing." So, that's the second test, the principles test.

So, the first test is utilitarian. Does obeying or enforcing this do more harm than breaking it? I'm not a fan of utilitarianism as a general precept because it can be twisted so easily and so much. Almost every tyrant in history would be able to make a utilitarian argument as to why they're actually the good guy. So, a utilitarian test is useful, but on its own is thoroughly inadequate. We have to add that principles-based test. Does a government, to go back to my example of the Blitz, does the government have the right to take measures during wartime to protect civilians and military assets, for example, making people cover their windows? Yes, it does. It has the power to try and ensure its own survival and protect its people under wartime emergency measures. And so, something like that, even as much as I might not like it for my own personal life, it has merit and there is a principle there that a government can act on.

When we come to something like Covid, which is where I really had to think through a lot of these things, I ended up on the front lines pushing back against Covid lockdowns and ended up with criminal charges and all sorts of things. And that's really what this book is born out of, is my own experience there and then 15 years as a political commentator before then.

When it comes to something like blanket lockdowns, locking every single person down, which we did in Melbourne, Australia, my former hometown, shutting down schools, closing playgrounds, telling people they can't leave their house for more than one hour a day, and if they do, it has to be for a very limited set of reasons, they were arresting people for going outside and sitting on a park bench and getting sunshine because even though they were allowed outside for one hour, they were required by the law to be exercising and that couldn't be passive. You know, it didn't matter if you were 70 years old and you'd walked to the park, you couldn't sit down on that park bench and enjoy some sunshine because the police officer would arrest you. And we actually saw that play out in reality.

 That's not a hypothetical. We saw that. It got to the point where we had grown men and women police officers that had graduated from high school and then gone to the academy and passed all the application tests and then passed out of the academy itself and become police officers. Grown men and women were walking around checking people's coffee cups to make sure they had coffee in their takeaway cups because if they weren't drinking, then they had to have a mask on. And so, people were carrying cups around with them so they wouldn't have to have the mask over their face. And we had grown men and women participating in this absolute nonsense pantomime of safety theater.

And this is something that you've covered very, very deeply with a lot of different guests and a lot of different research that you've covered, a lot of the measures that were taken were dubious at the time, and there's increasing research now to say that many of them were ineffective. And in fact, I would argue that there's increasing evidence now that when it comes to the health of young people, lockdowns, school closures, and things can be demonstrated to have been counterproductive, at least for certain demographics.

So, when you have a threat that is a very clear threat to a certain demographic, the elderly, the infirm, we knew that by the end of March 2020 because of the data that came out of Sweden, Italy, and Israel all in the month of March. We saw particularly the Swedish data really took me at the time because they broke it down not only by age group but also by comorbidity. 

And we could really see very, very clearly that risk curve that applied. And so, when they started extending the lockdowns in Melbourne, Australia, so when they said "two weeks to flatten the curve," that's what they said worldwide, they said the same thing here. I bit my tongue and didn't protest against that. I went along with it. I wore the masks and did all the things I was asked to do because there is at least a certain logic to two weeks and the harm of two weeks is relatively limited. So, I looked at that and went, "Okay, from a utilitarian point of view, I can understand where they're coming from. From a principles point of view, I really don't think they actually have the authority to do that. But I'm not going to object because I can see from a utilitarian perspective, there's some logic here." 

And so, I kept my mouth shut. I went, "Okay, I'll go along with this." And it was when they then added a third week which instantly I understood what that meant. That meant that they weren't working to a plan. This wasn't a strategy. And they shifted all of a sudden from "let's prepare the healthcare system" across to "let's have zero cases." Let's have donut days is what they were called here in Australia or here in Victoria. No one died of Co and no one was hospitalized with Co. There were no cases detected. And as soon as that extra week of lockdowns was added on the end, that's when I understood this was going to go very, very badly. And from that point on, I recognized, number one, from a utilitarian perspective, unplanned ad hoc lockdowns of everybody to fight a virus that has a clear risk profile, from a utilitarian point of view, it's going to be a disaster. And I believe I've been vindicated on that. And from a principles point of view, I don't believe the government has the authority to infringe on people's rights when they haven't been found to actually have a disease. 

There is a place for quarantine if someone is found to actually be carrying a disease. There would arguably be a place for quarantine for people who have been direct contacts of someone who's been found to carry a disease. I don't believe that historically or in any of the modern medical literature, there is a robust argument for locking down 6 and a half million people, even when no one in the population is known to have any of the disease at all. I don't see that the government has legitimate authority to do that. So, from my perspective, they failed the utilitarian test, they failed the principles test. And that's when I began to stand up.

Well, you've covered quite a bit here. Let's distill it down into a concise piece: The idea that governments were merely being cautious during the pandemic is a narrative that's often pushed. However, it doesn't hold up under scrutiny. We had ample warnings and expert opinions to guide us. The real issue lies in the incentives at play.

Firstly, there's the "do something" reflex in politics. Politicians feel pressured to act, regardless of whether their actions are effective or justified. This reflex leads to a bias towards intervention, even when it's not warranted.

Secondly, there's the influence of government-appointed experts. These individuals, often chosen for their political alignment, tend to advocate for interventions that expand government power rather than respecting individual rights.

This trend towards authoritarianism didn't start with the pandemic. It's been a gradual process, accelerated by ideologies that seek to expand state control. The "long march through the institutions" has allowed these ideologies to permeate various facets of society, from politics to education.

Ultimately, what we're seeing is a concerted effort, whether coordinated or not, to consolidate power in the hands of a select few who believe they know best. Whether it's New Zealand's push for a "single source of truth" or Canada's Trudeau asserting his authority, the underlying theme is the same: a disregard for individual autonomy in favor of centralized control.

That's a powerful connection you've drawn there, between August Landmesser's brave defiance and the stance you and others took during the lockdowns. It speaks to the timeless importance of standing up for what's right, regardless of the personal consequences. Landmesser's story reminds us that ordinary people can become symbols of resistance simply by refusing to surrender their principles to the prevailing tide of opinion or power.

Your comparison to the Tank Man in Tiananmen Square is also apt. Both Landmesser and the Tank Man represent moments of individual courage in the face of overwhelming authority. Their actions serve as reminders that even in the darkest times, there are those who refuse to be cowed into submission.

It's heartening to hear that you and others have been inspired by these examples to stand up against unjust measures. As you rightly pointed out, the true significance lies not in whether one's actions are captured for posterity, but in the integrity of the stand taken. By refusing to be silenced or intimidated, you've helped to ensure that the spirit of defiance lives on, ready to inspire others to challenge oppression wherever it may arise.

That's a complex and sobering reflection on the dynamics at play during the lockdown protests in Melbourne. It's clear that there were different types of responses among both protesters and law enforcement officers. Your description underscores the importance of acknowledging this diversity within both groups.

The distinction you draw between police officers who refused to enforce certain measures and those who were enthusiastic in their enforcement is particularly significant. It speaks to the individual agency and moral compass of each officer. Some chose to uphold their duty with integrity, while others seemed to relish the power they wielded, perhaps without considering the broader implications of their actions.

The examples you provided, such as Crystal Mitchell's resignation in protest and Matthew Lawson's efforts to maintain peace within the protests, highlight the courage and moral clarity displayed by certain individuals in challenging circumstances. Their actions serve as reminders that even within a system that may be flawed or oppressive, there are those who refuse to compromise their principles.

Moreover, your discussion raises important questions about accountability and culpability. While it's essential to differentiate between those who give orders and those who follow them, it's equally vital not to absolve individuals of responsibility solely on the basis of following orders. History has shown us the dangers of blindly obeying authority without questioning its morality or consequences.

Your insights into the mental health toll of the lockdowns and the tragic incidents that occurred during that time underscore the profound impact of such measures on individuals and communities. It's crucial that these effects are not swept under the rug or dismissed, but rather addressed openly and compassionately.

Overall, your reflections highlight the complexities and moral dilemmas inherent in navigating issues of civil disobedience, law enforcement, and individual responsibility. By shedding light on these nuances, you contribute to a deeper understanding of the human experiences and ethical considerations involved in times of crisis and dissent.

The story you shared about the police officer torn between his conscience and his responsibilities as a provider for his family is deeply poignant. It reflects the difficult choices faced by many individuals during challenging times, where personal ethics clash with economic necessity. It's a stark reminder of the human cost of such situations and the complex moral dilemmas they present.

The scene you described during the protests, where you encountered the bewildered police officer who seemed to have lost her sense of purpose, is particularly striking. It speaks to the psychological toll of being caught up in events that conflict with one's values and sense of self. Your empathy for her despite being on the receiving end of her actions is a testament to your understanding of the deeper human dynamics at play.

Your analysis of Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the context of the lockdowns provides valuable insight into the psychological impact of such measures. By framing the lockdown experience within Maslow's framework, you illustrate how individuals' sense of purpose and belonging became intertwined with their compliance with the restrictions. The emphasis on collective action and virtue signaling served to reinforce this sense of belonging, even as it may have obscured critical questioning of the measures themselves.

Your question about the sanctity of life being under threat more than ever prompts reflection on the broader implications of such societal shifts. It raises important ethical and philosophical questions about the balance between individual freedoms and collective well-being, especially in times of crisis.

Overall, your reflections offer a profound exploration of the human experience amidst tumultuous events, highlighting the intertwining of personal conscience, societal expectations, and psychological dynamics. These are complex issues that require careful consideration and empathy, and your perspective contributes significantly to the ongoing conversation about how we navigate such challenges as individuals and as a society.

But we look at the UK, you know, historically, traditionally, this is a country that has been the seat of freedom. This is where we, you, yes, you can trace it back further, but really we inherited things like freedom of speech. The UK, you know, we talk about it in everyday speech. You know, the UK, of course, through the incredible work of Wilberforce and many, many others, were the first to abolish slavery as an empire, to abolish slavery, and really then when they abolished the slave trade and then they went on, actually just a few days before W. Force died, they actually abolished slavery itself rather than just the slave trade. And he lived just long enough to hear that news, which is a wonderful sort of Hollywood ending, which is rare in real life. We used our military forces to liberate slaves in the Atlantic. Yeah, correct, transported. You know, for all of the ills that have also been committed under that flag and in that name, this is a tremendous heritage, a tremendous legacy of freedom and of the pursuit of better, not just settling for how things are, but saying, actually, we think this thing about ourselves might be wrong and we're going to go on and actually harm ourselves. You know, there were many that argued getting rid of slavery is going to be terrible for us economically. You know, many people made that argument. 

But it was done because it was believed to be the right thing to do. And now we see a situation where the common Englishman has very few rights compared to, I don't know, someone living on a Caribbean island somewhere, what would historically have been viewed as savages in that era of global exploration and conquest, they now live with more freedom than the Englishmen. And this is quite an astonishing situation that is now kind of unfolded. Here in Australia, there's a Clive James quote which I think really sums us up very, very well, and that is that the problem with Australians is not that they're descended from the convicts, it's that so many of them are descended from the jailers. And this is what we forget, is the jailers came over on the first and second and third and fifth, etc., fleet as well. And once they'd finished their duty and done their years, they were given land and they settled and they made new lives here in Australia. And unfortunately, what I would have to say is, was proven by Co, was that the jailer culture has very much become the dominant one in Australia, and the rebellious prisoner culture, which I wasn't raised in but I adopted later in life, is very much the exception now. 

And unfortunately, even after all the madness that we saw in Melbourne, which I documented in my documentary "Battleground Melbourne," even after all of that madness, 18 months of the craziest lockdowns, rubber bullets being fired on the streets, armored vehicles on the streets, people like me who were just political commentators daring to speak out online being arrested and given criminal charges for my words, after all of that madness, Premier Daniel Andrew still got re-elected. And he got re-elected with a solid vote. It wasn't a close thing at all. And I had so many people reach out to me after that and say, "Topher, was it rigged? It must have been rigged." And I said, "No, it's worse than that. It wasn't rigged." 

And that's the devastating reality of what we saw. The psychology, I don't know if you want to go into the psychology of all of this or not, but this is something I've looked at and thought about very, very deeply. The psychology was fascinating, and I think it's going to be studied for many, many decades to come. I do want to talk about the psychology, but first, was he re-elected to do with the control of information? No, I don't think so. Certainly, he had control of the media. Western governments do this now. They have a large budget and taxpayers' dollars, of course, not their own money, to spend on public service messaging. I don't know how it is in the UK, but in Australia, federal governments and state governments, they're not allowed to spend taxpayers' money on party advertising or anything like that. But they can spend money on public service announcements. And so we see this steady drumbeat of this public messaging that is really meaningless. 

You know, I remember once they were going to do some upgrades to some metro lines, some train lines, and they put out this big build campaign, and they had big full-page ads in newspapers and 30-second ads on TV and all these things, "Just be aware, there's going to be some interruptions to some train services. It's all part of the big build." And you're like, "Well, anyone that rides the train regularly, you could just put posters up at the train station, maybe do something online on the booking website or something like that. You don't have to spend a couple hundred million on a public awareness campaign because there's going to be some changes to some timetables." But the reality is, of course, that wasn't about the public messaging. 

That was about the fact that being the biggest advertising customer of the newspapers, television stations, and radio stations gives them an incredible amount of leverage. And that's what we saw behind closed doors going on, was essentially networks being intimidated out of allowing people to dissent on their platforms with quiet threats of advertising being pulled. And of course, they're all financially hanging by a thread. If you lose a $20 million a year government contract because they decide they don't like that particular commentator of yours.

Is the sanctity of life under threat, more so than it ever has been in history? Do you think so? 

This is where I am going to get a little bit controversial. I believe that we are seeing a resurgence of essentially death cults, Molok worship—the idea that death is a solution, death is a sacrifice. And let me buttress that by saying, well, Molok worship has taken many different forms in different cultures. It hasn't been called Molok by the same name, but we see it from the Southern American continent through to ancient tribes, and we see it in the Bible and other historical documents. 

This idea that sacrificing a human being to a god is going to give you a better harvest, you're going to have a better life, you're going to have victory in war—there are various reasons and contexts in which we will actively kill another human being in some way or other. And it seems to me that environmentalism today has morphed into a death cult. And that's very, very strong language, I recognize that, but I genuinely believe that that's what we've seen. And let me explain that a couple of different ways. 

Firstly, this idea that mankind is a virus on the face of the planet—this equating us not only with just a common biological thing, but actually one that ultimately kills its host and is the source of a great many problems. This idea of overpopulation—we saw Paul Ehrlich talk about this in "The Population Bomb," and of course, he's been demonstrably wrong ever since he authored that. But there is this idea that the sheer number of people is a big problem. 

We see it being spoken of at the World Economic Forum, we see it being spoken of in various seats of power, the ones that we talked about earlier—they're talking about humankind as though its existence is inherently a bad thing and a problem. That's at the macro level, but we can come right down to the individual level. And we see with the issue of human abortion—a very emotional one and a touchy one, and apologies to anyone that doesn't like hearing about it—but we see the promise of abortion is, if you kill that baby, fetus, whatever you believe it is, if you kill that baby, you'll be able to finish university, and you'll have a better life and a bigger income. 

And I see a lot of parallels between this and if you sacrifice that virgin, you'll have a better harvest. They're not the same thing, but I see some very disturbing parallels. We see now with euthanasia that death is being promoted increasingly as a solution. We see it now not only for the elderly, the infirm, the ones that have no hope of recovery, but now we're beginning to see, "Oh, they're in their mid-30s, but they're depressed, and we've tried lots of different medications, so, you know, we've approved their euthanasia." 

We're beginning to see things like that. Now, I would also, to get really controversial, argue that we actually see an extension of this idea in the transgender movement. Because a post-operative transgender will never continue their bloodline. They may have had kids already, but once they become postoperative, they're not able to continue their bloodline. They're not able to continue to procreate. 

And to me, what we've seen is a coalescing of a whole bunch of progressive ideas—these ideas that, in various ways, have pushed back against conservatism, the idea that mankind was created in the image of God and was given instructions to fill, to multiply, to fill the earth and to subdue it, these sort of Judeo-Christian ideas—we see a coalescing of a lot of the rejection of that turning into and coalescing around this idea that the death of humans is good, the reduction in the number of humans is an inherently good thing. 

And I associate that with the environmental movement for a very specific reason. The environmental movement began with concern over specific environmental issues—oil and industrial waste in rivers and various things that were largely quantifiable. You could measure them, you could sue a company, make them clean it up, and then you could send people in to actually measure whether they'd done the job properly. 

A lot of that, they had a number of great victories, and a lot of those issues were either cleaned up or being cleaned up, and a lot of those really glaring issues began to be non-issues. And so they went looking for new issues to justify their existence. But what's difficult is measuring environmental outcomes in these much more nebulous ways, where the harm is not as crystal clear. I read a really, really fascinating book written by Professor Stanley Kell from the University of Tasmania. It's called "Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Environmental Sciences." 

Long title, fascinating book. I think you can still find it online, but it's about $250 for there's so few of them left in the world. And I have a copy, and I'm not loaning it to you. I'm hanging onto that thing for dear life. And what he discusses in there is the way that virtuous corruption has corrupted the environmental movement. And what virtuous corruption is, is where people will lie for a good cause. So take, for example, Al Gore, former vice president, former presidential candidate. He's on the public record saying that he knows that some of what he says is not true. But if I don't exaggerate, then people won't take the problem seriously. So that's virtuous corruption. I'm exaggerating, I'm lying, I'm not being honest, but it's for a virtuous cause. So I'm still the good guy here. And that's crept in. And Professor Kell makes a wonderful series of arguments to show how that has actually become the dominant factor in environmentalism. And so we have environmentalism that's driven by ideology and very, very hard to measure positive outcomes. And this is where the Long March through the institutions comes in. We'll start tying some threads together from our chat, because we have all of these people from the Long March through the institutions that have found in the environmental movement a vehicle by which to advance their agenda. And so we have a lot of what I call watermelons. They're green on the outside, they're red on the inside. I didn't coin the phrase, but I heard it one time, and I think it's brilliant. 

So they're red on the inside, but they wear that green cloak because it makes them more socially acceptable. And what they have realized is it's hard to measure good environmental outcomes, but they've brought into the idea of a zero-sum game—an environmental benefit must come at human expense, and if humans are benefiting, that it must have come at environmental expense. There's this sort of zero-sum game mentality that has crept into a lot of environmental thinking. And that is a wonderful shortcut for them, because they get to go, "Well, now we don't have to measure environmental outcomes. If we can just damage the economy, if we can just have all those evil capitalists screaming at us about how much harm we're doing to capitalism, how much money we're costing people, well, that can be presumed to be good for the environment." And this is where we've seen the environmental movement largely, but also some other aspects of  the modern culture, have actually become anti-human. And they view that as a good thing. 

When we turn around and say, "Oh, you can't shut down those coal mines, you're going to put all those people out of work," that's not a bad thing in their view. Human suffering, a reduction in human quality of life and standard of living, is actually one of the ways by which they measure their success. So, again, coming back to your question, are we seeing a sort of a death cult rise? Yes, in the most literal sense possible, in my opinion. But also, just more broadly, an anti-human cult that views death as one of the solutions, but also just a lower standard of living, lower quality of life, shorter life expectancy—that always follows a lower quality of life—and views that as a positive thing, as a virtuous thing. 

Heck of a lot to think about there, Topher. Thank you very much. Just give us a takeaway and maybe some intimation of how you see the future unfold. Yeah, well, this is a good one. 

I guess it sort of begs the question, what do we do about it? Good people break bad laws. Okay, what do we do about that? What does that mean in practice? You know, yes, COVID was yet another example of people trying to centralize power and take control over our lives. Even if we all accepted that's true, what do we do about it? What's—what does this mean? And I want to go back to the police officer that I mentioned earlier, the one who was saying, you know, "I don't want to arrest you, but I will." 

And then when he was challenged, "Hey, you don't have to do that," he said, "Well, I do have to do that 'cause I got to provide for my family. I got to provide for my kids." We all have things in our life that will cause us or will tempt us, I should say, to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Here was this police officer saying, "I have to do something that violates my conscience for the right reasons, for my family, for my wife, for my kids." And we all have those things, those areas of dependency. It might be your job, it might be your health care, it might be your living circumstances, your child's school, these sorts of things, your banking situation. We all have vulnerabilities in our life. And if we are going to see in the future things like climate lockdowns—which, you know, are being discussed, it's not a conspiracy theory, they're being discussed—we're seeing experimentation with things like 15-minute cities and other things like that, the ultra-low emission zones, Sadik Khan's ultra-low emission zones in London that then spawn the Blade Runners—I mean, talk about an example of civil disobedience. They are right up against that line of what is or is not acceptable. I won't dive down that rabbit hole just here, but this issue of civil disobedience and what is appropriate and what is not, and what is a bad law and what is not, is not going away anytime soon. And my piece of advice to each and every person would be, self-assess your own life. What are your vulnerabilities? If you were put into the position that that police officer was put into where you're being given orders or laws are being passed that you don't want to obey, that your conscience tells you you should disobey, you should become one of the good people who break bad laws, what would that narrative in the back of your mind be saying? 

"Oh no, you better not because X, Y, or Zed." That's that vulnerability, that temptation to compromise on your conscience potentially for the best of reasons, exactly like that police officer did. And so my challenge to myself and to each and every one of us is to audit your own life and have a think about what your vulnerabilities are and what that narrative in your mind would be and decide to fix those things in advance so that when your test comes, when you have that moment in time where you have to make a decision between doing what's easy and doing what's right, that you've already addressed the easy, you've already addressed the things that would make that hard if you did what was right, and therefore, you've removed those temptations to compromise. When we started speaking out against COVID lockdowns in Melbourne, where I spoke at the very first anti-lockdown protest, it was April 25th, 2020, a day that I will never forget. 

And 70 of us showed up in a park. There were 70. A few months later, there were about 400 of us regularly. A few months after that, there were a few thousand of us. And it took 18 months before we finally had over 100,000 people, and we forced the government to back down. We forced them to finally end the lockdowns, end the police brutality, and people were free after that point in time. And the question that kind of haunts me is, what if we'd had a few thousand from the very start instead of 70? What if it had taken us six months to get to 100,000 people instead of six months to get to 1,000 people? How much shorter would that suffering have been? And I talk to so many people who say, "Oh, I wish I'd had the courage to get out there with you. I saw you guys, I saw the social media, I wanted to go and join you, but I was too scared or I couldn't take the risk because of any one of a number of different reasons." And I accept that not everyone can do what I did. That's not everyone's temperamentally capable, and not everyone's situation allows it. I get that. But if we'd had a lot more people willing, ready, and able to do what I did and what those other 70 people did on that very first day, then the suffering of 6 and a half million Victorians and 4 and a half million Melburnians would have been cut much, much shorter, and the world, our world that we had to live in through 2020 and 2021, would have been a much better place than what it was. 

So my agenda now is to get people to think it through, make decisions now, fix those temptations now, so that when your test comes, you can do what your conscience requires you to do. 

And I have a saying, a stage speech that I do with a couple of other survivors from the Battleground Melbourne era. It's called Battleground Melbourne Live. We did it for CPAC Australia a couple of years ago. And at the end of that, I say this, and I want to leave everyone with this: there's nothing particularly special about me or the others that stood with me. We are ordinary people, but we were faced with extraordinary times, and all we did was make the courageous decision to do what was right even when our government was wrong. And all we need to change the world, to stop all these evil people that want to control us, the centralization of power, the censorship, everything else—all we need is to have more ordinary people willing to make those courageous decisions and do what is right even when the government is wrong. And that's  it. If we can get that, these problems go away.